“Do Not Build Below This Point”

A tiny Japanese village of 34 people holds a tablet with a carved message: “Do not build below this point”.   The March 2011 Tsunami came within 300 feet of this unremarkable and upright, stone tablet.

A decision, full of caring concern, motivated an individual to carve this message in stone, many years ago, that would save the lives of countless human beings.

Imagine the carver, after having completed his noble task, being confident that his descendants, friends and community would be safe.

Unfortunately, its message was lost in mankind’s determination to outsmart nature.  Large concrete walls were built to hold back major onslaughts of water.   People put faith in gigantic cement walls and ignored one small rock.

The disaster speaks for itself.

A New York Times video shows this tablet:



Today, our planet presents a “Do not build below this point” message.  Yet we continue to build mountains of defense coupled with grand promise and denial.  Defiance?  Or, pure, repetitive financial greed?

Each human soul contains this ever-present message: “Do not build below this point.”  The point is Love.  It takes you and me to remember to build above that point.


(P.S.  In the event that this message is misconstrued as a slight against the beautiful souls who are Japanese, please know the message is about humanity’s propensity to ignore messages.  I would be very sad to even imagine this being taken as a slight against any culture – because every one of our cultures hold parallel instances of this nature.)

59 thoughts on ““Do Not Build Below This Point”

  1. That is fascinating, Amy! How cool that it may have saved people – well, some? Putting faith in those man-made concrete walls is like trusting the levies on Lake Pontchartrain. That didn’t work too well for folks in New Orleans either. Doesn’t it beg the question – are people too naive and trusting of various authorities saying everything is fine/safe? Boy I could do a number on that – with GMO’s and pharmaceuticals but I won’t do that here, haha.

    I can imagine all kinds of other warnings we have received, maybe not on a rock someplace but should be. I just finished Healing The Planet last night. It was published in 1991 and the warnings it gave 20 years ago have never penetrated, especially the issue of over-population which people here tend to blame on other countries. We share equally in this dilemma as much as we share the planet. Maybe the message should have been carved on rocks? 🙂

  2. The NYTimes link just links back to your home page.

    Humans can be quite defiant, greedy, and reckless. It will be interesting to see what gets swept away in the next tsunami.

  3. Wow. Doesn’t that just speak volumes.

    Link worked for me.

    34 lives spared because they were willing to heed the message.
    I found the stone to be pretty remarkable in its simple wisdom.
    Pretty darn powerful, actually.

    And yes, I get the bigger message. I’m just amazed by the stone’s wisdom and it’s presence.
    And saddened.

  4. Every day, it seems, I am given opportunities to choose love over fear. To act, think, and be with love and not fear or arrogance or, that horrible detrimental stance of ‘being right’. We so need to listen and learn the language of love. It’s what saves us and what will save our world and our planet.
    blessings to you on this day.

    • We walk a parallel path, Joss – the path is full of opportunities. To simply remember gratitude for each breath I take – the one that gives me life – keeps me looking at my Point.

  5. Hi,
    That is incredible, a fantastic video. So many warnings from long ago, yet it seems in some places they just didn’t take any notice of them. It really does beggar belief. Certainly I feel it has a lot to do with greed, wisdom does not come into it unfortunately.

  6. Despite so many evidences in favour of humility and acceptance of limits, we go on, don’t we?

    Amy, your regular, relentless attempts to spread crucial wisdom is helping us all. Do know that.

  7. Thank you for posting this video…We need to listen to the messages left for us; they were left out of love. It’s amazing how much we ignore not only as a society but as individuals. Fortunately, many are learning to heed that “still small voice” within,

  8. What a great comparison! Somehow, as I get older, I want to know that something in the past is carried forward. It’s like; “Why didn’t I think of that?”

    LOVE IS!

    Thank you, Amy.

    • Leslie…you ARE thinking of that – in your own unique way. I see your incredible artwork and your comments, on your blog and those you leave for us, – all exposing the beauty that slips out. 🙂 Perhaps your close friends and family have seen it all along, but I discover you like an unique plant growing from a seed dropped by a bird amongst those hand sown.

  9. ‘Each human soul contains this ever-present message: “Do not build below this point.” The point is Love. It takes you and me to remember to build above that point.’

    I dare say this is your most brilliant post ever dear Amy.

    • You are welcome…I checked your link. What a heartfelt poem, Paula. I especially loved the message in the prayer that you wrote about. There cannot be too many of us writing about Love.

  10. Amy,

    Building below this point will trigger Nature’s response to an uncaring, despoiler of land we like to think we’ve been given dominion over. We fail so often when we place our ego, greed, and ignorance above the point our better angels have warned us not to tread.

  11. I give thanks (a) that there are people like you Amy who care enough to spread the knowledge of our arrogance and stupidity to us. Hopefully we’ll wake up in time.
    and (b) that after all these centuries the stone is still standing in it’s original location. I wonder who owns that land? Why wasn’t the stone moved to a museum, and the land around it built up?
    Thankfully there are some wise people living quietly among us.

    300 feet…. sheesh!

  12. We do tend to ignore messages, but we also sometimes overreact…I live near the Missouri & Mississippi rivers, and every time we travel we see evidence of humankind’s propensity to try to control what maybe shouldn’t be controled. I get very frustrated.

    • I see homes that cling to rocks on our West Coast and wonder. I rented one for a few months. Every time a heavy wind came up, I was well aware that one of the logs that frequent our waters could come flying through a window. It is a constant task cleaning the salt off the windows. Let’s not even talk about earthquakes…

      So, similar to the messages we receive from inside, we ignore the signs and wisdom. But there are sign that this is changing. We may be starting to listen.

      Just popped in – I love your poem “I am alive”. There’s the key…to revere each breath and moment. In the midst of all your busyness and your many responsibilities, you’ve said it! Bravo.

  13. Excellent post. I know too much about grief and loss. Its the hardest time which never ends. But the weight of it lightens a little.

    Here from the linky ;D

    I wanted to share with you that there’s a new writing challenge/linky in town. Every weekend I’ll share a PROMPT and every Wednesday everyone can link up there (poem or short story 500 max) response at the Storyteller Linky. This week’s prompt is a Picture. Check it out. 🙂

    I also have a spooky book review and the weekend blog hop right now too! http://wordsinsync.blogspot.com/2011/10/halloween-book-review-voice-of-blood-by.html
    Love to have you on bored, but have a great weekend either way. Shah .X

    • Thanks for visiting, Shah. Looks like you are very busy keeping challenges in front of writers. I peeked at your blog just now, but will go for a good snoop. Life has it’s hooks in me right now, but I will visit.

  14. Hi Amy .. so right – and what a wonderful action .. unfortunately we all believe we can keep nature at bay – it’s never happened through history .. and we keep finding out.

    Look after yourself and with thoughts .. Hilary

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