I followed an Ox to Zenkoji

Massive Attack - Future Proof

Believed to have been founded in the 7th century, this is one of the main gates to the temple that houses (allegedly) the first Buddhist image to arrive in Japan in 552 from Korea called the Ikko-Sanzon, the image of three statues of the Amida Buddha. Nobody has seen it since its arrival except for a priest in 1702 who was ordered by the Tokugawa shogunate to confirm its existence. It's wrapped and mummified but a copy of it is shown every 7 years. The temple has burnt down 11 times at its orignal site from fires by neighbouring houses and businesses. It was moved to its current position in 1707.

Beneath the temple however is the Okaidan, a pitch black tunnel providing the closest distance to the Ikko-Sanzon. Through complete darkness you seek rebirth, in the hopes of finding an iron key to salvation inside (and all for just 500 yen!). Whether it saves or not, the symbolism can never be truer.

Legend has it that a very old, blasphemous lady was washing her clothes and an ox came and stole her kimono. She chased after it for hours leading her to Zenkoji. Exhausted, she rested under the shelter of the temple and through her dreams, the Ox reappeared.

It revealed itself to be the Amida Buddha, changing her life forever.

Such legends make fantasy, but the hope of salvation tastes so sweet.

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