Mother Earth

Volume 3: The Caldron of Hell

Chapter 1: An Expedition to the Spirituality World

      Jiromatsu Ueda, whose nickname was Anxious Pine (Ureimatsu), was sitting around feeling bored with nothing to do. Yoshimatsu, the younger brother of Kisaburo, came barging into Jiromatsu's room and gave a full account of Kisaburo's visit to Osaka, how he returned with a threatening look. Jiromatsu became so excited as he listened to the story that his blood nearly boiled. Kisaburo's antics could always be counted on to produce more than a simple topic of conversation. From the moment Jiromatsu rushed into the Ueda house, he began to accuse Kisaburo, swearing to his heart's content and criticizing him relentlessly. Leaving the house, Jiromatsu ran around the whole village spreading Kisaburo's story. A sense of great weariness overcame him so that all his limbs and his mouth felt like they were reduced to pulp, but in spite of this, he felt cheerful like the bright clear blue sky.

      ...Meanwhile Kisaburo should be somewhat affected by all this severe criticism, don't you think, and he did appear tolerably dejected. Kisaburo's state moved Jiromatsu to laughter, making him happy as a king. It was already late in the evening when Jiromatsu came back home. Entering the back door of his home, Jiromatsu was met by his grandmother O-kono who pulled at his arm and gestured toward the back room. She was trembling all over and speechless as well. This was nothing to take lightly. He found in the room his only daughter, Aguri, a twenty-year-old, soon to deliver a child. She was praying constantly, wringing her hands nervously in front of the family's Buddhist altar. Jiromatsu looked straight at her and said, "What are you doing? Why are you praying to Buddha? It's rare for you." Aguri turned her face to him, grinning with laughter and revealing a large gaping mouth. An offensive smell entered his nostrils. Jiromatsu carefully looked at the food offering on the altar. It was a dumpling made of human waste! She thrust out her hands all covered with excrement, laughing crazily.

      Jiromatsu was shocked as he looked at her, feeling he'd lost his legs. She was ready to bite the hand that would attempt to pick up the dumpling and get rid of it. She jumped up and down, her hair disheveled and wild. Expressions of dread turned their faces pale as paper as Jiromatsu and O-Kono closed the fusuma, the sliding doors to the back room. O-Kono said in a husky voice, "That's a fox, she's possessed by a fox. There is a fox that lives in Takahata that often comes to eat human sewage in our toilet. Possessed by a devil...It was Kisa who wasked the fox to take possession of us. Kisa lent me out for Matsu, who was obstructing him in his spiritual quest, so I understood." Jiromatsu who always enjoyed others' troubles, was frightened at the sudden turn of his daughter's misery and said, "How can I deal with her? What can I do for her?" "She's up to no good," O-Kono said, "I'm going to get Hirokichi. Watch that she doesn't run away." O-Kono went out to get her son-in-law. Jiromatsu shouted at her with an anxious tone, "Grandma. Take care not to mention anything to the neighbors. You know what pleasure they take in our family's unhappiness."

      Kisaburo entered the grand black gate of Yoshinosuke Saito's house in East Anao, wearing the formal kimono for men which consisted of haori and hakama. Keizo Saito, the twenty-six-year-old adopted son from Utsune Village, was ill with lung disease, transmitted to him by his late wife. Earlier that morning an old woman in the neighborhood, named O-Iyo, came to ask for Kisaburo's help. "Kei-han is suffering from a severe attack to his lungs. Please visit him and pray to the gods to heal him." Kisaburo's age is nearly the same as Keizo's, and he knows him by sight and would visit him in any case. Yoshinosuke's wife O-Etsu, fifty years old, looked down at Kisaburo from the front of the entrance. She is the heiress of the Saito family and carries her authority as a boss with a certain style. She enjoys joining the farmers and villagers, treating them to sake and even beating the drums during festival time, in the leisure season for farmers. She has a glib tongue and has earned the nickname of "Skylark", given to her by the villagers.

      Kisaburo lowered his head and spoke to her formally. "Kei-han is ill in bed, so I hear." O-Etsu glared at him, drawing in her chin, "Yes, he is dangerously ill, and you, for that matter, is there anything wrong with you?" Kisaburo flinched that such an answer could turn so ugly, and after a pause said, "I heard about it from Granma O-Iyo this morning. Well....I considered what it is that I might do for him, but I don't know how quickly I can help him —" O-Etsu interrupted him in mid-sentence, "I don't know what the busybody O-Iyo said to you, but I've told her nothing about my husband's condition. Hey you, are you an Izuna (a fox shaman), Kisa-yan?" It is said that an Izuna practices magic through a small fox which is possessed of occult power. The Izuna lures the fox into a bamboo forest and eventually captures it, I hear. It is also said the Izuna studies the methods of magic from the god of Mt. Iizuna in Nagano Prefecture.

      O-Etsu continued with her story, "However one asked you, I won't allow you to see my husband, Kei, Oh no, never. I'm so disgusted with even hearing anything you have to say about the gods. My foolish relatives who were charmed with the Tenri religious sect lost everything, their house and even their warehouse. Another friend, Chika, was a slave to the fox deity, and failed in speculation, eventually losing everything, including her house and land. Such despicable creatures, who never work and always run around speaking of Kami — the gods — Kami this and Kami that, will gain nothing here. Maybe, you expect to lead my husband to follow you, but I won't allow it. I have some fear of you because you practice magic by way of the fox deity and can get your revenge this way. Okay, can you really do it? Pshaw! I graciously worship the god of the Kurozumi sect, for your information. If I might add, the god of Kurozumi is Amaterasu-Omikami — the Sun Goddess — dedicated to the Grand Shrine. This Grand Goddess is different from your long-nosed goblin and your animals possessed with occult powers. After all, what is this fox called Izuna, anyway? Oh, I feel sick just looking at you, and I have other worries, my husband's health for instance. So, go home, get out of here!"

      Kisaburo protested, "Say, er-r-r, O-Etsu-han." "Eh! What nerve you have," she responded. And continued, "All you have to do is to cut frogs on your farm as the child of a poor peasant, but no, you want to be a big time speculator without using your own money and you were even attempting to manage a dairy farm, at which you failed miserably, and now, you're an Izuna! Aren't you ashamed of yourself, for having done such things? Jiromatsu visited me a little while ago and told me everything, even about what happened to you in Naniwa (Osaka). What did you do there? You were deserted by your mistress, yet you ran after the girl most regretfully. And you were squeezed out of the money that was supposed to be for the rent of the hotel room, I heard. You came back here with a stupid look of surprise on your face. As a gallant, you came off rather badly, I'm afraid."

      Kisaburo cannot afford to have such a woman chattering about him in this tone around the village. He began to preach the ways of God. O-Etsu's reaction was to cover her ears and to blubber, "Don't bother me anymore. You anything fool! I've proof from a well-known witness, my friend Jiromatsu. You are disgusting! Now, get out!" O-Etsu called into the house, "Hey, O-Tome, bring some salt." The maid appeared without any expression on her face, holding a handful of salt. Kisaburo rushed away from t he house, looking over his shoulder at O-Etsu who was about to scatter a pinch of salt for good luck over his head. All the while the women were very noisy in their ridicule of him. He was shocked by O-Etsu's insults, which added more failure to his troubles in Osaka. He thought that now no one would have anything to do with him at this rate. And he held a grudge against Jiromatsu who had interfered with him so viciously behind his back, and more so because Jiromatsu was a member of the same society of friends in the village. With his head drooped, Kisaburo walked along with heavy steps over the Obata Bridge. Some one called out to him. "Master Kiraku! Where have you been visiting? I've been looking all over for you. It's only by accident that I happened to run into you!" It is Jiromatsu, who seems to be quite a different person. He looks as if he might even embrace Kisaburo. Kisaburo was surprised at this and he stopped and asked him, "What's gotten into you, Jiromatsu-han?" Jiromatsu glared at him with his eyes turned up and said, "What's gotten into you? Can you tell me? I don't understand you." Kisaburo became irritated with Jiromatsu. "I repeat myself again. What's come over you? I'm getting angrier by the moment. I won't be satisfied until you tell me, even if I have to punch you in the face!" With tears in his eyes, Jiromatsu said, "It's just as I thoguht after all." Feeling miserable Kisaburo said, "What are you saying about me? How can I say it? Tell me what you think I did!" Jiromatsu suddenly began crying on the bridge. "You, talking as though it's all my fault, when it's so cruel of you, and what you did to my daughter, Aguri. She has nothing to do with our troubles!" Kisaburo then asked him, "What's the matter with Aguri?" In tears, Jiromatsu yelled, "She is near her time of childbirth later today or tomorrow. Yet all she's been doing the last few days is making balls of feces, imagine that!" Kisaburo was, to say the least, disappointed. The villagers passing them on t he bridge heard Jiromatsu crying. Kisaburo became anxious, not wanting to be misunderstood by them, while attempting to defend himself on the bridge. He shrugged his shoulders, and said, "Anyway, let's go. Let's get out of here." He quickened his pace.

