Enter the Dojo of Enlightenment
Again, it’s been a long time since I last posted a blog and I find myself continuing to play catch-up writing about the past events of MY LIFE AND TIMES IN JAPAN. One of the most significant highlights that I have yet to write about is my journey back on the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage. Back in the first week of May, during Japan’s string of national holidays known as Golden Week, I spent 2-nights and 4-days on the rigorous trail towards enlightenment. I have now officially visited temples 1-51, which puts me past the half-way mark towards completing my journey. This particular trip was probably the most challenging thus far, because my continuing point was probably the furthest I’ve had to travel to from Tokushima. Heading to the opposite corner of Shikoku Island, I completed the Dojo of Religious Disciple phase and later entered the Dojo of Enlightenment, the third of four phases on the pilgrimage. Having now visited all 17 temples in the Dojo of Religious Disciple (24-39), I’ll take this opportunity to reflect on my most memorable temple visits in Kochi prefecture.
No. 24: Hotsu-Misakiji Temple (The Temple f Cape Muroto) – Located on the western tip of Shikoku, the temple provides a beautiful panoramic view of Cape Muruto. It was at this temple, where Kobo-Daishi made his great determination to become a Buddist monk and seek enlightenment for the salvation all mankind through the esoteric Gumonji practice at the age of 19. Thus the temple occupies an important place in the religious history of Japan and has always enjoyed the patronage of the Imperial family.
No. 38: Kongo-Fukuji Temple (The Temple of Everlasting Happness) – Located on the southern tip of Shikoku at the center of Cape Ashizuri, the temple is surrounded by Ashizuri National Park. Since the time of Emperor Saga, the temple has enjoyed the patronage of aristocrats, warriors, and noble clans. Of interest in Ashizuri National Park is a light-house located on the edge of a cliff, famous for suicides. See pictures below of Kongo-Fukuji Temple and around Ashizuri National Park.