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and their great ancestress, the Sun-goddess, in some sacred building belonging to the whose image, in the form of a circular mirror temple. of polished metal, is the only object of wor- I succeeded in buying two very curious ship on the altar of a Shinto temple. The old pictures illustrative of Shinto mytholcock and the white horse, which in all ogy. One gives portraits of many mikados, ages and countries have been held sacred descendants of a beautiful goddess, crowned to the sun, are almost invariably found in with a great red sun, while above her are connection with the Shinto worship. The grouped all the hierarchy of heaven. The former is generally carved on the temple other represents the Shinto pantheon, with drum, and carried in solemn processions, a winged sun and moon occupying the while a white pony, either a living animal place of honor. The sun is in each case or a wooden substitute, is generally stabled painted bright scarlet, as we so constantly
see it represented on flags and lanterns at all national festivals—a scarlet circle on a white ground being the Japanese equivalent of the stars and stripes or the union-jack
But the prayer-wheel was the special object of my quest, and the only chance of finding this was in the Buddhist temples, which besides, as representing the popular religion of the people, aroused my interest far more than did the cold, unemotional services of the Shintoists. So I quietly looked about me, peeping into all manner of dingy, neglected outhouses and small chapels attached to the great temples, where accumulations of dust and.cobwebs, hiding the richly gilt and colored carvings, told of the evil days which have overtaken the Buddhist priests, in the forfeiture of their revenues and the establishment of Shintoism as the state religion. I had not long to search. From Yokohama, the foreign settlement where we first landed, one hour by railway (chief triumph of new Japan) brought us to Tokio, the great native capital, which
TEMPLE BUILDINGS AT THE SUMMER PALACE, PEKIN. In the central pavilion is a miniature pagoda of porcelain. Those on either side of the upright stone contain revolving cylinders, with a
multitude of niches for sacred images. On the lake are the "Camel Hump" and great inarble bridges.
was formerly called Yedo, but has changed seen at the more aristocratic temples, we its name since the Mikado removed the here beheld the true worship of the peopleseat of government from Kyôto, the old the shrines most highly esteemed, the votive capital of the South. Here we saw true offerings of many generations. From the Japanese life to our heart's content, among rafters hang innumerable lamps ; some are the thousands of happy, good-humored, of beautiful brass-work, but those which add gayly dressed people, who seemed to be most to the general effect are enormous paper keeping continual holiday, thronging the lanterns, of brilliant color and strange device, temples and the surrounding tea-houses. many of them from ten to twelve feet in The temples are legion, but many of them depth. Huge bronze vessels, of diverse stand as empty and neglected as many forms and uses, occupy conspicuous places, of our own churches, while others are but the principal shrines and high altars to crowded with an ever-moving stream of the great Buddha and his saints stand back worshipers.
in deep shadow, which lends gloom and Chief among the popular temples ranks mystery to the solemn ceremonial worship Asakusa, a noble building, albeit only of the shaven priests, and of such of the of carved wood, with heavily thatched congregation as have made offerings of sufroof, the usual form of architecture whether ficient value to entitle them to pass into for civil or ecclesiastical use. We ap- the inner sanctum. Thence comes the proached it by a long street, where only sound of chanted litanies, and the fragrance foot-passengers may pass, and lined on of incense, and there one day for hours I either side by small open shops and booths, watched the priests feeding quite a large for the sale of all manner of pretty and odd bonfire of some special wood, before one of things,-playthings for the countless happy the idols, while chanting wild incantations. children, artificial flowers, rosaries, sweet- : In this land of terrific conflagrations the meats,—all doing a brisk trade for infini- proceeding appeared dangerous; I watched tesimal gains. We passed under a great | it with extreme interest, having seen the gate-way, with heavy, overhanging thatch same ceremony in some of the Brahmin and five large lanterns of open-work brass, temples at Benares, where on one occasion and before us stood the great temple, to me I saw the worshipers leap through the flames, most fascinating from its strange, barbaric as was the custom of so many lands in the decoration. Lacking the exquisite refine- days of the old Baal worship. ment of high Japanese art, such as we had But while the wealthier members of the congregation kneel apart in the gloomy in- volumes; but at least each cylinder conthe outer court; groups of brilliantly dressed worshiper accumulates the merit of reciting girls with glossy black hair, shuffling along the whole every time he turns the so-called on high wooden clogs, halt by turns before wheel. each shrine and rub their hands together as But in these days of degenerate faith, they repeat some little prayer, and then, where in all Japan shall we find this parcasting their small offering of copper cash : ticular act earnestly practiced ? In my own into the great coffer, pass on to enjoy the limited experience, I can safely say that, of many strange shows always on exhibition 'all whom I have seen turning wheels in within the picturesque temple grounds, or various parts of the country, I observed to buy a few measures of grain wherewith to only one who seemed to be doing it in feed the flocks of sacred pigeons which earnest—one who seemed weary and heavy nestle on the thatch. The sick and sorrow- laden, apparently too abstracted to rememful worship on bended knee, rubbing their ber that he already bore a somewhat foreheads in the dust, before the image of weighty burden tied on his back, before he their chosen saint or god. That most in, began the hard labor of turning the heavy favor is a life-size image of Binzuro, the god wheel, and who evidently was working out of medicine, to whom come all afflicted his task with resolute purpose. I observed,
pain head, feet, and stomach, and then their quite aware that they had found a true beown, especially the suffering member. The liever, and affected the greatest solemnity, image is of lacquered wood, but the extent taking good care, also, that he should show to which the lacquer has been rubbed off his faith by the amount of his offerings. tells plainly of the many generations of faith- But on the occasion of this our first ful believers who have sought his aid. visit, no such affectation was attempted.
