Mother Earth

Volume 2: The Secrets of the Sacred Mountain

Chapter 6: Mount Takakuma

      On January 26, 1896 (Meiji 31), Kisaburo became the head of the Ueda family. The family home was at 108 Anao Sogabe Village in southern Kuwata County, Kyoto Prefecture. He was 28 years old — the age of discretion. He'd made a decision to master the way of the gods by following the Three Verities given to him through the inspiration of the gods in the precinct of the Obata Shrine. But, as usual, his flirtations with women had not changed, putting him in a sorry situation.

      Recently he'd met an unknown woman, who'd tossed a warm and charming glow in his direction, in a restaurant in the Saigo area. The next evening she appeared again in the same place, and when they passed each other she handed him a letter. Kisaburo opened the letter's seal near the lantern in front of the rest room. "Tomorrow evening, I will meet you at this place."

      The handwritten characters looked unsteady.

      Kisaburo hadn't paid any attention to Koto Tada for awhile. There seems to be no cure for his inborn wanton ways. The next evening after finishing work, he visited the place described in the letter, making sure that no one was aware of it. There wasn't a shadow of a woman there, only a letter which said, "Please come to the house in Uchimaru-cho." Without hesitation he started on his way and found the house along a dark path. He felt calm having a hand towel tied around his head. The woman was waiting for him with a prepared meal and sake. Kisaburo was anxious that such a woman might be dangerous, especially since she'd been very skillful in leading him to this place. Kisaburo received her services easily, though, since she had this kind manner of making him feel fulfilled.

      He found out that she was a prostitute who had run away from the love quarters known as Chujo-jima in Fushimi, Kyoto. She'd been taken under the wings of a follower of Kankichi Kawachiya. As the rumor of Kisaburo's love for this woman spread, Kisaburo once again earned Kawachiya's anger.

      Kankichi said, "Go to hell! If he continues to live, all the women in the village will be fairly taken in by him!"

      On the night of February 28, a half moon shines bright. The earth is full of the sweet smell of plum blossoms as they float in the cool wind. The atmosphere of spring is softly felt everywhere.

      Kisaburo wrote about the night with the above phrases.

      On this night Kisaburo and seven or eight members of the Joruri (ballad drama) met in the room called Unshu-kai in a rental space of a small farmer named Bunsuke Oishi in Anao Village. Here they amused themselves by playing Joruri and hiring a woman gidayu ricter. Men and women of all ages, including children crowded into the house to see Kisaburo's theater piece. They filled the whole area from the garden to the gate, and to the edge of the veranda. As Kisaburo introduced the scene, it was the Yakata (manor house) of Matasuke Kagamiyama.

      Someone yelled at the reciter Kisaburo, "Hey, Nebuka-Tayu!"

      "Nebuka" in Japanese means "a leak" and is suggestive of a knothead. But Kisaburo, happy as a king, as he thought, because he was dressed in a square-shouldered old ceremonial kimono, the shape of a lozenge rice cake cut in two, before a reading board. It's natural for him to be crazy about the enthusiasts for the gidayu, though, because he himself is poor at it. A lot of copper coins in paper were thrown from the audience at Kisaburo when he raised his voice and lost the tune like one blowing badly into a bamboo stick.

      The audience gave enthusiastic encouragement to Kisaburo. "Kisa-yan, very good!" "Kisa-han, you make a fine presentation."

      Everyone in the theater group performed with excitement, making an effort to win over the hearts of women. Kisaburo also came on the stage in the midst of a rich scene, attempting to recite the serious and reserved point of the play entitled Taikoki in 10 Acts.

