day 95: 88 temples

In a far away country on an island full with thick forest and a rugged coast, there is a path. Hundreds and hundreds of years ago a man walked on that path, finding his way through valleys, along river beds, into fisher villages, looking for truth. For enlightenment.

Kobo Daishi went from temple to temple, just carrying a blanket to cover himself from the cold at night and a stick to lean his body on, when he got tired. To cover his face from the sun he put on a straw hat. At some temples he meditated, at some temples he recited sutras, at other places he had revelations, encountered demons or animals or deities. At those places he founded a new temple. His journey brought him to 88 temples.

At the tip of the island Shikoku, at a temple overlooking the pacific ocean he changed his name to Kukai. When he grew old it is said that he stayed in enternal meditation in the mountains of Koya San.

Today many people follow Kukai´s footsteps. They go from temple to temple, pray the buddhist heart sutra, put on a straw hat to cover their faces from the sun and carry a stick to lean their bodies on when they get tired. Every day they walk 9 hours – for 2 months. They are on the „henro pilgrimage“ around the Japanese island Shikoku.

Just like me. In the following days I´ll let you know more about the heat of the sun, my sore feet and who are the other people walking around in Shikoku.

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About Michaela Krimmer

35, anthropologist, Austrian, female

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