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Uncountable Sorrows: Path of Statues Dedicated to Children who Passed Before Their Parents
desktop background image of   --  Wide Expanse of Sadness Statues for children who passed before their parents. At the Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺), Shiga Prefecture, Japan  --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Wide Expanse of Sadness
Statues for children who passed before their parents.
At the Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺), Shiga Prefecture, Japan
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One of the main points of interest at the Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺) are the many jizou (地 蔵) statues. I give a more-detailed introduction in “Deep Sorrow at the Kongourinji Temple’s Path of Jizou” from two years ago when I wrote about this path after my first visit, but in short: these statues were placed by parents who lost a child, as a form of prayer that the child will find an easy path to heaven.

Each statue is unique, and has a hand-sewn bib, a colorful pinwheel, and the engraved name of a child.

Before you get to the first jizou statue, you've already enjoyed some fine paths and foliage; turning a corner at an outlying temple building brings you to this sight:

First Glimpse after having already traversed some amazingly-beautiful paths to get here  --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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First Glimpse
after having already traversed some amazingly-beautiful paths to get here

When I made my visit a week ago, the leaves had only barely started to turn, but one brilliant orange tree (seen in the background in the photo above) marked the start of what I call the “path of sorrow”...

Start of the Path to the main temple building, lined with 1,000 jizou statues  --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Start of the Path
to the main temple building, lined with 1,000 jizou statues

The light was a bit richer a few hours later...

The Sorrow Starts Here  --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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The Sorrow Starts Here

Every statue along the path is engraved with a number. The two statues flanking the path outside the gate are numbered #999 and #1000...

#999  --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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#999

The framing is poor in that shot because I was leaning way out over a stream, trying to get a shot blind by holding the camera as far out as I could.

My blind aim was off, but I somehow like the shot anyway. It seems more interesting than this more traditional framing made from the other side of the stream...

#999 and in the background at left, #1,000  --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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#999
and in the background at left, #1,000

The path rises up the mountain at a fairly brisk pace, but the lower part is at least relatively even...

Waiting for Me Damien on his first visit to this temple  --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Waiting for Me
Damien on his first visit to this temple

Damien Douxchamps had shown me some excellent temples in Kyoto a couple of days prior (the photos from which I haven't really had the chance to look yet), so this time I was introducing him to one.

Damien's excellent photos from this visit are already online, here.

I was forever making Damien wait, such as to pause for a reverse-angle shot like this:

desktop background image of   --  Just Inside the start of the path, looking back  --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Just Inside
the start of the path, looking back
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Typical Section of the Path fairly rough and rugged, befitting the mountain setting  --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Typical Section of the Path
fairly rough and rugged, befitting the mountain setting
“Road Narrows”  --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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“Road Narrows”
End of the Path with the main temple complex beyond the top of the stairs  --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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End of the Path
with the main temple complex beyond the top of the stairs

The top of the stairs in the far background is where I was standing when I tookPhotographing Nothing” on yesterday's post, of Damien photographing some super tiny flowers.

I neglected to look for statue #1, but I'm sure it was at the base of the stairs.

Slight Headache Statue #59  --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Slight Headache
Statue #59

The thousand statues lining the path are impressive (and sorrowful) enough, but that's just the beginning. Flanking the path on either side are large expanses of unnumbered jizou...

Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
desktop background image of   --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Three Little Standouts  --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Three Little Standouts
desktop background image of   --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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From Behind bibs tied neatly  --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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From Behind
bibs tied neatly
desktop background image of   --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Perhaps Slightly Overwhelmed I know I was , and I had been here before  --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Perhaps Slightly Overwhelmed
I know I was, and I had been here before
desktop background image of   --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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desktop background image of   --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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desktop background image of   --  “Dedicated Aug 1984” with three names listed  --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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“Dedicated Aug 1984”
with three names listed
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desktop background image of   --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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desktop background image of   --  Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺)  --  Echi, Shiga, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
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To be continued...


Comments so far....

This made me think about my two brothers who died premature deaths, who should have a monument there. My feelings are “all over the road”. Yet, after looking at your magnificent post – and having had it conjure up many different kinds of feelings, I wanted you to know that I’m glad that you decided to post it.

It made me “remember” and helped me to feel. Thank you.

— comment by Carlo/Carlo At Your Service Productions on November 13th, 2012 at 2:36am JST (1 year, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Dull, overcast 3 degrees C, Burlington Ontario Canada 2012 11 13 11:16 Eastern Standard Time:

Looking at the statues almost makes me think there should be also an urn of cremated fremains of the deceased under each statue. A most unusual rembrance.

— comment by Bryce Lee on November 14th, 2012 at 1:18am JST (1 year, 8 months ago) comment permalink
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