— The moonlight falls through chinks of an old penthouse
Now the fresh brushwood fence is cut down
In front of a trellis of evening glory
The military commander Takechi Mitsuhide appears
For dead certain a samurai, Hisayoshi, powerfully steals in
To slay with one stroke and strict mind the same as a drawn bow
Forcing on the enemy a sharp spirit like a spear
Made of a bamboo arrow over the thicket hedge
Being careful not to stop the croaking of frogs
To escape being caught by the enemy
To approach the enemy stealthily
So as to catch the chance to hear the enemy's movement
The moment to thrust a spearhead with skill at the motion
With yells of horror of a woman sharply
Draw out the wounded woman feeling incomprehensible
And rather than the enemy, Mashiba
It is truly Mitsuhide's mother, Satsuki
Pity her writhing in agony
      The audience was completely absorbed in Kisaburo's calm recitation and held their breath at it. Some tough guys, who had covered their faces with towels to conceal their identity, suddenly attached Kisaburo on the stage. Held by five of them, Kisaburo was taken out of the house in the midst of the roaring and shouting of the crowd. These men kicked at the women and children who were trying to get out of the way.

      Women screamed, "That's the Kawachiya Family. Look, the Kankichi crowd storms in for the fight!" "Kisa-yan has been taken away. He'll be killed for sure." "What are you going to do, just stand there?" "Hurry up, help Kiraku-han! You! You're a man, aren't you?"

      The Joruri performance was a confused, unresolved affair. Only Kisaburo was carried off. Usokatsu, a member of Kisaburo's group quickly called his friends and ran out of the garden gripping a split piece of firewood.

      You could hear the dead sound of a body being struck and then a cry over the mulberry field. The blue light of a half moon filtered through the twigs of the mulberry trees, casting shadows over the ground. Springing from the shadows came the sumo wrestlers, Wakanishiki, whose real name was Yasaburo Yada, twenty five years old; Koushi, whose name was Ushinosuke Saito of unknown age; Tomeko, whose name was Tomekichi Okamoto, a twenty-three-year-old; Shigeichi, whose name was Shigeichi Teramoto, a nineteen-year-old; and Yosako, whose name was Yosaburo Yada of unknown age. All the wrestlers were supported by the Kawachiya clan. Meanwhile the unresisting Kisaburo was knocked about and punched continually by the wrestlers.

      Kisaburo shouted, "Cowards! Five against one?"

      The tough bunch of Kawachiya's followers cried out, "Shit! Kill him!"

      A lot of the villagers meanwhile gathered around Usokatsu crying words of encouragement to Kisaburo in squeakly fearful voices. After throwing Kisaburo down, the wrestlers backed off and watched from a distance for the turn of events. As the one-sided contest moved on through the mulberry field, Waichiro, Jutaro and others kept Kisaburo from losing consciousness by carrying him into the chicken coop on a nearby stock farm. His old ceremonial kimono was torn and blood spattered, its sleeve nearly ripped off and covered with mud and Kisa's head was a mass of bleeding flesh. After Waichiro securely locked the front and back gates of the coop, he washed Kisaburo's wounds, cleaning off the blood and mud.

      Kisaburo roared, over and over in a delirious way while grinding his teeth, refusing his friends' hands of support. "I don't need any doctor, or any medicine. Just leave me alone!" He cried out, "Hell! I cannot resist any more. As soon as I find them the next time, I'll knock them down and give them the same, blow for blow, just like they gave me! Damnit, I won't cry myself to sleep!"

      Waichiro, worrying about him, said, "Calm down and stop moving around or the bleeding will never stop."

      Kisaburo wiped the blood and tears away from his eyes and pulled out the paper that had been stuffed up his nose to stop a nosebleed. He cried and sobbed in deep humiliation. His blood soaked and swollen features seemed to make him look like a demon.

      Then the pressing voice of Kisaburo's friend Jutaro, who was knocking on the door, said, "Hey, it's me. Open the door. I just picked this grass to stop the bleeding."

      Wasaburo let him in, saying, "Okay, I'll do it now." They crumpled the grass in a hurry and applied it to Kisaburo's wounds. Waichiro's voice dropped to a whisper, "What's the situation now?"

      "I can't tell yet," Jutaro answered. "I heard that Yoshimatsu confronted Wakanishiki with a threatening look, saying he'd take him on anytime."

      A groaning Kisaburo rose up when he heard this and said, "What? Yoshimatsu is standing up against that bunch for me? Is that what you're saying?"

      "No," Wasaburo said to him. "Just get your rest now."

