February 7th, 2007
|01:41 pm - Piety on the pilgrimage|
"A mountain temple, Senyuji stands out for having had its main image carved by a woman. The figure of the thousand-armed Kannon was carved in the seventh century by a young woman, who is supposed to have prostrated herself after every cut of the knife. Several of the temples where the main image was carved by the Daishi also claim this kind of reverence during the making of the image. The next level of holiness in carving requires prostrating and reciting a prayer before each cut, as well as the post-cut recitation."This particular quote is one I stumbled across while bringing mazisexton a copy of the book it's found in. There's something about this sort of action that speaks to me deeply.
-Temple 58, Senyuji1
The Shikoku pilgrimage interests me quite a bit: architecturally, spiritually, and academically. To say nothing of the fact that I promised mazisexton that I'd make it happen sometime with her.
But today, I ran across the paper I'd written that quote down on, and I remembered how much I just wanted to share it, to mention it, particularly to ADF Dedicants working on their understanding of piety. And I remembered how good that felt. And I certainly remembered the fact that that's really all I want to do on so many days. And that felt good to remember.
1 - p. 195: Readicker-Henderson, Ed. The Traveler's Guide to Japanese Pilgrimages. Weatherhill:New York, NY. 1995
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: quixotic
Current Music: "Little Miss Magic", -JB
If you're thinking of making a pilgrimage to southern Japan, and if you don't think it will be temple overload for you, I think you should also visit Koyasan in northern Wakayama. There are almost 100 temples on the mountain there. It's stunning. You can get there on a direct train/cable car from Osaka.
Having been to a large number of temples in Japan, and also visited most of the major Christian cathedrals of middle and northern Italy, Mt. Koya is still, bar none, THE holiest place I have ever been--particularly the Okunoin graveyards leading to the resting place of Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism. It is a living community of Buddhist monks and scholars, and although it's gotten slightly more touristy since it became a world heritage site a few years ago, it's still amazing. Simply amazing. I've gone there a couple dozen times, including three hikes up the Choishimichi (20km mountain trail from Kudoyama to Koyasan) and the up-all-night new year's eve during my week-long fast last winter. It kicks so. Much. Ass. Go there. Go there now.
...or, ya know...whenever you can...http://www.nankai.co.jp/koyasan/english/
When he completes the "88" temple Shikoku pilgrimage with me (something I have already done and the reason I am now in Japan) we would go to Koyasan (somewhere I have already been) as it is a required stop in connection with the pilgrimage.