6/02/2005

Henro Pilgrims Muenbotoke

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Graves of the unknown pilgrims

muenbotoke 無縁仏










graves of the unknown -
pilgrims faces faded
into stone






無縁仏  遍路の顔も 石に消え








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Muenbotoke -The dead without any connection

They are the spirits of persons who have died without a family to perform posthumous rites at the grave for them. They are socially unrelated spirits, unbonded with the social fabric. They are "homeless", with no regular affiliation to a Japanese houshold.
When a pilgrim without traceable relatives dies during the Shikoku pilgrimage, the local people will take care of the burial rites and his ashes are finally layed to rest in this kind of mass grave.

It usually belongs to a temple where the headpriest can say the necessary prayers for the souls to find peace in the next world. Thus the villagers make sure the souls do not come back and haunt the place where they died.
This has been going on since many hundred years.



.. .. .. .. .. Suggested reading:

FACING THE SPIRITS:
ILLNESS AND HEALING IN A JAPANESE COMMUNITY
http://www.folklore.ee/rl/pubte/ee/usund/ingl/kalland.html

Safekeep copy is here
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DarumaArchives-002/message/63


1. Inauspiciousness and pollution
http://lucy.ukc.ac.uk/csacpub/Mono19/Html/wrapped_gifts-1_-5.html


Abortion and Ritual in Japan


Click the photo to read the text.
By John Traphagan
http://www.prc.utexas.edu/photogallery/japan-jizo.html

Child Protectors by Mark Schumacher


My article about the Limbo for Dead Children, Sai no Kawara
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Darumasan-Japan/message/502

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Muenbotoke Graves

Yonago

22 graves for the unknown muen botoke

Izumo Kaido, The Old Road of Izumo 出雲街道



Mihara, Temple Gokuraku-Ji



Visiting Mihara Daruma and the Aoyama Collection


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Shikoku Summer 2005 Our own Haiku Pilgrimage May 2005


.. .. .. .. .. Henro, a Kigo for Haiku


Henro Pilgrimage 遍路 



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Henro Pilgirms Culture and Haiku


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12 comments:

sakuo said...

Terrible !
I wish I could escape from here !
How they were thinking at their death.
Nan maida~ nan maida~~

Please take care of your trip.

sakuo.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating, Gabi. Is it a shrine, or real burial place?
They are so packed together..but it has a feeling of a sacred sculpture.

C.

. Gabi Greve said...

Hi C. san,
I added a little explanation.
It is a fascinating subject indeed!

Gabi
.. .. ..

It certainly is! I looked at all of them. I was struck by the poignancy of the abortion memorial and fascinated by the depth to which Japanese believe in ghosts!

C.

Anonymous said...

the headpriest
says the necessary prayers
peace in his mind


The photo with the stone children, gives me the shivers...

GEERT

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. Gabi Greve said...

ガビさん、
石仏をよくとりあげておられますね。
石仏は無表情の中に何やら意思を感じるような気がして、無言の雄弁さとでもいうようなものを感じます。
私もとても大切にしている自作の石仏の俳句がありす。

石仏 月下密かに 夢を見る

今は身動きの出来ない石仏だけど、もう一度自分の足で歩く事を心の中に念じているという不屈の句です。
英訳したらどうなるんでしょうね。
石仏というのは、心を託しやすいです。                        典子  

..........

Thank you so much for your comment.

stone buddha -
under the moonlight
dreaming your dreams

Gabi     

Anonymous said...

無縁仏さま・・・

人が死んだらどんなに非業な死で亡くなったとしても仏さまになる。
というのが日本伝統のご供養。南無。
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Anonymous said...

Thank you Gabi san for this Haiku and all the information ~

Let The Grace Of The Buddhas pour into you.

sincerely
Narayanan

Anonymous said...

Thank you Gabi san ~ The Haiku is soaked in wabi~sabi so to say !!
Pardon my audacity to use such words !

"The dead don't die ~ They go elsewhere and make another cosmic
cage !"

from my book of aphorisms
sincerely
Narayanan

anonymous a said...

am impressed by this, Gabi.

graves of the unknown -
pilgrims faces faded
into stone

The pilgrims also now dead and in some fleeting way memorialised; the moving contrast between faith, death and the passing of time.

J.

Anonymous said...

Gabi san, I enjoyed reading your explanations and taking a glimpse of Japanese culture.
M.

anonymous a said...

Thank you, Gabi...
you always provide us with such
interesting information!
L.C.

Anonymous said...

Love the photo, Gabi. The haiku works better for me with the photo than as a stand-alone haiku, though . . . but I think I'd still be missing a lot without some explanation.
S.C.