      Kisaburo attempted to stand up, pushing his friends away. "I, I can't stay here any longer. I'm going to go help my brother." But he began to fall over and finally pacified, he dropped off into a deep doze beyond the smoldering discontent of his conscious life.

      Then he was suddenly awakened by strange sounds. More than ten cows mooing together called him. Morning had come. As it was well past their milking time, the cows' udders were swollen and painful. And they must be very hungry. Oh, how Kisaburo suffered from their sorrowful mooing.

      The sound of knocking at the door and a newly-employed milkman called out, "Kiraku-han, Kiraku-han. It's time to deliver the milk. Hey, wake up. Come on, please."

      Kisaburo rose slowly, unable to speak because the cows mooing had given him a splitting headache. He felt heavy in the head, dizzy and he couldn't even stand up. He felt as though he had heard the incessant sound of a fire alarm bell ringing in his ears all night long and as though he had crawled many times to the window anxious about a fire that never was.

      The milkman seemed to have run from the stock farm to Kisaburo's mother. Kisaburo is too far gone to milk the cows today. Soon after he hears Shintaro Murakami coming, his milk business partner. It's unbearable for Kisaburo to suffer Shintaro's looks, his pity, his laughing and roaring and making fun of him.

      Kisaburo bound the wounds on his head with a towel and went out of the house, keeping his dizzy eyes covered all the while. He knew the way well even with his eyes covered. The smell of plum blossoms floated in the morning haze. He finally reached the hiding place called Kirakutei in front of Go Shrine, going through the bamboo groove where he had met and made love to Ino. He remembered rolling around on the thin hard quilt smelling of sweat. Soon enough he heard the familiar hurried footsteps of his mother. He pretended to be asleep with his arms and legs tucked under his body and a blanket pulled over his head.

      His mother rolled up this futon and raising her voice said, "You... you had another rumble again? As long as your father was alive, until last year, no one dared point their finger at you. Just after I became a widow, suddenly they began to treat you with such cruelty. Even Yoshimatsu got involved to gain reveng against Kawachiya and came back after being shaken by the head. This is nine times now since the end of last year!" His mother cried and lay her sorrowful face in his lap. She was about to feel a gush of grief over her lost husband and the way things were.

      ...There is no escaping the fact that the poverty of Kisaburo's father was an example that stayed in his mind to show him the real needs of the poor, something that he remembered from childhood. But despite their poverty, people could still be proud in mind and spirit, he thought. There are a lot of people who lose their fathers, not just me. I wonder if my mother does justice to herself through her conduct in loving me, blaming so much on father's death. It is sure we were often in need of sympathy from others, but we were never cruelly treated simply because we lost our father. I only wanted to behave violently without any restrictions against those toughs who swagger about. I wanted to punch them hard, satisfying myself in the heat of the fight. If I think about it, I flinched from such violence. And I've been beaten in the past because I allowed myself to be humiliated and unresistant, letting the arrogant enemy have their way with me. But from today, I will switch roles and become the challenger and take the fight to them. I will become a strong man. My mother, watch me! ...Kisaburo shouted in his mind.

      It was then that grandmother Uno, 85 years old, entered Kirakutei's room without the aid of a walking stick. In spite of being hard of hearing, she somehow mysteriously was able to hear bad things quite clearly. His mother, Yone, quickly wiped her tears away with her hands. Grandmother said, "Wake up, Kisaburo! Wake up!" Her tone was still strict, despite her age. It was from this voice of Uno that he had learned the Echo of language, holding her in awe.

      Kisaburo woke up against his will. Grandmother's eagle eyes were focused on his swollen face. She scolded him as he unintentionally turned his eyes away. "That ugly face, just look at yourself! Your face makes you look deformed..." She kept on without a break..., "Aboutlast night's affair, you can blame no one but yourself. You should think only about the evil seed you have sown. All the trouble you caused... You made love to women thinking that it made you a man of ability, and took up petty quarrels as a consequence... In addition, you insulted the gods between heaven and earth with a warped sense of logic, and the gods have given you fair warning because of your carelessness. You would never have had the ill will against the Kawachiya family, if this were not so. You should thank them as the benefactors who humbled your hot prideful ways. Perhaps now you can gradually see your way ahead after you revise your attitude and now you stand at the parting of the ways between good and evil and right and wrong. I cannot believe or think that you are truly foolish, although you seem foolish now. But I know that your character is naturally pure. I cannot simply compare you to those who love their sober sense of judgment and never get it back. I tremble to think of a day in the future if I should have to once again admonish you for such acts..."

