TIM BUNTING

KIWI YAMABUSHI

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Petty infighting helps no-one

ancient art asia buddha

The whole day I’ve been thinking about how Mt. Haguro has two main paths to the top, with both seemingly having equal claim to being the main path up. Obviously the stone stairway on the Tsuruoka side wins out, type in Mt. Haguro and that’s what comes up, but I can’t help but feel sorry for the Haguro Kodo route. There were some really cool looking artefacts down in the little spot called Subeno that looked much older than some of the things found on the other side.

I think it’s precisely because they both have an equal claim that the situation is that the Tsuruoka side, the stronger of the two since it holds Dewa Sanzan Shrine, wins out. But I can’t help but think that they could both help each other out by being more co-operative. That there were no signs of the path from the top of Mt. Haguro is saying a lot. They seem to really not want people using the path. Contrast this with the signs on the Tachiyazawa (Shonai Town) side and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the official route. It was purportedly the route that Prince Hachiko, the man who opened up the mountains for spiritual training, and Matsuo Basho, the man who really put Haiku on the map, and that to me says quite a lot. How many people would want to follow in their footsteps? Tons!

There’s a common aim here, sustainable tourism. Looking from the outside it’s easy to see that working together would be a great way forward, but I guess they just don’t see it that way. Or maybe I am just assuming too much. I haven’t verified any of this information, I guess I should probably find someone who is able to talk about it… next port of call perhaps. Anyway, this infighting only goes to against the main mission and really needs to stop. Put aside your differences, which are often petty, and get on with the job.

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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 

tim@timbunting.com

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