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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

theantidote:

Yoko Kanno & Aoi Teshima - A Little Because

An exquisite short piece of music, perfect soundtrack for a quiet afternoon.

(via dramarathon:)

Tagged: #music #Japan
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I can’t even imagine how grueling it must be having to wrestle sumo and fast for Ramadan. Big ups!
On the first day of Ramadan, Egyptian sumo wrestler Osunaarashi (right), whose real name is Abdelrahman Ahmed Shaalan, pushes Satoyama out of the ring during the second-day bout of the 15-day Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in Nagoya in Aichi prefecture in Japan. The Arab world’s first professional sumo wrestler says fasting for Ramadan will give him courage during his inaugural tournament in the famously weighty elite ranks of the sport.
(Photo by Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images)
~Trent Gilliss, senior editor
I can’t even imagine how grueling it must be having to wrestle sumo and fast for Ramadan. Big ups!
On the first day of Ramadan, Egyptian sumo wrestler Osunaarashi (right), whose real name is Abdelrahman Ahmed Shaalan, pushes Satoyama out of the ring during the second-day bout of the 15-day Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in Nagoya in Aichi prefecture in Japan. The Arab world’s first professional sumo wrestler says fasting for Ramadan will give him courage during his inaugural tournament in the famously weighty elite ranks of the sport.
(Photo by Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images)
~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

I can’t even imagine how grueling it must be having to wrestle sumo and fast for Ramadan. Big ups!

On the first day of Ramadan, Egyptian sumo wrestler Osunaarashi (right), whose real name is Abdelrahman Ahmed Shaalan, pushes Satoyama out of the ring during the second-day bout of the 15-day Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in Nagoya in Aichi prefecture in Japan. The Arab world’s first professional sumo wrestler says fasting for Ramadan will give him courage during his inaugural tournament in the famously weighty elite ranks of the sport.

(Photo by Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images)

~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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crashinglybeautiful:

Grace M. Ballentine (American, 1881-1978), Morning Mist, ca. 1948. Gelatin silver print. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thank you arsvitaest.
crashinglybeautiful:

Grace M. Ballentine (American, 1881-1978), Morning Mist, ca. 1948. Gelatin silver print. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thank you arsvitaest.

crashinglybeautiful:

Grace M. Ballentine (American, 1881-1978), Morning Mist, ca. 1948. Gelatin silver print. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thank you arsvitaest.

Comments
Cherry blossoms in Ueno.
Cherry blossoms in Ueno.

Cherry blossoms in Ueno.

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trentgilliss:

caille:

Huge loss for photography today with the death of Shomei Tomatsu. His quiet, personal approach to national devastation inspired an entire generation of photographers, filmmakers, and writers.

All photos by Shomei Tomatsu:

House 9, Amakusa Shimoshima Island, Kumamoto Prefecture, 1959

From: The Skin of the Nation

Time Stopped at 11:02, 1945, Nagasaki,” 1961, and “Bottle Melted and Deformed by Atomic Bomb Heat, Radiation, and Fire, Nagasaki,” 1961

A huge loss. Magnificent artist.

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"The fragility is the essence of men and women, and it is at the heart of humanity."
~Xavier Le Pichon, pioneer of plate tectonics
Photo by Phil Dowsing
"The fragility is the essence of men and women, and it is at the heart of humanity."
~Xavier Le Pichon, pioneer of plate tectonics
Photo by Phil Dowsing

"The fragility is the essence of men and women, and it is at the heart of humanity."

~Xavier Le Pichon, pioneer of plate tectonics

Photo by Phil Dowsing

Comments
sharanam:

Amida Buddha is the heart of Shin Buddhist faith and practice. First revealed by the historical Buddha over 2,600 years ago, the name Amida is Japanese which is derived from Amitabha or Amitayus of the ancient Sanskrit language, which means ‘Immeasurable Life and Light’ or Oneness. The word Amida is a personification or symbol for the transcendent reality and mystery, which is “unborn, uncreated and formless” which is also known as dharmakaya, nirvana, shunyata (emptiness).
Amida Buddha is a personification expressing that which is incomprehensible. This inconceivable transcendent realm is called Dharmakaya, which is Sanskrit meaning ‘the body of truth.’ This word points to the non-conceptual ultimate dimension and the true nature of things including ourselves. Amida Buddha in turned is the sambhogakaya or the compassionate expression of this formless transcendent realm. She gives us a concrete image that helps us to understand that which is beyond understanding. Amida is also synonymous with the terms One Life, the Great Compassion and Buddha Nature.
Buddha is a term meaning a few things: firstly, it is any life form that has awakened to boundlessness; secondly, it is the deepest nature of all things, which is undifferentiated and selfless; and thirdly, it is our inner potential, reality and destiny to live a life of pure compassion and wisdom.
Read more about Amida Buddha

~reblogged by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
sharanam:

Amida Buddha is the heart of Shin Buddhist faith and practice. First revealed by the historical Buddha over 2,600 years ago, the name Amida is Japanese which is derived from Amitabha or Amitayus of the ancient Sanskrit language, which means ‘Immeasurable Life and Light’ or Oneness. The word Amida is a personification or symbol for the transcendent reality and mystery, which is “unborn, uncreated and formless” which is also known as dharmakaya, nirvana, shunyata (emptiness).
Amida Buddha is a personification expressing that which is incomprehensible. This inconceivable transcendent realm is called Dharmakaya, which is Sanskrit meaning ‘the body of truth.’ This word points to the non-conceptual ultimate dimension and the true nature of things including ourselves. Amida Buddha in turned is the sambhogakaya or the compassionate expression of this formless transcendent realm. She gives us a concrete image that helps us to understand that which is beyond understanding. Amida is also synonymous with the terms One Life, the Great Compassion and Buddha Nature.
Buddha is a term meaning a few things: firstly, it is any life form that has awakened to boundlessness; secondly, it is the deepest nature of all things, which is undifferentiated and selfless; and thirdly, it is our inner potential, reality and destiny to live a life of pure compassion and wisdom.
Read more about Amida Buddha

~reblogged by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

sharanam:

Amida Buddha is the heart of Shin Buddhist faith and practice. First revealed by the historical Buddha over 2,600 years ago, the name Amida is Japanese which is derived from Amitabha or Amitayus of the ancient Sanskrit language, which means ‘Immeasurable Life and Light’ or Oneness. The word Amida is a personification or symbol for the transcendent reality and mystery, which is “unborn, uncreated and formless” which is also known as dharmakaya, nirvana, shunyata (emptiness).

Amida Buddha is a personification expressing that which is incomprehensible. This inconceivable transcendent realm is called Dharmakaya, which is Sanskrit meaning ‘the body of truth.’ This word points to the non-conceptual ultimate dimension and the true nature of things including ourselves. Amida Buddha in turned is the sambhogakaya or the compassionate expression of this formless transcendent realm. She gives us a concrete image that helps us to understand that which is beyond understanding. Amida is also synonymous with the terms One Life, the Great Compassion and Buddha Nature.

Buddha is a term meaning a few things: firstly, it is any life form that has awakened to boundlessness; secondly, it is the deepest nature of all things, which is undifferentiated and selfless; and thirdly, it is our inner potential, reality and destiny to live a life of pure compassion and wisdom.

Read more about Amida Buddha

~reblogged by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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Touch Wood in a Japanese Forest with Bach

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Go to the woods of Kyushu, Japan. Engineer a massive xylophone (or is it a marimba?) to run down the slope of a forested hill. Take a wooden ball, place it at the top of said instrument, and push it. What do you get? Bach’s treatment of a traditional church hymn! Namely, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”

And, all this for a Japanese commercial for a kidney-shaped smartphone with the tagline, “Touch Wood.” I may be late to the party on this one, but when I think of all the time it took to set this up, the precision and measurements used to adjust it and actually make each piece, and how many takes the film crew shot, it continues to inspire even if it’s a year old.

And, here you can see how it was made:

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Rubber Ducky, You’re the One!