      The old woman O-Kono was one of the people on the bridge. She also became irritated with him. "Hey, Kisaburo-han," she cried out, "I guess you're really angry. Have courage! After all, we are all relatives together, all part of the original family. The pain ought to be shared equally between my family and yours. If I may say so, I don't really believe you intended any harm. Please return home and take the fox of Izuna with you. Don't let this old woman see any more miserable things. You may have done it half in fun, but Aguri, my only granddaughter, it's a tragedy, what has been done to her. If she is unable to give birth to her child, or if anything should go wrong, I will kill myself and change into an evil spirit and I will vow to bring evil upon you till the end of your days."

      The old woman, strong as she was, couldn't help her tears from rising as she stared into Kisaburo's eyes, couldn't help the deep grudge she felt in her heart against him. And she would seriously bring evil upon him. That could be counted on for sure. It's no joke. "Don't talk such nonsense to me," Kisaburo said. "How am I supposed to practice the magical powers of Izuna? Even lowly servants don't listen or even pay any attention to what I say. My guess is that this fox that you speak of doesn't talk to humans anyway. I'm so angry with you now for even suggesting this. It's the villagers who are going around saying that i practice black magic of the Izuna, and it's because of you, you're the one spreading this story among them. It's embarrassing, and in addition, I can't help anyone as long as this goes on, though I might be able to help! And then there's the added problem of how to apologize to the gods!" "Yah, yah," O-Kono said, "That's all true. But the Izuna fox-god is venerated by us. The fox is the highest rank of the gods, Sho-ichii, Inari-Daimyojin, our Grand God Fox. It is to be honored, respected! And I ask you, once again, to take the Izuna fox-god out of my granddaughter, Aguri, if only a little, won't you?" Aguri's laughter reached them, although she was still at the back of the house. Her husband Hirokichi had arrived and was sullen and praying with his hands pressed tightly together. If Kisaburo can't help Aguri, he will have to bear the scorn of both himself and of O-Kono. If he helps her, it is more difficult to remove their misunderstanding for him. There is no easy escape for himself, he thought. Seeing now how tragic the situation was in this house, he hadn't enough time to take himself and the whole situation into consideration.

      Kisaburo calmed himself and entered the interior of the house. The back room was closed off and in the dark, where Aguri was still sitting, surrounded by the strong odors of the feces and smoke from the hibachi. He ordered Hirokichi to open the door of the room. Aguri looked around anxiously, raising her eyes. Kisaburo composed himself. Sitting straight as a stick, he began praying to help her, reciting Amatsu-Norito and offering these words to the gods. At once Aguri jumped up crying, "Ken-ken," sounding like a fox, and she crawled back into the futon. Kisaburo repeated his recitation to the gods, reciting "Ame-no-Kazuuta" four or five times, pouring all his spiritual power into his index finger. When he pointed his finger at the lump under the futon, the lump ran out toward the garden and struck her head against the closed gate. The lump uttered a shriek. Kisaburo and the others gave chase. Just ahead of them a clearly recognizable shadow of a fox wafted outward from Aguri's body as she fell over backwards. In the next moment, the shadow flew apart and dashed away through the gate trying to escate. It is in reality, noon. Kisaburo lifted Aguri up in his arms. They were both barefoot. Kisaburo said, "Clear the room of the futon...and the household Buddhist altar." Jiromatsu and Hirokichi cleared these away in a hurry. The old woman O-Kono said in a burst of anger, "First let's restore the former condition of Aguri's body as quickly as possible!" Aguri became calm after Hirokichi cleaned her up and fixed her hair according to Kisaburo's advice.

      Aguri opened her eyes soon after Kisaburo's religious exercise was over and she became calm in mind and body. Her pale cheeks recovered their former glow. She raised herself from the futon and looked all around, muttering with a sigh of relief, "I don't know why, but I feel like I was in a dream. Oh, I'm so happy that I could awake from a dream." She smiled shyly at Kisaburo, recognizing him sitting in the corner of the room. Quietly, Kisaburo left the house while the others paid attention to Aguri's recovery. The next morning, Kisaburo entered the garden to look in on Aguri, who was in her room, anxious about her recovery. He was very surprised at the way the room was decorated with the charms of Konpira (the Japanese Neptune) pasted on the walls. Jiromatsu was surprised to find Kisaburo there, blocking the way by standing on the edge of the veranda. He shouted, "Hey, Hirokichi, Grandma! Kisa-ko just came in from the back of the garden. He's here!" The old woman O-Kono rushed out, bringing Aguri with her. Aguri was petrified with fright, holding her arms tightly to her breast. Kisaburo suddenly felt empty inside for the care given Aguri, as he watched her frightened reaction.

      O-Kono said, "Look, Kisa-ko! The fox can't come near now because we've got the Konpira gods' charms hanging all over the room. Hey, you, don't continue making such misfortune for others, the kind of magic you practiced on Aguri! But I saw through your plot all along. This time I'll forgive you. If it should happen again, I'll get the police! From now on I'm going to interrupt your black magic by praying to Konpira. You just watch me and you'll see. There'll be no more of your dark practice. There is no way for you to think you can prosper by your evil practice, if you understand me. Hey, why don't you take up your former milk business and help your mother and grandmother? They see the trouble you're in. I will not leave you alone in this matter and thanks to others' kindness, I can seek a proper end to this. Don't return to doing such evil things and undo all the good that's already been done." Kisaburo felt dizzy with anger. After all, he hadn't expected such troubles and was speechless. All he could feel was pity for Aguri. Sure enough, Jiromatsu added fresh fuel to the story. "My Aguri was very much annoyed by Kisaburo's magic. Just as we began to accuse him, Kisa flushed out the fox that he gave with his evil practice to Aguri, and with some difficulty, I might add. I saw the fox rush out of her body, just as Kisa had ordered it. Not only myself, but also Hirokichi. He is the true witness. It is the truth! This is a reality, even if Kisa is a relative of mine. I say, we must be cautious of him." Jiromatsu's words were an encouragement to O-Etsu-san, the "skylark." She wanted to chatter to the villagers about this, and said, "Just as I thought. Kisa was planning to practice his black magic against my husband, all along. I turned him away at the door because I quickly understood he was to say sweet things, so that he could get at my husband. The best I could do was to dash salt over him and shout at him to drive him away." This rumor flew around the whole village in a day.

      Ever since his trip to Naniwa (Osaka), Kisaburo has continued to fail at everything he does. As he reflected on his conduct, he thought it was due to his carelessness. He wished more and more that he could clear his conscience, as a thirsty man quenches himself with water. "Well, I guess I'll try once again to practice asceticism on Mount Takakuma." Now, Kisaburo could obtain a new character. He ought to lead the itinerant men in search of spirituality who visited often him. He also had to try with his best ability to manage the Kameoka branch of the Learned Society of Spirituality which had just formed.

      "I will attempt, when I can, to be well-trained in the second training on Mount Takakuma, utilizing as much time as I can to practice the reality of asceticism. In this way, in the next training, I will have something to confirm and give to the world."

