Koyasan in Wakayama: Shingon Buddhism, Kukai and amazing scenery
Olivier LeCourt and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Koyasan is located in Wakayama Prefecture and the stunning nature throughout the year is extremely beautiful. The rich legacy of culture and religion is still alive and Mount Koya provides amazing views. Therefore, you can understand why Kukai chose this mysterious and remote part of Japan.
Nara is where Japanese high culture came alive and Kyoto followed and enhanced the richness of Nara. However, Koyasan is also special and the Kansai region is extremely rich and varied. The remoteness of Koyasan does not hinder tourism because this place is thriving during the holidays and for religious people it is a place of pilgrimage throughout the year.
Shingon Buddhism is still potent in Koyasan and irrespective if you are religious or not, you can still experience and feel the power of religion and nature. International tourists flock to Kyoto and Nara, and rightly so because both places are blessed with a rich culture, but a visit to Koyasan would be the icing on the cake because something magical exists in this place.
The architecture, temples, nature, mysterious graveyard, and the entire environment is a real treasure. Therefore, you can leisurely wander around and experience a traditional culture which is still alive in this part of Japan.
Shingon Buddhism and visual images of Buddha alongside sublime art and magnificent architecture all comes together. Garden layouts also relate to time and space and have a spiritual dimension. Each aspect seems natural and even when no meaning is meant it is easy to think about the bigger picture.
If you are religious then God’s Eden may not be perfect and clearly the failure of humanity throughout history is evidence of this. However, in Koyasan, just like in all nations which have places of rich culture and faith, you have a magical place which is a real gem.
In my earlier article about Koyasan I commented that “The non-religious may believe that God is an illusion and this may be so; however, in places like Koyasan you can feel “a magical atmosphere.” The “old world” survives within “modernity” but preserves its rich culture and maintains a rare spirituality.”
“Kukai (774-835) who became known as Kobo Daishi established the first monastery in the ninth century on mount Koya (Koya-san). The Shingon sect had a different thought pattern within the many schools of Buddhism and Kukai believed that enlightenment could be attained in one lifetime.”
“Kukai was a searcher and he visited China and during his stay he studied Esoteric Buddhism. Initially, he prayed for peace and prosperity because he could not find inner-peace within city life, therefore, he searched for a place where he could meditate and become even more spiritual.”
“When Kukai saw the stunning nature of Koyasan it was clear to him that he had found the place which he desired. The mountains meant that he was cut off from everyday city life in this period and the sublime beauty of nature added to the mysterious feel of Koyasan.”
The heart of Koyasan still beats and Buddhists and non-Buddhists will gain from visiting this mysterious place. Culture, religion, and architecture, all comes together and the backdrop of Mount Koya is extremely beautiful.
Kukai certainly made a wise choice and legend abounds that he still wanders around Mount Koya. This applies to Kukai being transformed into an eternal Samadhi and awaiting the next Buddha Maitreya appearing in Koyasan. Therefore, he wanders around and patiently waits for the dawn of a new time.
Koyasan is simply amazing!
http://www.shukubo.jp/eng / (stunning Koyasan)
http://www.koyasan.org/ (Information about Koyasn)
http://www.visiblemantra.org/kukai.html Kukai and information
http://ww2.coastal.edu/rgreen/ Kukai and information