A couple of years ago I went on the pilgrimage route. Not on foot. Not in terrible weather for days on end. Not windswept along the beach or scrambling up hills through forests. Nope. I took a tour bus once a month for a full year and saw all 88 temples piecemeal. It was great. I have absolutely no regrets about my first venture in the pilgrimage. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot. Also learned about all kinds of things that I still need to learn more about. The experience expanded the recognition of my ignorance, and I loved that.
I was frequently asked then, and am still now, “Do you know David Moreton?” I have to say that I know Professor Moreton through his work on THE MUST HAVE guide for the pilgrimage, and I have seen him on Youtube. But no, I haven’t met him. And whenever I respond like this I get a glance of pity, and then inevitably hear the words, “You really should. He’s VERY nice”.
Then I am filled with self-doubt. “Am I NOT nice?” Is there something wrong with me? Is there something that I am missing in my personal character?
Maybe so…. but I let my momentary pang of jealousy melt, and just be grateful that Professor Moreton has done such incredible work, and has been such a stalwart ambassador for the pilgrimage.
I get a sense of the deep kindness of Professor Moreton, and good reports on the man’s character and temperament are widely known. He really is, in many ways that I am not, a tremendously appropriate advocate for Shikoku and representative of how to work and live in Japan as an ex-pat. I hope he has many many more years of keeping his advocacy and his writing going.
If you have time, please check out his website at: https://www.canadahenro.com . It has some very good and important information on the 88 Buddhist Temple Pilgrimage, also called the Shikoku Pilgrimage, and if you need more information, he’s the man to start with.