My kids and I sometimes go to the Poipu Beach Park in the evening. Though we don't swim nor surf nor walk, we have our own ways to enjoy the park. While kids play at the playground, I can enjoy taking photos of the sunset.
The light of sun, especially after the sunset, is dramatic. It attracts me a lot. Depending on temperature, clearness of the sky, clouds and winds, the colors of the sky after the sunset are so different.
I go to Poipu mainly to capture that beauty of the sky, but that's not all. I found taking photos was just like meditation, which I call photo-meditation.
By concentrating on taking moments of the sun light, there is a moment that nature and I can become one. Becoming one or sense of unity means I can forget myself. There is no "I" or "You" or "nature" or "object." Forgetting myself means to forget my regrets in the past and worries in the future.
Though this is an event of the moments, I can fully live in the present moment. This is just like you cannot take photo of the future nor the past. The photo you are taking is always "now" or present moment.
Then what is the difference between photo-meditation and traditional meditation?
It's very simple. Photo-meditation requires material of camera while traditional meditation requires nothing but you.
Also "the world" to capture by photo-meditation is so limited. What you see is everything. But the world to capture by traditional meditation is unlimited. What you can imagine is everything.
Yes, traditional meditation which includes "nembutsu" is much more superior than photo-meditation. I just want to tell you the type of meditation is not only one. There could be many ways.
Anyways, on Friday, I happened to see the light going up to the sky. It was a sky lantern. Interestingly, there are some countries (China, Thailand, Taiwan, England, Brazil, Portugal, Poland) doing the lantern festivals. I thought these lanterns meant prayer in memory of somebody like our Toro Nagashi but these are mainly for celebrations or good luck. In Thailand, to release the lanterns is said to believe to release the worries away. The following youtube videos are some of the sky lantern-festivals in the world. They are so amazing!!!