{Shikoku Hachijūhachikasho Meguri}


Bonnō are the 108 worldly desires that Buddhists believe all humans are afflicted with no matter your age.

Dōgyō Ninin
Dōgyō means Fellow Pilgrims, or pilgrims going on pilgrimage together. Ninin means two people. Together you have: Two Pilgrims, Going Together. Or, Two Fellow Pilgrims. In the context of the Shikoku pilgrimage, it is assumed by many that when you do this pilgrimage with any amount of sincerity, Kōbō Daishi will accompany you. Some believe that he will be there in spirit, others believe that he will be there himself. Hence, the popular English translation of: We two, Travelling Together (as made popular in Oliver Statler's book).

Doing the pilgrimage in a counter-clockwise, and considered the reverese, direction.

In the vast majority of writings, this means pilgrim. However, some people use henro to mean pilgrimage when referring specifically to the pilgrimage on Shikoku. Therefore, depending on the context, Shikoku Henro can mean either a pilgrim on the Shikoku pilgrimage, or the Shikoku Pilgrimage itself.

Henro Michi
Henro means pilgrim, as above. Michi means road or trail. Put the two together and you have Pilgrim's Road, or Pilgrim's Trail. I prefer the later even though less than 10% of the modern pilgrimage is walked on what we would call trails. The vast majority of today's pilgrimage is walked on the side of one or another road or higway, but henro trail just sounds better to me so that is what i use in all my writing.

Wandering ascetic. Monks who lead an ascetic life and spend most of their time wandering around the country.

Ikkoku Mairi
Ikkoku means One Prefecture, Mairi means to Go Around. Puting the two together we get 'doing the pilgrimage one prefecture at a time.' A type of kugiri-uchi (see below). Many people do one prefecture per year in order to complete the entire pilgrimage over the course of four years.

A Shintō shrine. Shintōism and Buddhism are not the same. For a long time in early Japanese history they were melded together in such a way that it was hard to differentiate where one started and the other took over, but they are fundamentally different beliefs. Therefore, a Shintō shrine and a Buddhist temple are not the same and the words Jinja and Tera (see below) can not be used interchangably. In fact, it can be quite amusing to watch the confusion when a foreigner uses Tera (or Otera) while asking directions to a shrine and the Japanese person simply has no clue what to say because there is only a shrine in the area - no temples at all.

Doing the pilgrimage in a clockwise, and considered normal, direction.

Kōya Hijiri
Mt. Kōya is the name of the mountain in Wakayama Prefecture on which Kōbō Daishi built his monastery complex in the early 9th century. Hijiri, as above, are wandering ascetic monks. In the years after Kōbō Daishi died, monks from Mt. Kōya (Kōyasan, in Japanese) would come down from the monasteries on the mountain and wander the country spreading Buddhism and/or asking for donations to build, or rebuild, one or another temple. These wandering monks are also the ones who probably started the practice of walking around the island of Shikoku visiting the the sites related to Kōbō Daishi's life.

Doing the pilgrimage in sections. Some people do the pilgrimage in sections — every weekend, a few weeks per year during vacation, etc. — until they finish the entire circuit.

Charity, or charitable giving. A custom has developed over the centuries for non-pilgrims along the pilgrimage route to give charitable gifts to pilgrims they meet. The belief is that, by giving, the giver is vicariously taking part, in some small way, in the recipient's pilgrimage; hence, they will receive bonus karma points and good merit. These gifts are usually money, food, drinks (non-alcohol and alcohol), free lodging, offers of free rides to the next temple, etc.

Shikoku Hachijūhachi Kasho Meguri
Shikoku is obviously the name of the island. Hachijūhachi means eighty-eight. Kasho, in this case, means places or sites. Meguri is one of the many Japanese words that can be used to mean pilgrimage. All together they mean: The Pilgrimage to the Eighty-eight Places of Shikoku. Since everyone in Japan knows about this pilgrimage and knows that the eighty-eight places in question are sacred, we usually say: The Pilgrimage to the Eighty-eight Sacred Places of Shikoku.

Tera or Otera
A Buddhist temple. Tera, by itself, is the Japanese word. The "O" in front of it in the second case is simply an honorific added to make the word more formal or more worthy of respect.

Doing the pilgrimage all at one time. Whether walking or by bike, motorcycle, car, or bus, you do the entire pilgrimage in one trip.

Yakudoshi are the ages that are considered as being especially dangerous for us. The ages are different for men and women but when one reaches one of the dangerous years it is thought that you are vulnerable to sickness, business or personal faliure, other misfortunes, and even death. It is believed that women at the age of 19 or 33, and men at the age of 42 or 61, are particularly prone to bad luck.

The years of greatest danger are: Men: 41, 42, and 61. Women: 32, 33, and 61. But, before you think you are safe in other years, for both men and women, the years of lesser danger are: 1, 6, 7, 15, 16, 19, 24, 25, 28, 34, 37, 43, 46, 51, 52, 55, 60, 64, 69, 70, 78, 79, and 82.