Japanese way of thinking
Japanese way of thinking
The Grateful Crane
In Japan we have very common folklore, "Tsuru no Ongaeshi" meaning "The Grateful Crane."
Once upon a time, an elder couple lived. They didn't have a child. The man helped a trapped crane. The crane flew away. Some days passed. A beautiful girl came to their home. She became their daughter. She made wonderful cloth, the couple got much money by selling the cloth. But she asked them not to see the room where she wove the cloth. One day, the couple opened the door of the room. There was a crane weaving cloth. The crane said, "You helped me. I must go because you know me." Then the daughter disappeared.
The Six Jizos
In Japan we have very common folklore, "Kasa Jizo" meaning "The Six Jizos with Straw Hat."
Once upon a time, an elder poor man sold straw hats which he had made. 5 hats was not be sold. He was going home. On the way, there were six jizos; jizo is a Buddhism saint, a statue of jizo is made of stone. It was snowing heavily. The six jizos were covered by much snow. He gave his hats to the jizos, he put the hats on the heads of jizos. He put off the hat from his head and put it on the head of the sixth jizo. He arrived at his home, his wife said, "You did a good work." At the night, the couple heard footsteps and a big sound. They looked outside. There were much food, money and various goods. And they saw six jizos running away.
Returning "On" is virtue.
I have introduced two folklores in Japan. Even animals or saints return "On."
If I am helped by somebody, I should help by return. I will help the person who helped me. Or I will help others. I need not give the same thing. Or I need not give return to the same person. But if the person who helped me will be in trouble, I should help him with my best. That is the sense of "On."
If I don't return "On", I will not be punished by anybody. But we think returning "On" is an important virtue. We have been told that always. Many Japanese folklores have taught about "On."
Don't expext "On" come back.
If I help somebody, I should not expect he or she will return "On" to me. If I require to return "On" to me, I am a small person. I should return "On" to others, but I should not require anybody to return "On" to me.
Ruth Benedict said "On" is debt. I don't think so. If debt, I can require others to pay back. Returning "On" should be voluntary. It is worthless to return "On" by request. The crane or the jizos were not asked to return "On."
Returning "On" is a good cause.
"On" is Japanese particular culture. It is difficult for other people to understand "On." I think you understand it easily with the law of cause and effect.
We want to make good cause for better future. If I return "On," I will be returned "On." If I require others to return "On," I will be required to return "On."
On the law of cause and effect, I will get what I do now. What I do now is the cause of my future. If I want better future, I should return "On" and I should not require to return "On." Others are the future of myself.
I want to be happy. Then I make good causes in sequence. That is "On." "On" is not debt, but a wisdom.
Forgetting "On" is a bad cause.
If I don't return "On", that is a bad cause for my future. "On" is not a matter on religion. God or Buddha don't punish me. Just I will get a bad future. Anybody will not return "On" for me. I cannot live alone. What can I do without any help?
The law is simple. I will punish myself. That is the law of cause and effect.
What I do will come back to me.
Rationalism think cause and effect, too. But we think everything is a cause and effect on the law of cause and effect.
The difference is this.
I cannot treat others. I can treat only myself. But I can treat the world, because the world is the effect of myself. I will receive the effect for what I do now. What I do for others is not for others, but for myself.
The law of cause and effect governs us. Japanese need not religions especially. We have a standard.