      With pale face, Yone attempted to interrupt, "Mother!"

      Uno kept her steady eyes focused on Kisaburo, straightening her back and saying, "Each of us is fated by nature, each of us can carve our own careers, but not against our fate. Blood will win out in the long end. Listen carefully, Kisaburo. I guess you think that your parents are Kichimatsu and O-Yone, but the late Kichimatsu was not your true father, as you assumed."

      Kisaburo opened his mouth but couldn't make a sound, the only movement was the shaking of his lips.

      His grandmother continued calmly in spite of his shock and surprise. "What a mysterious situation this is. I haven't previously thought about how I would say these things. But looking at you, who will soon be 28 years old, I feel that you have superior ability, not only in your features and figure but also in all that is recognizably different between you and your brothers and sisters. They are surely the offspring of a poor farmer named Kichimatsu. It would only be natural if they end their lives in Anao Village in the same way.

      Now Kisaburo was listening attentively and calmly.

      Grandmother Uno continued, "But you, Kisa, are different from them because you're driving with all your might to steal out of this life of a dirt farmer. I early saw how your father Kichimatsu tried to force you into the farming life. I've had a hard time knowing things I couldn't tell you. You are different from your brothers and sisters because the noble blood of your real father is mixed with the blood of your mother, a far simpler breed, and there's a war inside you because of it."

      Kisaburo said, "Kichimatsu was my true father even if he knocked me around, because I knew no other father. It's true that even when he laughed he had a stiff face."

      Uno said, "When your mother married Kichimatsu, she was already three months pregnant with you. Kichimatsu was so happy to see you, a premature infant of seven months, as his son. He died believing you were his son." Yone suddenly cried out. Uno and Kisaburo watched her cry uncontrollably. Kisaburo's grandmother said to him, "Don't think badly of your mother. You should pity her. I can't imagine if it was more difficult to deceive your father or to suffer the deception. Also, your true father didn't know you. He is likewise no more...."

      "Who is this man who was my true father?" Kisaburo asked his mother.

      Yone answered quietly, "You should know his name. That Prince... His Highness who died in the Imperial headquarters in the midst of the Sino-Japanese War."

      Kisaburo's voice was husky. "That same Prince, the Chief of the General Staff...the state funeral for that same Prince Arisugawa, that was held three years ago. But, what, wasn't there something else concerning that Prince?"

      Grandmother Uno answered, "Let me tell you about the Prince. He fell in love with your mother when she worked in the teahouse that my younger brother managed in Fushimi. After often visiting your mother at the teahouse, the Prince was called to Tokyo by the Emperor. After the Prince left, your mother was aware that she was carrying you, and she came back to my house."

      Kisaburo laughed, "It's too foolish. Come off it! It's no good that you tell me such tall tales, just because I've become a tough guy. Give me the name of a famous gambling boss, if you're going to mention a powerful name! Not that I'm unable to believe what you say." Tears came to his eyes as he rolled down on his back, holding his sides, laughing uncontrollably.

      Uno took out a tanzaku, a fancy piece of paper used especially for Japanese poetry, from her kimono sleeve and presented it to Kisaburo, after lifting her head in reverence. Kisaburo accepted the tanzaku and read the tanka while lying on his back. This tanka is as follows:

My love is calm like the grass
growing in a mountain valley
where only the blades of grass
know her name

      Kisaburo was surprised at the quality of the tanka. "I remember having read this before. It reminds me of a waka composed by Onono-yoshiki in the Kokin-wakashu (the collection of waka entitled "Kokin-wakashu")...'My love is a piece of grass hidden in a mountain recess...' or something like that. This is a fine specimen of calligraphy. Who wrote this?" Turning the folded paper inside out, he was shocked at the signature, Arisugawa-no-miya-Taruhito, made with the Prince's strong stamp and his kaou (his written signature). Sitting down again, Kisaburo snapped at his mother, saying, "Is it true, Mother?"

