Wow. I am not sure what I got myself into this year. At the beginning of this project I thought it would be really great to try to do the 88 Buddhist Temple Pilgrimage. I would very much like to do the entire thing on foot, but I know that right now with our work that would be impossible. But I have been greatly enjoying the process of going on the bus tours to see each place, and to take a little time to enjoy the people around me.
A few things I have been doing to be better prepared for everything.
The first is that I am now deeply pushing myself to learn better and deeper Japanese. My level of speaking and communicating is not too shabby, and I can get through the day and communicate and chat with people in a friendly way. But I have never taken formal classes. I never went to university to major in Japanese and everything I have learned has been “on the fly” and in stolen hours, here and there, at Starbucks with my textbooks and notes. The further I go along the more I realize I need to know.
So this year I am resolved to do better and to make Japanese study something I do every day. I am attacking the kanji characters. I am filling up notebooks, I am playing Japanese language sessions in my car as I drive around town, I am talking to myself in Japanese (but not in a frothy-I-am-losing-my-mind way), and I am making some progress. I’ve never been particularly clever, just particularly stubborn. I am going to get this thing done.
This project, and exploring the temple’s of Kukai’s pilgrimage brings with it new levels of learning Japanese, and vocabulary that is not often found in my textbooks. There is a lot to learn. I think that I am lucky to have been working so long as a teacher. I never worry about having to study, and I enjoy it. I know that the process to complete a big job takes a lot of time, and usually means you have to be hard-headed to get through all the long boring hard work. I don’t mind that at all. And the great thing about learning language is that you do not have to be a genius. You just have to keep pushing it along.
There are a lot of things I do not know about Buddhism as well. So that is another whole area of study that I want to know more about, and the process to read and learn and think has also been quite rewarding.
I am not sure what I think about a lot of things regarding the spiritual world. the hereafter, heaven, hell, and everything in between. I was raised in a rather staunch unimaginative church culture, but now have nothing more to do with it. At present, I cannot classify, package, or define what I believe. That too is a work in progress. But in short, if the message is about love thy neighbour, human compassion, doing the best you can do with what you have, and contributing to the betterment of others, I am all ears. No matter what the religion is. In that way this pilgrimage has been “enlightening” as well. It has been a great experience so far.
As things grow and develop I will keep putting materials here on this site. I am glad that you have come for a visit. Thanks for reading, and if you have comments, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Have a great day and take care!