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Henro Pilgrimage - Day 29 - May 14 (26km)

I was told the morning devotion would start at 6:00, but the time came and went and the temple was silent. At 7:30 the Abbot emerged in a tizzy and whisked us off to the Fire Hall, the Grand Hall, and the Master’s Hall, where we participated in the rituals. Despite the late start it was a rare experience and I’m grateful for it. I will visit here again one day.

By 8:30 I was hiking back down through the trees. Most of the way down there was a section marked on the map as “difficult passage”, and I found myself bush-whacking for a few minutes before I convinced myself I had taken a wrong turn. Down a different fork in the path (mostly blocked by construction equipment) I found some farmers who told me that I wasn’t lost and just needed to squeeze through a tiny footpath between their fields and the hill to get back to the road.

By noon I was down into the city of Ōzu. Here was Toyo-ga-hashi (Bekkaku 8), the temple with the coolest name. It means “The Bridge of Ten Nights”, referring to a legend of Kūkai where he slept under a nearby bridge for a night and pondered the nature of humanity. It was said his meditations felt like the passing of ten entire days, and the name came to be. Luckily the bridge is still there, and under it is a stone statue of Kūkai, lying on his side, fast asleep. It was a strange feeling to see him after all these weeks - I had lifted my staff over every bridge I crossed, and often questioned Kūkai out loud at his choice of nap locations.

Seriously Kū you’re going to get ticks.

or

Look at this river! I bet you’re soaked to the bone down there.

To which he would reply that he was swimming instead. Smart-ass always had an answer.

The next town, Uchiko, was charming. By complete coincidence I found a restaurant ran by a German guy and his Japanese wife and had an excellent dinner. We spoke in German as well, and he gave me advice about where to sleep that night. Apparently the park back on the other side of the river had free camping, which wasn’t at all marked on my map. That’s where I am tonight and there isn’t a soul around. Tomorrow I hope to get to temple 45, but it’s far.

Osettai: Mochi, salad, information, a strange citrus

Original Japanese:

朝の務めは六時からと言われたものの六時が過ぎても誰も現れない。結局七時半頃に住職が慌てて出てきて、それから俺と彼ともう一人の女性旅人と護摩堂、本堂、大師堂での儀式に参加した。とても良い経験だった。この寺をまた訪れたい。

下山は八時過ぎ開始で、高山道で下った。「通行困難」の所で藪で迷って引き返して近くの農家に道を尋ねた。大体昼前には大洲に入っていた。

十夜ヶ橋でやっと寝ている空海と会った。不思議な気持ちだった。

内子はとても良い町。偶然でドイツ人がやっている店を見つけてそこで晩を摂った。ドイツ語も喋れた。近くの広い公園の事も教えてくれて今日はここで無料で野宿。今日中にもっと伸ばしたかったが先に進んでも当分は何もない。できれば明日で45番に辿りたい。

お接待:餅・サラダ・情報・妙な柑橘類

#henro #japan #buddhism

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