L'homme qui plantait des arbres: Akira Miyawaki
Creating Forests that Protects Life: "The Green Tide Embankment"
A Proposal from Botanist Akira Miyasaki
Written by Kazumi Yagi, Japan for Sustainability: link
October 10, 2010
In Homesteading, Tokyo Style, posted back in April, I mentioned the Japanese practice of protecting sensitive environments by giving them religious significance. At the time I didn’t realize there was actually a specific term for this, chinju-no-mori. Following is a passage by the Japanese environmentalist and reafforestation expert Akira Miyawaki that explains the idea of chinju-no-mori very well. It is from the book The Healing Power of Forests: The Philosophy behind Restoring Earth’s Balance with Native Trees by Akira Miyawaki and Elgene O. Box (Tokyo: Kosei Publishing Co., 2006).
If we liken nature to a human face, the areas comparable to the vulnerable eyes are the most sensitive spots, such as mountaintops, steep slopes and ridges, and coastal areas. It was forested areas at these sensitive spots that our ancestors set aside. There was always the chance that someone would unthinkingly wipe out these forests, however, so in order to protect them people chose them as sites for worshipping the mountain gods, Hachimann the war god, or the gods of the harvest, water, or sea. A belief was inculcated in the people that “If you destroy the gods’ forest, you will suffer divine retribution.” Thus nature’s weak spots were preserved and matured. These forests are called chinju-no-mori, the forests where the gods dwell.
In today’s climate of ‘enlightened’ scientific rationalism threats of divine retribution will likely be dismissed as silly superstitions, at best, but such ‘quaint’ customs often involve the communication of empirical knowledge. “Cut the trees on a steep slope in a high rainfall area and you will experience landslides.” We do not control the forces that come together in such a landslide. It is ‘divine’ in origin. Divine: of God, of Nature, of Gaia….
Back in May I went to a chinju-no-mori in the mountains of Hanamaki to collect magnolia leaves for making shoyu. This particular chinju-no-mori was very large, basically the whole mountain, but, unfortunately, it seems that such extensive chinju-no-mori have become the exception, not the rule. Since the second world war modernization and development have been Japan’s catch cries with an accompanying shift in religious consciousness. The view of the universe and the human place within it, developed within the context of the nature venerating traditions of Shinto and even older indigenous animist traditions, along with the Chinese influence of Daoism and Cha’an Buddhism (Zen), have gradually been usurped by the western religion of scientific rationalism. While Buddhism and Shinto are still the official religions of Japan many of the practices associated with them, such as chinju-no-mori, have become little more than thin symbolic shadows. ‘Development’ has led to many chinju-no-mori being reduced to a mere handful of trees surrounding a shrine.
La suite de ce passionnant article: link