You will need your climbing legs to tackle this temple. But it is absolutely worth every step. Iyadaniji is beyond stunning. The views from the top are amazing and the struggle up the hill will present you with wonderful things to see as well. The cliffs are steep, and the forest is thick with trees. In the midst of it all is Iyadaniji. In the past, many people interred the ashes of loved ones here. You can see the tombs carved out from the sides of the mountain.
This temple is famous for providing miracle cures for those in need. The disabled leave their crutches behind at the main temple.
Take a deep breath, and keep on moving upwards.
You can see the mini tombs all around the temple grounds.
To the left of the temple you can see this monument. On it are the kanji characters for “Earth, Wind, Fire, and the Void”
Now to go back down the steps. Be careful with your wobbly knees. No need to hurry!
A very handsome looking guide, and some dork from Canada on the right. Sheesh. Who let that guy in here anyway?
This is one of the temples on the pilgrimage that is a place from which one can receive healing. Pilgrimages around the world have this element intrinsic within their paths. Should you take the pilgrimage and seek the end, you may receive healing from what affects you.
The pilgrims in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales are a journey to the shrine of St. Thomas. While full of human foible and weakness, the Canterbury pilgrims stumble along, each telling their tale and revealing what is so wrong through their justifications, false piety, and brokenness as humans. But they are pilgrims who travel blindly, unknowing of who they are, and unseeing of their inner worlds. That is, except for the Parson. He seems to see quite clearly that it is pride that is all our undoing.
There is something eloquent and simple about pilgrimage, it seems. We know it in all our own cultures, yet sometimes forget how to express it meaningfully. Pride is the great disease of men. Pride causes justification, and justification creates paths for all forms of harm to our fellow humans, creatures on our planet, the earth itself, and a wide range of mental disorder.
When we approach each temple we bow our heads. This is not an act of worship. It is an act of understanding that there are things greater than us, there are things bigger than us, and that we might only be participants in a world that works pretty good whether or not we are there. Each day is a gift. Each person you meet is a person who has value, feelings, and humanity. Each day we ought to put our pride in its place, live peacefully with others, and open the mind to learn and grow.
Chaucer had it right. Kukai too.
Pride can be a deadly thing to the human mind.
“Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.”
-Abraham Joshua Heschel