Something kind of interesting I wanted to pass along. One time I was watching the online Japanese TV channel Seebit TV, which is localized in Hyogo Prefecture,1 and they had a small segment about a famous stone that could cure any illness in the city of Kawanishi. The stone is featured here on the Kawanishi City’s tourism website.
According to the Japanese (TV show and website),2 an epidemic struck the city of Kawanishi during the Edo Period causing a lot of suffering. At that time, a Buddhist monk happened to pass through and saw what was happening. He spent several days in intense prayer, and after a time, people started to feel better. As he was about to leave, the people asked him for further help, so he asked them to wait. He left the village and brought back a big stone from the nearby Inagawa (猪名川?) River, and told the villagers that if they touched the stone three times, it would cure any illness. The stone is still there today and people still visit hoping that it might cure their ailments.
While the story of “Buddhist magic” may sound silly in modern times, I still found the story touching that a monk would help out so many people. Buddhism, afterall, is not so much about sitting in meditation as it is helping others. I also like showing people something lesser-known about Japan, so I enjoyed hearing the story and wanted to pass it along. If you ever go to Hyogo Prefecture (which isn’t far from Kyoto anyway), stop by Kawanishi City and take a picture for me, ok? I’ll post it on the blog.
1 Home of Naoko and her excellent blog.
2 Translation probably is wrong here in some parts. Please bear with me. I couldn’t find an English source to double-check, but relied on Google Translate somewhat.