A grief-stricken elderly woman in Ohfunato City, Iwate said right after being engulfed by the tsunami.
Junpei Uratani , a Shinran follower in Kanagawa prefecture who works for the meteorological bureau, entered Ohfunato City, Iwate, right after the unprecedented earthquake hit eastern Japan in order to assess the extent of damage and repair observation equipments.
As he walked around the afflicted areas, he was shocked by the smell of salt water, mud, and oil and by the sight of collapsed buildings. The only buildings that were still standing were the ones with reinforced concrete structure. “When I close my eyes, I still remember the crouching elderly woman standing in front of her damaged home on her way to the evacuation center,” said Junpei. Although her neighbors who managed to survive the tsunami asked her to evacuate to a safer place, she would just sit there gazing into the air. Junpei also asked her to go to the evacuation center, but the only thing she muttered in despair was, “I cannot live anymore. Just leave me alone...”
Things she took several decades to build were destroyed in an instant. It was the same for many people walking around the disaster area, having lost their desire to live. Standing on an elevated region, all one could see were heaps of rubble.
“I cannot find any words to describe the site,” said Jumpei, “Last time I came here, I could see beautiful sceneries..... This time though I was reminded of the stunned figure of Master Shinran standing in the deserted site of the Kanto plain as depicted in the animated movie of Master Shinran’s life, volume 4.”
He felt that encouraging the disaster victims with words alone saying, “Let’s reconstruct the city again” is not enough to help them in the true sense. Feeling the devastating wind of impermanence, Junpei became deeply aware of his duty to convey Amida’s Vow to especially those in distress due to the disaster.
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #04 | 2011, "I Can't Take It Anymore!"
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