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Tears in Heaven

Tears in Heaven
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To aborted and miscarried children complete with the toys that the children would have received. Painful stuff.

The sign at another such shrine echoed the words of Eric Clapton. Would you know my name?

Today we took part in part of the the 88 stage pilgrimage in Aio which takes the pilgrim around the major temples and a larger number of small Jizo and Kannon Bodhisattva shrines in the fishing village of Aio and neighbouring hamlets. It started in 1783 making it the second oldest such pilgrimage after the 9th century pilgrimage in Shikoku, made famous by the esoteric Buddhist Kūkai (lit "empty sea" also known as Koubo Daishi - great teacher of the wide law), upon which it is based. For this reason the pilgrimage around Aio is called "O'Daishi Mairi", which means literally greater teacher's pilgrimage. Vistors to the temples and Buddhist receive stamps (inkan, seal pressings) as they would also do at Shinto shrines except when visiting Buddhist temples one takes a pressing oneself onto a piece of paper with 88 squares (or onto ones clothing or even body at other such pilgrimage sites), whereas at Shinto shrines one receives a small piece of paper, card or wood onto which as been pressed the seal of the god, as the representation of a household shrine (kamidana) deity, or protective amulet (omamori) which functions as a scapegoat (migawari) collecting the bad luck and impurity that would otherwise collect upon its owner. Perhaps the very act of collecting stamps, which Japanese do to this day when they take part in tourist stamp rallies, encourages the participant to supplicate, and look at ones hands. In the Christian Eucharist practitioners are encourage to look at their hands as they accept the sacrament, or even as they eat their daily bread. Christians accept bread. Japanese accept symbols. Visitors to the Buddhist temples are also given a small dish of rice crackers, soft rice nougat (uirou), a banana, some tea or coffee, so there is no shortage of edible refreshment, but it is not sacred. Some visitors chant the name of a Buddha. Most put their hands together, give a small (often token) monetary offering, and express their thanks. Some of the temples have a very pleasant, magical mystical vibe. The waiting at the temples on the pilgrimage are so extremely friendly. Sometimes old ladies beat a Buddhist wooden drum. This may be to encourage, or accompany visitors as they chant.

The psychological effect of taking part in the pilgrimage are many. The various communities of fishermen, farmers, furniture makers and foresters are encourage to recognise their unity, as part of the pilgrimage. Pilgrims find out about beautiful temples that they would not otherwise of known about. One pilgrim on the original Shikoku route spoke of being able, subsequently, to see his own back. I feel that having seen the stages on a map, visiting each in turn encourages me to imagine the route from a bird's, or god's, eye view looking down from above. With all the praying (almost everyone puts their hands together in front of them when they pray), and stamp collecting one is encouraged to look at ones hands, and stamps, an act which parallels that of seeing the pilgrimage from above in ones imagination. And according to the pilgrim lore, one is also encouraged to think that the great teacher, Odaishi, another self sacrificing scapegoat, is making the pilgrimage with you. This in turn calls to mind the Mc Dermott-Rochat hypothesis.
Date: 2018-05-06 10:28:33

Yamaguchi City Yamaguchi Prefecture 山口市 山口県 秋穂 お大師参り ODaishiMairi Aio Odaishi Pilgrimage

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