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Although MacWilliams (see above) mentions that Nachi-dera served as the point of disembarkation for the boat crossing to Mt. Fudaraku, longtime Japan-based scholar John Dougill believes this is wrong. Instead, says Dougill, "the nearby temple of Fudarakusan-ji 補陀洛山寺 was the actual place where people departed by boat for the southern seas, never to return. There is a noticeboard at the temple saying that twenty boats departed from here between the Heian and Edo periods. The monks who set off on these suicide missions apparently carried petitions from others to deliver to Fudaraku." <end quote> See Dougill's report here. Dougill adds this: “Was Fudarakusan-ji actually a part of the Nachi-dera complex in former times? To find out, I phoned the head priest at Fudarakusan-ji, who told me the temple is an independent entity. In bygone days, it was the head monk of Fudarakusan-ji who sailed away in the boat when he reached the age of sixty. Fudarakusan-ji, according to the monk, has nothing formally to do with Nachi-dera (aka Nachi Taisha, aka Seiganto-ji).” <end quote>

Fudarakusan-ji was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2004. The boat journey (in a vessel called Tokaibune 渡海船 or “boat to cross the sea”) was a form of self-sacrifice aimed at the salvation of the common people. According to the Fudarakusan-ji entry at , "the abbots of this temple set out to sea on a small rudderless boat when they turned sixty years old. This practice was called Fudaraku Tokai 補陀洛渡海 and is one of the Shashin Gyō 捨身行 trainings in which priests performed an act of self-sacrifice for the purpose of human salvation. People entrusted the priests to carry their prayers for happiness and enlightenment to Fudaraku (Potala in Sanskrit) Island, Kannon's Paradise, which was said to lie somewhere off the southern coast." <end quote>

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