      A little cuckoo took wing with a keen cry in the evening sky, where clouds hung low as a breeze swept through the new leaves of summer. Kisaburo was bathed in moonlight, sitting erect under the branches of a pine tree on a large rock called Senbiki-Iwa, above the rock cave of Mount Takakuma. He had begun his ascetic exercises, practicing the method called Yusai-no-gyo (Spiritual Exercises). There are two methods of worshipping the gods, the Reality Exercises and the Spiritual Exercises. In the Reality Exercises, the worshipper uses a formal style that is beautiful and solemn, arranging the shrine, reciting offerings, hanging the pendant paper strips in the Shinto manner, and other such practices to worship the heavenly gods and the earthly gods and goddesses and to praise and always give thanks to God. In the Spiritual Exercises, one only prays to particular gods with sincerity, while others may be omitted. The Reality Exercises are the way to worship the gods and the Spiritual Exercises are the way to pray to the gods. It is very important that the worshipper harmonize both the Reality Exercises and the Spiritual Exercises. As the night goes on, Kisaburo felt clear in mind and body, reaching the stage when he can see the shadows of the gods. Kisaburo's soul separated from his body and flew freely in the Spirituality World.

      When Kisaburo tried the first training of Mount Takakuma, he already had obtained most acknowledge of the Spirituality after finished to explore most arae of the Spirituality World, but wanted more and more to know about it in detail. Hovering between life and death, human beings resurrected in the Spirituality World and enters into the life in the afterworld which are organized three grave worlds, Shinkai (the Sacred World), Chuukai (the Confused World) and, Yukai (the Dim Worlds). What is the Sacred World?

      It means Takamagahara (the Plain of High Heaven) in Japanese Shintoism, Gokuraku-Jodo (the Land of Happiness) in Buddhism, and Heaven in Christianity. Chuukai (the Confused World) shows Ame-no-Yachimata (the crossroads in heaven) in Japanese Shintoism, Rokudo-no-tsuji (a crossing to Rokudo, which was a crossing to a crematory in Mt. Toribe, Kyhoto at old time) in Buddhism, and the Spirit World in Christianity. The Dim World is Ne-no-Kuni (the origin land) or Soko-no-Kuni (the bottom land) which were said to be deep in the bowels of the earth or beyond the sea, separated far from reality in Japanese Shintoism. The Dim World is also Hachiman-jigoku (unlimited nether world) in Buddhism, and the Inferno in Christianity.

      Kisaburo has explored to Spirituality neglecting time and space. In Genkai (the Reality World), human beings are restricted by time and space because of being much influenced by the law of the physical. In Reikai (the Spirituality World), human beings can neglect freely time and space according to their own will and imagination. Kisaburo changed himself to Spirituality in a moment, standing at the crossroads of heaven that formed a grain of rice, "米" in Japanese.

      Human being is created of soul and body. The soul is the origin of the human being and the body is the receptacle or the clothing. When the clothing is well-worn and broken the soul dumps the clothing as a dead body in the earth and can be resurrected through Reikai (Spirituality). This means that the soul separates eternally from the body between life and death.

      In the afterworld, the soul will firstly visit Chuukai (the Confused World), namely the crossroads of heaven where gods and bad souls come together in confusion. The way to Heaven or Hell of these souls will be decided by god's judgment based on the materials of each soul, with few exceptions. Surely good and true souls go to Heaven at once, and most wicked and evil souls go to Hell instantly. At this crossing, the way to Heaven or Hell is decided for each soul.

      For each soul: the outside shared condition proceeds to the inside shared condition, which then proceeds to the preparatory shared condition.

      Kisaburo thought that the organization is as above. As all things hold an inside and outside, the soul also holds an inside, named on inside shared condition, and an outside shared condition. The inside shared condition means simply sincerity while the soul deeply considers everything. The outside shared condition means the false mind which feigns his or her right mind. The outside shared condition is produced by the senses of the flesh, the memory, the knowledge, language, and acts based on this knowledge and other influences of the phenomena of Reality.

      The inside shared condition of the human being in Reality is covered by the outside shared condition which, moreover, puts on the mask of flesh. It is very difficult to recognize the truth of the interior of matter because of human behavior. There are many examples of those attaining Buddhahood (tathagata) with a demon (yaksa). However in Spirituality controlled by spiritual law, the human being is without the body which plays the role of masking the truth. And it is only the will alone and the idea that is the figure and face of spiritual flesh.

      Thinking of good things, then, humankind has a good face surely, whereas a hint of evil gives humankind a bad face. There is no use in trying to juggle with anyone at all. Kisaburo called this principle "The Agreement of inside and outside of the soul." This is why Spirituality is called the will and the idea of the world.

      After death, the looks and the figures of the souls retain the knowledge of the rich, the poor, and the culture in which he or she lived in Reality. This is the outside shared condition. In a short time, the outside shared condition is shed according to the spiritual law of "The Agreement of the inside and outside of the soul," and the inside shared condition appears on the surface of the soul and gradually changes into spiritual flesh, either beautiful or ugly based on the quality of the inside shared condition of the soul. A woman who was ugly while alive could change into a beauty, and one who was beautiful could change into an ugly soul. According to this, the gods decide where humans are to live in Spirituality. Kisaburo calls this situation of the soul "the inside shared condition."

      The soul that is going to Heaven must prepare for this journey and must learn the knowledge that is needed to live in heaven. The earthy matter that is destined for Hell, on the other hand, can ignore such knowledge.

      The soul that stays in the crossroads in the Confused World, may remain, for example, for a few days, months, or years, but not over thirty years. Usually, it stays for fifty days. The length of time it takes to reach an understanding with "The Agreement of the inside and outside of the soul" of matter will determine the difference between a long and short stay. For example, a hypocrite will remain longer as he or she resists the true nature of the inside structure by trying to cover up one's own bad acts in the process of the gods' judgment at the crossroads. Once the mask covering the guilt of the outside structure is shed, the ugliness that was hidden from view is now exposed. No one can meet again, even if husband and wife, parents and children, brother and sister, or friends, between Heaven and Hell. If they worship the same gods or love each other, they can do it even in Heaven.

      Kisaburo stands now at the crossroads in Chuukai (the Confused World), meeting many souls, those who had gone before him and those who still lived in Genkai (the Reality World). He was not surprised seeing the souls of those who were still alive and who wandered about the Confused World. He had already learned the true organization of the Universe at his first ascetic practice on Mount Takakuma. People are more likely to believe that they will visit this world after they die, so Kisaburo thinks. Spirituality exists in Reality simultaneously and unites both Reikai (the Spirituality World) and the Reality World. The souls of those who live in the Reality exist simultaneously in Shinkai (the Sacred World), the Confused World and in Yukai (the Dim World), according to the character of each soul.

      No one called out to Kisaburo because they couldn't recognize his existence. He could see people in minute detail as they passed him. Kisaburo was clearly able to distinguish between souls of those who lived in Reality and those who were deceased. The dead prowled the streets in deep thought, ignoring their surroundings. If Kisaburo shouted to them at them, their spiritual flesh would crumble and fall away at once, while those whose souls were alive changed into real flesh again. Kisaburo began to walk on the way of many roads which branched off in all direcitons. After he went over a mountain, crossed a stream, and passed through a wilderness, he reached the top of a hill where green leaves appeared. An old pine tree which he guessed to be 1000 years old stood on this hill. Maybe, it seems that this place marks the boundary between Heaven and Yachimata (the crossroads). The sound of a Sho musical instrument rode on the breeze from far off in the distance. Probably a holy man was playing the instrument. Kisaburo sat on a rock under the ancient pine tree, taking in the view of the surroundings. The view of Yachimata was gloomy while the view of Heaven is dazzling. And so it is that Yachimata is called a landscape of autumn and Heaven is called a landscape of spring or summer, and Jigoku (the Suffering World, Hell) is called a desolate and forlorn landscape of winter. Kisaburo suddenly strained his eyes and saw an old warrior in armor coming up the hill with faltering steps on the Yachimata side. The old warrior stopped in front of Kisaburo and smiled weakly at him. Kisaburo asked unintentionally, "Have I seen you before? Why are ou wearing this strange armor at this time? Doesn't it feel too heavy?" Gasping for air, the warrior answered, "Yes, I feel so heavy." Helping the faltering man, Kisaburo said, "Please take off such clothes. You have no enemy here."

