I will never forget the two weeks that I spent in Japan. For my first ever trip abroad, it was an amazing way to begin my exploration of the world and all it has to offer. I gained way more from my time there than I ever could have hoped. Two parts of the trips were especially significant to me. The time spent in Hiroshima broadened my view of what “peace” truly means. My favorite part of Hiroshima was the opportunity to visit the UNITAR office and meeting Nassrine. This meant so much to me because I had never met such a strong, educated woman who did/does exactly what I want to do. We grabbed a coffee, and though regrettably very briefly, it was very insightful to me. She gave me advice and offered to help me in any way that she could. That was my favorite day of the whole trip because I left feeling inspired and reassured in what I wanted to dedicate my life to.
The second part of the trip that was significant to me was the trip we took to Koyasan. Staying at the monastery and participating in a day of silence. I enjoyed this day because it was, to me, the most beautiful. I woke up to attend the morning prayer ceremony, and then after breakfast, I read a bit about Buddhism and went for a walk. I walked the path through the cemetery to the mausoleum of Kabo Daishi, the founder of the sect of Buddhism practiced on Mount Koya. There, I bought an amulet and wrote a letter to Kabo Daishi that the temple would keep and pray over for a year, then burn in a ceremonial fire. After I explored the mountain a bit more, and then sat in the garden of the monastery to do some personal journaling and reflecting. I got so much, so much clarity from that day. In fact, the whole trip was clarifying to me, and when I returned home, I put in place many of the habits I picked up in Japan into my daily life. I will forever be grateful to the BLI for affording me this opportunity that I will never forget.
By, Semia Clay