Lessons from Fukushima – Interview with Ian MacKenzie

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From New Day NW:

Today marks the third anniversary of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan, killing at least 16,000 people – and leaving nearly 300,000 others still unable to return to their homes and towns. Across Japan, candlight vigils and somber prayer services were held in remembrance of the men, women and children they lost on March 11, 2011, as well as the destruction of entire cities, towns and villages. Japan has struggled to rebuild tsunami-hit communities and clean up radiation from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which suffered meltdowns and widespread radiation leaks.

A new short documentary visits the Japanese disaster through the eyes of a Buddhist monk and teacher. REACTOR – Lessons from Fukushima follows Michael Stone as he travels through Japan a year after the earthquake and tsunami. Director and documentary filmmaker Ian MacKenzie joined Margaret to talk about the inspiration for the film, as well as the situation in Japan now.

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The gift of our wounds

“When you see an image of Guanyin, when you see an image of Kannon, when you see a sculpture of the Bodhisattva, she has a thousand arms. And in every arm, in every hand, there is a different tool.

One arm might have a rake, one arm might have a rope, one arm might have an image of an awakened Buddha, one arm might have an iPhone, one arm might have another app. And these thousands of arms have different kinds of tools. And it’s said that if you want to really put love in action or compassion into action, you need many kinds of tools. So when you go to temples where the centerpiece of the temple is a Bodhisattva, or is Guanyin, or a Kannon, you see an image of a woman or a man with a thousand arms.

I think about this in my life: what does it mean to have tools of compassion? It seems, in my life, having tools of compassion has everything to do with my own woundedness. To be able to take places where I’ve been wounded and recognize that instead of seeing those wounds or those scars as kind of places that hold me back or stop me, maybe my woundedness is also a tool for connecting with others.

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The Power Story by Hanamaru Fujii

Hanamaru Fujii is the illustrator behind The Power Story, a simple book published on Facebook after the tsunami. He was happy to be interviewed for REACTOR, to share his thoughts on how to be of service in a time of crisis – and to share with the world what is going on in Fukushima.

In his own words:

Hello, I’m Hanamaru Fujii. I’m an illustrator from Tokyo. One evening, I felt compelled and inspired to take my recent thoughts and put it onto paper. Half an hour later, I had something- a story with illustrations. I put it on Facebook, thinking it would at least see the light of day.

I’ve been humbled and surprised to have so much unexpected encouragement and thanks. It made me want to share this with more people.
Now that the story’s been translated into English, I hope this can give you a glimpse into the thoughts of one Japanese person.

It’s sloppy, and it’s just something that “happened on paper”, but I hope it will give you something to think about, as we try to move forward.