Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

2 - Pilgrimage: Shikoku Pilgrimage in Japan and Pilgrimage to Varanasi in India

Saturday, July 7
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Willow, First Floor

A Pilgrimage is a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance leaving daily normal life temporarily and return normal life. Typically, it is a journey to a sacred place, shrine, temple and other location of importance to a person’s belief and faith, although sometimes it can be a metaphorical journey into someone’s own beliefs. People make Pilgrimage in a particular season or day, or throughout the year. The paper will compare the Shikoku Pilgrimage in Japan to the pilgrimages in various faiths in India and especially to the pilgrimage to Varanasi in India, one of the holy sites of Hinduism.
The Sikh religion does not place great importance on pilgrimage. Guru Nanak Deva was asked “Should I go and bathe at pilgrimage places?” and replied “God's name is the real pilgrimage place which consists of contemplation of the world of God and the cultivation of inner knowledge. Eventually, however, Amritsar and Harmandir Saheb became the spiritual and cultural center of Sikh faith. Baha’u’llah decreed pilgrimage to two places in the Kitab-i-Aqdas : the House of Baha’u’llah in Baghdad, Iraq and the House of the Bab in Shiraz, Iran. Later Abdu’l-Baha designated the shrine of Baha’u’llah at Bahji, Israel as a sight of
pilgrimage. In Iran, there are pilgrimage destinations called Pirs in several provinces, although the most familiar ones are in the province of Yazd. In addition, traditional Yazd shrines, new sites may be in the process of becoming pilgrimage destinations the ruins of ancient fire temple. The main pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five pillars of Islam and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically capable of undertaking the journey.
Shikoku Pilgrimage in Japan: The Shikoku Pilgrimage or Shikoku Junrei is a multi-site pilgrimage of 88 temples associated with the Buddhist priest Kobodaishi (Kukai) on the island of Shikoku located South-Western part of Japan. A popular and distinctive feature of the island’s cultural landscape and with a long history, numbers of pilgrims still undertake the journey for a variety of ascetic, pious, and tourism-relate purposes. The pilgrimage is traditionally completed on foot but modern pilgrims use cars, taxis, buses, bicycles or motorcycles. The standard walking course is approximately 1,200 kilometers long and can take anywhere from thirty to sixty days to complete.

Sato Ryojun

Taisho University, Japan

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2 - Pilgrimage: Shikoku Pilgrimage in Japan and Pilgrimage to Varanasi in India



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