Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
Welcome at a new episode of our Kai, but before I start with this episode I have to apologize for not publishing last weekend. There were circumstances in private life that needed my attention so I hadn't time to publish our weekend meditation last weekend.
Today I have a more informative episode for you all about the Shikoku Pilgrimage, the pilgrimage that is our theme this month.
The Shikoku Pilgrimage or Shikoku Junrei is a multi-site pilgrimage of 88 temples associated with the Buddhist monk Kūkai (Kōbō Daishi) on the island of Shikoku, Japan. A popular and distinctive feature of the island's cultural landscape, and with a long history, large numbers of pilgrims (known as henro still undertake the journey for a variety of ascetic, pious, and tourism-related purposes.
In addition to the 88 "official" temples of the pilgrimage, there are over 200 bangai — temples not considered part of the official 88. To complete the pilgrimage, it is not necessary to visit the temples in order; in some cases it is even considered lucky to travel in reverse order.
The pilgrimage is traditionally completed on foot, but modern pilgrims use cars, taxis, buses, bicycles, or motorcycles. The walking course is approximately 1,200 km long and can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days to complete. "Henro" is the Japanese word for pilgrim, and the inhabitants of Shikoku call the pilgrims o-henro-san, the o being an honorific and the san a title similar to "Mr." or "Mrs.". They are often recognizable by their white clothing, sedge hats, and kongō-tsue or walking sticks. Alms or osettai are frequently given. Many pilgrims begin and complete the journey by visiting Mount Kōya in Wakayama Prefecture, which was settled by Kūkai and remains the headquarters of the Shingon sect of Buddhism. The 21 km walking trail up to Koya-san still exists, but most pilgrims use the train.
dedicated to the Path of Enlightenment
four countries* as one
(*Shikoku means "four countries")
This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 16th at noon (CET). Enjoy!