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Kitagawa, Three Types of Pilgrimage in Japan

Kitagawa, Three Types of Pilgrimage in Japan

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Published by Keren Mice

in Studies in Mysticism and Religion presented to Gershom G. Scholem on his 70th Birhday, Jerusalem, 1967, pp. 155-164.

in Studies in Mysticism and Religion presented to Gershom G. Scholem on his 70th Birhday, Jerusalem, 1967, pp. 155-164.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Keren Mice on May 22, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/17/2013

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J.
M.
Kitagawarewards.Besides,
thepilgrimageprovides
welcome
relieffrom
the
routine
ofthe
dull
everyday
life
of the
people.
Furthermore,
seen
from
a
broader
perspective,the
pilgrimage,which
cements
the
solidarity
of
religiousgroups'
ďso
stimulatestrade and commerce,dissemination
of
ideas,
and
intercultural
exchange.
Notwithstanding
these
"uni-
versal features,
which
areshared
by
the
pilgrimages
of
various tradi-tions,
each onetends
to
show
a
unique
ethos
of
its
own,
which
can
be
understoodonly
within
itsreligious and cultural
contexts.
Historically
in Japan,
the
development
of the
pilgrimage
was
greatlyconditioned
by
thegeographicaland topographical as much as reli-giousand
cultural
factors.
According
to
Shinto, the whole
world
is
permeated
by
the sacred
(kami)
nature,
so
that
every
mountain,
river,tree,
rock
as
well
as
human
being
is
potentiallyan
object
of
venera-
tion.
As
far
as thepractice
of
pilgrimage
is
concerned,
it
had
little
place
in
early Shinto,
because
Shinto
was
closely
related
to
the
life
of
the
clan
(nji),which moreoften thannot was
settled
in
a
particular
geographical
locality.
To
be
sure,
in
many agriculturalcommunities
the
kami
of
themountains
were
believed
to
come down and
becomethe
kami of
the
rice field
during
the
part
oftheyearand then
return
to
the
mountains
after
the
harvest.Itisconceivable,therefore,
that
some
peoplemight
have
climbed
the
mountains
in
order
to
experience the
mystique
of theabode
of
the
kami.But
suchpracticeswere spontane-
ous and
were
not
regularized
as
pilgrimagesby early
Shinto.
The
introduction of
Chinese
civilization
andBuddhism during
the
sixth century
A.D.
brought aboutfar-reaching religious and
cultural
changes
in
the
subsequent
periods
of
Japanese
history.
Eventually,
there developedthree
major
types
of
pilgrimagesoutof
the
fusion
of
indigenous
Shinto
and
folk
religiousbeliefs andpractices
with
Bud-dhistand Chinese
-
especially
Taoist
-
elements.
They are
(1)the
pilgrimageto the
sacred
mountain;
(2)
the
pilgrimageto
the temples
and
shrines, based
on
the
faith
in
the
divinities
enshrined
in
thosesanctuaries; and
(3)
the
pilgrimageto
sacredplacesbased on the
faith
in
certain charismatic
holy men
who
are believed
to
have hallowed
thoseplaces
by
their visits.It
is
the
purpose
of
thispaperto inquire
as
to
how
these types
of
pilgrimages
developed
in
Japan and also todepict
the
basic similaritiesanddissimilarities among
them.
Pilgrimageto
the
SacredMountain
We have already hinted
at
the
importance
of
sacred mountains
in
the
religious
life
of
the
early
Japanese.
Itissignificantto
note
in
this
156
connectionthat evu
Buddhism
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