- Jodo sect
- (beauty) pageant
- (= lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning) 性的少数者の総称 （queer は従来の枠組みに当てはまらない性的指向を持つ人）
- United Nations Population Fund
- （ここでは）堂々と（後出 confidently も同意）
- undergo training
- brood over ～
- ritual manner
- Amida Sutra
- hold ～ dear
- give off ～
Value of Variance
A monk who also works as a makeup artist is celebrating their own sexual diversity and spreading the message across Japan that different is beautiful.
Nishimura Kodo, 31, is a Jodo sect Buddhist monk from Tokyo. Between 2012 and 2019, Nishimura worked as a makeup artist for pageants such as Miss Universe in the United States. As a member of the LGBTQ community, Nishimura has given lectures at the United Nations Population Fund headquarters as well as at universities.
However, it was only in the last five years that the monk has become able to talk assuredly about their own identity.
From childhood, Nishimura has loved Disney princesses, and was teased as "girlish" at elementary school. Nishimura acknowledged a homosexual identity in high school, but spent days alone not talking to anyone for fear of others finding out.
A turning point for Nishimura was the experience of studying in the United States. Nishimura studied art at a university in New York. Witnessing sexual minorities coming out confidently, Nishimura began to feel strongly that "there's no problem whatsoever in living life without hiding that I'm homosexual."
As the monk profession is a family business, Nishimura underwent training at age 24. Nishimura was told that monks were not allowed to wear accessories, and brooded over whether it was all right to become one. A senior monk told Nishimura at the time that "appearances and ritual manners are not the essence of teachings," and Nishimura felt saved by these words.
The following verse from the Amida Sutra is one Nishimura holds dear: "The blue flowers give off a blue light; the yellow flowers give off a yellow light; the red flowers give off a red light; and the white flowers give off a white light."
The meaning is that they're all special as they each shine in their own colors. Nishimura said, "Everyone's existence has value, and each person is beautiful because we're all different," and hopes that those values become entrenched in our society.
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