Short short with English summary
I had an occasion to attend a funeral. The funeral was a Zen Buddhism ceremony. Recently in Japan, wedding ceremonies have quite a lot of variations such as, at a Shinto-shrine, at a church and at a town hall. But most of funerals are Buddhist ceremonies. A funeral is held without the concerned person. So, its form, taste and scale are given by the lefts; the appearance in the community must be prior in consideration. I am curious how those ceremonies are held. I watch the processions carefully. I can learn Japanese traditional concept on death. I can see how the old way of funerals is reformed and adjusted to modern Japanese life; how simplified, what is lost and what are kept.
The main part of Japanese funeral ceremonies is priest$B!G(Bs reading Sutra. I could not perceive the Sutra at all. I could only recognize a word $B!H(BTorayaya$B!I(B a few times. One of the basics to decrypt encoded texts is to find repetitions of same codes. From $B!H(BTorayaya$B!I(B, I traced back that the Sutra was a sort of $B!H(BdhaaraNii$B!I(B, a type of Sutra which is written in Sanskrit and only phonetically rewritten in Chinese characters without translations, a magic spell. There are several numbers of magic spells in Japanese Buddhism.
I think these spells are unnatural. The original texts in Sanskrit must possibly be translated into Chinese. When we meet some texts sounding meaningless, it is our natural will to try to translate them. Isn$B!G(Bt it? And anyway all the Sutras had been translated from Sanskrit texts into Chinese texts.
It is very difficult to imagine long texts without meanings read daily in the churches, mosques or any other temples. Such wouldn$B!G(Bt happen.
Those so called crypto-Christians in Kyushu have read oratio, prayers, in Latin for 400 years.
Many chorus groups all over Japan sing Beethoven Nr 9 in the New Years Eve.
The Beatles and Michael Jackson are madly welcomed.
Among elderly Japanese, there are many opera enthusiasts who really enjoy $B!H(BDie Zauberfloete$B!I(B, $B!H(BRigoletto$B!I(B and $B!H(BLohengrin$B!I(B.
The language is the fundament of all the intellectual activities. It seems Japanese do not care very much to take away meanings from languages and do not worry about it.
Is Japanese culture intellectually loose and lacking precision?
Or, has Japanese culture extremely strong stomach?