Saturday, May 27, 2006

Kyoto is Amazing

It is as beautiful as before, if not more. The city was similar to Tokyo, but still had more space due to far less people in my opinion. THe country side is gorgeous. Mountainous and calm. The Temples we got to visit were....magnificant. Steve took us all around some of Kyoto's most beutiful places. The first temple we went to had many wooden sculptures of Buddha. THere the guide took joy in explaining the difference between the angry sculptures and the peaceful ones, when they were made, why they were made, and the story behind them. He explained what some of the hand sings meant. In one particular sculpture that was quite large I saw a Swastika being held by the large spiritual multi-armed Buddha. I asked The guide what that meant. I didn't tink Buddha was secretly a Nazi or anything, I just wanted to know its meaning and why it was backwards. I learned from him that the flipped symbol was its own character with its own meaning. The one I am used to seeing in Asian culture means good fortune. The one the Buddha had in one of his many mands means "Speaking with Power"....interesting. Probably one of the major reasons Hitler chose this symbol for his Tyrannical nation.

This allowed me to see the symbol in even more of a different light. It is funny how things are used and twisted or adjusted to fit a different cause or people. I later checked the swastika's meaning on Wikipedia and found that many cultures use this symblo in fact even outside of Asia, and not for death and destruction, but for symbols of protection, politics, and even noblility. This has enabled me to look beyond the symbols themself, and search for the meaning and history behind everything, rather than my own experience with somthing.

"To understand a man, you must know his memories. The same is true for a nation." - Anthony Quale

...Or anything else in my opinion.


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