Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Carpe Diem #1621 Kumano Kodo ... Nakahechi Route: Tsugizakura-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Here at CDHK we are always on route as you all know. Every month again I try to give you a challenging route for your inspiration. We have been on several pilgrimages here already and this month we will add another beautiful pilgrimage ... the Kumano Kodo ("ancient road") once traveled by only monks and emperors, but nowadays we all can walk this ancient road ... enjoying the beauty of nature.

Yesterday we started with a part of the Nakahechi Route and today we will go on further on this route. The Nakahechi Route is one of the five routes that make the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage ... it brings us through the wonderful Kii peninsula and I bet you all will be amazed by the beauty of the Kii peninsula.

This full-day walk is on pavement to Kobiro-toge Pass and then on unpaved mountain trail to Hosshinmon-oji. From Hosshinmon-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha, the trail switches between forest trail and paved road through settled areas.

As I started this month on the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage the first thing that cam in mind was Basho's own "pilgrimage" as caught in his "Narrow Road Into The Deep North" and I think this KUmano Kodo needs also a bit of Basho.

[...] "When Basho was on his 'Narrow Road to the Deep North' he visited several Temples and other great places on the Northern Island of Japan.

In summer 1689 he visited the Gyoja-do of Komyoji Temple and saw the picture of the legendary priest En no Goja wearing wooden clogs. He is believed to have started a sect of Buddhism around mountain worship in the 7th century. The saint was very strong in climbing up and down the mountains so Basho, at the beginning of his journey prays to the clogs, not the saint, to help him climb the mountain.

Komyoji Temple

The mountain stands for finding Enlightenment and Basho was strongly seeking for that. Enlightenment is his goal when he starts his Narrow Road. I think in his Narrow Road we can read his transformation to an enlightend person. His Narrow Road was tough and full of disappointment, but also full of joy and spirituality.

In his Spirit I wrote my own Narrow Road, my quest for Enlightenment. My Narrow Road is still going on, but with the International recognition I have been given in 2011, that Enlightenment is nearer than I could ever dream of."[...] (Source: Basho Revisited)

The next haiku Basho wrote when he was in the Komyoji Temple as mentioned above.

natsu yama ni   ashida o ogamu   kadode kana

a summer mountain
I pray to the wooden clogs
at departure

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

And back to my own Narrow Road, my search for Enlightenment. Basho's haiku is such a nice one and in that haiku he is so ... particularly present. Can I write a haiku in the same Spirit?

searching wisdom
I pray to Mother Earth
before leaving

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope you did like this episode on our Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage and I hope you appreciated my angle with Basho's "Narrow Road".

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 13th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode later on. For now ... have fun!

1 comment:

  1. The spirit is fully there in the haiku after Basho's.....thank you for these posts...these journey are great.