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Lafcadio Hearn


KOBODAISHI, most holy of Buddhist priests, and founder of the Shingon- sho - which is the sect of Akira - first taught the men of Japan to write the writing called Hiragana and the syllabary I-ro-ha; and Kobodaishi was himself the most wonderful of all writers, and the most skilful wizard among scribes.

1 Derived from the Sanscrit stupa.

2 'The real origin of the custom of piling stones before the images of Jizo and other divinities is not now known to the people. The Custom is founded upon a passage in the famous Sutra, "The Lotus of the Good Law."

'Even the little hoys who, in playing, erected here and there heaps of sand, with the intention of dedicating them as Stupas to the Ginas,-they have all of them reached enlightenment.' - Saddharma Pundarika, c. II. v. 81 (Kern's translation), 'Sacred Books of the East,' vol. xxi.


I HAVE passed another day in wandering among the temples, both Shinto and Buddhist. I have seen many curious things; but I have not yet seen the face of the Buddha.

1 Yane, 'roof'; shobu, 'sweet-flag' (Acorus calamus).

2 At the time this paper was written, nearly three years ago, I had not seen the mighty bells at Kyoto and at Nara.

1 It is related in the same book that Ananda having asked the Buddha how came Mokenren's mother to suffer in the Gakido, the Teacher replied that in a previous incarnation she had refused, through cupidity, to feed certain visiting priests.

2 A deity of good fortune


IT is just past five o'clock in the afternoon. Through the open door of my little study the rising breeze of evening is beginning to disturb the papers on my desk, and the white fire of the Japanese sun is taking that pale amber tone which tells that the heat of the day is over. There is not a cloud in the blue - not even one of those beautiful white filamentary things, like ghosts of silken floss, which usually swim in this most ethereal of earthly skies even in the driest weather.

1 The period in which only deities existed.


Over the mountains to Izumo, the land of the Kamiyo, [1] the land of the Ancient Gods. A journey of four days by kuruma, with strong runners, from the Pacific to the Sea of Japan; for we have taken the longest and least frequented route.

1 Thick solid sliding shutters of unpainted wood, which in Japanese houses serve both as shutters and doors.

2 Tanabiku.

3 Ama-terasu-oho-mi-Kami literally signifies 'the Heaven-Shining Great- August-Divinity.' (See Professor Chamberlain's translation of the Kojiki.)

4 'The gods who do harm are to be appeased, so that they may not punish those who have offended them.' Such are the words of the great Shinto teacher, Hirata, as translated by Mr. Satow in his article, ~ The Revival of Pure .Shintau.

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