The Buddha’s face is only seen thrice

There is a Japanese saying: the Buddha’s face is only seen thrice. It can also be roughly translated as: a person can only behave like a Buddha 3 times. It’s a reference to human nature that we humans aren’t always good at being good or following rules, or obeying COVID lockdown state of emergency protocols forever. We can behave like a Buddha 3 times, after that forget it.

It’s also a warning to those in power: don’t push people too far, there are limits. This is happening now with the 3rd Tokyo State of Emergency, curtailed store hours, closed cinemas and reduced transit operating schedules are much less effective than they were the first time a year ago during Golden Week 2020. SOE 2 was less effective and SOE 1, SOE 3 feels pointless. Companies are not cutting back or reducing hours, trains are crowded, the evening before SOE 3 went into effect people rushed out to bars and restaurants. And so on.

No matter what emergency the Tokyo government announces down the road, people are not going to put on a face of the Buddha for a 4th time. What people really want is the Tokyo government to think and plan, what they are elected to do, and come up with a better long term course of action than simply hitting the same ‘state of emergency’ panic button again and again.