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☆☆ Third essay of Astrid, eighth trainee of Grünwald foundation ☆☆

A journey to Koyasan

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A trip to the most peaceful place maybe in the world, led me to Koyasan. A place with many ancient Buddhist sites of the Shingon-religion. Over the centuries, there arose, developed by the monk Kobo Daischi in 816, the impressive temple complex.

Like a true monk I wanted to discover this holy place, so I decided to go the traditional, centuries-old pilgrimroute “the Choishi-Michi-way” up to the mountain Koyasan.

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The first of 180 stone pillars are standing in Jison-in Temple in Kudoyama and mark the starting point of the trek.
In the Edo period, a Choishi was set up (five stones standing for the five elements of earth, water, fire, wind and space, towering a stone tower) at a distance of a Cho (about 109 m).

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The path now got through fruit orchards with great views of the surrounding valley and through bambooforests.
Then the vegetation changed and I found myself in an impressive forest that was sweetened with the first snow.
I regularly walked past the famous stone columns, until I finally reached after 24 mile walk, the famous Daimon Gate and the final destination, the Mausoleum of Konpon Daito.

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A little bit later, in Saizenin-temple, a Shukubo (Temple for the nightstays) I was awaited by two very polite and courteous monks. They served me immediatelly after I arrived an incredibly good, typical vegetarian food.
Then I could take a well deserved bath in an onsen again.

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At 6 clock in the morning my new day started with an extraordinary and unforgettable experience: I was able to attend at the morning ceremony and pray for my family and friends.
Since extremely rare in the Kansai snow comes up not so often, that’s why a good Jap. Girlfriend also decided to go to Koyasan.

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There, we admired the snowbound, famous gravement Okunoin. In this mystical forest, we visited the mausoleum of Kobo Daischi and discovered the grave of the founder of Panasonic, too.

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Also in Koyasan I could feel once again the Japanese hospitality: Because it was so cold a hand warmer and an expensive prayer bracelet was given to us as a memory of Koyasan by a generous monk.
Another interesting experience was the Sutra Copying meditation for me. For this purpose I was able to write off 262 kanji. It is taught that copying sutras brings peace and harmony to body and mind. I can absolutely confirm this, even if it was very tiring.

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After a few snowball fights and a mandatory Snowman, we have left the peaceful Koyasan.
Arriving in the main train station of Osaka, I could once again feel the difference between modern and tradition in Japan. The hustle and the many crowds were a real contrast to the spiritual and snowy place Koyasan.