Mount Koya and the Ten Stages of Consciousness

Kukai is said to have been buried alive at Mount Koya, and that he is still not dead but meditating eternally.

Arriving at Koya-san is an experience in itself. We were fortunate enough to travel to this amazing place in a minibus along the road that runs parallel to the fast-flowing River Nyu, through the mountains, up to the town itself.

Mount Koya is actually a mountain range of eight mountains with Koya-san, the town, encircled by these natural beauties. Kukai, the Buddhist monk that founded Koya -san, chose this site because of the mountains and how each point collectively represented the lotus flower, with the town at the centre.

Mount Koya is officially the headquarters of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism and has over 100 temples that you can visit and even stay in for there are no hotels in here at all.

As we entered into one of the temples, our guides and friends from Kinokuni Children’s Village school asked me if I wanted an audio guide that was available.

I explained to them that I wanted to learn with my eyes rather than my ears, and the factual knowledge about the place could be sought at a later date.

Hence, recovering from the time-zone changes, I now find myself using the World Wide Web to do just that.

Knowledge is a beautiful thing, but to dilute the pleasures of the physical senses and the metaphysical journey by being at a place of such magnificence, and then spending the time there reading or hearing about it rather than absorbing all silently and observantly, seems to me unnecessary.

You can learn more about Mount Koya from a simple Google search. You can look at the photographs that we post on this blog, and all of this is hopefully a commendable and worthwhile use of your time.

But it does not take you there in mind, body and soul in the way that walking around and experiencing the place does, and did for us.

We are indeed fortunate souls.

Kukai stated that there were ten stages of consciousness, whereby we all journey from immaturity and animal instinct through to self-enlightenment, then to embrace the concern for others, right along to the understanding and living oneness, emptiness and the ultimate truth.

What an incredible journey if we manage this in a lifetime.

We hope you enjoy our series of photographs from the incredibly serene and spiritual place.

Rokudai Muge: The Six Universal Elements

Banryutei Rock Garden at Kongonuji Temple, Koya-san

Bonsai tree in the Tea Rooms at Kongobuji Temple

Kongobuji Temple, Mount Koya

The ringing of the bell eighteen times. (See previous blog)

The eyes of a figure at the main gate to Koya-san

The zen garden's gravel and rocks; simplicity - subtle and sublime

About 3D Eye

Gary Foskett and Clare Blackhall are educationalists, writers and consultants. We work with schools and other organisations who share our vision of how schools, businesses, etc should work in the 21st Century. We also run courses and contribute to conferences - speaking about our three dimensional model of intelligences and how schools, colleges and universities can develop the full potential of all their staff and students. We also offer consultancy for businesses and public sector organisations to support staff training and organisational change and development. For more detailed information read our blog at or see our website at
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