Kongō-zue

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Kongō-zue left at Ōkubo-ji, the eighty-eighth and final temple of the Shikoku Pilgrimage

The kongō-zue or kongō-jō (金剛杖?) is the wooden staff carried by yamabushi and the henro (or pilgrim) on the Shikoku Pilgrimage in Japan. The kongō-zue is said to represent the body of Kūkai and to support the henro along the way; as such it is treated with respect, having its "feet" washed and being brought inside at the end of each day's journey.[1][2] It is inscribed with the chant Namu-Daishi-Henjō-Kongō and Dōgyō-Ninin or "We two pilgrims together".[3] By another tradition it is carried aloft when crossing a bridge so that it does not touch the ground and wake Kōbō Daishi.[4] Pilgrims leave their Kongō-zue at Ōkubo-ji, the final temple, upon completion of the circuit.[4] There is an occasional funerary practice in Shikoku and other parts of Japan whereby the decedent is dressed as a pilgrim and placed in the casket along with a staff and pilgrim's stamp book (nōkyōchō) for their final journey.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Reader, Ian (2005). Making Pilgrimages: Meaning and Practice in Shikoku. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 57–59, 63. ISBN 978-0-8248-2907-0. 
  2. ^ Miyata, Taisen (2006). The 88 Temples of Shikoku Island, Japan. Koyasan Buddhist Temple, Los Angeles. p. 105. 
  3. ^ Scott, David (21 February 1999). "Travel:Around Shikoku in 60 days". The Independent. London. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Miyata, Taisen (2006). The 88 Temples of Shikoku Island, Japan. Koyasan Buddhist Temple, Los Angeles. pp. 15, 18, 144f.