“Soumoku Jobtsu” is particular to Japanese Buddhism
“Soumoku Jobtsu” is a Buddhistic thought that plants can be spiritually awakened and attain Buddhahood.
It means that plants have hearts like humans.
Japanese Buddhism had patterned itself after Chinese Buddhism.
However, “Soumoku Jobtsu” isn’t found in Chinese Buddhist literature.
It is the same with Indian Buddhist literature.
“Soumoku Jobtsu” is particular to Japanese Buddhism.
This thought became controversial in the world of Buddhism in Japan over 1,000 years ago.
Why was there such a unique thought in ancient Japan?
I think that the ancient Japanese people’s view of nature was deeply involved in this.
In ancient Japan, the Japanese people often likened themselves to grasses.
Grasses have strong vital forces and high fecundity.
So ancient Japanese people might have identified with the grasses.
For them, nature might have seemed to be of the same substance as themselves.
They might have considered that a human’s mind was connected to the nature.
Ancient Japanese people seemed to feel an affinity with nature.
On the other hand, they seemed to fear an unknown power of that was connected to nature.
The harsh natural forces seemed threatening to them.
I think that the two different aspects were at the bottom of their view of nature.
Modern Japanese people, especially politicians, emphasize the importance of society in harmony with nature.
However, that idea is kind of arrogant.
I think that they look down on nature unconsciously.
Technological development can create a convenient illusion for humans.
Because of that, modern Japanese people tend to forget a crucial thing.
It is that the power of nature is immeasurable.
It can be both good and bad.
Ancient Japanese people seemed to understand it very well.
They faced nature with humble hearts.
So the particular Buddhistic thought called “Soumoku Jobtsu” was accepted among ancient Japanese people.