The Graves of Okunoin

The Graves of Okunoin

Okunoin – “the temple at the end” is Japan’s largest cemetery. Sacred to the Shingon Buddhist sect (though non-Buddhists can be buried there, as long as they believe in the teachings of Kōbō Daishi), the cemetery has over 250,000 graves and monuments, the oldest of which date to at least the ninth century (if not before). The grave monument above dates to 1375, and marks the resting place of a Buddhist nun. According to legend, if you lay your ear to the stone, you can hear the screams of people suffering in hell. I admit, I did not try. While I’m not superstitious, there

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A True Ghost Story From Japan

A True Ghost Story From Japan

All my life, I’ve professed to believing in ghosts … primarily to prevent them feeling the need to actually prove their existence to me. In other words – I believed by choice so I didn’t have to experience ghosts for real. That worked pretty well for me until last November, when I went to Japan to research my sixth Hiro Hattori mystery (next year’s TRIAL ON MOUNT KOYA – which is now available for preorder) – and encountered one of Japan’s most famous yūrei (ghosts). I spent the early days of November 2016 doing research on Mount Kōya, the heart of Shingon (esoteric)

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