A Critical Analysis of the Buddhist 88-Temple Pilgrimage on Shikoku Island, Japan
This book analyzes the 88-temple pilgrimage on Shikoku Island, Japan, regarding its religious, historical, and sociological aspects. It looks at when and by whom the pilgrimage was established, how it developed over time, why there are 88 temples included, and by whom, why and when the classification into four steps of spiritual development was established. Illness is a major aspect, and the connection of the pilgrimage and death is evaluated. The social value and importance that the pilgrimage has, and how much it is interwoven with the daily life in the past and present, is analyzed, as are the origin and meaning of various pilgrimage items, pilgrims' behavior, how many people are actually doing the pilgrimage, where they come from, their age, by what means they travel, and for what reasons they do the pilgrimage. The present-day situation and future developments of this pilgrimage are also looked at. While it seems something whose rules can be bent or interpreted to each pilgrim's liking, there is still an underlying general consensus: the faith in 'Saint' Kôbô Daishi.
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