Buddhism and Christianity, 9 December 2018 Asakusa Tour
We thank guests who participated in the tours of that day. We met 13 wonderful people from Australia, Canada, UK, Chile, Portugal, USA, and Singapore.
Our guests were great people and very interested in our explanation. One of them was an artist and draw the picture of Sky Tree.
The weather was cold. It seemed real winter season started. From this time of the year, it is just getting colder. December is actually the start of winter. As a symbol of winter season, you can see illumination or Christmas trees all around the city. It may look strange because Japan is known to be predominantly Buddhist nation. Only 1 percent of the population are Christian. For most Japanese, Christmas may be like a festival.
The tour route, Sensoji Temple is a Buddhist temple and has been worshipped for more than a thousand years. In feudal era, Christianity was banned by the authority. In modern time the ban was lifted and Christianity has become familiar to us. Although Christianity is a minor religion, but the influence on society is not small like Christmas events seen in the city.
You might say it was not just festivity but some commonality with Buddhism. What are common things in both teachings? Both religions preach all the people are equal regardless of social rank. And both religions respect sincerity of a person.
There is an exact match of describing importance of sincerity in both religions. Very similar tales exist in two religions.
In Christian bible, there is a tale called “The Poor Widow’s Offering” which is about a woman who donated a small amount of money to the temple but was praised by Jesus because she gave all she had while the rich donated much bigger amount from what was left over after they consumed as much as they wanted.
In Buddhism, there is a story titled “The Poor’s Lantern” a very poor woman came to the temple to listen to the Buddha’s preaching and offered a lantern with small amount of oil to light up the corridor of the temple at night while the rich offered great number of lanterns with huge amount of oil. She sold her hair to buy the small amount of oil. Next morning, fires in lanterns the rich offered were all put out but the lantern she offered had continued to light up.
Sincerity is important in every aspect of our life. Learning from these stories, we are sincerely committed to this volunteer activity. Please come and join us.