After Thoughts on the Opening Ceremonies
of the Great Stupa and Great Lecture Hall

by Yusei Arai, General Manager of Kongobu-ji Temple, Koyasan

Last year from October 11th through the 13th, we celebrated for three days the ceremony commemorating the restoration of the Great Stupa and the Great Lecture Hall on Koyasan. Those who attended for the three days numbered approximately 23,000; it was an assembly of those who have faith in the Daishi, coming from as far north as the island of Hokkaido and as far south as Okinawa. What gave me great happiness was the fine weather we had ­ contrary to what the weather reports predicted ­ because the ceremony was held in the park in front of the Great Stupa.

On the first day at 6 a.m., as I was praying toward Shinzen's tomb of Kongobu-ji, above the fog in the sky over the Great Stupa I saw from a distance a rare, five-colored rainbow. Looking at this phenomenon of vast nature was indeed most wondrous.

I, who believe in an approach to wait for divine destiny, after you have done your very best, instead of "simply wishing," cannot help but express that this indeed is a rare wondrous beginning.

As I recall, two years ago on September 11, I ascended the platform in front of Shinzen's tomb and prayed to Daishi and thereby awakened the desire to restore the Great Stupa, the Great Lecture Hall and the three great stupas of Kongobu-ji/

The brilliant red of the Great Stupa had turned to white, and with over sixty years of winds and snow, the main palace of the Great Lecture Hall had damaged exteriors, there being about ten places that would leak rain; they were in shameful condition. It's essential for the progress of our faith to turn to our missionary attention externally, but it is also essential to us that we don't neglect our place of worship.

In November 1995, we set up the administrative bureau for the "Great Repairs of the Heisei Era Project." In less than two years since that time, the Great Stupa had been repainted, from its top ring to platform, in the original vermillion (bright red.) Now the Great Stupa reflects the color of the maple leaves of this mountain. The 60 year-old painting of the Sixteen Bodhisattvas painted by the renowned painter Insho Domoto, has been restored; the powerful light of the Five Tathagatas of the inseparable Mandalas of the Garbakhosa and Vajradhatu shines clearly/

It's also a cause to rejoice, that the Great Lecture Hall, which is the main missionary hall, can withstand the rain and those who study and practice there, can do so in comfort.

I pray for all of the followers that they will do their best for the propagation of the teaching, which is the means to benefit others. This is the conclusion of the teachings of Kobo Daishi and reflects the eternal, ideal state. I want you to rejoice that we may meet the demands made of our mission.


Entering the Great Stupa while tossing lotus flowers.

The Great Stupa lit up.

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©1999 Koyasan Shingon-shu