White Path to Paradise



Daruma Pilgrims Gallery


White Path to Paradise, Byakudo 白道
Hakudo, Hakudoo, Hakudou, Byakudou, Byakudoo
This small path between this world and the other world runs between two rivers, the river of water and the river of fire. This wihte road is invisible to people with an angry heart. Only those with a pure heart can see it and cross safely to the Paradise in the West, Gokuraku Joodo 極楽浄土.

White Path Crossing Two Rivers


Here is one famous painting, Niga Byakudo 二河白道図
The White Path to the Western Paradise across Two Rivers
Kamakura Period, Nika Byakudoo


Niga Byakudo "Two Rivers and a White Path."

A parable by Chinese Pure Land master Shan-tao, which appears in his Kangyo sho (Ch. Kuan ching shu , Eng. Commentary on the Meditation Sutra).

A traveler, running for his life as he found a gang of robbers and savage beasts being after him on a barren and uninhabited marsh, comes upon two rivers: one is a river of water and the other is a river of fire.

They are unfathomed rivers that stretch endlessly to the North and the South. Although each of the two rivers is about a hundred paces across and between them there is a single white pathway about four or five inches wide that extends from the eastern to the western shores, yet the waves of the water river surge over and submerge this narrow white path and the flames of the fire river rise up and sear it without rest.

While feeling helpless and terrified with the anticipation of death by drowning, fire, and violence of robbers or beasts, he suddenly hears someone encouraging him and pointing to the West from the eastern bank,

"Oh, traveler, resolve to go straight ahead on this path! There will surely not be any pangs of death. If you linger here, you will surely die!"

And then he hears someone else calling and beckoning to him from the western shore,

"Oh, traveler, single-mindedly and without wavering, come straight forward! I can protect you! Do not fear falling into the water or the fire."

According to the exposition of Honen in his Senchaku Hongan Nembutsu Shu [The Collection of Passages on the Nembutsu Chosen in the Original Vow]: the marsh corresponds to our being always tempted by evil companions and unable to meet a true and good friend or teacher who leads us to the Buddhist way.

The two rivers are compared to the covetousness that floods our hearts and the enmity that flares up in our hearts. Such "tonnai 貪愛 (greed)" and "shinni 瞋恚(anger)" being strong, they are likened to water (surging waves of water) and fire (raging flames of fire). The white path between the two rivers corresponds to the awakening of the pure mind that desires Rebirth even in the midst of our evil passions and afflictions.

The good mind being delicate, it is like the white path, which is perpetually submerged by water and seared by fire. Surging waves of water that always lave the white path are like the covetousness that constantly arises to defile our good hearts. Raging flames of fire that ceaselessly burn the white path is like our hearts of hatred and anger that devour the Dharma treasure of merit and virtues.

Favored by Sakyamuni Buddha who kindly urges the traveler and turns him in the direction of the West, and blessed with Amida Buddha's compassionate heart which calls out and invites him, the traveler trusts in the intent of the Two Honorable Ones, with taking no notice of the two rivers of water and of fire and remembering without lapse that all sentient beings will unfailingly be saved through the Original Vow, and takes the path of the Vow's power.

© www.hdever.com・ 2006 Hitomi Dever


This path is re-created from bamboo, at Temple
Yokoku-Ji, Yanagidani Kannon, Kyoto.

柳谷観音(Yookoku-Ji 楊谷寺)
長岡京市浄土谷堂ノ谷2  Donotani-2 Jododani, Nagaokakyo, Kyoto

© PHOTO blog.goo.ne.jp
With more photos !

The temple is famous for its Hydrangea Park with more than 4,500 plants,
Ajisai-no-michi 紫陽花の道.


© PHOTOS yaclub.cocolog-nifty 隠れ家
With more photos !


Kannon no O-koozui 観音の独鈷水(おこうずい) Kannon no Okozui
"Vajra Water" at Yokoku Kannon 柳谷観音独鈷水

When 弘法大師 Kukai Kobo Daishi visited the temple for the first time, he saw a mother monkey trying to comfort her ill baby monkey by washing its eyes with the spring water. The eyes of baby monkey soon got better and he could see again. So he took his Vajra 独鈷 to open up the spring a bit more, and it flows to our day.
When Emperor 霊元天皇 Reigen Tenno (1654 - 1732) suffered from an eye disease, he was cured with this water and ever more visitors came.

. tokko 独鈷 と伝説 Legends about the Vajra Thunderbolt .

. ganbyoo chiyu kigan 眼病治癒祈願
prayer for healing of eye disease .


There is also a famous garden structured to this principle, at the famous
temple Taima-dera 當麻寺奥院


Daruma Pilgrims in Japan



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