      The old warrior replied, "I really want to take this off at all costs, but I can't. The helmet and armor eats into my muscles, because my Karma is affected by the actions of my previous existence." "By any chance, are you....?" Kisaburo asked. The old warrior nods shyly, "I was called Tokugawa Ieyasu in the Reality World." Kisaburo was surprised to hear this. "You are that greatest of warriors who unified the whole country, and then laid the foundation of the Edo Shogunate...." "Quite so," the old warrior replied. "It's very strange," Kisaburo said, "You are now wandering around Yachimata (crossroads) at this time. You once occupied the highest of position in the warrior society, the Seitaishogun (the commander-in-chief of an expeditionary force against the barbarians), and you died 300 years ago. It is hardly possible that you could have been here for even 30 years in Yachimata!" The warrior said, "300 years... Oh, I groaned and suffered from my previous acts in the Suffering World for a long's been 300 years! Now I have reached the point where I'm finally getting out of this dark hell." "You, you're from hell? I would have thought the bloody age of civil war to an end and produced a long rare period of peace would have come to another end. I have long believed in your profound and meritorious deeds."

      With a deeply-troubled look, the old warrior answered, "Suppose that I did gain certain recognition for my achievements, I still bear the burden of a sinner who gained, yes, political power, but through misconduct...this is what remains eating at my flesh." Kisaburo replied, "Is that so, well, I really do not understand clearly. I think that the values in the Reality World are quite different from the values of the Spirituality World. However, it is possible that you have been, nevertheless, worshipped as a god, Tosho-Daigongen, at Nikko Mountain." "It is true," the old warrior said in a hoarse voice. "I have been so made a god, in spite of my sins, and it is because of this, I groan the more! Even as people pray to me in admiration, I am called to my ungodly acts in my mind, repeatedly, with much pain. This is what rips at my flesh." Tears fell in drops from his wrinkled eyes, and just then the air cleared and in rapid succession a sweet melody sounded, flowing over the darkness, as a shaft of light suddenly burst downward. The old warrior seemed to be as though struck by the light. He covered his eyes with his angular hands and fell on his chest groaning. The Sacred, covered with the powerful shaft of light, descended and stood before them. Kisaburo knelt before the god and asked, "Kindly grant me a favor and announce your name." The god then answered, "I am your Sachi-mitata (Blessing Soul), Kototamawake-no-Kami —, this I say to you!"

      When Kisaburo raised his head, hearing some unexpected words, there was no longer the Sacred in sight, except a beam of light running away over the clouds. "How foolish. Could it be that the Sacred image is the Blessing Soul, which is the soul of the original spirits, those I called the four souls of the one spirit." Kisaburo stared in blank surprise. The old warrior crawled on his knees up to Kisaburo, entreating him in the most formal language, explaining his desperate wish with tears in his eyes. "My only savior in the whole world. Please save my soul so it can journey to heaven." Unconsciously Kisaburo answered, "I forgive your sins." At that very moment, the helmet and armor peeled away from the spiritual flesh of the old warrior as he changed into a vigorous young man of about 30 years old.

      "Well, the moment the helmet and armor, the symbol of the warrior's previous power in the Reality World, fell away, the shared exterior or outside structure of the soul peeled off and exposed the inside soul which was restored to life again. Isn't that what happened?"

      Recovering his senses, Kisaburo sat down on a rock of Mount Takakuma. The moon which is resting on a pine tree, has moved little since the time he saw it before. He noticed that little time had run on its course in the Reality World. He recognized that he could rise above time, space and all ages.

      At midnight, the moon is clear and the wind which came sweeping across the summit of the mountain seems to purge all noxious vapors. The azaleas, full of dew, scent the air around the pine tree. The soul of Kisaburo is going to take a trip to the Spirituality World before he knows it.

      Kisaburo trudged on to a desolate field being unaware of whether it was midday or night without a sun and moon in the sky. On his way, he met with a couple living in the same Sogabe Village. Only their sould had separated from their body because they are from a family of large landowers and they persecute the tenanat farmers in the Reality World. Kisaburo called out to them, but they wewe walking stooped over calmly.

      The darkness deepened all around. A ball of fire suddenly appeared coming nearer to where he and the couple were, from the distance over the grassy fields, and fell on the heads of the couple as they cried out. The husband and wife became two balls of fire now, and all of a sudden a third ball appeared, all three jostling with each other in a confusion in midair. Kisaburo guessed that the third ball of fire was the soul of the husband's mistress, and he became fearful as he watched this scene because the disposition of their souls was complicated and concerned the triangular love affair in the Reality World, and they were also tangled up in the Confused World. Kisaburo calmly recited a prayer, a Kamigoto, written by himself. The three balls of fire decreased in size until, bit by bit, they disappeared. A narrow and deep muddy river blocked his path. From the bottom of the river, a giant with a shaven head and wild red eyes came to the surface, and next, another and another, until they were many. They climbed up on the bank where Kisaburo stood, each carrying long wooden sticks. Before Kisaburo knew it, as he watched them with a blank expression of disbelief. Using their sticks they pole-jumped over the river and stood on the top of the bank on the opposite side of the river. They cried out to Kisaburo, brandishing their sticks and staring with their red eyes popping out, and said, "Hey, there! Do you think you can jump the river?" "How dare you speak to me," Kisaburo said. "Yah, you just watch me, I'll show you how to jump the river, clean as can be." At the very moment Kisaburo began shouting, he jumped and cleared the shaven heads and the river too. "You rascal, damn you!" They shouted, as the giant shaven heads followed Kisaburo, threatening him, waving their sticks over their heads.

      Kisaburo turned, facing them with his bare hands while reciting a prayer he had written called Ama-no-Kazuuta. The power of the sacred prayer began to bring them to ruin, as they crumbled into hunks of flesh like an old wall falling down, leaving only their naked sleletons. With outstretched arms they came toward him and leaned against him. Kisaburo seized with fear, froze as their skeletal remains touched him with their bony hands. Quickly, Kisaburo ran away as fast as he could.

      The skeletons of the six giant shaven heads gathered and charged to one blue ball of fire, which attacked Kisaburo roaring over his head, flowing to the right and left, and in front and inback.

      "Six bonzes...." (or roppo, in Japanese)

      This phrase stimulated Kisaburo's mind at this crisis.

      Just then the face of someone looms out of nowhere, assumes the gesture of someone who raises his fist in the air and is stepping as though with giant steps, high up over the earth, west, south, north, and even over heaven and earth itself. An imagined face comes into Kisaburo's mind.

      ...I know all this is nothing but an ostentation.

      ...After all, everything is a fabrication.

      ...Next comes a group of armed priests...they are the priests known as roppo, so called from Kofukuji Temple in Nara. And then, even the complete books of the Six Major Laws in Japan crosses his mind. Tens of hands reduced to mere bones rise from the ground, trying to grab hold of Kisaburo's legs, trying to drag him down into the depths.

