Happy Earth Week!
This week I wanted to share a special memory with you from my favorite place in Japan – Fuji Sanctuary. This beautiful oasis is located in the foothills of Mount Fuji, about a 40-minute bus ride from the town of Fuji. It was created in the 1950s by the Japanese poet and philosopher, Masahisa Goi, as the headquarters for Byakko Shinko Kai. Byakko Shinko Kai is an international grassroots organization which was created to further the vision for world peace through prayer. According to their website, “Byakko is a Japanese word meaning ‘white light’. It is the clear and free-flowing light emitted from the deepest and highest state of a human being.” Byakko Shinko Kai is dedicated to world peace and is a place for people of all faiths and backgrounds to come together to pray for the peace of all humanity.
Visiting this sacred place was inspiring. There was a beautiful, powerful energy you could feel in the air. One of the first things our group did was climb to the top of a hill to get a spectacular view of Mount Fuji. The unique thing about this volcano is its perfect shape. We learned that it is shaped similarly to the Chinese character for the number 8, which also represents infinity. Mount Fuji slopes down so far it reaches the sea.
Our tour guide asked us to take a moment to stop taking pictures, talking or thinking. He told us to sit in the grass, look out into nature and quietly appreciate it for simply “being.” To thank nature for being there for us. To thank Mount Fuji for existing. It brought a tear to my eye. As I was sitting in silence, I watched a large bird swooping through the air, flying free without a care. It was a beautiful moment I will cherish forever.
Another area of the sanctuary is home to the flag of every country in the world. Every year since 2005, a Symphony of Peace Prayer event takes place here. This is an event where people from all over the world and of all faiths and backgrounds come together to hold hands and pray for world peace. I loved walking around this united circle of flags, seeing them all stand together swaying in the wind.
One of the last things we did at Fuji Sanctuary was a bit of a surprise. We walked behind the flags and found a huge map of the world built on the ground. The countries were green and there was a sea of white stone pebbles surrounding them – representing the oceans. We noticed some of the stones had blue writing on them.
Our guide explained that everyone who visits Fuji Sanctuary is supposed to write a message of their own on a stone and place it anywhere they like on the map. It was such a fun surprise! We each wrote a message in blue marker on our stone and walked around to find our perfect place. I put mine close to where I was born in Miami. After this project is completed, the stones with blue writing will look like the ocean, filled with messages and prayers from people all over the world. What a beautiful idea!
Other than visiting Machu Picchu, I am not sure I have felt the presence of this beautiful, peaceful energy anywhere else in the world. I would love to return here one day.
Masahisa Goi coined the universal prayer, “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” Today, I pray for peace on Earth too.
Want to read more about my time in Japan? Check out these posts: