Friday, May 30, 2014

Hannamatsuri 2014

Every year Violet's kindergarten celebrates the birth of the Buddha. They hold a small festival where the children parade down the street through the neighborhood pulling a large elephant float. Then, once they get to the temple they do a little dance and then go in to pray and give flowers to the statue of the Buddha. They each take a turn pouring amacha over the statue as well. One of the teachers reads a story about how the Buddha was born and how his teachings came to Japan.
Last year, Violet cried once we got to the temple and didn't want to sit with her class. This year, she wanted to participate in everything with her classmates. She has grown so much this last year.

Violet's school is run by the priest from the nearby temple so they learn different things about Buddhism. I really appreciate the fact that she is learning about another culture and another faith. I think is allows for her to have a broader prospective about the world around her and also hopefully will give her the capacity to respect others beliefs.

She tells people sometimes about her culture. She says, "I am Japanese and praying at the shrine is part of my culture." Or she will say, "my school teaches about the Buddha and it's part of my culture." She told me, "It's ok for me to pray here because God is everywhere. He is all around us and he loves us all." Another time she told me, "Mama, Buddha and God and Jesus are all the same right? Because God is in everybody, right?"

She also asked me two days ago, "Mommy, what is the opposite of love?" I answered, "I believe the opposite of love is fear." She said, "Like being afraid of dying?" I answered, "yes, some people are afraid of dying. Are you afraid of dying?" She looked right up at me and said, "No, because I know my spirit will be free! But I would miss you."

She amazes me every day.