Enthusiastic Faith for Mt. Hakusan

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It was Taicho(泰澄)who first practiced Buddhism around the top of the Holy mountain, Mt. Hakusan(白山). It was about 1300 years ago. According to a legend handed down in Shiramine at the foot of Mt. Hakusan, Taicho spent 1000 days in total on the top of the mountain. You cannot stay there for a long time because it snows there for half a year during winter and it’s like an ice world. Since he went on a pilgrimage to other places as well as Mt. Hakusan, it is said that he practiced Buddhism at the top of the mountain for 1000 days during about two decades.

  • legend 伝説
  • spend 過ごす
  • in total 延べ
  • pilgrimage 巡礼の旅
  • decade 10年

Also, according to an old book of about 800 years ago, about 20000 Buddhist monks climbed the mountain a year in those days. Seeing that about 20000 to 30000 ordinary people climb the mountain a year at present, when transportation has developed and there’s no restriction on the number of climbers, you’ll see how enthusiastically people believed in Hakusan faith in those days. In light of the fact that the population of Japan was less than seven million 800 years ago, this is really surprising.

  • monk 僧
  • at present 現在では
  • transportation 交通
  • restriction  制限
  • enthusiastically 熱狂的に
  • faith 信仰
  • in light of A Aに照らして

Taicho is said to have been very good at carving Buddhist statues since he was a child. He could do it very well in great detail though he mustn’t have seen many other Buddhist statues. While he secluded himself at the top of the mountain, he made a lot of stone Buddhist statues. Most of them, unfortunately, were dispersed because of Haibutsu-kishaku(廃仏毀釈), anti-Buddhist movement at the beginning of the Meiji era.

  • carve 彫る
  • statue 像
  • in detail 詳細に
  • seclude 隠遁させる
  • disperse 散乱させる

A veteran climber told me that, at the top of the mountain, he sometimes witnessed a big seated statue of Buddha made from clouds and light in the sky at the time of dawn, and that some pictures of it other climbers took appeared in newspapers. He also told me that when he looked back in the morning sunlight, he saw his own shadow whose shape was like that of Buddha with golden halo shining from behind.

  • witness 目撃する
  • seated 座った
  • dawn 夜明け
  • halo 後光

It’s dangerous for beginners to climb Mt. Hakusan because of its snowy gorges, which remain even in July. It’s better to climb it from August to October. Mt. Hakusan is a high mountain with steep, long mountain slopes, so if you try to climb it, you need sufficient equipment and physical strength.

  • gorge 峡谷
  • steep 険しい
  • equipment 装備
  • physical 肉体的な
  • strength 強さ

While you’re climbing the mountain for faith, you’ll realize that your legs and loins are all you can depend on, which is easy to forget when you live in city. To reach the top of the mountain, you have to climb up step by step at your own pace. In climbing the mountain, it doesn’t matter how beautiful the views are or how many veteran climbers you make friends with.

  • realize 悟る
  • loins 腰
  • depend 頼る
  • view 眺め
  • make friends 仲良くなる

It’s meaningless to climb the mountain just with difficulty unless you do it with the consciousness of gods. Evil spiritual gurus might say “If you climb the mountain with me, you will receive good luck,” or “Let’s climb the mountain to perform a ritual together.” For them, the holy mountain is nothing more than a means of making a living. You had better not listen to them, or it leaves a blemish on your spiritual body.

  • meaningless 意味がない
  • unless S+V  SがVしない限り
  • nothing more than A Aにすぎない
  • means 手段
  • blemish 汚点

Getting ready to climb the holy mountain means that you’ve already started climbing it. It is not until you climb the mountain on your own and by yourself that the act of climbing the mountain has a spiritual value. I love looking at Mt. Hakusan from a distance to worship it because I can see the whole mountain. I’d like to live among ordinary people, sometimes taking a look at and revering the holy mountain.

  • on one’s own 自力で
  • value 価値
  • from a distance 遠くから
  • revere 崇める

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

I AM GRATEFUL FOR BEING KEPT ALIVE

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Mt. Hakusan – A Spiritual Mountain

There is a village called Siromine(白峰) at the starting point of a trail up Mt. Hakusan(白山), a spiritual mountain in Ishikawa prefecture. The village used to be called Ushi-kubi village, meaning “cow’s head village,” which has a deep meaning. The reason for the name is unknown though there is a theory that the village looked like the shape of the cow’s head. “Cow’s head” evokes Gozu-Tennou(牛頭天王), Cow’s Headed King.

  • trail 道
  • prefecture 県
  • cow 牛
  • unknown わからない
  • theory 説
  • come to one’s mind 〜の心に思い浮かぶ

Blue energy body of Susanoo(スサノオ) has been appearing in the form of various figures and supernatural beings in different ages of history. Especially, Heian period was the time the blue energy body was materialized to appear. “Cow’s head” suggests a demon. Demons with two horns did appear in those days. In Heian period and those before it,  such human-like creatures were easy to appear.

  • various 様々な
  • especially 特に
  • matirialize 物質化する
  • horn ツノ
  • human-like 人間のような

Taking a look at the horns using my spiritual power, I find that they are not long ones. They have round shapes, three to five centimeters at most in height. I feel the horns are due to the elevations of the skin. It seems that men, with their genes receiving a lot of energy of Susanoo, had horns on their heads. At present, such men, having inherited spiritual factor of Susanoo, don’t grow horns because the horns have fitted in the physical body genetically over a long period of time.

  • spiritual power 霊力
  • height 高さ
  • elevation 隆起
  • gene 遺伝子
  • at present 現在は
  • inherit 受け継ぐ
  • genetically 遺伝的に

Mt. Hakusan had been a tabooed mountain no one could approach before Taicho Daishi(泰澄大師) began to climb it about 1300 years ago. The villagers, inheriting the spiritual current of Susanoo, had protected the mountain as the hill folk. They prevented people from entering the mountain area, ranging from Ushi-kubi village to Gifu and Fukui areas. I feel that they had great endurance.

  • tabooed 禁足の
  • hill folk 山の民
  • prevent A from ~ing  Aが〜するのを防ぐ
  • endurance 持久力

I hear that the villagers can climb to the top of the mountain two times a day until they turn 60, and that there was a 90-year-old man last year who went up to and returned from the top of the mountain in a day. A lot of healthy, tough people live there.

  • turn   〜になる
  • healthy 健康的な

Several times a year, I see the Mt. Hakusan is shining in pale blue lit up by the sun in the distance. The mountain is still a sacred spiritual mountain protected by Susanoo and Haraedo Four Gods(祓戸四神). It is on the land of Mt. Hakusan that the breath of God, who created the earth, first hit from Heaven.

  • pale blue 青白い
  • light up A Aを照らす
  • sacred 神聖な
  • breath  息吹

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

I Am Grateful for Being Kept Alive.