This temple is special for me. On the voyage here to Japan, I often dreamed about it. Its golden roofs seemed to float up out of the night sea. The ship kept on moving, and even by the time the entire temple was visible, it was still a long way off from me. Having risen from the waves, it glistened under the stars the way the light of the new moon shines across the surface of the water. Standing on the deck of the ship, I put my hands together and bowed in reverence toward it. As happens in dreams, although it was night and the temple was so far away, I could make out the smallest details of the gold and scarlet decoration.
I told Kri about this dream and said that the temple seemed to be following us to Japan. But he laughed at me and said that what was following me was not the temple but the memory of something else. He made me angry at the time, but now I’m inclined to agree with him. For everything sacred has the substance of dreams and memories, and so we experience the miracle of what is separated from us by time or distance suddenly being made tangible. Dreams, memories, the sacred—they are all alike in that they are beyond our grasp. Once we are even marginally separated from what we can touch, the object is sanctified; it acquires the beauty of the unattainable, the quality of the miraculous. Everything, really has this quality of sacredness, but we can desecrate it at a touch. How strange man is! His touch defiles and yet he contains the source of miracles.
- Yukio Mishima, “Spring Snow”