Day 26 – The Chūgoku 33 Temple Kannon Pilgrimage, Japan – Visiting Temple #18, Sorinji Temple, and Thoughts About My Past Lives While Walking From Ube City Towards Shimonoseki

Day 26 – The Chūgoku 33 Temple Kannon Pilgrimage, Japan – Visiting Temple #18, Sorinji Temple, and Thoughts About My Past Lives While Walking From Ube City Towards Shimonoseki

I slept well at night, but I still woke up with a sore throat.
Perhaps it will take another day or a bit longer before it improves.

We took the train from Yuda Onsen to Ube, where we had ended our walk the day before.
The train was packed with people, and even though it was the Golden Week Holidays, many of the kids wore their school uniforms.

It was too early to check into our hotel in Ube, but we gave them our backpacks and left to visit Sorinji, Temple number #18 on our pilgrimage.

Ube City felt very quiet, with empty streets and closed businesses on the holiday.

The temple was quiet, too.
It had a nice garden and an old wooden Hondo (main hall).
The temple’s office was manned by a very cute but bossy four year old girl, who took our pilgrim’s book and refused to give it to her grandmother.

The grandmother apologized on her behalf, and we all laughed at the girl’s vigorous demeanor.

She then asked us to wait, as the priest was preforming a puja for some people.
We took the time to walk around the temple, pray, chant and light incense.

After our scroll and book were stamped, we paid the little girl and she wished us a safe journey and said: “Thank you for coming, walk carefully and be safe!”
She was such a cutie!

From there, we started to walk towards Shimonoseki.
There is not much to do in Ube, and we had only booked a two night stay here in order to walk forwards and cover the distance towards Shimonoseki, where our next temple is located.

But before walking out of town, we stopped again at the “Kasinoki Ube Farm” to have a light lunch and some tea.
It really is a lovely place to sit and enjoy lunch or a hot drink.

When we left, we started walking out of town.
We met an old man who was walking his little dog.
The first question he asked Jules, was what was his job or his work.
Then he asked us where we are from, and where we are going to.

After shaking both our hands, he hugged each of us and wished us a safe journey.
We were already at the end of the road, when he called us back, waving his hands vigorously to get us to return.
We thought that maybe we had dropped something, and we walked back.

He had a concerned look on his face.
Then he asked us where we are going to sleep tonight.
We told him at a hotel in town.
Then he asked what we are going to eat, and invited us to his house to eat with him.
I thanked him and told him that we don’t have time.
He understood and then he hugged us again, turning to hug me a third time.

I was thinking of the loneliness of old people in Japan and all around the world.
It is so heart wrenching.
This sweet old man just needed a human touch and possibly some company.
He found it in our smiling and very sympathetic faces.

We walked along the sidewalks of a busy road of shops and businesses that stretches between Ube and the town of Sanyoonoda.
There were all kinds of chain shops, chain restaurants, car dealerships, Pachinko gambling parlors, bowling alleys, mega electronic shops, and more.

There is a chain of shops in Japan that I actually like to enter when we walk pilgrimages in Japan.
It is called “Workman,” and it sells all sorts of clothing that are worn by construction workers or by people working outdoors.

They sell sun shirts with high UV protection, sun gloves to protect your hands from sunburn, arm covers to protect your arms, leg covers, neck covers, hats, wind jackets, hiking shirts and much more.
If you are walking a pilgrimage in rural Japan, you might not find a good sports or outdoors shop, but there will always be a “Workman” shop, to gear up on what you might need.

I got a long sleeve sun shirt and some leggings.
Jules also got a long sleeve sun shirt.

We walked to the outskirts of Sanyoonoda, where there was a large mall and a very busy Starbucks cafe with a line of people stretching out the door.
We stopped to rest and to drink some tea, and somehow, before we knew it, it had become dinner time.

There were lots of restaurants in the mall, but we wanted to get back to the hotel and check in, do our laundry and take showers, so we decided to take the train back to Ube and eat near our hotel.

While we waited for the train, we chatted with two young girls who were extremely sweet and talkative.
They asked all sorts of questions, and told Jules that he looks so young and that they cannot believe he will be seventy soon.

It was already late when we got back to Ube, and Jules asked if I minded eating some Indian food.
We walked to a nearby Indian restaurant and had a simple meal of Nan bread with two kinds of vegetable curry and a mango sherbet.

Our hotel is comfortable and clean.
It does not have a hot springs, but it has a good bathtub.
I took a long bath soaking with a selection of bath-salts that the hotel gave me while Jules went down to the laundry room to do our laundry.

I was reflecting about why I am having difficulties with this pilgrimage, and I had mentioned in my last post yesterday, that I would elaborate about the inner process I am going through.

The truth is that there are many days, in which I question if this is a good use of our time and money.
This pilgrimage is expensive, and many days we walk in industrial zones, without any natural beauty.
During the day, water and food are not always easy to come by and
often people look at us as if we were lost tourists, and nobody, absolutely nobody has ever heard about anyone walking this pilgrimage route.

I enjoy very much the long walks while listening to spiritual teachings, and the time it affords me to face my weak mind and the results of having a weak mind.
I worry about the well-being of my mother and sister, and I pray for them all day long.
But my resolve is great.
I know that despite the pain, the flu and the hardships, I can and WILL do it, and I am growing towards having better discipline.

But is it at all necessary for enlightenment?
I have to say….. No, it is not.

I just finished reading a book called “The Reluctant Messenger,” by Candice M. Sanderson.
It is a great book, a personal account of enlightenment experiences happening to a woman who lives in Naples, Florida.

She is not an outdoorsy person, climbing mountains or walking major pilgrimages.
Yet enlightenment is most definitely happening inside her.

I know that as we walk pilgrimages, we gain a lot of other things beside getting nearer to enlightenment.
We learn to bring the body into alignment with the Will and with our Spirit, and to become more capable and lighter inside, and lighter on our feet, in accepting whatever comes with equanimity.
But it is not a tool towards enlightenment.

I have started to believe there is another agenda, that causes Jules and I to want to walk pilgrimages.

In the past, I went to get Psychic readings a few times.
In all visits, the Clairvoyant Psychics told me that I had two past lives in which I was badly injured in my legs, and unable to walk.

In one lifetime I was badly hurt in one of my knees, and was unable to walk, but I listened to stories of travelers who loved traveling, and to those who had been to many exotic destinations, and I used to daydream about going there one day.

Jules on the other hand, was a blind man in one lifetime, and also listened to descriptions of wonderful places he could not see or visit.

Maybe these previous lifetimes left us with a strong desire to roam around, going to remote and amazing ancient temples, collecting fragments of our own past life memories and feeding the psychic hunger we have developed in past lives….

Funny that on this pilgrimage, I have developed a phantom knee pain that comes and goes, and Jules has developed a phantom eye infection in both his eyes, that comes and goes….

Anyway….these are some of the thoughts I have been reflecting on while we walk for many hours….

Wishing you love and harmony,

Daily Stats:
Steps: 24,566 steps
Distance Walked: 18 Kilometers
Active Walking: 4.5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours

Total distance walked on the pilgrimage so far: 538 Kilometers

Temple Visited: Temple #18 Sorinji Temple 宗隣寺

Accommodation: Ube International Hotel in Ube.
A part of the Kokusai hotel chain with nice, western style rooms and breakfast.

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