      Yone nodded yes, and buried her head deeply in the collar of her kimono. She spoke so quietly he barely managed to hear her. "I have other things, a silk garment, a sword to defend yourself, and a purse...."

      "Why didn't you tell me sooner?" Kisaburo said. "What good is there in telling me now, and why didn't you tell me when the Prince was still alive?"

      His grandmother answered in a strong voice, "Because your father was still alive. Often I wanted to tell you, but I couldn't. You read the newspaper describing the death of your father, Prince Arisugawa, for me on the day of the state funeral. That night your mother and I cried, embracing each other. Kisa is the Prince's child. You were born when the Prince was 36 years old. When you were a child, there was the chance that you might succeed the Prince and become the head of the Arisugawa family. I had hoped that it would be possible for you to visit the coffin of the Prince, but you couldn't. I heard the Prince was with two ladies, but had no children."

      "Mother," Kisaburo said in a harsh voice, "Why didn't you tell the Prince's family that you were already pregnant with me?" Yone raised her face covered with tears and said, "I am to blame because I heard rumors that my baby would be killed if Prince Arisugawa was known to be the father. I wanted my child to live, and to have the baby in my mother's house. I left Fushimi without so much as a word, thinking only of the safety of my baby...."

      Kisaburo cried out in confusion. "Why did you want me anyway? I'm only the son of a poor peasant born and raised here. Just a frog in a well. It can't be helped now that I squirm in agony. I'm only 8 mon as it is (two mon short of ten, a little wanting), called Kisa the delinquent. I'm a guy who hopes to form a gang and cause a rain of blood to fall on the Kawachiya family. It's all right, mother. I guess I'm going to die because I'm an illegitimate child? Ha! When he threw my mother over, after having done whatever he wanted with her, then he left her to have me all alone. Hell, the only father I ever had was Kichimatsu, and that's good enough for me."

      Uno looked at him, enraged and desperate, with a deep sigh. "You are so similar to the Prince, doing what you please and making women cry. One day I'm afraid someone will be carrying your child too, and it will grow up without knowing its true father."

      Then Uno spoke with deep feeling to Kisaburo who had become silent and glum. "I won't allow you to be killed, you who grew from a drop of the Prince's blood, who has fallen into the earth in death. You cannot be concerned with such a foolish quarrel with the likes of the Kawachiya gang. I can imagine the grief of your true father in heaven. I wanted to bring you up to be strong, like a young bamboo with its roots deep in the ground, so that your step would be strong and firm. I can't help thinking, Kisa, that you can still serve gods, if only you will study and apply yourself."

      After Uno and Yone left, Kisaburo looked up at the ceiling with a blank stare. The things he was remembering were vanishing as though being cut away.... "I wonder if I'm going crazy, as though I was knocked on the head with a hunk of wood while daydreaming somewhere in a fool's paradise. Surely I will wake up if I keep dreaming...."

      It seems the rain is beginning.

      Kisaburo was unaware of the passage of time, since he was heavily wrapped and bandaged as he lay on his bed. His mother timidly brought his meals to his bedside. He saw his younger brother Yoshimatsu with a bandage around his head, roaring about something far away to his friend Shintaro Murakami, and then O-En shouting something very near, or from a distance, he couldn't tell.

      All these scenes dimly vanished beyond the mist of his memory.

      Sometime it stopped raining. The violent spring winds blow the plum blossom petals through the cracks and crevices of the sliding doors. The lantern light flares up with the wind. Some wet petals fall on Kisaburo's hair and cheeks, giving him a chill. The sweet smell of the blossoms fill the house, and even Kisaburo's body.

      Deep within the plum blossoms is a crystal red color and blowing upward, they fall into five distinct colors: yellow, blue, light purple, and the like. These petals fuse into his heavily aching head, chest and back all at once. Kisaburo could feel a new power flowing from his spirit.

      Changing his mind, Kisaburo got up and sat at his desk, grinding his ink stick on the stone to prepare the ink for his writing brush.

