Myo Ho Mountain Kyoto



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Myo Ho Mountain
Ho no Yama 法の山
Mountain of the Buddhist Law
妙法の法の山 myoohoo no yama

This is one of the five mountains where the "okuribi" seeing-off fire is lit as a final event for the Obon ancestor ceremonies in Kyoto.

. WKD : Daimonji-Yaki 大文字焼き

Great seeing-off fire in Kyoto

Gozan no Okuribi (五山送り火)
Seeing-off fire at the five mountains

The second fire is the one of the Great Law
Myoohoo no hi 妙法の火

Fire of the Buddhist Law

It takes 125 piles of wood to make the fire of MYO 妙
and 75 piles for the HO 法 ,
myoho is the wonderous Dharma of the Buddha teaching.

These five mountain slopes are popular places for excursions in Kyoto.

The character HO 法 LAW in the mountain slope

"ho no yama", "mountainous heap of laws"
Hōno-yama is a mountain in Hokkaido in the Daisestsu-zan mountain range.


mata no yo wa hebi ni naru na to hoo no yama

in the next life
do not be reborn as a snake !
Mount Ho-no-Yama (Moutain of the Law)




hoo no yama ya hebi mo ukiyo o sute-goromo

Mountain of the Law -
even the snake sheds
its worldly robe

clouds above Hoo-no-yama in Kyoto

yuugane ya kumo mo tsukuneru hoo no yama

evening bells -
even the clouds stop briefly
at the Mountain of the Law

at Mount Ho-no-Yama/ Mount Nori no Yama

Kobayashi Issa
Tr. Gabi Greve

David Lanoue translates this as
nori no yama ("Mount Dharma"), refers to the grounds or precincts of a Buddhist temple.

In this respect, we have the words

法の山 mountain of the law (temple)
法の庭 garden of the law (temple)
法の池 pond of the law (temple)

- - - - -

yuugane ya kumo mo tsukuneru hoo no yama

booming temple bells --
evening clouds, too, create
dharma mountains

This hokku was written in the 6th month (July) of 1818, when Issa was in and around his hometown. The hokku relies on the well-known summer kigo "cloud mountains/peaks" (kumo no mine), a reference to the dynamic cumulus clouds that suddenly appear and often boil upward at amazing speeds late in the afternoon and early in the evening after a long, hot day. Soon after sundown, the big bells of the various temples in the area begin to boom out, telling monks and people nearby that evening has begun and reminding them that time affects and changes all things constantly. At the same time, the clouds in the sky are roiling and pushing upward, creating mountains even higher than the high peaks that surround Issa in his mountainous home province of Shinano.

The clouds and temple bells are linked by the phrase "dharma mountains." The phrase refers to 1) a mountain where Buddhist monks go to meditate, 2) a temple located on a mountain, 3) any temple at all, since temples are referred to as "mountains," and 4) the loftiness of Buddhist doctrine. Issa seems to be referring primarily to meaning 3) or perhaps to 2) and 3) together, since some temples in Shinano were located at the bases of or on plateaus on high mountains. Since methods of measuring time were rather rough in Issa's age, various temples probably begin striking their big bells at slightly different times, creating contrapuntal patterns. The clouds above must be still clearly visible in the last rays of the sun, and the towering shapes they now create almost seem to be a response to the great bells below. Issa does not indicate whether he believes clouds have some kind of awareness or not, but he seems to believe that the clouds spontaneously and actively form themselves into shapes that are even closer to the Buddha's own sermons than the temples humans build.

Humans believe that they turn mountains into dharma mountains by praying and building temples on them, but the cloud mountains, by their very shapes, which change freely and radically from moment to moment, directly enact what human monks and saints can only try to explain or exhort people to do. Issa seems to be suggesting that to watch cloud mountains rise high and then disperse is to watch a visual sutra unfold and perform itself, as it were -- though of course hearing temple bells helps viewers realize what they are watching. In contrast, human-made temples last many decades or centuries and are, on one level, testaments to human attachment to stable shapes and resistance to change and mutability. But that is the human condition, which Issa leaves up to the compassion of Amida Buddha.

Chris Drake

. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 in Edo .

- - - - -

Matsuo Basho at temple Taimadera
. nori no matsu 法の松 Dharma pine


senburi o totte wa naranu Hoo no yama

it is forbitten
to pick the green gentian here ...
Mount Ho-no-Yama

Irie Hisa 入江ひさ

Hoo no yama shimizu o tori to akachi-au

Mount Ho-no-Yama / Mountain of the Law -
I share the clear water
with all the birds

Ogawa Kane 小川かん紅

鍵和田[ゆう]子 武蔵野

赤松[けい]子 白毫



source : HAIKUreikuDB
Tr. Gabi Greve


Daruma Pilgrims in Japan

O-Fudo Sama Gallery



Anonymous said...

Gabi, that momentary pause before a greater power: clouds before the mountain & me before you;
Louis Osofsky

Anonymous said...

"Gorgeous haiku by Issa. Thanks Gabi, you're a wonder!"
Michele Harvey