Walking the 88 Temple pilgrimage
I do not remember when I first heard about the 88 Temple pilgrimage in Japan. For years, I harbored the thought of walking it myself as a very secret wish, secret even to myself. After a long incubation period, the dream finally becomes reality. At the end of February, beginning of March, I will start the over 800 mile long journey from temple to temple as an “ohenro”, as a pilgrim following the footsteps of Kukai, one of the most well known historic figures in Japan.
The pilgrimage circles the island of Shikoku, the 4th largest island of Japan. The island is the birthplace of Kukai, who was born in the 8th century. He not only brought Buddhism to ordinary people, but also was an extraordinary poet, calligrapher, architect and civil engineer. Many temples on the Shikoku trail where founded by him. It is believed that by walking the pilgrimage, Kukai is a constant companion.
At the beginning of each day, I will draw a haiku (a saying or a poem) out of my selection of poems I will bring with me to mark the day. I will attach a photo of the day to this poem and post it on my blog at the end of the day (if I have an internet connection).
It is very special for me to think that you are walking with me by following my blog. This walk will become a walk with Kukai, you and me.