Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Carpe Diem #1630 Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage ...The Kohechi Trail

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I have to apologize (again) for not publishing yesterday, but sometimes ... time is not at my side. Today however I had time to create a new episode of this wonderful pilgrimage month.
As I told you earlier this month the Kumano Kodo (Ancient Road) is a complex of five different pilgrimage route and today I love to take you on another Kumano Kodo trail ... The Kohechi trail.

Let me tell you a little bit about this Kohechi trail: Kohechi connects Kumano with Koyasan. This mountaintop route is long and challenging, and consequently should not be undertaken without careful preparation. Inns are rarely found without zigzagging up and down the mountainsides into valley towns, greatly increasing the distance traveled. Kohechi was used mainly by Buddhist monks from the temple complex of Mount Koya.

a fallen cocoon
in the first rays of the morning sun -
a butterfly rises
drying it's young blue wings
to live fully

© Chèvrefeuille (2014)

About the temple complex of Mount Koya there is a lot to tell but of course that;s not possible, but I just had to tell you a little about it.

Mount Koya (Kōyasan) is the center of Shingon Buddhism, an important Buddhist sect which was introduced to Japan in 805 by Kobo Daishi (also known as Kukai), one of Japan's most significant religious figures. A small, secluded temple town has developed around the sect's headquarters that Kobo Daishi built on Koyasan's wooded mountaintop. It is also the site of Kobo Daishi's mausoleum and the start and end point of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage.

Garan Temple

Kobo Daishi began construction on the original Garan temple complex in 826 after wandering the country for years in search of a suitable place to center his religion. Since then over one hundred temples have sprung up along the streets of Koyasan. The most important among them are Kongobuji, the head temple of Shingon Buddhism, and Okunoin, the site of Kobo Daishi's mausoleum.

pilgrims chanting
the Heart Sutra to honor Kukai -
cry of a Vulture
breaks through the serene temple -
pilgrims chanting

© Chèvrefeuille (2014)

Here we make a connection with one of our earlier pilgrimages here at CDHK ... the Shikoku pilgrimage. Back in 2014 we digitally walked this pilgrimage for two months visiting the 88 temples on Shikoku Island. The above tanka I wrote back in those months.

I have wonderful memories of that Shikoku pilgrimage and I hope, you my dear Haijin, have those memories too.

deep meditation
high up in the mountains
chanting Buddhist monks

© Chèvrefeuille

What an awesome feeling this episode gives me. Here we can feel how all the post on CDHK are connected with each other ... isn't that awesome?

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 27th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode later on. Have fun!

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