you have arrived — you are home —
voice of the Torii gate
The final approach – After three days of hiking through silent forests and up a lot of steep steps, the Torii Gate that signals your gateway to and arrival at Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine is nature congratulating you in satisfaction of effort and devotion. It acts like a Mother that has been awaiting your arrival, waiting with open arms and open womb for you to enter Her abode.
At this point, there is no mistake – The purification process of the journey has transformed and united me with nature. Exhausted, emptied out, seeing with not my eyes but an inner eye, feeling the body without separation from the outside world emptied out of me, I realize with certainty from experience that all things are nature things.
All things are Buddha things. There is no split. The sorrows of the world I can accept and not recoil from. I can exhale. Let go. No fear. Faith in Nature makes it easy. There is nothing to do. Everything just is. Once you get the mind out of the way – and a pilgrimage like this does just that, you merge. And most importantly, you realize with certainty there is no death. There are only the cycles of nature, and we humans are apart of it.