Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/252

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196
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

strides back and you are standing awestruck on the edge of the stupendous precipice. The fascination of the place is overpowering, whether you gaze straight down into the black depths or whether the mists, rolling up like great waves of foam, woo you gently to certain death. No wonder the place is called "The Rejection of the Body," and that men and women longing to free themselves from the weary Wheel of Life, seek the "Peace of the Great Release" with one wild leap into the abyss below.

At every hour of the day pilgrims were standing at the railed-in edge of the cliff, straining their eyes to see into the uttermost depths below, or looking skywards for a sight of "Buddha's Glory," that strange phenomenon which has never been quite explained; it may be akin to the Spectre of the Brocken, but to the devout Buddhist pilgrim it is the crowning marvel of Mount Omei.

Looking off to the north and east one saw stretched out, nearly ten thousand feet below, the green plains and silver rivers of Szechuan. Southward rose the black peaks and ranges of Lololand, buttressed on the north by the great, table-shaped Wa Shan, second only to Omei in height and sacredness.

Before the first day was past every one had become accustomed to my presence, and I attracted no attention as I came and went. My wants were looked after, and one or the other of the little acolytes spent