Who Did You Aspire To Be Like?

When you were a child, who did you aspire to be like?

I remember at least two people who I aspired to be like.  One was Kukai. He lived between the 8th and 9th Centuries during the Nara and Heian Period. Another one was Seishonagon. She lived between the 10th and 11th Centuries, also during the Heian Period.  In this post, I will focus on the fomer one.

According to many history books, Kukai was talented, worldly, strategic and eccentric. He is known as the originator of Shingon Buddhism. He is also known as one of the three best Japanese calligraphers. I learned in elementary school that he repaired a big reservoir.

His name means sky and sea. When he reached enlightenment in his twenties, there was only sky and sea around him. So he decided to name himself Kukai.

Kukai was born in Kagawa Prefecture and moved to Kyoto to go to a university. Amazingly, there was a university system which was similar to the current university system. During this time he lived and studied near my current home. When I moved to current my home, I had forgotten this fact. But now I remember it, and that made me wonder.

When he was thirty, he was chosen as an envoy to China.  Chinese records say that his Chinese was very fluent. It’s a mystery why he was chosen to be an envoy.  But it reveals that he was a strategic and eccentric person.

When I was an elementary school student, I did not know why I aspired to be like him. But now I know.  His faces,  worldly, strategic and eccentric, are my faces, too. I unconsciously knew it, so I aspired to be like him. Now he often inspires me. His life give me some hints on how I should live.

Who inspires you?