Hot Bath in Japan

If there’s one thing the Japanese have mastered, it’s the art of fire and bathing. And these two men do not disappoint. Yasuyoshi Chiba’s triumphant photo of two men bathing in this makeshift ofuro captures the passion of this long-standing tradition. Even if Kesennuma city is in ruins, taking a hot tubby is not only making the best out of a difficult situation, it’s necessary to the human spirit!

(h/t Front Pages for doing what they do and the WSJ.)

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Prayers for Japan
A lovely post from Your Beautiful Mind worth reblogging:
Thousands of wooden prayer tablets, ema, hang outside Meiji Jingu, a  Shinto shrine. Japanese are not normally religious, but during times of  crisis they often revert back to traditional beliefs. Prayers for  disaster victims and the nuclear crisis are written and hung around a  divine tree. In a special ceremony, Shinto priests burn the prayers as  an offering.
Thousands of prayer tablets hung in one day testify that the crisis  in Japan continues to grow and people are trying to find ways to cope.  The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear site has been rated a five on a  seven-point international scale for atomic incidents, just two levels  lower than the Ukraine’s 1986 Chernobyl disaster. The head of the UN’s  nuclear watchdog warns that stabilizing the plant is a race against  time. In Japan’s disaster-ravaged northeast, 6,405 people are confirmed  dead and about 10,200 are listed missing.
While most Westerners often are preoccupied with causes of disaster —  the questions of why God would allow an earthquake, for example —  Eastern traditions like Buddhism and Shinto focus on behavior in  reaction to tragedy. It is very important in Japanese life to react in a  positive way, to be persistent and to clean up in the face of  adversity.

(image and text source here)
shared by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
Prayers for Japan
A lovely post from Your Beautiful Mind worth reblogging:
Thousands of wooden prayer tablets, ema, hang outside Meiji Jingu, a  Shinto shrine. Japanese are not normally religious, but during times of  crisis they often revert back to traditional beliefs. Prayers for  disaster victims and the nuclear crisis are written and hung around a  divine tree. In a special ceremony, Shinto priests burn the prayers as  an offering.
Thousands of prayer tablets hung in one day testify that the crisis  in Japan continues to grow and people are trying to find ways to cope.  The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear site has been rated a five on a  seven-point international scale for atomic incidents, just two levels  lower than the Ukraine’s 1986 Chernobyl disaster. The head of the UN’s  nuclear watchdog warns that stabilizing the plant is a race against  time. In Japan’s disaster-ravaged northeast, 6,405 people are confirmed  dead and about 10,200 are listed missing.
While most Westerners often are preoccupied with causes of disaster —  the questions of why God would allow an earthquake, for example —  Eastern traditions like Buddhism and Shinto focus on behavior in  reaction to tragedy. It is very important in Japanese life to react in a  positive way, to be persistent and to clean up in the face of  adversity.

(image and text source here)
shared by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Prayers for Japan

A lovely post from Your Beautiful Mind worth reblogging:

Thousands of wooden prayer tablets, ema, hang outside Meiji Jingu, a Shinto shrine. Japanese are not normally religious, but during times of crisis they often revert back to traditional beliefs. Prayers for disaster victims and the nuclear crisis are written and hung around a divine tree. In a special ceremony, Shinto priests burn the prayers as an offering.

Thousands of prayer tablets hung in one day testify that the crisis in Japan continues to grow and people are trying to find ways to cope. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear site has been rated a five on a seven-point international scale for atomic incidents, just two levels lower than the Ukraine’s 1986 Chernobyl disaster. The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog warns that stabilizing the plant is a race against time. In Japan’s disaster-ravaged northeast, 6,405 people are confirmed dead and about 10,200 are listed missing.

While most Westerners often are preoccupied with causes of disaster — the questions of why God would allow an earthquake, for example — Eastern traditions like Buddhism and Shinto focus on behavior in reaction to tragedy. It is very important in Japanese life to react in a positive way, to be persistent and to clean up in the face of adversity.