The Grand God, the Origin of Heaven and Earth

      He writes breathlessly with powerful strokes of the brush. He only notices what he has written after he stops writing. The characters were written on the white wall of the alcove. He prostrated himself before the wall drawn with the seven characters.

      He heard a voice, "Kisaburo Ueda." Raising his eyes, he saw a strange man wearing Western clothes standing before him, opening a small black pocketbook.

      The man said, "My name is Matsuoka. I've come to you as a messenger from the goddess Konohana-Sakuyahime-no-Mikoto enshrined in Mt. Fuyo (another name for Mt. Fuji).

      Kisaburo looked hard at this man named Matsuoka and said, "Mr. Matsuoka? Have you any business with me, sir?" He realized that he was not in the least afraid or surprised at this man who was a complete stranger to him until then, who had suddenly appeared in his room without warning.

      Matsuoka said, "I'm going to take you with me to Mt. Fuyo, right now."

      Smiling warmly Kisaburo stared into Matsuoka's alert brown eyes. "Mt. Fuyo? You mean, Mt. Fuji, don't you. Well, I'd like to look at Mt. Fuji at least once. Would you climb the mountain?"

      Matsuoka answered, "I'm a long-nosed goblin, and I believe I'll fly there."

      "Oh, you can fly!" Kisaburo exclaimed. "I'd like to become a bird at least once. are very different from the long-nosed goblin that I've seen in pictures."

      Matsuoka replied, "The long-nosed goblin can be transformed into various figures and is at ease in Western clothes. You are okay as you are. There's no need to change your clothes."

      "Yes, I understand," Kisaburo said. "Please give me a minute."

      He put pen to a roll of letter paper to leave a note. The first line came easily in beautiful strokes, the next line with some hesitation. His eyelids became moist with tears at the unexpected impression he made. He finished the last line and read it:

I'm a bird flying skyward
      Seeking the love of my true parents
Being carried higher on clouds
      Below people's lives are seized
With joy and with anger
      They make various gestures
I see the faraway sight outside of myself
      Surely the human world is fascinating
So interested in the spectacle
      I panic and fall to earth
I pray gods will bless me

      When Grandmother, Uno, had told him the truth, Kisaburo was very surprised by it and held some doubt. His confused feelings changed from tears to thoughts of deranged delirium to craziness and even to anger, making him most difficult to deal with. Through this ordeal his mind stopped at nothing in order to expose the significance of her story. Something inspired him and his mind became aware of the sacred. After his grandmother and mother left him, he spent a long time feeling empty yet full of remorse and self pity. In a flash an inspiration suddenly came to him and he wrote with all his strength and prayers:

...Grand God, Omoto (the Origin) of Heaven and Earth

      Kisaburo's handwriting on the letter paper expressed his growing out of his former self after the long hard battle and the sufferings that life had given to him.

      Kisaburo wrote the following:

...A bird flying in the sky.

      The sky means heaven, namely the Imperial Court. A bird can imagine freedom because a bird rises into the sky from the nest as it likes. The high clouds...the written characters are filled with respect for a court noble and the Imperial Court.

      The call of a cuckoo born in a bush warbler's nest seemed the same as a coughing up of blood. The cuckoo suspected the secret of its birth and flew off into the sky and into the clouds. As he wrote the second line, Kisaburo was filled with a sea of emotion giving his whole mind to his writing brush. He secretly included the name of his true father in the poem, between the lines, "Seeking the love parents" and "Below people's lives."

      Nothing changed even though he know who his true father was, and it was necessary to attempt to break the spell over his troubled soul and free himself from the lower strata of society, to set himself free into the sky with renewed hope.

...In the sky that dazzles me above the fields
the place where the father whom I've never met
has lived, I hear.

      His pen name, Kiraku, was also written in the meaning of the line, "Being seized with feelings of joy and anger." A Chinese character meaning "to be imprisoned" suggested instinctively his sorrowful fate at this time.

