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“The earth breathes”

Everyone knows that all creatures breathe, but, in fact, things like plants and minerals as well as all things in the universe breathe. What is more, you may be surprised to hear that the earth itself breathes. I am sure you will understand why as you read the explanation below.
To start with, the earth breathes once a year. It starts to breathe out in spring and continues to do so through summer, until the very end of its breath. The exhaling breath of the earth is warm, just like that of humans. This warmth can be explained by the emission of the earth’s heat. In spring, the earth’s heat is dense, causing all living things to grow and buds to come out. Everything stretches upward and people become more exuberant. As summer draws near, trees and plants grow thicker and thicker until the exhaling breath reaches its limit. What follows is the earth’s inhaling breath. This causes the plants to wither and all things to subside. People become calmer, too. When the earth reaches the end of its inhalation, it is the end of winter, and this is how the natural world works. The exhaling breath of the earth is the spiritual energy radiated from the soil, which, in science, is called nitrogen. This is why trees and plants grow in spring. This thing called nitrogen continues to move upward, accumulates in the upper edge of the earth’s atmosphere, and returns to the soil as rain. This is natural nitrogen fertilizer. *
Next, I want to touch on sunspots. Although their nature has been a topic of debate for a long time, I say that they are the result of the breathing of the sun. The sunspots are known to increase in size every 11 years – this is when the exhaling breath of the sun reaches its limit. We all know that moonlight is the reflection of light from the sun. However, we often fail to realize that the sun is able to be ablaze owing to the moisture from the moon. Let me also point out that the 28-day period of the waxing and waning of the moon is its breathing.

Shinko Zatsuwa (Miscellanies on Faith), September 5, 1948
* Portions omitted for the service.

Meishu-sama