On Japanese Suffering

“In Japanese culture, there’s a sort of nobility in suffering with a stiff upper lip, in mustering the spiritual, psychological resources internally,” said John Nelson, a cultural anthropologist and chairman of the department of theology and religion at the University of San Francisco.

“There’s even a word for quietly enduring difficult situations: Gaman.”

Read the rest at the National Post.

John Nelson also spoke to USA Today about faith and pray:

Just as Americans flooded into their churches and synagogues, turning to God in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the Japanese, too, turn to their gods in times of trouble, says Nelson.

They are praying for repose, for the spirit of the dead to find peace and comfort in the Pure Land — a kind of Buddhist paradise.

They pray to Amida, the Buddha in the Pure Land, and to Kannon, the bodhisattva (goddess) of compassion who is an intermediary with Amida.

They will pray, “Praise to the Buddha of the Pure Land.” Or, “Help me, Kannon (goddess of compassio). Save me. Bring me food. Make me warm.”

And like people everywhere, Nelson says,

They will pray for miracles.

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