Kobo Daishi and the Shikoku Pilgrimage

Re: Kobo Daishi and the Shikoku Pilgrimage

Postby Su DongPo » Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:01 pm

Reasons for undertaking the Shikoku Pilgrimage

People have been asking. I told a Christian friend about the pilgrimage earlier today and she is one of the few who has not thought it odd. I get a lot of comments on the decision to walk in February -- a cold month in Japan, for certain. Others ask why I am "really" undertaking the pilgrimage. Some of my responses, all true, but not in any particular order --

-- Because I have long been curious about Buddhism in Japan
-- Because I have lived in, and traveled to, Japan over the past 28 years but have never been to Shikoku
-- I want to see Shikoku
-- For my physical health
-- For my mental well-being
-- it is a challenge
-- I feel drawn toward Guanyin/Kannon

Here is the reason that is rather long-winded and which only my wife knows (and all too well): I finished a PhD last year and found the whole thing, especially the final few years, rather hellish. Toward the end of the grind, I got sick, and about the same time I began studying Buddhism and the Dharma with ever greater. I got better. I am a constitutional skeptic but believe in the power of the imagination. I have a religious bent. It bends toward the Dharma. I want to pay homage to the Dharma. I cannot explain it any more fully because I don't understand it any more clearly myself.

As for the cold weather: I fear the heat and rain more than the cold. I live on a tropical island. People in northern Europe dream of Malta and the Canary Islands. My fanasties tend toward grey skies, evergreen trees, mountains and the broad wintry sea. I cannot explain it more fully than this because I do not understand it any better myself.

I leave in a couple of weeks. I hope to walk through Tokushima and visit the twenty-three temples in that prefecture.

May all beings discover the path to liberation from suffering.

Su Dongpo
User avatar
Su DongPo
 
Posts: 183
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:20 pm
Location: Central Taiwan

Re: Kobo Daishi and the Shikoku Pilgrimage

Postby Tatsuo » Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:50 am

I think your reasons are perfectly understandable. I think many people go on a pilgrimage during or after some kind of life crisis or life changing experience. I don't know how people could find that odd... maybe many didn't have a similar experience. Well and non-Buddhists maybe would not understand your affinity towards the dharma and Kannon (btw. there are 30 temples with Kannon as principal image).*




* You probably have the complete list of all the temples with names, principal image and affiliation. Maybe this is interesting anyway. :smile:
    南無阿弥陀佛
    南無妙法蓮華經
    南無観世音菩薩
User avatar
Tatsuo
 
Posts: 173
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:50 pm

Re: Kobo Daishi and the Shikoku Pilgrimage

Postby Su DongPo » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:40 pm

Tatsuo wrote:I think your reasons are perfectly understandable. I think many people go on a pilgrimage during or after some kind of life crisis or life changing experience. I don't know how people could find that odd... maybe many didn't have a similar experience. Well and non-Buddhists maybe would not understand your affinity towards the dharma and Kannon (btw. there are 30 temples with Kannon as principal image).*


I hang out with academics. Our research time is precious and the pilgrimage has nothing to do with research. It also sounds vaguely religious, which is definitely a no-no for many in my line of work, although I don't want to overstate this -- people vary in all walks of life of course. I think it is also not something most people who know me casually would expect of me, and few know of my interest in Buddhism.

* You probably have the complete list of all the temples with names, principal image and affiliation. Maybe this is interesting anyway. :smile:


Thanks for this. I hadn't looked at the Wiki in Japanese -- good idea. I have been meaning to give a short reading list and comments for others interested in the Shikoku pilgrimage, but I haven't finished much of this reading myself. However, I would recommend this handy guidebook, in English, to anyone considering walking the pilgrimage in whole or in part:

David Moreton, Shikoku Japan 88 Route Guide (2nd ed., 2009)

This is a review of the first edition. As far as I can tell most of the shortcomings detailed here have been addressed in the new edition:
http://fullhenro.blogspot.com/2008/05/r ... guide.html
User avatar
Su DongPo
 
Posts: 183
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:20 pm
Location: Central Taiwan

Previous

Return to Shingon

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

>