      ...My soul is now separate from my body, hovering between the real and the spiritual as it rises to fly to Mt. Fuji with Matsuoka, a messenger of the gods. On earth people writhe and twist, caught in trifling emotions, just as I myself was until yesterday. What interest would my life have for me if I'm only interested in myself? No, no. I must take care not to make mistakes. Going into ecstasies over this, I'll only repeat what I have done till now. There's the possibility that along the way, I've lost my sense of moral judgment.

      He prays to gods, with joy in his heart, to protect him eternally.

      Throwing down his writing brush, he forces himself to stand and move toward the open door, quietly beginning to walk in a southwesterly direction. On his way, despite keeping his eyes closed, he never tripped on the stone path. And Kisaburo's soul quickly became wrapped in purple cloth as he rose to fly to Mt. Fuji held in the breast of the gods' messenger, Matsuoka. He stood on the summit of Mt. Fuji and looked out over Yamato Shimane (Japan), and then toward Minakami Mountain in Shinano County. After some enchanted time passed, Kisaburo came to his senses and felt the biting cold winds, feeling as if his skin was about to be torn off. He could see a vast stretch of a sea of trees thick with foilage, as he looked at the half moon which appeared now and then from behind the fast blowing clouds over the summit. The sound of the freezing winds through the pines soaked through his body. The night mist gushed out and rose from the valley below on the right as it spread wide and covered the sea of trees. The messenger of the gods, Matsuoka, was out of sight and Kisaburo was sitting up, putting on an undershirt in the middle of a cave formed from a large rock. This scene suddenly reminded him of something.

      One night, on March 1, 1898 (Meiji 31), Kisaburo climbed to a cave on the side of Mount Takakuma near Anao Village, about 2 kilometers toward the southwest from his hiding place, Kirakutei.

      It was said that Mount Takakuma was called Mount Taka-mikura (meaning Tenno's Mountain) and in ancient times there was on Obata Shrine there, as described in the ancient record of Engishiki, where the Kaika Tenno (Emperor) was worshipped. Mount Taka-mikura's name was changed to Takakura, and finally to Takakuma. According to tradition handed down through generations, the mountain got its name because a Prince, whom the Buretsu Tenno looked upon as the Crown Prince or the next Tenno, had hidden himself in that mountain his whole life. The Buretsu Tenno was never able to find the Prince, and so he handed over his throne to another Prince of the Imperial family, who became the Keitai Tenno.

      Because this Prince had remained hidden for his entire life on this mountain, he was called the Prince of Anao, and Mount Takakuma was the mountain of spiritual power among the villagers.

      The villagers handed down a riddle from the ancient times concerning Mount Takakuma. An unknown bird often came flying over and hooted the story:

...The morning sun shines on Mount Takakuma
Mount Takakuma glows in the evening sun
In this mountain a golden cock buried 1000 ryo 'koban'
Under the honewort azalea

      When climbing Takakuma and looking for firewood, Kisaburo always sought the honewort azalea. But now, he had nothing on his mind as he sat on a rock under the wintry sky, chilled to the bone. It was his practice, ordered by the gods. During the two hours he sat there, he felt his soul separate from his body for a "spiritual" hour.

      Then his soul explored all over the worlds of the organized universe, Shinkai (the Sacred World), Chuukai (the Confused World) and Jigokukai (the Suffering World). It is usually said that this is the practice of asceticism, practiced during a fast when no food or drink is taken and when one is wearing only an undershirt. We know that Kisaburo, being bound in bandages from head to toe and under medical care, could not have been sitting up easily, as he was bedridden with many injuries, but at times he got up and wandered about unconsciously in a bamboo thicket. When he came to his senses, he realized his arms and legs were injuried as he was sitting on a large rock, looking like the figure of a giant toad jutting out over a precipice. This rock is called Toad Rock. Kisaburo feels that it is far more painful to practice spiritually for an hour than to live in reality for two hours.

      Darkness envelops his whole body and he feels as though he's sinking into boundless air upside down or sideways. Ash-colored powders danced powerfully in the dark. He was beside himself with loneliness while trying to hold on to something, anything. His throat was parched and he lost his voice, so he would not shout. He wanted desperately to hear even the roar of a tiger, a wolf, and listen to the chirping of insects, anything if only a glimpse, just to know he is alive.

