How We Decided To Walk The Tokyo 33 Temple Kannon Bodhisattva Pilgrimage

How We Decided To Walk The Tokyo 33 Temple Kannon Bodhisattva Pilgrimage

In times of global insecurity, a week seems to pass as slowly as a whole month.
The coronavirus has been spreading fast, its effects causing waves of panic among the public, and countries closing their borders, which have led to many travel cancellations.

As expected, the losses and closures in China has been rattling the global financial markets.

Now, beside needing to decide if we should go on a pilgrimage to Japan while the virus is spreading and many places will be closed, we are also looking at our investment account, taking a deep breath and trying to remember that the financial markets always respond with nervousness to any major news.

We decided that unless the USA puts Japan on its “Do Not Travel” advisory list, we are going to be brave, not to submit to the fear of the unknown, and go.
Right now, Japan is on the advisory level 2 warning list, asking people to delay group travel and exercise caution.

We have been reading news from Japan daily and we know that many public places in Japan will be closed.
Many of the closures will not affect our pilgrimage, but most of the art museums in Tokyo will be closed for several days after our arrival.

We had planned to stay five days in Tokyo, mostly to adjust to the different time zone and to practice walking daily, before we embark on our pilgrimage.
We thought to spend time in cafes, restaurants and see some art.
Now, we have had to devise a new plan.

The first option was not to stay in Tokyo at all, and adjust in a more rural place that we have not yet visited.
But as the global fear and stress over the coronavirus is escalating, we decided that we should pray for our human family and do a mini-pilgrimage in Tokyo.

Tokyo has a 33 temple Kannon Bodhisattva pilgrimage, dating back to the Edo period.
It is not a well known pilgrimage, but all the temples are located in the vicinity of Tokyo.

We might not be able to visit all 33 temples this time and pray in each one for the well being of all sentient beings, but we will try to walk it and visit as many as we can in the days that we have in Tokyo.

I have prepared a scroll to be stamped in each temple, and we have already packed our backpacks in preparation for the journey.
Now I look at our packed bags and feel that this might actually happen….
Although I still read all the news every day, to see if there are any extreme changes in the travel advisory.

As always, we have packed very little, trying to carry as little as we can on our backs.
We plan to leave in our Tokyo hotel the extra scroll and stamp book, while we continue to walk the Saigoku pilgrimage, and pick them up at the end of our journey.

I am excited to have this temple itinerary that will not be affected by the fears and closures in Tokyo.
But I also feel my own fears and doubts, and I plan to open up and share them as we embark on this journey into the unknown….
I know it is foolish to allow fears to occupy our holy minds.

The Zen master Rōshi Kodo Sawaki (known as Homeless Kodo, because he did not own a home or a temple) wrote:

“To be born as a human being is a rare thing, and we should be grateful for it and use our lives meaningfully.

It is absurd to get depressed because you do not have money.

It is ridiculous to be neurotic simply because you do not sit in the VIP seat or cannot get a well paying job.

It is foolish to cry because you were rejected by your girlfriend.

Rather, having been born a human being, live a life worth living.”

With light filled blessings and with healing thoughts to all those who are infected or affected by the illusions of the world,

I am adding photos from today’s ski slopes.
Look at the beautiful blue sky.
Rōshi Kodo Sawaki said:

“What is the TRUE self?
It is brilliantly transparent,
like a deep blue sky,
and there is NO gap between it,
and ALL living beings.”

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