Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/256

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A WAYFARER IN CHINA

struck by lightning several times was finally destroyed, has never been restored, thus giving the lie to the popular belief that what the lightning destroys the gods will replace. The fragments of castings that are left are really fine, and it is a marvel how they ever were brought from Chengtu where they were made, for many are of great weight. A little below the trail by which we came was the pewter-roofed monastery, very appropriate here, as pewter is the only metal the Buddhist pilgrim is supposed to use or possess.

But after all, the charm of the place lay not in this or that building or relic, but in the beauty of the surroundings and in the peace of spirit that seemed to abide here. No need to cast one's self over the precipice to secure freedom from the body. Here on the high mountain-top among these simple minds, the cares and bothers of the life of the plain seemed to fall off. If I came as a sight-seer I went away in the mood of a pilgrim. Turning my back upon the crowded paths I spent long hours of quiet under the pines on the western slope, facing always toward the mountains. Sometimes the clouds concealed them wholly, at other times just one peak emerged, and then perhaps for a moment the mists rolled away, and the whole snowy line stood revealed like the ramparts of a great city, the city of God.

And the best of all was not the day, but the night.