Purple Travel

[March 26 2014]

The Okunion Cemetary, Koyasan

Regarded as a sacred site in Koyasan, Okunoin is the site of Japan’s largest cemetery and the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi (also known as Kukai), the renowned monk who established Shingon Buddhism. Kobo Daishi was thought to be the creator of Japanese culture and known of starting the first public school in Japan. Legend has it that on March 21st 835AD he entered into eternal samadhi and is still alive in his mausoleum. Upon the advent of the future Buddha Maitreya, it is believed he will reawaken to lead all humanity to salvation. Since his interment under the ancient cedar tress in the cemetery lays over 200,000 of stone-cut statues, lichen-crusted lanterns, wooden totems and other handcrafted memorials lining the almost two kilometer long approach to Kobo Daishi‘s mausoleum. Wishing to be close to Kobo Daishi in death to receive salvation, many people, including prominent monks and feudal lords, have had their tombstones erected here over the centuries. Photo Annabel Fernandes


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