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Sacred Koyasan


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction 1. Going to the Mountain The Celestial Railroad Outside the Fudo Entrance: The Women's Hall 2. Staying at a Shukubo Temple Our Midday Arrival Evening "A Mind of Rapture": The Morning Sutra Service 3. The Life and Legend of Kobo Daishi (Kukai) The Early Years To China's Ch'ang-an and Hui-kuo Conquest of the Japanese Capital The Founding of Koyasan Servant to Emperor and Nation Kukai's Theory of the Ten Stages The "Death" of Kukai 4. Twelve Centuries on the Mountain Abbot Kangen Visits the Tomb-(835-921) Joyo, Fujiwara Michinaga, and Ex-Emperor Shirakawa-(921-1129) Koya-hijiri, the Rise of Pure Land Buddhism, and Kakuban-(1073-1143) Kiyomori-(1150-1186) The Kamakura Era-(1185-1333) Under the Ashikaga Shogunate-(1336-1573) Oda Nobunaga: Koyasan Under Siege-(1571-1582) Hideyoshi and Koyasan's Wood-Eating Saint-(1582-1603) Under the Tokugawa-(1603-1867) Meiji Persecution and the Buddhist Revival-(1867 to the present) 5. Court of the Central Halls The Great Stupa: Daito The Golden Hall: Kondo Hall of the Portrait: Miedo Shrine of the Mountain Gods: Myojin-sha Some Other Sights of the Garan 6. Three Mountain Institutions Kongobu-ji: Headquarters Temple of Koyasan Shingon-shu Daishi Kyokai Honbu: Headquarters of the Daishi Mission Reihokan: Museum of Sacred Treasures 7. The Temple Town 8. Educating a Shingon Priest The Student Years Advancing in Rank 9. A Pilgrimage through the Forest Cemetery First Bridge to the Middle Bridge The Middle Bridge On to the Third Bridge 10. The Inner Temple and Kobo Daishi's Mausoleum The Halls Before the Tamagawa The Jewel River and the Miroku Stone The Torodo: Lantern Hall The Gobyo: Kobo Daishi's Mausoleum Record of a Night's Vigil at the Gobyo The Morning Fire Offering 11. Kobo Daishi's Birthday Celebration 12. Celebrating Kobo Daishi's Nyujo and the "Changing of the Robe" Preparing the New Robe at Hoki-in The Solar Sho-mieku The Lunar Sho-mieku 13. Annual Rituals for the Dead Bon: Midsummer Visitation of the Dead Higan-e: Ceremony of the Other Shore 14. Leaving the Holy Mountain Notes Glossary Sources Cited Index

About the Author

Philip L. Nicoloff is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of New Hampshire.


"For those who have been to the mountain, the contents of this book should bring memories streaming back, and also illuminate sites on the mountain whose meanings otherwise may have been obscure. For those planning to go to the mountain, this book offers an extraordinary way to prepare." - Journal of Asian Studies "The wide-lensed approach employed by the author makes this general study a useful introduction for students embarking upon studies of Japanese religions, but it would best be used as a companion to more in-depth studies ... There is much new material here for scholars to build upon. It will no doubt be a catalyst that will inspire further studies on this fascinating site and particularly, one hopes, on the contemporary aspects which Nicoloff brings to light." - Eastern Buddhist "Nicoloff ... writes extremely well, and his descriptions of the location and of his experiences there make for vibrant and compelling reading ... immensely enjoyable ... a very useful and finely-crafted description of what one sees and what goes on at a major Buddhist center."- Japanese Journal of Religious Studies "...a capable piece of scholarship, referencing academic studies of Koyasan, Kukai, and Shingon. Yet the descriptions of the landscape and ritual activity, and even the lengthy section on the history of the place, are so beautifully written that it reads more like a fine piece of travel writing. This is Buddhism as a living-and lived-phenomenon, and a welcome reminder that Buddhism remains a vibrant presence in Japanese society." - Buddhadharma "This is a well-rounded historical and contemporary account of one of the most important sacred sites in Japan. The author opens up a significant area of inquiry for those studying Buddhism and Japanese culture, and integrates the personal dimension with the historical materials in a fascinating and compelling way." - Steven Heine, author of Dogen and the Koan Tradition: A Tale of Two Shobogenzo Texts

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