Sunday, November 18, 2012

Monoculture on a Pilgrimage Route

These cedars on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route near Chikatsuyui Japan have always struck me as particularly beautiful, precisely because they grow in such preternaturally straight lines.  As a result the energy of the mountainside seemingly bursts upwarded unimpeded to the heights.  It is as if one is witnesing uninhibited enlightenment.  And the landscape bordering the Kumano Kodo is for Shingon Buddhists preeminently an exemplar of Buddha mind.   

Does it matter then that these trees are also textbook examples of monoculture, cedars arranged in straight rows supplanting the rice paddies that once were cultivated on this terraced mountainside?  The forest is managed to eliminate scraggly trees and undesirable competitors.  Is not then this grace deeply flawed? 
And still I am moved. 

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