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Henro Pilgrimage - Day 24 - May 9 (33km)

The murder van from last night rolled slowly by again at 5:20 this morning. Filled with trash I couldn’t see the driver. What kind of life could that be? So I was neither murdered nor was I eaten by the wild boar that nearby signs warned me of.

The grounds of Enkōji (39) weren’t very large, but it was quite clean. It was a really peaceful morning. After that it wasn’t far to the prefectural border, and I finally, finally left Kōchi and entered Ehime. Come to think of it, it’s been 12 days since I last rested and my feet are starting to hurt. Yesterday was also quite the haul.

I reached Kanjizaiji (40) around 15:00. I ran into Sophie again, and also bought a new bandana with the Kannon Sutra printed on it. Something of a good luck charm.

My lodging for the night was perhaps another kilometer up the road. The old lady had been running it for 50 years. She took me to dinner at a local place and she told me about her life. She’s 79. She lost her husband to alcohol 26 years ago, but she has her kids around for support. Her husband was a fisherman.

Animals: 3 cats, 1 snake

Osettai: extra dinner, a discount at the inn

Post-trip Addendum:

That was the last I saw of Sophie. She told me that she’d be zipping ahead the next day by bus, since she was a bit behind schedule and there isn’t a temple for another 2 or 3 walking days.

Hiking through the border mountains I met Agatha for the first time, a German graphic designer. She’ll come up again in a few weeks.

Whenever I was afraid I would chant the middle section of the Kannon Sutra from memory. It describes terrible situations a person can find themselves in (being thrown off mountains, dunked into lava pits, surrounded by demons, etc.) and how that danger can be cast off by 念彼観音力, roughly put into English as “thinking on / believing in the power of Kannon”. That sounds like spiritual, faith-based belief that someone used to the notions of Christianity might assume, but there are varying interpretations. I chose to interpret it meaning “my inner potential” as a human being, an on-going theme of my pilgrimage. And it actually works. I chanted it through every car tunnel I walked through (there were many). It still works now, even back home.

Original Japanese:



そろそろ足が痛い。昨日のせいか。寺には三時頃に着いた。そこでまたフランスのSophie と会った。日和佐から時々会う人。宿のお婆ちゃんが五十年も宿をやっていると言って一緒に夜ご飯を食べに行った。七十九歳。夫は飲みすぎて二十六年前になくなっている。漁師だった。



#henro #japan #buddhism

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