FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line

91chap.IIFukushima Medical University Record of Activities [Notes and Messages]FUKUSHIMA: Lives on the LineDo you know what the mudra of supreme wisdom is? It is the hand gesture of the Vairocana Buddha, but it might be easier to understand if I say that it is the gesture that ninjas make—hands together in front of their chests, right before disappearing. Two years ago, while at a conference in Kyoto, I happened to visit the hall of Toji Temple. Once I saw the seated statue of Vairocana Buddha, I could not move for a long while. Not that I was particularly interested in Buddhism or Buddhist sculptures, rather I was transfixed by the power of those eyes filled with loving kindness.Later, I learned that Vairocana Buddha is at the center of the universe, whose light shines wide and illuminates the entire universe.The Key Word is “Loving Kindness”With the Great East Japan Earthquake, I was able to experience the loving kindness of many people. After the disaster, I was sent to the Disaster Response Headquarters in the prefectural offices, helping a mixed team of people from DMATs and FMU on their mission to transfer patients from hospitals within the evacuation zone to areas outside it. The confusion and struggles of the doctors and staff at these hospitals was beyond imagination. Amidst all this was Dr. K, who calmly dealt with even the most absurd requests such as making a list of all transfer patients in one evening. The abundance of his loving kindness was apparent even from his phone calls. In addition, Dr. E continued with consultations at a hospital outside the evacuation zone (but still within 30 km) to which we had transferred patients. On March 25, I accompanied members of the Self-Defense Forces on their field surveys, and it was then that I met Dr. E. He recounted the evacuation in a matter-of-fact manner, with what can best be described as not a sense of responsibility but loving kindness.There were many doctors, such as Dr. I and Dr. S, who provided medical care in the evacuation centers while still being victims of the disaster themselves. I was able to speak with Dr. S over the phone. Without a touch of exhaustion he told me, “You know, I didn’t have a change of clothes, so I was still in my jersey, ha ha.” This further motivated me. Loving kindness accurately describes Dr. S, who even in the most difficult situations, is filled with sympathy for others.With our mission to transfer patients out of the evacuation zone, we also made quite absurd requests to the doctors and staff at intake hospitals. They readily and willingly cooperated, with their hospital functionality less than perfect and without knowing what type of patients they would be getting, just negotiating the number of patients. Amidst all this came words encouraging us to come and talk in case of any trouble. Here, too, there was loving kindness.During the field survey mentioned above, we came across an unidentified dead body in a high school gymnasium. Looking at the body, I was paralyzed by the thought of the terrible power of this tsunami. That very moment, the chief priest of a nearby temple was chanting a sutra. Burning an incense stick, I noticed a small Buddhist sculpture next to the chief priest—it was the Vairocana Buddha with the mudra of supreme wisdom.The key word is “loving kindness.” University staff members are also struggling to do whatever they can.Reports of the Fukushima Prefecture Medical Association Vol. 73 No. 8 (8/23)Mudra of Supreme WisdomToshihiko Fukushima, Department of Organ Regulatory Surgery, Medical University Physicians Association