Sakura (Cherry Blossoms)
I hope that you are all doing well. Time flies by quickly. We are already welcoming the Sakura (Cherry) Blossom season again since the beginning of COVID-19. The Sakura blossom appears at this time of year because it requires the chilly, cold weather to grow and bloom.
The Sakura blossom is also a symbol of Japan. Although most people are drawn to the Sakura’s beauty when it is in full bloom, it has more meaning culturally. There is also a historical relationship between Buddhism and the Sakura.
One of the most important teachings in Buddhism is that “all things will constantly change.” For example, people often associate this teaching with the way a river flows. The river’s movement symbolizes the ebb and flow of human life. Watching the scattering of the blossoms, people’s hearts are touched both by the beauty of the flower and sadness as the blossom withers and falls to the ground. It reminds us of the significance of Buddha’s teaching that life is constantly changing. We must still live in this real life no matter how hard it is.
Nowadays, the Sakura season is considered in Japan as the “Hello and Goodbye Season” because graduation ceremonies are held in March and entrance ceremonies in April. Throughout Japan, high school graduation ceremonies take place in March and in April entrance ceremonies are held for children just beginning school. I think it means a departure from your comfort zone and celebration of new encounters.
I hope you will have new opportunities that you will be able to embrace despite the current Covid Pandemic.
Thank you for your attention and please stay safe.
Rev. Kanpo Mimatsu