Among the many buildings connected. The young priest showed us the wheel as if with the temple, the most conspicuous is a it were some curious relic of an obsolete tall, five-storied pagoda, of carved wood, i ignorance (the same sort of feeling with painted red, with dark, projecting roofs. Within this is, of course, a shrine, not much in favor. Close by it stands a small temple, disused and neglected, generally locked. So far as I could learn, no foreigner had ever cared to inspect its interior. Yet, as I peered through the barred windows, I saw enough to convince me that, if prayer-wheels did exist in Japan, I had surely discovered one. The priest in charge of the building was absent, but after a while a younger one procured the key, and admitted us. There, beyond all doubt, was the object of my search-a very beautiful specimen of the rotating cylinder, about ten feet in diameter and twelve in height, resplendent with scarlet and gold lacquer. It rested on a stone throne or pedestal of carved lotus-leaves, which is invariably the distinctive mark of Buddha, “ The Jewel on the Lotus.” Long spikes projected around the base of the cylinder, as from a capstan, and by means of these the heavy machine was made to revolve on its own axis. Unlike the wheels of Thibet, this, and all others which I subsequently found in Japan and China, are not prayer-wheels, but libraries, containing all the sacred Buddhist scriptures. How far they may be complete we cannot say, since we know that these number eleven thousand
which the young sportsman, proud of his the steep ascent to the summit, where they breech-loading rifle, looks at the old muzzle- find a night's shelter in the rudest little loader of which his father was so proud), stone huts. Just before sunrise they kneel and on our asking him to show us how it on the bare, cinder-like rock, and, gazing was worked, he proceeded to turn it wid- eastward over the limitless expanse of isles dershins (i. e., against the sun)! This was and sea, watch for the moment when the a great shock to my carefully cultivated Sun-goddess shall appear. Then all join in prejudices and preconceived ideas, so when hymns of praise and chanting of solemn the senior priest came in, my companion litanies. Their orisons ended, they walk in (a perfect Japanese scholar) questioned procession around the summit-of course him on the subject. He admitted that it
He admitted that it keeping the right-hand toward the crater. was against all rule, and, turning to his This is a circuit of three miles. As a good companion, remarked, “Well, you are a pilgrim, I, too, duly made this sunwise tour, pretty fellow, to go and turn the wheel the and obtained a magnificent view, not only wrong way." But they both laughed, and of the vast panorama outspread on every did not really care a bit.