      Kisaburo spoke the words of the sacred prayer with all his power, pronouncing the word, "Kamunagara (the teaching according to the mind of gods and goddesses without human power: the way of Shinto)." The ball of fire and the groping skeletal hands vanished into thin air without a trace, while all around him only the desolate field remained. Kisaburo came to a large river fed by a muddy stream. A fishy smell floated. A lot of small and large snakes were swimming on the surface of the water belching fire. As he considered how he would cross the river, an old woman suddenly appeared from the grassy river bank. He noticed that she was tall and has a tanned papery complexion. In spite of himself, Kisaburo couldn't help sighing, "Oh, no, not you, the old one." The old woman said in a hoarse voice. "I know who you are. You're the one called 'Kisa-bobo,' 'Kisa the penis.' So you think you can choose a good woman, do you?" "Well," he replied, "you seem to know." "Everything about," the old woman said, "lies open to me. Okay, now, strip yourself naked, here, at once." "Don't tell me to do something so ridiculous," Kisaburo said, shocked at her demand. "Don't worry. I'd never pick you if I was looking for a good woman, that's for sure! Oh, how whimsical can I be to be caught in such a situation with this old hag. How foolish! Now when I'm trying to practice the most ascetic ways on the pathway toward heaven. It seems I'll never find the love of the best woman in the universe...." The old one said, "I see you still have a lecherous mind, and I would never choose you either. As a keeper of the River Styx I play a role in getting you to take your clothes off." "Oh, I understand well who you are," Kisaburo said. "You're the old woman who strips people at the river. Change the course of your acts. Reclaim your true self from a life of sin, as you are old now and lose no more time in going to heaven." The old woman replied, "I'm sorry, but heaven is the one place most hated by me. I am most fit to denude those who come here, and now you better allow me to reform you." "How bad you are," Kisaburo answered. "Oh, look, you have guests coming now," he said. The old hag grinned with a ghastly smile. "Ah, very good, now I can do some business."

      Three ghostly forms appeared that the old one had called to work their charms over the newly arrived guests. The moment the old woman touched them, their clothes fell from their bodies, just like the peeling from a taro - a Japanese potato. Kisaburo watched her skillful acts with amazement. The old woman watched these new naked ghost and then turned her eyes toward Kisaburo. She stuck out her long yellowish tongue at him in ridicule and said, "Look at them. You're next."

      Kisaburo tried to run, but couldn't move, not even the slightest, as his legs had been transformed into tree roots anchored into the ground. "Please allow me to help you, as I want to finish this before I catch cold under this wintry sky," the old one said. Finally, he too was stripped naked. Four naked ghosts now stood on the riverbank, trembling with the cold, looking helplessly at the River Styx where snakes of all sizes were swimming around. Suddenly, one of the ghosts, ushed by the old hag from behind, fell forward into the river with a cry. Rolling down into the muddy stream, the ghost was swallowed by a giant snake as soon as it hit the water. Kisaburo immediately began reciting the sacred words, "Kannagara-tamachi-haemase" (Please bless the gods more and more), with all his might. In that instance, the giant smake vomitted up in one gush the ghost, and all the surroundings were transformed to fields filled with flowers and the River Styx and the old woman vanished. All of the former ghostly souls were suddenly clothed, as before. Kisaburo's clothes were even more beautiful than when he had arrived.

      The ghosts, tottering and weak, recited words of thanks to the gods for releasing them from this spell. While music rang out loud and clear, there came from on high three most revered goddesses. The ghosts knelt down in fear and awe, worshipping the goddesses who now stood before them. Kisaburo asked the names goddesses. Each goddess in turn was called Tagiri-Hime, Ichikishima-Hime, and Tagitsu-Hime, and soon after calling out their names, they changed into one singular goddess.

      "Most respectfully, this is surely the goddess Mizu-no-Mitama, who appears on the sacred sword worn by the god Susanowo and is the goddess of the three sacred souls." Kisaburo thought this had to be so, as he yearned excessively after this goddess, for some unknown reason, Kisaburo sat up straight as an arrow in the cave of Mount Takakuma and remained in the Spirituality World. Returning to the Reality World from the Spiritual World, he took his time, concentrating his thoughts in a calm and relaxed state. Kisaburo's soul, flying lightly, carried by the gentle breezes among the pines, landed softly on the large rock called Senbiki-Iwa on Mount Takakuma. All that he could see from his position in the cave was the rocky edge of the cave receding into the distance as far as the eye could see, like the edge of a katana (sword). Looking down into the valley below, he saw how precipitous and unfathomable everything was before him. The cutting wind rose and began to blow violently, as dense fog grew and swelled, freezing his legs.

      Mist hung over the mountaintop and began to thin, exposing more and more of the surrounding view as Kisaburo recited his prayers. Before he knew it, he was standing in a flower garden full of peach blossoms. His state of being became enraptured with the beauty of this scene for a time. From the sky faraway, a portable shrine covered with prayers of the fulfillment of joy dazzled his eyes with golden light as the cart pushed against the promising purple clouds. Hundreds of flags streamed around the shrine, as it flew down from the sky and landed before Kisaburo. The door of the shrine opened and a radiant god appeared in all his solemnity. "Oh, my god, Kunitokotachi-no-Mikoto," Kisaburo muttered to himself. Kisaburo had already the honor of seeing this god during his first ascetic experience on Mount Takakuma. The god softly stroked Kisaburo's back as Kisaburo bowed deeply in gratitude. The god said, "Kisaburo Ueda, come with me to Heaven from this moment."

      Suddenly, Kisaburo unconsciously felt the view between Heaven and Earth open up. Tears of joy streamed down his cheeks. It was then that a vermillion-lacquered shrine covered with the voice of prayers came down quickly from the deep sky. A dazzling smiling goddess opened the red door of the shrine. The goddess bowed in silence to the god Kunitokotachi-no-Mikoto, and then turned to Kisaburo and calmly said, "I am the goddess Wakahimegimi-no-Mikoto. You have a very important role in serving the gods and goddesses for the salvation of the world. You must now understand the reality of Heaven's world, in order to complete your work." Kisaburo unconsciously joined his hands together.

      Just then, Kisaburo heard the loud shout of "Hurrah!" as the portable shrine of shiny silver flew down and landed near him. The god Kunitokotachi-no-Mikoto and the goddess Wakahimegimi-no-Mikoto encouraged Kisaburo to enter the shrine, pushing him lightly from behind, each accompanying Kisaburo on his right and his left side. It was wonderful to see the shrine leave the ground without the wind to carry it upward or men to carry it on their shoulders, and to watch the streamers all around the shrine flying freely in the air. "Ya-tokose-yo-iyana" (Pray to keep the eternal prosperous world of the gods). Kisaburo couldn't see who was reciting the prayer. While the prayer was loudly recited, three portable shrines could be seen gradually ascending stairs made of five-colored clouds, finally reaching the deepest zone of Heaven. The sun is far brighter in Heaven than in Reality. The portable shrines were then taken to the building called Choseiden, the building of long life on the top of Golden Mountain. This building is in the form of a cross. Pictures and words fail to describe its beauty and solemnity.

      Kunitokotachi-no-Mikoto spoke these grave words to Kisaburo, "This palace will soon be transformed to Earth and given to you. The hour has struck for the building of the country of the gods and goddesses in Toyoashihara (Japan). At this time, called the degenerate age, Kisaburo Ueda must thoroughly investigate the way of Kamunagara (the teaching according to the mind of gods and goddesses without human power: the way of Shinto), and he must spread this way to the whole world with a familiar spirit, announcing the existence of the gods and goddesses to all citizens. Purify your body and soul. Glorify true encouragement, true kindness, true love, true intelligence, and become a light in the darkness. Become the existence that is warming toward the other, and the salt that purifies people's minds. Become the medicine to heal the sickness of people's bodies and minds."

      The goddess Wakahimegimi-no-Mikoto then gave these sacred words to Kisaburo, "You have witnessed three goddesses in many parts of beautifully scented flowers. Before this goddess led you to Heaven, this goddess gave you a chance to see the goddesses which are connected to your soul. From now on you are to become a god whose name is Mizu-no-Mitama, and it is so ordered by the gods and goddesses that you become a light and a part of a flower which you will give happily to the citizens on Earth."

      Kisaburo, being most attentive, was surprised at each word pronounced by the god and goddess. A goddess wearing a shimmering ring around her head is reflected in a mirror called a "Masumi" (the mirror of the truth) in the Choseiden. It took some time for Kisaburo to realize that the reflection of the goddess is the figure of himself, who is focusing on the reflection: the image can be both. "This is the figure of my soul. Oh, no, it is...a female, I am..."

      The god and goddess hid themselves deeply behind the door of the Choseiden.

