Monday, June 12, 2006
Towards the entrance of Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, there is an abnormally large spear placed in a hole in the wooden walkway. The staff itself is rectangular and smooth, about 8 and a half feet tall and weighing about 200 pounds. Legend has it, that the warrior-monk, Benkei, used it as a walking stick and left it at Kiyomizu temple. Also, according to legend, if you can lift it, you will be rich.
The staff/spear is not anchored. It is resting in a slot in the wood which demands that it be lifted straight up - it cannot be leaned at all.
Well, being with a group of 20 students who were begging me to try to lift it, I had no choice but to try. The metal of the staff was very smooth with really no way to get a secure grip. There was a single, tiny peg sticking out of the staff at about eye level, but it was not an aid at all - if anything, trying to use it probably made it more difficult. It did not budge for me at all.
In retrospect, I should have tried to hold it with a choke-hold and lift it that way, but there was a line of tourists waiting to give it a shot, so I gave up after a couple uninspired attempts.