I looked forward to the new places, landscapes, encounters, and that mixture of adventure and spiritual quest that made special those weekend-pilgrimages around the Chita Peninsula (Japan).

However, having to return home on Saturday night and to restart the walk on Sunday morning, somehow detracted from the purity of the pilgrimage. The solution of resting in a local hotel didn’t seem the most appropriate (in addition to be quite expensive). The real pilgrim should pass the night on the way, I thought.

The idea convinced me, but I first decided to try it out close to home, in the park with temples where I had “dug out” Kobo Daishi’s image. That evening I went there, looking for a place where to sleep, and I ended up curled up next to the temple dedicated to Dainichi Buddha (in Japanese, literally “Great Sun”), corresponding to the Buddha that symbolizes the universal matrix. (The photo is of the actual place).

I chose the temple for its location but, as I write about it now, I realize the symbolic power of my “random” choice, because that day, somehow, I recognized the universe as our ultimate abode.

It was quite cold, and every little noise woke me up with the anguish of seeing a monster, a ghost or a murderer. It dawned, and yet I still was alive. The experience was ambivalent, positive enough to give it a try during the pilgrimage. I bought a simple sleeping bag and an insulator, and I continued my wanderings… in the following posts.

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