30 Mar 2017

The Day Five-Year-Old Child Met The Great Buddha of Nara

I visited Nara last weekend. My purpose of visiting there was to see The Great Buddha of Nara, one of the three large statures of Buddha in Japan. My super cute nephew who just started talking after his second birthday also joined us this time. It was a little trip to learn traditional Japanese culture.

The Great Buddha of Nara
The Great Buddha of Nara

Our trip started as follows. One day, my daughter who attends elementary school said, “If The Great Buddha of Nara stands up, he is 30 meter tall. I learned this from a riddle at school today.” Following this statement, she went, “Mom, that means he is big, doesn’t it?”
At this moment, I realized that she didn’t know about The Great Buddha of Nara. The Buddha was completed in the era of Nara. Nevertheless he has such as great impact, and stands out even from a distance.
My daughter is a little taller than 1 meter, so I could explain her that the Buddha is about 30 time taller than her, but I know that she cannot picture a tangible image.

This is also a great chance to experience traditional Japanese culture. So, I decided to take my daughters to see the Buddha. Just like a school field trip, each of my daughters set a purpose for the trip.
The older daughter who is an elementary school student said, “I will see the Buddha’s hand’s shape (mudra).” She is curious about an interesting point. Five-year-old daughter said, “I will check his face.” I also think that is interesting.

After playing with deers for such a long time, we finally moved to the temple of the Great Buddha. We were surrounded by many tourists from China and South Korea, and I felt funny to look up the Buddha with them. Long time ago, Buddhism was delivered to Japan from India via China and South Korea, homelands of these tourists, and this Buddha was completed. I reconfirmed that traditional Japanese culture was shaped through fusion with various foreign elements.

At last, we entered the temple of the Great Buddha. Girls exclaimed with excitement and made me happy. I felt my hard work as a tour guide was paid off. I hope that they can polish sensitivity by observing genuine items.
We looked up the Buddha for a long time until our necks hurt. We smelled incense burning with smoke. We heard sound of coins being thrown into an offertory box and various foreign languages along with Japanese. My girls used all five senses to full extent. I believe today’s experience will be a base for girls’ sensitivity.

Before I forget, the followings are comments of my five-year-old daughter on the Buddha.
“Mom, the Buddha is not a Japanese.” She said it assertively.
I see. I agree that he does not have a typical Japanese face.
“Also, his hand is almost the same size as your room.”
I burst into laughter. An actual size model of the Buddha’s hand is displayed, and its size is just like that of our small bedroom. Children have amazing imagination.

Incidentally, I would like to tell you that my two-year-old nephew was excited about the same size orifice as the Buddha’s nostril. The orifice was made in a pillar to let people sense the size of the Buddha, and my nephew enjoyed passing through the orifice.
However, he didn’t seem to understand great impact of the Buddha. Still, he enjoyed playing with deers a lot. Probably, children might start to understand matters around them from about the age of five.

AuthorHisae Ozaki

I-tsu-tsu Co. Ltd.取締役、株式会社ホジョセンアナリスト兼 共創デザイナー。P&Gにて東海エリアを中心にコンサルティング営業、立命館大学での産官学連携事業の企画、マネジメント等を経て現職。2児の母親でもあり、時短勤務を導入することによってワークライフバランスを実践している主婦でもある。同志社大学文学部卒。

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