(image and text source here)

shared by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Comments

Overwhelming Video of Tsunami Taking Out Entire Japanese Fishing Town

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

The plethora of footage showing the ravaging impact of the earthquake and resulting tsunami on Japanese cities and infrastructure pale in comparison to this hand-held video above. Many of us have seen this BBC video of Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture, a fishing town situated at the tip of a bay on the Pacific Ocean in northeastern Japan; but, when you watch the embedded video shot from, what I can glean to be, the rooftop of an engineering building, you get a deeper sense of why human casualties are numbering at more than 18,000 so far.

Searching through Debris in JapanI imagined that tsunamis crush everything in their path with a massive series of waves and wild storms, but what you see here — besides this camera operator’s steadfast, fearless determination to capture it all — is the rushing water engulf Japan’s capital of the shark fin trade in a matter of minutes. While the water rises, the town sinks.

If cars can float like fishing bobbers on top of the flood waters and huge white storage tanks wander restlessly, the amount of debris displaced must be unfathomable. Robert Hood of MSNBC gives you a better sense of this. He created the panoramic shot below to show an on-the-ground view of the devastating aftermath of the video you see above.

(via Laughing Squid)

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My Wish for Japan: A Softness Touching the Earth

by Sharon Kingston, guest contributor

A Softness Touching the Earth

Japan has been on all our minds and in all our hearts. There doesn’t seem to be enough capacity in the human soul to witness nature unleash its force on man in this way. Helplessness still sits with us even after the contributing of funds to relief efforts.

The magnitude of the disaster and continuing saga has made us all feel vulnerable to the uncertainty of life. We can’t fathom how recovery can possibly follow such devastation.

Then there’s me here in my studio just painting clouds and wondering how what I do could possibly matter. And then today I happened upon this Rilke poem after I finished the painting shown above. And the words could not be more profound and with them my painting feels right again.

Threshold of Spring
Harshness gone. All at once caring spread over
the naked gray of the meadows.
Tiny rivulets sing in different voices.
A softness, as if from everywhere,

is touching the earth.
Paths appear across the land and beckon.
Surprised once again you sense
its coming in the empty tree.

—from “A Year With Rilke: Daily Readings from the Best of Rainer Maria Rilke” (translated and edited by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)


Sharon KingstonSharon Kingston is an oil painter of invented and imagined spaces infused with metaphor and poetry. Her most recent paintings, the Reading Rilke series, have been inspired by the writings and poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. She lives in Bellingham, Washington.

We welcome your original reflections, essays, videos, or news items for possible publication on the Being Blog. Submit your entry through our First Person Outreach page.

Comments
The Economic Toll of Natural Disasters, but What about Other Manifestations?
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
The Future Journalism Project calls attention to the costly economic toll of disasters over the last century:

"The estimated damage from Japan’s combined earthquake and tsunami make it the world’s most expensive natural disaster since 1965. The world’s second most costly natural disaster also took place in Japan, the 1995 Kobe Earthquake, whose losses totaled nearly 2 percent of the country’s GDP, according to this graphic compiled by The Economist."

These figures matter, but they lack personality. They don’t put a face on the psychological trauma and steel that pervades cultures for subsequent generations. How does one measure the impact and manifestations of these natural disasters on people who live through it and beyond it?
I’m sure there are data crunchers that try to account for ideas like this, and many others that often go unreported. Can somebody help point me to some of these sources?
The Economic Toll of Natural Disasters, but What about Other Manifestations?
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
The Future Journalism Project calls attention to the costly economic toll of disasters over the last century:

"The estimated damage from Japan’s combined earthquake and tsunami make it the world’s most expensive natural disaster since 1965. The world’s second most costly natural disaster also took place in Japan, the 1995 Kobe Earthquake, whose losses totaled nearly 2 percent of the country’s GDP, according to this graphic compiled by The Economist."

These figures matter, but they lack personality. They don’t put a face on the psychological trauma and steel that pervades cultures for subsequent generations. How does one measure the impact and manifestations of these natural disasters on people who live through it and beyond it?
I’m sure there are data crunchers that try to account for ideas like this, and many others that often go unreported. Can somebody help point me to some of these sources?

The Economic Toll of Natural Disasters, but What about Other Manifestations?

