Saint of Mt. Koya
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"Even in this wide open area I could see no sign of the medicine peddler, not the least trace. The only signs of movement were the occasional insects that flew up into the molten sky as I passed along. In this empty, barren prairie I felt alone and a bit anxious. There was nothing familiar in the landscape to console me. Of course I knew all the old sayings that on the Hida crossing inns and stopping places are few and far between, and I knew that even when one finds an inn, it is only rarely that the traveller will be served even such poor fare as rice mixed with millet. So I had expected this, and as my legs are strong, I continued on my way without resting. Gradually, however, the mountains began to close in on both sides. Soon the path seemed to be climbing straight up and the mountain walls were so close on both sides I could spread my arms and touch both sides of the canyon through which I was walking.

"I knew that from there on I would be ascending the notorious Amo Pass. Already I was panting heavily in the fierce heat, but I paused only to retie the laces of my straw sandals.

"Years later I heard that there is a natural flue in that vicinity which carries the cool mountain breeze all the way from this defile to an opening beneath the Rendaiji Temple in Mino, where it serves as a form of air conditioning. At that time, however, I was too preoccupied with climbing the pass to take time out for sightseeing or looking at natural phenomena. So intent was I that I paid no heed to natural surroundings; indeed, I hardly knew whether the day was clear or cloudy. All my attention was focused on climbing the pass.


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Intangible