『山伏と僕』—ふつうの山伏

まず修行中、携帯電話は非常時以外には使わないこと。もちろんテレビも見られず、パソコンも使えません。また、返事は「はい」ではなく「承けたもう」で応えることも教わりました。羽黒山伏の返事には、それ以外の言葉はありません。すべて受け入れて、どんなことも断らないという意味だそうです。


山伏。
山に籠もり、滝に打たれたりしながら、修行している人。

そんな曖昧な印象を持つ人が、大半ではないでしょうか。

著者の坂口は、30歳の時にふとしたきっかかで山伏の世界へと入ります。
山伏に特別知識があったわけではなく、「面白そう」という気持ちから修行に参加し始めた坂口は、次第に山に生きる山伏の世界に惹かれて行きます。

とても印象に残っているのが、「夜間斗薮」です。
斗薮(とそう)とは、山を歩き、心身を浄化する修行で、歩く瞑想とも呼ばれているそうです。夜間斗薮は、日が沈んだ夜の間に、山の中を練り歩く修行です。

手向から少し離れた森の中を歩いていました。昨晩と同じように「死」の世界を感じます。しかし、昼間、月山で感じた「死」とは種類が違うようです。月山はとても透き通ってクリアな世界でした。月山は、においもシンプルでしたが、羽黒の森の中は、どこか獣じみた、粘り気のあるにおいです。歩くたびに少し重みがあるような空気が、身体にまとわり付いてくるような感じがします。それは不愉快であったり、恐ろしかったりしません。ずっと身近にあったはずのもののようです。眠りにつくときに、目を瞑るとあらわれるような暗闇でした。

山の中をひたすら歩く夜間斗薮の描写を読んでいて、ふと僕は映画の『ブンミおじさんの森』を思い出しました。
これはタイの映画で、生と死が練り合わされた非常に不思議な映画です。正直とても難解で、よく分からなかった、というのが感想の最もたるところです。
ただ、「ではつまらない映画だったのか」と聞かれるとそうでもなく、やはり「不思議な映画」という表現が一番しっくりくるものでした。

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsQJbCxXa0M[/youtube]

この映画の中で、森の奥の洞穴を目指して、ひたすら夜の森を歩くシーンがあります。
この木々をかき分け泥土を踏みしめながら歩く映画のシーンと、山伏たちの夜間斗薮が、ダブって見えました。

山伏の山での修行は、一度死に、また生まれるという意味を持つと言います。山伏たちの服装が白装束なのは、彼らが「死者」だからです。
修行の最後、彼らは疲れきった体で、長い長い上り坂を駆け上がります。その道は、参道であり、産道でもあります。産みの苦しみを体験し、山伏たちは生みなおされます。

時折本に挿入される版画も、優しい力強さを感じさせます。

著者に限らず、文中に出て来る山伏たちは、決して雲の上の存在ではなく、気さくで、親しみを覚えます。
まさに、自然体、という印象です。

自然と向き合う。
見えていたはずの、でも見ていなかった景色を、見ることができた気がします。

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