Okunoin Cemetery's stone-cut statues

Okunoin Cemetery's stone-cut statues

The thousands of stone-cut statues, lichen-crusted lanterns, wooden totems and other handcrafted memorials at Okunoin temple, the site of Japan’s largest graveyard, give their high forest home beneath the peak of Koya San an eerie, contemplative air. The beauty and mystery of the mist and moss-laden forest becomes ever more entrancing when you wander through the temple grounds at dawn or dusk, and consider that Kobo Daishi, the founder of the first of many local monasteries and the country’s most venerated monk, was interred here, but not upon his death - legend has it that in 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. The thousand years since his interment has seen the cemetery become a popular resting place for those who can afford the privilege of proximity, and has created a moving, stunningly beautiful monument beneath a clouded canopy of ancient cedar trees.

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