      Kisaburo who had changed into the figure of a goddess, continued to stand in blank surprise. As he recovered his senses, the sacred humans danced to the accompaniment of clear music. Charmed by the music, he pushed himself into the dance of sacred humans dancing around him. He laughed out loud at this most interesting spectacle. He awakened amazed, shocked by stern reality and found that it was his own loud voice booming out from where he was sitting up straight on the large rock on Mount Takakuma. Purple clouds of promise lie vividly over the eastern sky and a clear morning breeze seems to purify his mind and body. Birds sing in the treetops. Soon, the red sun breaks over the edge of the mountain in the east, and morning dew drops glint jewel-like in the light. Kisaburo felt the beauty of the scene and reverence for the glory of Heaven.

      In reciting the prayer of thanks to the gods and goddesses, Kisaburo was struck with awe as he accepted their solemn message. At the same time he felt a lack of passion to cheer the heart of his heart within. "It seems very strange that my sould should now be sexually changed into the image of a woman, and to be called a god whose name is Mizu-no-Mitama...that this precious god, namely myself, should have such an important role in serving the gods and goddesses for the salvation of the world. This is a great matter for me. Am I the Savior? That it should come to this! If this is the way it must be, so be it. I will understand."

      Kisaburo, at twenty-eight years, had already been recognized as exaggerating his work for the salvation of the world, and been criticized for his wild and eccentric ideas by many people.

      The rocky cave sat on the middle of the slope of a sheer cliff facing the valley below, exposing a rocky expanse to his view on Mount Takakuma. The upper surface of the cavern was pockmarked with forty-eight natural hollows of various sizes. At his first ascetic training session, Kisaburo watched as forty-eight angels sat in each hollow while listening to a sermon of Maitreya with his spiritual eyes. Since this time, Kisaburo called the cavern's hollows the "forty-eight precious seats." He saw a ray of light shine on a drop of water as it fell from a hollow on the right side of the cave, very near one of the precious seats of the angels. As he watched the drops descend, they formed a small puddle. He drank from its waters in quick scoops with his hands. It was the best water for his parched throat.

      Kisaburo climbed the mountainside of Mount Takakuma and came to a place where a large rock jutted out from the cliff. It is called Toad Rock since when viewed from below, its shape resembles a toad. He sat in a prayerful manner on Toad Rock in a posture showing his calm soul, when a root of a rhododendron suddenly met his eyes. "The morning sun shines and the evening sun is glowing in the sky above Mount Takakuma where there is a rhododendron. Under its roots, it is said, a golden hen once buried 1000 ryo koban." Kisaburo recalled a legend which might be the story that an unknown bird had told the villagers. "A golden hen, 1000 ro koban. The treasure is buried beneath the rhododendron." The very moment this thought flashed across his mind, he felt a terrible aching in his head and he fell unconscious, as his soul separated from his body. Kisaburo was carried swiftly over a boundless expanse of green. Suddenly he heard a refreshing voice from somewhere, " must dig under an azalea." Kisaburo came to a halt with surprise. He found the wonderful scent of flowers as he looked around. He asked the voice, "Would you please tell me which azalea I should be digging under." The voice echoed, "It is a rhododendron." The place was profuse with glorious rhododendrons. He doesn't know how to hear what it is he is to do because the voices repeating "rhododendron, rhododendron," overlap and seem to be flying all around him, left and right, with the itent of persecuting him. "It is impossible...I can't dig up these rhododendron by myself." Kisaburo is quite at a loss as to what to do.

      Any auspicious goddess appeared draped in purple cloth and with her the clear sound of music. Kisaburo had seen her somewhere before. He lay prostrate and trembling before the goddess in the field of rhododendrons. The goddess said, "As you are in the Reality World, you are interested in treasure." Kisaburo answered, "I...I am sorry. I found the rhododendron growing very near the rocky cavern. Only a glance and I recalled the 1000 ryo koban...." The goddess then said, "My Kisaburo, listen to this goddess who speaks to you now. The Sacred World is only concerned with willing and the imagination. In the Sacred World, the Spirituality World and the Reality World are mirrors set opposite each other. It is the perfect world and without stain. All these rhododendrons were grown by your desire, which you called to mind the moment you saw them. "Surely I will know no end to my disgrace," he answered. Kisaburo has understood and spoken often of how the acts in the Reality World are united with the acts in the Dim World. But he also realized the difficulty in showing how this idea works by example. He understood that he was very much wedded to his own wishes and desires as the situation of his soul was preoccupied with the needs of the flesh, in spite of his ascetic exercises in the way of Kamunagara (the Way of the gods). "I, this goddess before you," the goddess calmly told him, "am your True Soul." "Ah, well, I remember seeing this goddess somewhere before. This is the same goddess who changed into three goddesses, that I once met in a field full of flowers."

      "As your mind became more and more cloudy from your own impurity, it was difficult for this goddess to remain in your mind, and soon I separated from you." Hearing the rarified voice of the goddess, Kisaburo felt the weakness and the impurities of his mind wash away with each sound of her voice. "Maybe, you can still purify your mind," the smiling goddess said, as she was absorbed into his body. Kisaburo stood up in the rhododendron field and began walking freely. The thin trailing silk wound around his legs and trailed into the purple clouds once again, those of good omen high over the surrounding fields.

      Kisaburo was liberally transformed into a woman as he sat on the summit of Tenkyozan Mountain, before he knew it. The whole sky cleared and golden and silver waves swung dazzlingly before his eyes. He felt as though he was in the Shibi Palace in the innermost part of Heaven. It occurred to him that he was sitting on the summit of Mt. Fuji. If I say that the Spirituality World and the Reality World are mirrors set opposite each other, then Tenkyozan Mountain in the Spiritual sense can be Mt. Fuji in the Reality World. He held his breath in surprise while looking at the beautiful scene of Miho-no-matsubara (Miho pine grove) over the waves. He didn't feel the cold despite the snow on the summit. His mind suddenly clouded over looking toward the east. Black smoke rose from Musashino County, filling the sky. "Such a suspicious-looking cloud rises from the minds of the people who live there because all their minds have become muddy. Japan's future should not be closed off because of this unfortunate cloud." The moment his feelings were expressed, a fragment of music rolled off his lips.

      ...The sun shines eternally since ancient times.
      Yet black smoke hangs in the eastern sky causing anxiety

      The white cloud rose from the plain below the mountain and covered his view. He wondered whether he was on the summit of Tenkyozan Mountain or on Mt. Fuji. Before long the red sun rises tearing through the clouds as the sea of white is changed into waves of rosy clouds. In the excess of this very solemn scene, he recited a prayer called Amatsu-Norito, after clapping his hands four times.

      Just then, Hime-Kami (a goddess) burst upon the scene.

      Hime-Kami solemnly said about herself, "This goddess is Konohana-Hime, a guardian deity of Kami-yama Mountain called Mt. Fuji. Remember the prayer 'kannagara tamachi haemase' (to bless the gods more and more serving the gods) at all times."

      He answered, "Thank you very much."

      Kisaburo went into raptures, reciting the prayer repeatedly. Each word of his prayer was inhaled from the limits of heaven as waves of light. These prayerful voices echoed in the deep heavens and produced numberless echoes while re-echoing with each other even as the echoes moved heaven and earth. He recognized again the activity of prayer in spite of reciting it repeatedly. After opening his eyes, tears ran out and the goddess, Konohana-Hime, knelt down and joined her hands.

      The waves of light suddenly wrapped him with a wheel of golden light that was flying with increasing speed. The moment Hime Kami vanished, Kisaburo noticed himself flying in the sky.

      Kisaburo landed on the summit of the flat form of a mountain shaped like an echinus. This was a place where various flowers smelled good among green leaves.

      The breeze was fresh with a good smell. The well-formed mountains encircled the surroundings. The moon hanging in the middle of the sky shined as bright as the noon sun in Reality. However, there is a quiet night air and the flowers are wet with the night dew.

      When gazing upon moonlight Kisaburo was suddenly addressed by someone.

      "How do you feel about the scene?" He looked over his shoulder, surprised at the voice. The instant he saw the figure of the sacred, he noticed that he had returned to his former conditions. A god, Kototamawake-no-Kami, whom he had met in Chuukai (the Confused World), stood there. Kisaburo said, "Oh, the god Kototamawake-no-Kami, I yearn after you...."

