A Breaf Shikoku PILGRIMAGE “English guide”

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今からおよそ1200年前、僧侶である空海(弘法大師)は、唐で留学僧として過ごしたあとに帰国して、僧として更に厳しい修行を積もうと志し、昔から四国一帯に存在する寺院を巡り難行を行いました。その寺院などは険しい山岳の中にあったり、激しい高波を越えて渡らなければならない海岸沿いにあったりしました。それらの寺院が全部で88あったために、それらの寺院は「四国88か所」と呼ばれています。また、それらの寺院を巡って、空海を偲んで、自らも修行を積もうとする旅人のことを「四国遍路」と呼びます。
全て徒歩で巡るのが昔からの四国遍路ですが、徒歩で巡るとするとおおよそ1か月掛かります。
私も7歳の時に母に連れられてほぼ徒歩で巡りました。
あまりにも遠い道程の場合はバスや小船に乗りました。そうしなければその日の宿泊場所が得られなかったからです。でも、バスや小船に乗ったのはわずか数回だったと思い出しています。
一日に子供の脚で何十キロと歩いたわけです。当時40歳の母が私の手を繋いで厳しい山岳を歩んで導いてくれました。
なぜ、四国遍路をするのですか? 空海への信仰心が主ですが、厳しい道を歩み、大自然に触れることで心身の快復を目指すことにあります。各々の寺院で清らかな時を過ごし、読経を挙げることで心身ともに落ち着くものです。
外国の方々も多く、お参りをされて、日記やガイド文を掲載されているのでここにそれらの文章を紹介します。
Approximately 1200 ago, Kukai (The great priest Kobo Daishi)  returned  home after having spent as studying monk in the Tang Dynasty, and he aspired trying to do any more stringent training as a monk, and continued to travel around the many temples that exist in Shikoku whole area since ancient times in order to acquire ascetic practices of Buddhism.
Those temples are in the steep mountains or on the coast that you must cross beyond the big waves.
Because a temple is 88 in total, it is called “Shikoku 88 places”. = Eighty-eight pilgrimage sites on the island of Shikoku in Japan
And a pilgrim who goes on a pilgrimage through 88 temples in Shikoku is called “Shikoku Henro”
However, the true  “Shikoku pilgrim ” is a person who remembers Kukai and  continues the journey and is trying  to keep ascetic practices.
They made the Shikoku pilgrimage on foot in old days.
It takes approximately one month if you walk a pilgrimage all the way.
I also was led by the hand by my mother and I made a pilgrimage at the age of 7 almost on foot.
We took a small boat and a bus when the destination was too far.
We were because the inn of the day was not found if we did not do that.
However I remember that it was only several times to get on a bus and a small boat.
The child kept walking more than 20 kilometers a day.
In those days, 40-years-old mother kindly led me in a steep, long and winding road in mountains.

Why do you make a pilgrimage to the 88 temples in Shikoku?
Faith to Kukai is main. And they walk a steep mountain path, and then the mental and physical recovery by touching the Nature make them happy. This is also another reason they make pilgrimage, I think.
I spend calm and pure time at each temple, and mind and body are settled down together by giving sutra-chanting.
There are also many foreigners that the Shikoku Pilgrimage. And they have written a traveler’s diary or a guidebook for the pilgrim in the website. I introduce to you those articles some, please enjoy those articles.
A Breaf  Shikoku  PILGRIMAGE “English  guide” by Jeffrey Hackler
Le pèlerinage des 88 temples de Shikoku   In French: Very fine!!