The Cemetery Grounds at Kôya-san
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Kôya-san is an ancient pilgrimage site high in the mountains of Wayayama Prefecture, established as a religious community in 816 by Kukai (Kôbô Daishi), the founder of the Shingon school of esoteric Buddhism. Today Kôya-san is a temple city, its atmosphere dampened by unflinching tourist consumerism and inevitable crowds. However, the cemetery grounds at Okuno-in Temple, stretching for 2km through an ancient cypress forest, are a stirring and magical place, permeated with an almost contradictory air of solemnity and peace, a ghostly calm where the rolling jumble of ruinous collapsed stones and freshly quarried monuments gives one an almost visual sense of the succession of time and the endless wave-from of impermanence...
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