      He was going to say the following, "I haven't seen you for a long time," but swallowed his words. He noticed some strange life. He felt at the time that he had met with the gods at Yachimata (the crossroads) in Chuukai (the Confused World) either only recently or in far-off days. He understood that his soul had transcended time and space in the Spirituality World. Kisaburo said anything just to suit the occasion in a hurry, "It is a lovely moonlight night in heaven."

      The god, Kototamawake-no-Kami said, "No, this is not Tengoku (the Heavenly Zone), that which is usually called by human beings. This is Tenkai (the Heaven World) which is different from Tengoku (the Heavenly Zone)." "Would you please teach me what you mean?" asked Kisaburo.

      The god said, "There are two great worlds, the Tengoku (Heaven Zone) and Reigoku (the Holy Spirit Zone) in Tenkai (the Heaven World). Mt. Golden Mountain which you have already visited exists in Tengoku (the Heavenly Zone), but you are now in the Reigoku (the Holy Spirit Zone)."

      Kisaburo asked, "Oh, this is the Holy Spirit Zone. How is it different from the Heaven Zone?"

      The god, Kototamawake-no-Kami replied, "The Heaven World is the spiritual paradise which is organized by Aizen (good spirits mixing love and goodness), and Shinshin (good spirits mixing belief and truth). According to the weight of good spirits mixing belief and truth and good spirits mixing love and goodness, the soul will be naturally decide its' living quarters either in the Heavenly Zone or in the Holy Spirit Zone. In the Heavenly Zone, love is the main point and belief is secondary. In the Holy Spirit Zone, belief is the main point and love is secondary. In each zone, tenjin (the spiritual humans) who are in harmony with the morality of each zone live calmly. I will tell you the spiritual human. Correctly, the Soul which lives in the Heavenly Zone is called the spiritual human of the Heavenly Zone, and the Soul which lives in the Holy Spirit Zone is called the spiritual human of the Holy Spirit Zone or an angel.

      Kisaburo asked, "Angel...Oh, well, now then, I haven't seen a lotus pool in the Heaven Zone. Would you please explain the lotus pedestal for a Buddha image in the land of happiness?"

      The god, Kototamawake-no-Kami said solemnly, "Did you say the paradise of Buddhism? The lotus pedestal is only a lecture device to teach human beings god's mind. Even angels aren't allowed to live with ease confused with music and dance night and day. Sushin (the Origin God) produced all things with objects for each. Sushin put everything in possession of its work. A living thing which has nothing to do isn't allowed to exist in the Spirituality World and the Reality World at all. The angels, much more, have each work which will suit each spiritual character perfectly. Each endeavors to serve the gods and goddesses enjoying themselves in the work. The religious rites are the most important service to the gods and goddesses in the Heavenly Zone. The angels purify the evil air and the blemishes which arise between heaven and earth, reciting the prayer to Sushin who always revives everything."

      Kisaburo said, "The battle between the will of gods which attempt to revive everything and the evil gods who attempt to break it. Yeah, I can cut the evil which has no flesh with the power of sacred words. The power of sacred words is the key to either reviving or cutting everything. I have already seen the evidence at Yachimata." The god, Kototamawake-no-Kami gave a clear nod to him.

      Kisaburo asked, "Well, what is the role of the spiritual human of the Holy Spirit Zone, and of the angel?"

      The god Kototamawake-no-Kami said the following words, "Only Sushin can preach the truth of the universe and deepen the soul's understanding of the cosmos and open the soul's eyes to the truth. This is the role of Sushin. The role of the spiritual human (tenjin) fulfilling good spirits mixing love and goodness (Aizen), is naturally different from the angel fulfilling good spirits mixing belief and truth (Shinshin). The religious rites are held only at the Heavenly Zone. Finishing the religious rites, the angel in the Holy Spirit Zone (Reikoku) polishes the wisdom and perception of the soul more clearly. And the angel descends to the earth and even into the depths of the earth suitable for each rank of its spiritual character. The angel serves the soul which turns his or her back on the light of the gods — namely doctrine — and the soul which covers his or her ears not to hear the voice of the gods in the Suffering World, and changes such souls to other figures and leads them into better ways. The spiritual human (tenjin) is not allowed to preach the way, but the angel can preach the way. The angel is unable to serve the religious rites, but the spiritual human can serve it."

      Kisaburo said, being surprised at the words, "It is very strict!"

      Kototamawake-no-Kami spoke these words, "The Heavenly Zone (Tengoku) and the Holy Spirit Zone (Reigoku) are orgaized into three zones, a first zone, an innermost second zone and a third zone, and are further divided into other zones, altogether making a group. The largest group is composed of 100,000 members, and the smallest group is between 50 to 60 members. They meet according to the volume of love and the degree of faith that each member contributes to living a virtuous life.

      "About the basis of each virtue," Kisaburo asked, "I cannot believe what I see, the scenes of mountains, rivers, trees and plants, because it is all so different from the material world of Reality. I wonder whether a Buddhist priest, when he looks at the same scenery as Jodo (Sukhavati) in Buddhism, sees fully before his eyes, lotus flowers in bloom. Then Kisaburo asked shyly, "Would you see the same scene that I see here? More exactly, I wonder if I'm able to see the true scene of the Holy Spirit Zone (Reigoku)?"

      Kototamawake-no-Kami laughed a little and said, "It is a pity that you are unable to see the scene correctly. This god is your blessing soul which gives the word. As your soul possesses more and more of the sacred word, you will be able to see this beautiful garden with your own eyes just as the gods do. If you show that your soul is unsatisfied with Heavenly World you see, the eyes of your soul will be burned with the hard light of Heaven and you will not be able to bear the pain." "I begin to understand a little," Kisaburo said, "And, what is the name of the enshrined mountain?" "Gesshozan, in the snow country, is the most famous mountain," the god answered. "This mountain is located at the entrance of the palace of the Grand God of the moon." "Gesshozan...?" Kisaburo replied. "Suppose I look in the palace, will I be able to see the figure of the Grand God?" The god Kototamawake-no-Kami asnwered, "Not at all...a light surrounds the Grand God so that no one can view the sacred. Sushin (the Origin God) is incarnated in the sun in the Heavenly Zone and in the moon in the Holy Spirit Zone. For this reason the Sacred is the Grand God of the sun in the Heavenly Zone and the Grand God of the moon in the Holy Spirit Zone. Both Grand Gods come from the same source — the Grand God Sushin. Sushin is the origin of the universe."

      "I thank you very much Kototamawake-no-Kami. Now I understand part of the work of the Grand God Sushin." The god responded with these words, "The god Sushin is also called Kan-Susanowo-no-Okami. In the Reality World, the creator of all nature, the only true god, is called by many names." Kisaburo said, "Each religion has its own name for God. In Shintoism it is Amenominakanushi-no-Okami; in Christianity it is God; in ancient Greek religion it is Zeus; in Judaism it is Jehovah; in Islam it is Allah; in Chinese religion it is the Lord of Heaven and the Creator; in the Yi-King it is T'aichi; in Buddhism it is Amitabha Tathagata, at least this is what I think. I recognize what nonsense and how foolish religious wars are at last."

      Unconsciously, Kisaburo knelt down before the brilliant moon. Kototamawake-no-Kami said, "I will now conduct you over the Holy Spirit Zone (Reigoku) for a while." The moment that Kototamawake-no-Kami led him by the hand, Kisaburo found himself standing on the summit of a rocky mountain. Evergreen trees grew thick on the rocky slopes of the mountain and their branches touched each other in the breeze, echoing sound as though from a koto. Below in the rocky valley he sees a pond of blue water, as a flock of mandarin ducks take wing, while the scales of goldfish shine in the waves. Before he realizes it, Kototamawake-no-Kami has vanished. Descending the rocky mountain, Kisaburo stood for a while by the pond. At his feet, five-colored irises bloom and water birds, unafraid and friendly approach him.

