Saint of Mt. Koya
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"I was so surprised at his appearance that I could think of nothing to say and just stood dumbly while the old man gave me a good looking over. At last he broke into a grin, but it was not a friendly one, rather I had the impression that he could read my thoughts and was smirking.

" 'What are you doing here? I thought you were supposed to be practicing religious austerities, not resting by the river and taking it easy. It's not that hot and you have only come five miles from where you spent the night. If you had really made an effort, you'd be in the next village by now, praying to the statue of Jizo.

" 'I can see you have been thinking about my girl back there in the mountains. Oh, don't try to fool me. I may be old and bleary-eyed, but I can still tell white from black when I see it.

" 'But let me tell you, if you were an ordinary man, you would no longer be human after being caressed by her hands and bathed in that river. Oh no, you would have been transformed into a cow or a horse or a toad or a bat or some other such creature, and would have spent the rest of your life hopping and dancing about. When you came up from the river last night you still had your human form; I was astounded. You obviously have a strong will and firm determination. It was that virtue which saved you.


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Intangible