Days 50 and 51: Back to Bando (22 and 23 April 2019)

Most pilgrims seem to agree that one has to return to the temple where one’s ohenro began in order to complete the circle of the walk. I agree because in my book of signed pages, there is a page that is reserved for the seals, signature, and date of completion.

After leaving the onsen lodging after Temple 88, I relaxed as I walked to Sanuki-Shirotori, a town that shorten the distance back to Temple 1 by a third. The final day would be long (about 18 miles) but relatively easy, I thought.

Kukai had something else in mind. I still had a 1000 foot mountain to scale before descending into the valley where the first temples were located. The climb up was long but after so many miles, the walk seemed routine.

I reached Temple 3 by 1 PM and sat looking at the surroundings. I was here on 7 March. It was hard to believe that I had experienced 88 temples. I took out my signature book to verify whether all the pages were signed. Indeed they were.

At Temple 2, I walked back to the giant tree that stands in a place of honor in the courtyard before the staircase to the hondo. It rained on 7 March so I didn’t spend much time taking in the scene. This time I gazed up the tree, looked at its enormous truck and gnarly bark. I pulled on its ceremonial cincture. Legend has it that one will have an easy childbirth. I settled on good health.

Finally, Temple 1, Ryozenji. I put my staff, man bag, and backpack down on a bench as I had done many times before. I put on my wagesa, and took out the small doll that the woman from Matsuyama had given me to carry from temple to temple (see day 33).

I walked to the hondo, expressed my gratefulness for my good fortune, and then held the doll up for the photo below. I had done my osettai for the kind lady from Matsuyama. The doll will travel home with me.

I also took out two five yen coins. One came from the mishuku host from Unomachi (see day 29) who said to offer it at a temple with a wish. Aoyama-san said to toss it into the collection box at the hondo of Temple 1.

The other was saved somewhere shortly after Unomachi. I stated my wishes: one for continued good health for friends and family, and other that Aoyama-san complete his ohenro as he intended to do this fall.

Afterwards, I had my book signed. The gentleman congratulated me and gave a string of wooden beads as a remembrance. It will be a complement to the one I wore throughout the walk.

This final day, I traveled alone though I thought of Ichigo, Ichie – one lifetime, one moment. Perhaps that is what Kukai had in mind for my last day.

3 thoughts on “Days 50 and 51: Back to Bando (22 and 23 April 2019)

  1. Happy Birthday, Ron! Thanks much for sharing your 88 Temples journey. I’m so glad that you had wonderful people and experiences along the way. Photos were exceptional too! Look forward to welcoming you back to Pennsylvania. Cheers, Janet

    On Tue, Apr 23, 2019 at 5:30 PM 88 Temples: Travels Around Shikoku wrote:

    > yoshidax48 posted: “Most pilgrims seem to agree that one has to return to > the temple where one’s ohenro began in order to complete the circle of the > walk. I agree because in my book of signed pages, there is a page that is > reserved for the seals, signature, and date of compl” >

    Like

    1. Dear Janet,

      See you soon. Many more days yet to experience. R

      On Fri, May 3, 2019 at 11:02 PM 88 Temples: Travels Around Shikoku wrote:

      > Respond to this comment by replying above this line > New comment on 88 Temples: Travels Around Shikoku > > * Janet Stainbrook commented on Days 50 and 51: Back to Bando (22 and 23 > April 2019) > > * > > Most pilgrims seem to agree that one has to return to the temple where > one’s ohenro began in order to complete the circle of … > > Happy Birthday, Ron! Thanks much for sharing your 88 Temples journey. I’m > so glad that you had wonderful people and experiences along the way. Photos > were exceptional too! Look forward to welcoming you back to Pennsylvania. > Cheers, Janet > >

      Like

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