      Suddenly, at the very instant the waves ripple outward, small and large islands rise from the pond one after another, creating even larger waves as they appear. After the waves grow calm, he sees the most solemn palace made of hinoki (cedar) which lifts its peak, sweeping skyward on the large new-born island. Pine trees around the palace grow in a twinkling and the good from of their branches accented the beauty of the palace. Cranes nesting in the trees sing for the eternal prosperous age of God. A golden boat glides on the surface of the water and as it approaches the shore, a sacred human who is rowing the boat beckons to Kisaburo. He goes aboard and the sacred human poles the boat alongside Oshima, the grand island, and moors it there. Kisaburo goes ashore and looks around, finding a sweet music, a refreshing breeze, shiny trees, plants and goldfish that purify his mind. Birds fly quietly in the sky and countless tortoises with their green hair creep over the ground.

      The sacred human said, "Look carefully at all you see. This is Ryugu-jima (the dragon's palace island)." "...Well, if this is the dragon's palace, there is a treasure here, so I heard. Where is this treasure?" Kisaburo strained his eyes to take in the perimeters of the view. His field of vision became gradually fainter, more obscured, as the shapes of everything streamed by as though flowing before him.

      Before he realizes it, he is sitting in the cave on Mount Takakuma. An owl hoots, sleepily. It is midnight and the dew is already cold on the rocks.

      "Oops! I wonder if I have become disinterested in the Reality World. Kisaburo repented bitterly as he remembered reluctantly Ryugu Island which he had just witnessed. He moistened his throat by cramming his mouth with the black nuts of the Iwanashi plant (a kind of wild fruits) as he lay on the rocks of the cave. The moment he straightened up to calm his soul so that he could continue toward the Sacred World, his soul was on its way back to the Spirituality World.

      A hawk flew fluttering its gold wings in the sky. Kisaburo is walking behind the god Konohana-Hime in a field filled with all sorts of flowers as far as the eye can see. Small songbirds and butterflies are darting around him. The mountains and the fields seem to breathe like life itself. After a while they are floating on a large river and come to a large arched bridge which is all glittering gold. And far away over the high clouds there is a shiny palace. The goddess, Konohana-Hime said, "That is the moon palace. Over this bridge you will be very near the Holy Spirit Zone." Kisaburo was amazed at the figure of himself reflected in the mirror-like surface of the bridge, as he had once again been transformed into the beautiful goddess in the five-colored garment. The goddess said, "This bridge is called the golden bridge. When travelers in the Sacred World (Shinkai) arrive at this bridge they are gravely shocked. They try to cross the bridge but most fall into the river. In order to cross the bridge the travelers must throw away all their baggage and become barefoot. For only those who walk over the perfectly shiny reflective surface of the bridge on the soles of their bare feet are the ones whose souls reflect their true nature."

      Hearing the explanation of the goddess, Kisaburo was convinced that the situation of his soul was that of a woman. The instant he was aware of this transformation, his acts changed to feminine ones. He had no baggage and so removed his zori (sandals). The golden bridge is linked with twelve taikobashi (semicircular arched bridges) and has no railing though it has a slippery surface. Not being particularly careful as he walked on the high arched bridge, Kisaburo lost his balance and fell down hard, landing on his back. The goddess Konohana-Hime was there to help him up. A cool breeze blew over the river against the beads of sweat on Kisaburo's face and purified him.

      At the mid-section of the bridge, there was a railing where Kisaburo stopped to take a breath. He leaned on the railing looking into the clear stream below where the fish crowded in the shallows and at purple irises in all their glory which dotted the riverbank. Beside the flowers, goddesses in white garments washed their gowns, while their long black hair shimmered in the wind. Water rippled over the white legs of the goddesses like liquid crystals.

      "This is Yasu-no-kawara (Yasu dry riverbed). Look over there where seven virgins wait for you," said the goddess Konohana-Hime. Kisaburo saw the seven virgins she mentioned standing in a line at the foot of the bridge, and he proceeded to cross the bridge skillfully. He recognized that he just might throw everything over, even his tenacity for life itself, in his excitement. After crossing the bridge, he felt his feet tickle and he sensed the dazzling surroundings. The seven virgins seemed to praise Kisaburo as the god, Whoopee. He didn't know much about this god in detail. Hearing the light singing of the virgins, he felt the earth opening to him. Preceded by the seven virgins, Kisaburo's soul went forward in ecstasy as though his hand was held by the palm of one of the goddesses and he was lost between waking and sleeping, transcending heaven and earth, without consciousness of himself. He was unware of how much time had passed. He noticed the goddess Konohana-Hime and the seven virgins had vanished, as he awaked. Giving up the feeling that he alone had been allowed to have been taken to the Sacred World (Shinkai), Kisaburo ran into the dawn of the eastern sky. Clouds gathered around him and softly picked him up. His soul floated tranquilly like fleece in the five-colored sky. Through an opening in the clouds, Kisaburo looked down upon the earth. At this moment he saw students in ascetic practice serving the sacred while being accompanied by the koto, then the faces of his family pass by his consciousness. Suddenly the clouds began to break up, spreading and thinning out, no longer holding the weight of Kisaburo.

      "Well, if this is the Sacred World (Shinkai), concerned with both voluntary acts and ideas, if I cling to the Reality World, I can throw away this great opportunity I've had in visiting the Sacred World." Kisaburo earnestly prays, reciting the names of the gods and goddesses as he stands on the thin cloud which is ready to disintegrate. The clouds gather around him once again as he takes a grave hesitant step and runs lightly up into the atmosphere. The clear voice of the goddess Konohana-Hime echoed, "Ueda Kisaburo...." The voice of the seven virgins resounded from every quarter. "Lord Whoopee." From another part of the sky, a sacred human rides a galloping horse of heaven. "That is the god Hinodewake-no-Kami." Intuitively he perceives the name of the god. Before he knew it, Kisaburo was riding the white horse of heaven. Sacred humans could be seen getting on the horse one by one and surrounding him. With the god Hinodewake-no-Kami leading the way, Kisaburo following on his white horse, a line of innumerable heavenly horses were galloping up into the sky. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw the goddess Konohana-Hime, the seven virgins, and many angels following along joyfully. The tinkling of a bell carried the musical sounds of the wind, jingling and jingling, accented by the loud clear sounds of the horses' hooves ringing out. Many small puffs of clouds kicked up by the galloping horses are blown around the sky, glistening in all the colors of the rainbow. Just below his eyes millions of stars twinkle. Kisaburo is in high spirits when his horse gives a loud neigh. A troop of heavenly horses run ahead of him in the sky.

      Kisaburo's heart leaps, wanting to allow his body which he left back on Mount Takakuma to see this heaven-inspired figure of himself. The moment that he began to have thoughts of Reality, the horse began behaving violently, jumping up in the air. Kisaburo clung to the horse's mane i n a delirium. The horse began falling away, pawing the air as it fell. "Oops! I made a mistake again. I must not think of the Reality World." He offered once again sacred words to god. His horse became calm and soon keeping a steady pace, it caught up with the line of the heavenly horses and spiritual human (tenjin) riders. Kisaburo followed at the tail end of the line. Someone's voice echoed, "This is Mt. Tenkyozan in the Holy Spirit Zone." Kisaburo stood alongside the goddess Konohana-Hime on the ridge of the mountain which shore like the sun. His body which had become the figure of a goddess, now became the figure of the god Kototamawake-no-Kami before he knew it. The seven virgins were transformed into seven colored rays of light, inhaled by the grand and glorious sun.

      Just as he looked at the transforming scene, a high goddess solemnly appeared from the interior of the sun. This was the goddess Wakahimegimi-no-Mikoto. The sun became the moon in an instant. The goddess Wakahimegimi-no-Mikoto coming from the way of the clouds on the other side of the moon descended very close to where Kisaburo was standing on the mountain ridge. The moment that the goddess Wakahimegimi-no-Mikoto was united with the goddess Konohana-Hime, which was expected by Kototamawake-no-Kami, the soul of Kisaburo returned to Mount Takakuma.

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