Walk on Mount Koya in Japan
• Walk on Mount Koya in Japan
Mount Koya is located in the north-west of the peninsula Kii, south of Osaka. It is a mountain, altitude 1005 meters, with thickets of black cedars is a national shrine in Japan. Here it is built the ancient temple complex.
John, a friend of mine from Japan, a teacher in the small town of Wakayama Prefecture, presses on the gas at the next traffic lights, trying to switch to red, showing us once again, "the flag of Japan." "Never mind, here are 5 seconds, the green on the other hand ..." - John reassured me.
We Shoko and John were going to Mount Koya in one of the last days of my trip to Japan. It would seem that hope to see something amazing anymore: a series of typhoons that swept over Japan this autumn, washed away hopes for good weather and good stuff. But we were lucky. We drive to the mountains - and the sun peeps. Somewhere behind another round serpentine through the fog and the sun visible ancient temples, pagodas, villages with low houses of straw.
On Mount Koya, I went a reason: it is a very famous place among Buddhists. On the mountain is built the ancient temple complex. There is already more than a thousand years of preaching Shingon Buddhism. This branch of esoteric Buddhism, which is also often called "secret teachings". This means that knowledge is passed on from master to student through practice, spiritual, and not through the texts, scriptures.
But while we omit other details, dissolved in the fall: a beautiful Japanese maple along the road lit lights fishnet leaves in unison transparent-crystal sky. We arrived at Koyasan - small town, there are only 4000 inhabitants, compactly situated on the top of Mount Koya.
Shoko, my friend from Wakayama, led us to Ekoin Temple. Here and began our acquaintance with the life of the monks. We are quite a long time looking for someone who would be able to directly talk to me in English, to talk about the complex of temples for our magazine. But it seemed that the attempts were in vain: in Japan very badly with the English. Particularly acute is felt in the isolated from the world for years to come the mountain.
But in the evening the luck smiled to us: we met a monk named Nobu of Ekoin Temple. This young man (29 years old) was educated in Manchester and then moved with his parents in Japan. Here he decided to come to the monastery. Nobu fun, sometimes with wild laughter catches my questions with humor and trying to answer them. And the question of how he found himself in a monastery, while his education and knowledge of English, he blithely, with a slight smile told her story.
It turns out that his good friend was initially closely associated with the monastery. "You see, many are born here, right in the monastery - they are happy to live a balanced," - adds Nobu about her friend. "I came several times to visit him, spent the night in a monastery. Every time longer and longer. Life here is far from large cities, the ruins of monasteries and temples in operation, among the wild forests of cedars above the mists of the valley below, "- says the monk. That is, the transition to the monk's life was almost akin to changing the urban life of the countryside. Almost imperceptible. But such a life is much more liked Nobu, and he decided to stay here.
Buddhism - a very kind, cheerful religion, if at least it felt so here, on Mount Koya. Not condemned to have a family and to be rich, so many monks have a house, car, kids, loving wife. And many monks as Nobu, lead a life in general, is very similar to ours, only observing the mode of the day, ceremony. Each monk has his own teacher. Only the teacher can decide at what stage of training can be a monk. By the way, an important difference between "Shingon Buddhism" from the other schools is that you can become a Buddha in life, rather than undergoing the terrible difficulties in various incarnations. Moreover, it can be done simply and welcome light taking their responsibilities. So, Nobu invented to apply their knowledge in a monastery - for tourists, he often arranges so-called "night tour", which at the Buddhist cemetery Okunoin tells the fascinating and sometimes scary stories from the life of the monks.
After talking to the walls of the Temple Ekoin with Nobu, we had just walked along the streets of Koyasan and then through the cemetery Okunoin to the main shrine - the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi or Kukai monk. Kobo Daishi - one of the most famous people of Japan, the founder of the Shingon school. He is a kind of "Leonardo da Vinci" Japan: engineer, philosopher, artist. Nobu told us that the monks honored tradition so that the temples Koji still rituals are the same as in the year 816, when the monk lives. Nobu adds: "during his lifetime - not quite correctly said, there is one story, according to which Kobo Daishi, one day locked in the meditation in the temple, and no one dared to disturb him. The days passed, the years, but the Kobo Daishi did not come out. So it took several hundred years before, a young monk looked inside the temple. According to him, he saw that Kobo Daishi was still meditating. That's just his hair began to look like vines twine around the walls. Then the monk cropped hair, nails Kobo Daishi, changed his clothes - and went out, shutting the door again. " Since then, only the highest-ranking monks allowed to come to Kobo Daishi, and they still bring him food. The place is considered to be so honored, neither in the mausoleum or around it (in the temple and gravelights store - Torode) photographing is strictly prohibited, so as not to disturb the meditation monk Kukai.
