Putting a Life on the Line

Accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

A Shinran follower still coping with the aftermath of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant accident right after the earthquake came to the Q&A session held at Shinran Center on March 20. “I was in a life-threatening situation during a series of operations to restore the Fukushima Daiichi Plant reactors. I could not help but come here to listen to Buddhism.” Amid hard work without sufficient sleep and rest, he felt most frightened when pressure in containment vessels in the 1st and 3rd reactors were skyrocketing. In order to prevent the reactor from exploding, a dangerous operation was carried out to open the valves in order to reduce the pressure. Everyone at the site waited with bated breaths. He added, “My coworkers were making their best effort with all their might to repair reactors at the risk of their lives.” As they were all locals, they felt a special sense of crisis if their operations failed; they would have lost their hometown forever. Although I shared similar feelings, I was continuously mindful of the fact that “Our afterlife is critical.” I kept thinking that “I cannot die now.” I found this strong desire in me to stay away from the disaster site; I was tempted to get in the car and get away from it all. However, I could not actually do so when I considered my colleagues working so hard. Faced with this dilemma, I was not sure what to do. He remembered his precious opportunities to listen to Q&A sessions each month. “I mistakenly thought that I can listen to Buddhism every month, but it does not work that way. I could listen to Buddhism this time with a totally different feeling than the one I used to have.” He returned to his work to resume the restoration of the nuclear plant again.

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #04 | 2011, Putting a Life on the Line

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