As a bird watcher observes the cries and patterns of their favorite bird, as a camera takes in an unforgettable family barbeque, as we watch the patterns of stars slowly change generation through generation; for the stone Magaibutsu Buddha carvings of the Oita prefecture, those memories and absorbing of the moment is but just a single shutter frame of what these ancient carvings have seen.
I recently went on a tour throughout Bungo Ono city to observe and learn about these statues that have been observing me, more so our civilization for some time. Many I had never seen before for they seemed to be a proud yet inaccessible gem in the Oita prefecture. But one in particular I had known about for awhile and just happened to be one of my favorite places in this city. This place is called Fukoji Magaibutsu, which is located right beside Fukoji Temple and this is what I learned about this magnificent structure.
This structure, including many others in the city, were created over 800 years ago as a belief that the living spirits of rocks in Japan combined with spirituality of Buddhism would ultimately create a place of worship and peace among the people in the surrounding area. As which is true around most of the Kyushu area, most of the rock was softer and more mailable to carve out of because of the many eruptions from a famous volcano located in the Kumamoto prefecture called Mt. Aso. The frequent eruptions the followed between 90,000-120,000 years ago created the landscape the was perfectly acquainted for the popularity of creating Magaibutsu back 800 years ago.
It was a connection to the spirituality of the human spirit. Having meditation sessions there really brought out my belief that this kind of special place needed the world to be “eyes wide open” towards this beauty. Which is why talking with the priest about opening a 1 day Zen experience with foreign guests would be a great exposure point to this area. Now as I do not believe in the teachings of Buddhism, you do not have to either but I challenge whoever is reading this to consider the peace of mind this place offers in a world of chaos and try opening your eyes just a little.