Together with Nobu go through a huge cemetery Okunoin. Only a small flashlight, the lamps illuminate our way along the path among the majestic Japanese Cryptomeria. Trees seem so huge that you think, you can just about reach the moon and the stars with their tops. In the silence, I heard a light rustle, we raise the head up, and flies above us, flying squirrel, landed softly on trunk cryptomerias.
cemetery Okunoin looks truly spectacular: we already go along the paths in the dim light of the lamps 10 minutes and around us all the same endless statues, torii, covered with moss from the ground up to the tops. Nobu stops in different places, to tell us interesting stories. Here he came to the ancient Toriyama (sacred "goal"). "This memorial was erected long ago, after the Sino-Korean conflict. And we, the Buddhist concept of "bad" and "good" are very different from the West, so the memorial erected as a defeated Koreans, and we, the Japanese, "- said Nobu.
A more interesting place, in which he, too, we have held for long - a memorial stone in the cemetery with "Panasonic" logo. "No, this is not the sunset-known company, is the tomb of the founder of the company, Konosuke Matsushita, who made a great contribution to the development of monasteries Koji, besides he was from Wakayama prefecture." And another "exhibit", which we were surprised - a rocket to the cemetery. It looks like a live, real. This is also a monument - one of the famous Japanese builder of rockets.
But here we come to the mausoleum. Here - the last, the third bridge, and behind it - a sacred place. Here you need to be very low and in any case can not be photographed. Nobu brings us to the mausoleum and read a sutra from about 2-3 minutes. You can close your eyes and relax, merged with this holy place. Around the mausoleum - a group of golden lotuses. As Nobu notes "every day to purify your mind. And even if you go out of the mud, take an example from the lotus: they grow in the swamp, but the flowers they are fine. " Saying goodbye to Nobu at the walls of the mausoleum, I later discovered that he was the author of the wonderful translations of poems by Kobo Daishi in English. And then I said goodbye and my friends, Shoko and John, and they drove off at a brisk little typewriter in a ghostly night. I decided to stay on Mount Koya for one more day.
The next morning I was back in Ekoine, the morning fire ceremony. It's fascinating, filled with a special energy event monks carried a special ritual kindled a fire in front of a statue of Buddha. Monk rhythmically, in a burst of fire from flaring up, beats in a special drum and reads sutras. In this case, the fire burns stronger and stronger, illuminating the Temple with its light. And then - slowly dies away, leaving behind only the silence of the morning and purification.
After the ceremony, I had plans to meet with yet another monk, and now - most of the main temple Koji from Kongobudzhi. And I have found such a person. It appeared to be a monk Inaba. He was born in Japan, and the language studied in the United States. So, too, it was possible to talk to him. And as it turned out, it was about. We met him in his office, he worked as PR-manager in the Department of Mass Communication of the temple complex of Mount Koya. Yes, this is the case: the temple Kongobudzhi - a kind of headquarters of the entire neighborhood. I was surprised, and asked immediately Inaba, how can he be a monk and at the same time 8 hours a day sitting in the PR-department of the computer. He received a reply from him: "we are all engaged in useful for the development of churches and spread the Shingon Buddhism thing, so some modern Buddhism adapted to our lives." It turns out that among the monks there like departments of communication and sales, programmers! And all of them are working on their mission - not using prayer and specific, sophisticated instruments.
We sat with Inaba in a noisy office, which ran up and down the monks, solving their questions and talked about his life. It turns out that his father was a "boss" of one of the monasteries. In total there are 123 on the mountain monastery. And physically only 52, the rest - a kind of virtual, that is tied to a person without physical structure. Each temple may invite tourists to participate in their ceremonies, to spend the night in monasteries, to share meals with the monks. In this case, the temples take for it considerable sums. Adding to this income from burials, weddings, ceremonies associated with birth, you realize that Buddhism is now looking like a business. And quite successful: the monks good income to support a family and a house. Kongobudzhi is also headquartered 4 thousand Shingon temples, here the important tasks, sending the monks on a mission, and of course, collecting revenues from all churches.
More night I noticed a fantastic location next to the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi - is, first of all, Torode temple. In the Temple - thousands and thousands of lamps that were donated or purchased with donations of different people, from ordinary people to the emperors. And they never go out. Simply fascinating spectacle, only one problem: there taking pictures was strictly forbidden.
And I have tried to lure the PR-department of the opportunity to make a series of photographs for this article. After much persuasion and the arguments about the importance of involvement of Russian Buddhists temples, Inaba agreed to help. Surprisingly, the temples of the control system, too much bureaucratic: to get permission to shoot should obtain permission from the main temple, Torode. Inaba also acted in another way: we are early in the morning almost crept into the room lamps - and while the monks were at the temple ceremonies, made a few shots halls.
It was possible to visit and at the lower levels. They are no less interesting: the feeling - if you find yourself in a giant beehive or server: dozens of racks of miniature Buddha statues exhibited in rows along the walls on shelves.
It turns out that there is a so-called path of pilgrims to Kumano (as did Mount Koya listed as a UNESCO heritage site). The pilgrim must get around the trail 88 temples, and then he has the right to put a figure of Buddha in this store. Unfortunately, this tradition has become now converted into a normal tourism: pilgrims carry on to these buses 88 monasteries. But some do not give up, and go all the way on foot, to leave in the memory of his great journey and a tribute to the worship of Kobo Daishi small figure at the top of Mount Koya.