Kumano Kodo - ancient trails. Why did so many people in olden times tread the paths which lead to the inner most areas of Kumano on the Kii Peninsula?
Why were people from nobles to commoners fascinated by the Kumano Kodo? The Kumano Kodo starts in Kyoto and leads to the Kumano Sanzan (three grand shrines / taisha) area by way of 99 ojis which are small shrines. It is said that in olden times, nobles at court walked the Kumano Kodo seeking salvation from their sufferings and sins through the grace of the Kumano deities.
It is also said that salvation could be attained just by overcoming the struggles and the hardships along the trails. There is a saying attributed to the old testament, "Enter by the narrow gate. The gate is narrow which leads to life, but the gate is wide which leads to destruction."
In a sense, people believe life is an ordeal to all in whatever era we may live in, and overcoming our ordeals is the way which leads each of us to the "gate of salvation." In modern times, our lives are so busy that we have little or no time to be at peace with ourselves and the world.
Many people might seek salvation and healing of our hearts in the midst of their busy lives. Let's experience the struggle to overcome our weariness and know the joy of harmony with nature in heart mind and soul.