Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
LLEWELLYN JOURNAL
Article Topics
List of Articles
RSS Data Feeds
Mission Statement
Use of Our Articles
Writers' Guidelines

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

January/February 2016 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Journal
Print this Article Print this Article

The Man Who Stilled the Earth

This article was written by Frederic Durbin
posted under

Around A.D. 1200, an itinerant Buddhist priest journeyed into the region of present-day Itakura in Japan's Niigata Prefecture. On a steep mountainside, he happened upon a crevice overhung with moss-bearded trees. Peering down into the gloom, he shuddered at the sight of great serpents coiling and writhing below.

Huge and terrible, these serpents, or daija, shrugged aside boulders as they slithered, making the ground tremble. Not daring to breathe, the priest realized the creatures were speaking to each other and he could understand their words.

The bones of a wandering priest still reside in the village for which he gave his life. "Our mansions are expanding," one said. "As we sink our tunnels into the Earth, our halls grow grander!"

"Yes," answered another. "Unfortunate for the folk of that village at the bottom of the slope. Every day the soil slides, the rocks and trees tumble. Already our work has dropped half the mountain on their heads."

"Humans might stop our work," hissed a third, "if only they knew how - but they do not. Prayers to Heaven would stop us -- prayers continuing for 21 days."

"And the stick of the chestnut tree," added the first daija. "If someone drove a stick into the ground with exactly 48 hammer blows, and if the last person to strike the stick were buried alive as a sacrifice, then we could not dig our dwelling here. But humans do not know such things!"

Leaning on a tree for support, the quaking priest tried to back away quietly, but one of the serpents glanced up at him with fiery eyes. In an instant, the priest was surrounded.

"For what you have heard," the daija told him, baring their venomous fangs, "the penalty is death." Swallowing his fear, the priest returned their unblinking gazes.

"We see that you are a holy man," hissed the largest serpent. "And as such, we do not wish to kill you. We give you your life on one condition: Say nothing of what you have heard. If you reveal these things, we will pursue you to the ends of the Earth."

Without a word, the priest dashed down the mountain pass. At the foot of the slope, he came upon the village of Sarukuyoji and saw the destruction the daija had caused. Heaps of rubble had smashed cottages. Tree trunks lay like a giant's toys in the main street. The homeless and injured wandered in the wreckage. The villagers had tried digging trenches and bracing the slopes with stones and timbers, but nothing had helped.

Seeing the holy wanderer, the villagers rushed toward him. "Pray for us!" they implored. "Save us from these landslides!"

The priest had compassion for the people. He knew he would be killed for revealing the secret of the daija, but he also knew that helping those in need was part of his spiritual path. Telling them all that he had heard on the mountainside, he concluded: "I will be the sacrifice. When the preparations are complete, you must bury me alive."

The next morning, the priest began to read prayers aloud from the sacred writings, and the people set to work digging a pit. They brought a rod of chestnut wood and started the ceremony of pounding it into the ground. The slopes groaned and shifted, but while the holy one prayed, no debris damaged the village.

At last, when the 21 days were ended, the priest rose to his feet. Accepting the heavy hammer, he struck the stake for the final time, and it vanished into the ground. He sat in the meditative posture of zazen at the pit's center and continued his prayers. Weeping, the villagers brought a large clay kame, a water-jar, and set it upside-down over him. With reverence, they covered it with earth. As the pit filled, the priest's prayers faded to silence. The Earth joined him in that silence -- from that day, the terrible landslides in the region of Itakura ceased.


Please note that the use of Llewellyn Journal articles
is subject to certain Terms and Conditions

Traditionally, when performing magic, a practitioner has an altar of some sort on which to work. The altar, of course, can be anything from an elaborately carved table to a dresser top or even just a cleared section of kitchen counter; any available space can be utilized as long as it is large enough to hold the necessary tools and spell items. An... read this article
Surviving Venus and Mars Retrogrades
How to Use Affirmations That Work
The Moon as Calendar and Timepiece
Nature Spirituality From the Ground Up: Exploring the Totemic Ecosystem
The Art of Introspection in a Self-Obsessed World

Most recent posts:
Tarot Journaling and the Star
At the beginning of a new year, people often make a resolution to keep a journal. Keeping a journal has many benefits and can be done any number of...

5 Secrets of Self-Healing
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Amy B. Scher, author of the new How to Heal Yourself When No One Else Can. Do you know self-healing...

The Importance of Giving Back to the Totems (And Other Spirits, Too!)
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Lupa, author of New Paths to Animal Totems, Plant and Fungus Totems, and the new Nature Spirituality...





The Abyss Surrounds Us The Abyss Surrounds Us
By: Emily Skrutskie
Price: $11.99 US,  $13.95 CAN
Llewellyn's Witch's Coloring Book Llewellyn's Witch's Coloring Book
By: Llewellyn
Price: $12.99 US,  $14.95 CAN
Wheels of Life Wheels of Life
A User's Guide to the Chakra System

By: Anodea Judith
Price: $21.95 US,  $25.50 CAN
How to Survive Mercury Retrograde How to Survive Mercury Retrograde
And Venus & Mars, Too

By: Bernie Ashman
Price: $16.99 US,  $19.50 CAN
Llewellyn's Shadowscapes Coloring Book Llewellyn's Shadowscapes Coloring Book
By: Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
Price: $12.99 US,  $14.95 CAN