Nembutsu.

023

“In the year 1185, the Emperor of Japan was a seven-year-old boy named Antoku. He was the nominal leader of a clan of samurai called the Heike, who were engaged in a long and bloody war with another samurai clan, the Genji. Each asserted a superior ancestral claim to the imperial throne. Their decisive naval encounter, with the Emperor on board ship, occurred at Danno-ura in the Japanese Inland Sea on April 24, 1185. The Heike were outnumbered, and outmaneuvered. Many were killed. The survivors, in massive numbers, threw themselves into the sea and drowned. The Lady Nii, grandmother of the Emperor, resolved that she and Antoku would not be captured by the enemy. The Emperor was seven years old that year but looked much older. He was so lovely that he seemed to shed a brilliant radiance and his long, black hair hung loose far down his back. With a look of surprise and anxiety on his face he asked the Lady Nii,”Where are you taking me?” She turned to the youthful sovereign, with tears streaming down her cheeks, and comforted him, binding up his long hair in his dove-colored robe. Blinded with tears, the child sovereign put his beautiful, small hands together. He turned first to the East to say farewell to the god of Ise and then to the West to repeat the Nembutsu. The Lady Nii took him tightly in her arms and with the words “In the depths of the ocean is our capitol,” sank with him at last beneath the waves.” – From the The ‘Tale of the Heike’, as related by Carl Sagan in ‘Cosmos’, 1980.

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About mirrenaudax

Slightly greying, bequiffed and enterprising visual artist from Up North.
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