Friday 22 June 2018

Book Review: A Pilgrimage in Japan by Joan Stamm

This book is perfect summer reading.

A Pilgrimage in Japan takes you on a delightful journey to the 33 temples of Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, through the words of Joan Stamm.

This is an ancient pilgrimage route in Western Japan, which has been travelled for over a thousand years. It is a Buddhist pilgrimage, but honestly you don't have to be a Buddhist in order to enjoy the delightful and evocative descriptions of travelling to places of historic interest and natural beauty in a far-off country.

Nevertheless, publisher Mantra Books concentrates on the spiritual aspects of A Pilgrimage in Japan on its website, where it says:
Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, is the one who “hears the cries of the world” and vows to “assist anyone in distress.” As the author embarks on the pilgrimage route that extends from the Japan Sea to the Pacific Ocean, through the ancient city of Kyoto and the modern city of Osaka, and to the many mountain tops in between, she allows the special characteristics and sacred presence of each place to bring forth relevant Buddhist teaching; letting go of attachment, contemplating impermanence, engaging in right livelihood, being of service, and other teachings found in classic Buddhism. The dharma, or doctrines of Universal Truth, intertwines with rich descriptions of mountain hikes, remote temples, modern Shugendo practices, sacred icons and the author’s spiritual insights.
Journeys change us. Those embarked on especially to contemplate or confront specific concepts can change us even more. However, Joan Stamm's contemplations aren't preachy - she isn't trying to convert anyone to Buddhism.

She describes the thoughts she has as she takes difficult routes to remote sacred sites, and well-travelled paths to quiet sanctuaries within busy cities. She contemplates the messages associated with each one when she arrives. She makes it clear that these are her own thoughts and feelings.

Through her beautiful descriptions she has inspired me to look for my own pilgrimage route; to seek answers to my own spiritual questions by travelling in body, mind and spirit to those ancient and sacred sites that call to me, on my pagan path.

You can view A Pilgrimage in Japan on Amazon.

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