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

The Future Journalism Project calls attention to the costly economic toll of disasters over the last century:

"The estimated damage from Japan’s combined earthquake and tsunami make it the world’s most expensive natural disaster since 1965. The world’s second most costly natural disaster also took place in Japan, the 1995 Kobe Earthquake, whose losses totaled nearly 2 percent of the country’s GDP, according to this graphic compiled by The Economist."

These figures matter, but they lack personality. They don’t put a face on the psychological trauma and steel that pervades cultures for subsequent generations. How does one measure the impact and manifestations of these natural disasters on people who live through it and beyond it?

I’m sure there are data crunchers that try to account for ideas like this, and many others that often go unreported. Can somebody help point me to some of these sources?

Comments

The Celebration of Ohigan During Japan’s Time of Disaster

by Susan Leem, associate producer

Japanese Man Prays at the Tomb of Dead Family Member
Katsuo Fujihara, 73, prays at the tomb of a dead family member at a cemetery in Kamaishi in Iwate prefecture. Still reeling 10 days after Japan’s deadliest natural disaster since 1923, the Japanese people marked shunbun no hi (vernal equinox day) on Sunday by visiting the tombs of their ancestors, cleaning them, and offering prayers and ohagi, sweet rice balls covered with red bean paste. (photo: Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

Shinto, Buddhism, and even a combination of both are taking on new importance in mostly secular Japan amidst the ongoing tragedy. Unlike in the West, most Japanese don’t observe an exclusive division between two religions, writes John Nelson, chair of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Francisco:

“They’ll move back and forth between two or more religious traditions, seeing them as tools that are appropriate for certain situations. For things connected to life-affirming events, they’ll turn to Shinto-style rituals or understandings. But in connection to tragedy or suffering, it’s Buddhism.”

Yesterday marked the beginning of a special period in Buddhism called Ohigan where Japanese visit the graves of their families and pray to their ancestor spirits for help. The Japanese translation of Ohigan means "the other shore," to distinguish the suffering felt in this world from the possibility of enlightenment.

Shinto Sacred FlameShinto sacred flame. (photo: Timothy Takemoto/Flickr)

During Ohigan in March 2005, Ryuei Michael McCormick describes the celebration in seasonal terms of transcendence. From his dharma talk at the San Jose Nichiren Buddhist Temple in March 2005:

"Ohigan is celebrated twice a year during the spring and autumn equinox, the time of year when the day and night are of equal length. The Ohigan is also a time of transition, from the short days of winter to the long days of summer and back again.

As a time of seasonal transition, it also represents the transitions of human life, from the sunny summer of life to dark winter of death. This is why the Ohigan is a time to remember those who have passed on, particularly our ancestors and loved ones. It is also a time to give thought to another kind of transition, from this shore of birth and death to the other shore of enlightenment, wherein birth and death is transcended. In fact, we recite the Odaimoku and the Lotus Sutra for the purpose of enabling those of us still living and those who are deceased for whom we dedicate merit to both arrive at the other shore of awakening.

For any kind of journey one needs to pack, or make provisions. Even an overnight trip requires that we bring a change of clothes and toiletries like shaving gear, deodorant, and so on. What kind of provisions, then, do we need to journey to the other shore of enlightenment? In this case, a spare towel or shaving kit will not suffice. We need something that is both less substantial and at the same time more real. According to Mahayana Buddhism, those of us who aspire to buddhahood will require what are called the six paramitas. Paramita is usually translated as “perfection” as in the “six perfections.” But it actually means “crossing over.” So these are the six characteristics of those who are able to cross over from this shore of suffering to the other shore of enlightenment, and who, furthermore, are able to help others to make that transition and cross as well.”

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Google Helps People Find Survivor

by Susan Leem, associate producer

Earthquake aftermathA pedestrian road collapsed in Urayasu city, Chiba prefecture of Japan (photo: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images).

The Telegraph notes an important contribution to relief efforts in the Pacific: the Person Finder, in both English and Japanese. Google is tracking thousands of records to match information on missing people. Imagine the pang of relief to find your loved one on a safe list amid the chaos of downed communication lines.

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