It has been a very busy year so far. Yesterday I got back home after the last pilgrimage installment. There are only three more temples to visit, and then I will have been to all 88. When I think about that it is pretty amazing, and also I am so grateful that I have been able to update this website throughout the year as I went along. There is so much to see, and so many temples to learn things about and explore. By laying things out here, page by page, I can clearly explore and remember each more clearly. It is also my great hope that this site and blog will be of good help to visitors as well.
I just uploaded the photos up to temple 4, down from 88, so that is a start. There is still much to do for including information, background, history, highlights, and folklore for each. I will keep puttering around with it until it is done.
I am also working on a close reading of the Heart Sutra, and hopefully a helpful guide to reading it aloud, and a mild dissection of each part so that you can understand more and enjoy more of this beautiful thing. I have to admit that I am enjoying pondering the ideas and expressions within the sutra. Like many westerners, I grew up where linear logic is praised, and where clear lines of discussion and argument can be expressed and debated. The Heart Sutra is having none of that, so this is quite interesting.
But I promise also not to go off on all kinds of esoteric tangents that serve more to confuse, than to explore together. That would just be plain…. rude.
My last impression of the most recent journey is that the pace of the pilgrimage is a bit overwhelming. It is hard to put everything in careful perspective when so many temples and countryside is whizzing by. At Kirihataji (temple 10) I met two very nice French visitors. We did not have a chance to talk much, but they sure seemed interesting. They are only here for a short visit, to see a handful of temples, but they could both speak very passable Japanese. Years ago, as students, they used to live in Japan and are now back for a visit. I would have liked to talk more, but the road called them forward and our tour bus took us onward. I liked that they chose to do fewer, rather than more. They wanted to enjoy and know more of what they were doing, rather than racing to a finish line to “get it done”.
In the same way, I feel that about this site. This is the first time through, but it feels like preparing the background of a picture I am making on canvas. The first pass needs bold lines and blocky shaded areas. The forms will take shape over time. They will have their own hues and tone. Then the details, slowly and meticulously will fill the finer gaps within. Who knows what it will look like later.
Something entirely unexpected I suppose…