side below me, but also of the crater itself, In fact, with the exception of certain pro- with its great crags of many-colored lava cessions around the temples at Osaka, the rising in bold relief from the white morningonly instance of the practice of the old sun- mists which lay cradled in its depths. wise turns that I saw being done quite in The majority of the pilgrims consider that earnest, in any part of Japan, was the circuit they have now accumulated sufficient merit, of the crater on the summit of Fuji-yama, but those who desire to lay up special the holy mountain, an extinct volcano four- stores of sanctity, or to atone for heavy teen thousand feet in height, the form of debts of conscience, descend to the base of which cannot fail to be familiar to the most the cone, or, rather, as the mountain is one casual observer of Japanese art, as it is lov- vast cone, I should say to the point where ingly represented on fans, porcelain, lacquer, vegetation ceases, and whence the mountin all native picture-books—in short, wher- ain-top appears but as a huge cinder-heap. ever it can possibly be introduced. Thou- Diverging from the downward track, the sands of pilgrims annually flock thither on earnest pilgrim now commences his second foot from every corner of the isles, and, turn sunwise, and a hard task he has before halting to worship and present small offer him; for the circumference of the mountings at many a Shinto shrine, they toil up ain at this point must be upward of twelve
miles, and the way is over a loose, crumbling quite as much intent on pleasure as on soil of small cinders and volcanic ash, where religion. For miles before we reached the every step plunges the weary traveler at spot, we were in the stream of holidayleast ankle-deep. It is a toilsome pilgrimage, makers, and of the large class of peddlers and one which forcibly recalled to my mem- who hope to find a ready sale for a certain ory the multitudes of Hindu pilgrims whom class of wares—food and sweetmeats, of I had often watched wearily making the course, but in this place they deal chiefly five-mile circuit sunwise around the holy city in all kinds of ornamental straw-work, very of Benares. They, too, travel from afar to beautifully made. They also sell rosaries, perform this act of faith—coming far greater for the use of the Nicheren sect, which, in distances and enduring greater hardships some respects, differ from those of other than these Japanese pilgrims ever have to Buddhists. These, I think, have only one face; and when at last they have reached hundred beads, and a different arrangement this, the object of their hearts' longings, and of large ones. The disciples of Nicheren have worshiped a multitude of gods in in- have one hundred and eight beads, to reprenumerable temples, and knelt on the shores sent one hundred and eight holy persons ; of the sacred Ganges to adore the rising four beads stand for saints or apostles, and sun, and made sunwise tours around many two short strings of five beads recall the a shrine, they have still to accomplish the ten Buddhist commandments. great “panch cosse,” or five-miles pilgrim- large beads represent the sun and moon, age-a sunwise turn which may nowhere or dual principle. For prayer, the Buddhists exceed a distance of five miles from given do not tell their beads, but rub the rosary points. Here, too, the truly earnest pilgrims between their hands and twist it so as to are readily discerned. The careless and form a Chinese character signifying success, easy-going take a simple and dry path which they reverently kiss. The quality of within the boundary of the city, but the the rosary of course varies with its price, truly conscientious pass outside, and make some wood being much more expensive their five-mile circuit wearily and painfully, than others. A dark, polished wood seemed men and women alike often wading up to most in request, but sandal-wood is somethe knees in the deep mud of the holy times used, and the principal balls are often river.
of polished agate, or even more precious The discovery of the great scripture- stones. I met a lady in this temple whose wheel at the temple of Asakusa having rosary evidently represented the family satisfactorily proved the existence in Japan diamonds, so rich was it both in material of this singular form of worship, I continued and workmanship. She seemed much gratimy researches with renewed interest, and, fied at my evident admiration, and handed after exploring many of the temples least it to me for closer inspection. Of course visited by foreigners, I was one day at- we met and parted with a profusion of low tracted by the pleasant, shady grounds of bows. an old temple near the Saido Bashi. The One cannot imagine a prettier scene than whole place appeared neglected, and I saw that in which we found ourselves. The pictonly one poor old priest, looking as dilap- uresque group of temple buildings stands idated as the buildings themselves. But in on a hill crowned with dark pine-trees. The a small temple standing a little apart was ascent is by a long flight of stone steps, up a large scripture-wheel. Worshipers there and down which came trooping crowds of were none, and the wheel was fast going to brilliantly dressed women and children, and decay.
more soberly clothed men, all alike wearing The next place to which I directed my heavy wooden clogs, which clattered as they search was the temple of Ikegami, pictur- walked. Brilliantly colored paper lanterns esquely situated on a wooded hill a few hung in festoons, ready for the evening miles from the city of Tokio. It is a place of festival. We passed through a long row note, as the resting-place of the ashes of the of booths, where graceful Japanese girls sainted Nicheren, founder of a large Bud- were bargaining for artificial fowers and dhist sect. Its votaries assemble here at hair-pins, or buying sweetmeats for the hapstated times to hold high festival, and I was py little ones. Then we toiled up the long fortunate enough to witness one of these flight of stairs, passing rows of most misermost fascinating matsuris. They are relig- able beggars suggesting rather than demandious fairs, to which the people come from ing alms, and receiving gifts of infinitesimal long distances, in their very prettiest dresses, I cash with profuse thanks and low bows.