May 25, 2014

Site 14 of the Nakagawa 88 place pilgrimage

 Leaving Arabito Jinja I enter the real countryside. Mostly farm land scattered between low tree-covered hills. It was a very pleasant place to walk.
 Entering a slightly built up area, I found site 14 of the Nakagawa 88 place pilgrimage. About a hundred years ago, someone set up 88 Buddhist altars around the town, so that people could do a pilgrimage without every leaving the town. I have not had time to go to the library to research this pilgrimage, but if it is like the others, a believer would visit each one and chant the Heart Sutra. Walking is most traditional but using a car, motorcycle or bicycle is also okay. Doing this is supposed to bring merit toward your rebirth. I find that it is a relaxing activity, gives goals for walks, and provides effects similar to those obtained from meditation.
  You can see that someone has placed fresh flowers on the altar and some of the cups have tea in them. The writing on the board up under the eaves says that his is the 14th place.

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