      Heavy footsteps suddenly came near, making way through the bamboo grove. A huge black animal appeared in front of him in the dark. It was a bear. Kisaburo's whole body stiffened. The bear roared in a low growl, making the night air tremble with his harsh fishy-smelling breath.

      At this moment his blood froze... "I give my life to you!"

      Kisaburo threw himself before the bear, face to face with the bear's burning blue eyes. The bear was the master of Mount Takakuma. Once the bear finds a person out at midnight, he would tear him limb from limb and hang him on the branch of a pine tree.

      ...Yeah, you're the bear the old people in the village talk about. Well, come over here and sit down next to me.

      Kisaburo was carried away with an impulse to hug the bear. His fear had vanished. He longed for the bear's friendship as a sign of life. It was then that the bear became sympathetic, seemed to understand him, and it slowly ambled off, leaving its body warmth behind.

      ...Stop. Stay a bit longer! He shouted in his mind. The mountain fell into a deep silence, like himself as he went ahead, boundless and alone in the dark.

      ...I understand the truth very well, gods! Kisaburo raised his voice in his mind.

      ...All living things are included in love of gods. If it is impossible for me to be something on my own, then even a savage can help me in such a solitary state.

      Kisaburo wished only to see the supporters of Kankichi Kawachiya, beginning with Wakanishiki the wrestler and the rest who beat him as they liked. It was their faces that he clung to.

      Why do people hesitate, then get angry, insult others and give such pain to each other when all are blessed by gods. Even if he is a bad man, he is also a child of gods because humanity holds the spirit of gods in their hearts and live under love of gods. Not only humans, but all things, animals, plants and all life holds the power to create their life and their world. They become the last resort of existence on earth, namely pieces of the figure of gods. Kisaburo wanted to deepen his love for animals and to increase his awareness of the power of living things. At the same time he shed bitter tears at his own conceited and selfish ways in the past.

      Kisaburo didn't know how many days had passed, or how much time, as his soul roamed between reality and the spiritual while he continued sitting without moving an inch on Mount Takakuma. The cold winds stabbed at his skin as he froze to the bone. His knees became insensitive to pain, even though they'd been injured from the constant sitting position on the rock day and night. Though he'd felt the pangs of hunger, he passed the threshold, and water was what he craved. Even though muddy water and water in the tree hollows was in front of him, he couldn't move, not even a little, being bound hand and foot. He slowly grew dim and lost consciousness.

      ...Here I will die, becoming a fiend from hunger. He looked up at the sky. A drop of evening dew hung on the needles of a pinetree branch, trembled in the breeze and fell on Kisaburo's lips. He sipped it involuntarily. How sweet and delicious! As the dewdrop filled his soul, the power of life rose up in him. Oh, this is a blessing! How to change this impression into something! Now Kisaburo understood a joyful life could result from long suffering.

      My behavior was the value of boiled water. It is either too tepid before boiling or too hot after boiling. He folded his hands while reflecting on his self-centered actions. He devoted himself with deep gratitude to gods, thanking him for the blessings of water, fire and especially for the unlimited air.

      Kisaburo understood the general principles for learning through profound concentration, learning to see through the universe, learning to hear the movements of nature, learning how to hear god's voice and his own recitations to Him, learning to foresee the future. It was then that he understood the role of salvation for the world through the practice of religious exercises on Mount Takakuma during the week of March 1 (February 9, by lunar calendar) through March 7 (February 15).

      The weather for the week on Mount Takakuma and its vicinity is:

March 1 (February 9, by lunar calendar)      Rain, clouds moving south
March 2 (February 10)      Cloudy, hard cold winds, clouds moving
March 3 (February 11)      Snow in the morning, later cloudy
March 4 (February 12)      Snow in the morning, later cloudy
March 5 (February 13)      Cloudy
March 6 (February 14)      Snow
March 7 (February 15)      Cloudy

<< PrevPage:
  1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10
11    12    13    14    15    16    17    18
19    20    21    22    23    24    25    26
27    28    29    30    31    32
Next >>


    Copyright ©  The Aizen-en   All Rights Reserved.