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Kongō-zue

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Okuboji 09.JPG


The kongō-zue or kongō-jō (金剛杖?) is the wooden staff carried by yamabushi and the henro (or pilgrim) on the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage in Japan.

The kongō-zue is said to represent the body of Kōbō Daishi and to support the henro along the way; as such it is treated with respect, having its "feet" washed and being brought inside at the end of each day's journey.

It is inscribed with the chant Namu-Daishi-Henjō-Kongō and Dōgyō-Ninin or "We two pilgrims together".

By another tradition it is carried aloft when crossing a bridge so that it does not touch the ground and wake Kōbō Daishi.

Pilgrims leave their Kongō-zue at Ōkubo-ji, the final temple, upon completion of the circuit.

There is an occasional funerary practice in Shikoku and other parts of Japan whereby the decedent is dressed as a pilgrim and placed in the casket along with a staff and nōkyō-chō for their final journey.

Source

Wikipedia:Kongō-zue