JAPAN DAY 3
Well its finally here, we are at our first “Henro House”, ready to start walking the pilgrimage tomorrow. Our “Henro“ attire is hanging in the wardrobe, our kongozue (staff) is waiting at the door to join us on our walk and our minds words and thoughts are open and ready to absorb the lessons along the path.
Are we ready? Who knows, is anyone ever really ready to change the way they think even if for the better. All I can say is we are open to all possibilities ....or as someone recently advised me we are stepping out empty...ready to be filled.
David and I believe that the universe has put us on this path and this walk is a walk that was preordained. We knew that New Zealand would be physically tough but otherwise a simple exercise. Japan is a different kettle of fish....... this is where the strength of character developed in New Zealand will be tested. It is time to look in, and give up judgement in the search of Nirvana.
So tonight we rest our heads with the Japanese word “Ganbatte” foremost in our minds.
Ganbatte means to stay strong, good luck, do your best.
WHAT IS A HENRO?
Is someone who undertakes walking the 88 temples pilgrimage and who worships at each of the 88 temples. It is said that a true Henro means dedicating each step of the walk to nothing more than an investigation of this "ceaseless practice of the present." The understanding that what will come will come. What will go will go. What will occur will occur. As a Henro, you understand that your only responsibility is to accept, and move on. One step at a time.
WHAT ARE THE 88 TEMPLES ?
The Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage is a ~1200km walk around the island of Shikoku in Japan, visiting, as the name suggests… 88 temples. It is believed that the founder of Shingon Buddhism in Japan, Kobo Daishi (otherwise known as Kukai, 774-835), trained or spent time at these temples so it is in his footsteps that the route follows.
The word, ‘Shikoku’ means 4 provinces, and Shikoku is divided into the 4 provinces of Tokushima, Kochi, Ehime and Kagawa. Traditionally, walking this pilgrimage through these 4 provinces was seen as progressing through 4 stages of enlightenment. The four stages are: