Hallowed ground-- Koyasan

Koyasan in December was very calm. There were few visitors and I could hardly believe the crowd  in Summer.
Thousand of gravestones were filled with moss and a lot of  big cedars have been making a tranquil, still space for a long time.I wonder how many years these cedars are living. Their diameter were pretty large. There were a lot of warrior's tombstones we know. While some of them were alive, they might have fought each. Now they are resting in the same site.

Near Okunoin
 Matuo Basho came here and sang a haiku that "父母の しきりにこいし 雉子の声” (my translation: When I listen to a pheasant crying, I miss my parent. If this translation is error, please correct this.) This is included in 笈の小文. This is based on "山鳥の ほろほろと鳴く 声聞けば 父かとぞ思ふ 母かとぞ思ふ”(my translation: When I listen to a copper pheasant crying , I take it for my parent voice. I miss my parent.) This  tanka was made by Gyoki at Mt.Yoshino. Basho might have miss his parent ,seeing gravestones,I wonder?

protecter  there
 When we go though here, we come to a place that we purify our hands and mouth. And beyond a river is holy place. There is Okunoin of Kobo-daisi's mausoleum in that holy place. People comes Okunoin to place the ashes of the dead.  It's dark inside the house and I could only see  orange lights of countless  lanterns hanging from  the celling. Those silent , warm lights make atmosphere of esoteric Buddhism. While a priest recites a sutra for an hour, my eyes were used to that darkness then suddenly I became to be able to see a picture of Kobo-daishi on the wall in front of us. I was a little bit surprised and I prayed its picture irresistibly. It seems  like a magic. I wonder how people  think of it in the old days.

A priest in Yakusiji explained one day that they say about wabi-sabi when they say about  temples in Kyoto ,on one hand ,temples in Nara are standing heavily, peacefully at big site and they don't say about wabi-sabi. That reminded me that number of suicide in Nara prefecture is the lowest in Japan.(by a magazine "President") Things in Nara are not so nervous, I wonder? If so, it's good for me to live in Nara.
By the way,how about temples in Koyasan? Koyasan was founded by Kobo-daisi  and it has accepted  people in all sects or all classes and has developed as people's spiritual home or rest and now became a Buddhism capital of Singonsyu, according to a guide. Surely I felt somehow elusive tense because thousands of spirits are resting in the grave and a repository. May their soul rest in Heaven.
three cedars connect each other

12 件のコメント:

stardust さんのコメント...

Sarah, it’s not bad to visit Mt. Koya at this time of year. Look around, and you don’t see flowers, colored leaves. (Miwataseba hana mo momiji mo nakarikeri.....) Instead,if you find something beautiful, rich and soothing in that apparent lack of beauty, it’s wabi-sabi.

In the temples of Nara, we often see “shibi”, ornamental ridge-end tiles in the shape of mythical birds which will bring rain to protect the wooden structure of temple from fire and disaster. On Kongobuji’s, there are two water barrels. Can you spot them on the photo of Kongobuji on the sidebar?

sarah さんのコメント...

Thank you for comment, Stardust.
It's easier to feel wabi-sabi in temples in kyoto than in Koyasan,I think.
Yes, I can spot two barrels on the roof.We were afraid that those may fall down at an earthquake.When I was a pupil, we went to stay Koyasamn for camping school. Compare to it, Koyasan didn't change but my feeling of respect changed so much,though it is natural.

redrose さんのコメント...

Hi Sara.
You had a very nice experience of trip to Kouyasan. I feel that the big cedars in the mystic forest are very solemn also, many spirits inhabit in them. I agree with you Sara, to saying that it is good to live in Nara, though I did not know the number of suicide in Nara prefecture was the lowest in Japan.

By the way,did you take a photo of the picture of kobo-daisi on the wall?

Have a good Christmas. See you soon!

cosmos さんのコメント...

I have been to Mt.Koya before. It was like an active and lively "town" rather than a secluded sacred place.
I came across several gravestones, on each stone well-known people's name in the history was engraved. That gave me a kind of excitement, like oh, he was here or she was there. Maybe,however, I think their souls were set free from this world and not there.

haricot さんのコメント...

I visited Mt.Koya only in summer time. In the shadow of these huge ceder trees was cooler and comfortable even in daytime of midsummer.
It was little strange feeling for me to stroll between gravestones of well known persons.
Maybe to stay at night and to have experience some vegetarian diet like priests and doing Zen exercises will make me understand more about the spiritual aspects.

sarah さんのコメント...

Thank you for comment, Redrose.
we can not take pictures in the holy place. Okunoin was in the holy place. There was a notice that stop to take pictures at the entrance of that holy place. Even if there was not that notice, I think that I hesitated to take pictures that solemness. So I took a picture of Kobo-daish in Kongobuji.

sarah さんのコメント...

Thank you for comment,Cosmos.
During Summer or When a lot of people are visiting there I feel even gaiety there. In fact when I visited there at Summer camp or at sightseeing, I didn't feel solemness. But this time I went to the holy part to place the ashes.
So from beginning I worship something holy and also I was wishing that she rests in peace and her soul can mix well at them. But this may be a way of persuation or satisfaction for myself.

sarah さんのコメント...

Thank you for comment,Haricot.
This time, I went a holy part to place the ashes of mother-in-law. So I worshiped something holy from beggining and also I was wishing that she rests in peace and her soul can mix well at them. Though this may be a way of persuation or satisfaction for myself. So this solemness may be different from Zen spiritual. It may be near to "tremble"( 異空間におののく).

cosmos さんのコメント...

I think it's quite natural you felt solemn on such occasion. To say your gratitude and your love and to pray sincerely she may rest in peace must've communicated itself to her.

I went there for a cooler and refreshing air several years ago so just touched the aspect of a thriving temple town but there should be more to it than that. I'd like to go again if I can.

snowwhite さんのコメント...

I have been to Mt.Koya when I was an elementary school pupil as part of school excursion. I remember it was joyful, pleasant tour.

After I studyed about Mt.Koya, I started to take it as a very special, spiritual place opended by Kukai. When I thought the reason why he chose Mt.Koya as the headquarters of his denomination, I came to the conclusion. It must have been the strongest power spot. It has been full of energy and chi.

Your blog made me feel like going there.

sarah さんのコメント...

Thank you for comment again, Cosmos.
It is the first time I had a feeling like this. She was a nice person so she will live happily in the heaven.

sarah さんのコメント...

Thank you for comment, Snowwhite.
When we went there,we talked about that why Kobo-daisi opened this place. His birthplace was Kagawa prefecture, so he might have not be familiar to Koyasan. So we came to the same conclusion of you. Usually we can't feel something energy or chi but one's spirit might have bridged between them and us.