A Goddess in the Saw-tooth Mountain

Discovering a hidden goddess in the heart of a quarry.

By Reynald Ventura   Apr 18, 2018 - 2 min read

There are thirty-three traditional forms of Kannon gods and goddesses in Japan. One of them is Kannon Bosatsu. "Hyaku Shaku Kannon" carved in the cliffs of Mt. Nokogiri-yama is a type of this form. Being a Kannon Bosatsu is a final state before attaining Buddhahood.

It was furthest from my intentions, however, to go on a day-pilgrimage to the 330-meter mountain (originally called Kenkonzan) to attain enlightenment. All I wanted was to satisfy my simple desires of taking the 45-minute boat ride at Kurihama Ferry Terminal near JR Kurihama Station and have at least a great meal of fresh seafood at one of the restaurants along Port Kanaya in Chiba.

The least you expect, to my huge surprise, the more you'll be blessed. Beholding the Hyaku Shaku Kannon from a distance was simply overwhelming. I suddenly remembered the bullet-riddled remains of the monumental Buddhas of Bamiyan in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan.

Hyaku Shaku Kannon was carved into the rocks as a war memorial in 1956; it took six years to complete it. I had not known its existence prior to my hike to the mountain.

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