Shikoku Pilgrimage, Temples 36, 37

Beauty everywhere

There were many moments during my pilgrimage where I was thinking that it could not become more beautiful – that this moment was the pivotal point, unsurpassable– and yet, beauty appeared over and over in many different facets. The beauty around Shōryūji, temple 36, the temple of the blue dragon, started with a spectacular sunrise observed from my window.



Sunrise from my hotel, Kokumin-shukusha-Tosa.


The owner of the hotel I stayed in was a lover of European art.  Not only did he build a hotel in the style of houses in Santorini, a Greek Island, he also owned two pets, which hopped around freely in the hotel lobby. One was a weasel and the other one a rabbit.  He told me that both were connected with famous art pieces.  (Leonardo da Vinci ‘s “Woman with the Weasel” and Albrecht Dürer’s famous “Rabbit”)



The owner of hotel Santorini on the terrace.





In early morning, I visited Shōryūji at the foot of the cliff.  The three – story pagoda lit by the morning sun started to glow like the sun itself. To the left, you see a statue of Kannon.




In this photo ,you see Jizō Bosatsu in the foreground and a statue of Fudō Myōō further up on the hill. A waterfall for spiritual training can be seen to the right. Ascetics used this waterfall for spiritual training, to clean themselves from impurity.



Jizō Bosatsu




Moss covered path near the main temple halls




Pilgrims at Shōryūji




After leaving the hotel, the view to the Pacific Ocean was stunning. Seeing these rocks in the calm ocean, I could imagine that scenes like that inspired the Zen rock gardens.




In the distance, you can see snow capped mountains.




Less beautiful but practical were all the vending machines along the pilgrimage way.  One could not only buy cold drinks but also hot ones– especially many different kinds of coffee drinks.  I liked a bottle with a brown liquid in it called houjicha, which was roasted tea without sugar.  Most of the drinks were too sweet for me.



As much as I could, I tried not to walk through the famous, long tunnels typical for the Shikoku pilgrimage. Cars and trucks passed very close and the noise was almost unbearable. Sometimes, there was no way around.



All along the henro-no-michi, the community provided rest stations for the ohenros.



I sometimes saw old houses with straw patched roofs – I loved them!



A bench that is beautiful but of no use anymore



Before arriving at Iwamotoji (temple 37), where I stayed overnight, I was invited for tea and daifuku – mochi (rice cake with bean paste inside) as osettai by a very kind Japanese man.






Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

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    • It makes me happy that you are following my journey, especially because you know Japan. I am so much looking forward to your visit in June. We will have a lot to talk about! Love, Traude


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