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The Way of the 88 Temples: Journeys on the Shikoku Pilgrimage

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  70 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Compelled to seek something more than what modern society has to offer, Robert Sibley turned to an ancient setting for help in recovering what has been lost. The Henro Michi is one of the oldest and most famous pilgrimage routes in Japan. It consists of a circuit of eighty-eight temples around the perimeter of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan's four main islands. Every henro ...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by University of Virginia Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Books on Asia
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very well-written account of one person's journey walking the Shikoku Pilgrimage. The emphasis on spiritual awakening and camaraderie among pilgrims was something I could really relate to. This book is a testament to how the pilgrimage touches every person who does it, in a different way. ...more
Hoyt Acre
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is, on one level, a chronicle of long distance walking, requiring weeks and months on the path. Anyone attempting such a venture will encounter a multitude of physical sensation, all manner of weather, variation in accommodations and food, moments of physical pain, moments of striving and uncertainty. But Sibley's book is about more than that.

Sibley allows us to join him in the experience of places. Spain and Japan provide the terrain, climate, culture and history. We are invited to come al
...more
Janita
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is not an easy book for an Australian to get hold of...so I ended up reading it online through a membership with the Queensland State Library. I guess many English-speaking travellers who are researching the island of Shikoku as part of planning their next trip quickly realise there is not a lot of information in English available and also come across many references in many formats to the 88 Temple Pilgrimage or Henro Michi. Because the 88 Temples are conveniently located around the comple ...more
Jake Bornheimer
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was an overall enjoyable record of one man's pilgrimage. As somebody who dreams of completing the pilgrimage, I got a lot out of it. Sibley provided good insight into his mental state and how it shifted as he walked. However, I wish he went a little deeper into the history and information around each temple and the pilgrimage in general. Also, by the end I was fairly tired of the "my western rationality stopped me from believing in Buddhism, or did it?!" spiel that the author couldn't resis ...more
Robert Swanson
Unfocused.
Tries to imbue his pilgrimage of Buddhist-coming-of-age anecdotes, doesn't succeed. Lost the track of the 88 temples and never really regained it (in the narrative).
The shock of Shuji and Jun's death at the end. Was a surprise, but by then you just want to get the narrative over with; not spend the appropriate time understanding or mourning.
...more
Louischa
Feb 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
Amateurish and not very good, although far less annoying than
similar books I have read on the same topic by French authors.

Is there **anyone** who traveled through Shikoku, who **bothered**
to learn the language before getting there, and who **has** actual expertise
on Buddhism? Why is it that the only books available in French or English are
written by rank amateurs on these three accounts?
Susan
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like the pilgrimage walk itself, it takes time to get into the rhythm of the story but once that rhythm is established I found the book to be fascinating.

Of this book. It does lead to deeper examination of one's reaction to motivation for attempting a pilgrimage of one's own
...more
Elizabeth wilson
The spirit or the soul

Excellent read for any would be pilgrim or those just looking more closely at what is the thing we call "human spirit/soul".
...more
PJ Ebbrell
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nihon
Superb read.
Hannah Mutters
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm definitely not not crying
Good grief what a book, what an ending.
...more
Arend
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Well-written, vivid, well-informed, engaging. The dramatic event at the end struck me as heartfelt, but distant and disjoint from all the pilgrimage offered; it left me puzzled.
Dsinglet
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Robert Sibley decides to begin a pilgrimage to lose the world and discover the deeper meaning in life. He chooses the Micho Henro, a pilgrimage around the Island of Shikoku that includes visiting 88 temples. As with all pilgrimage books, including details beyond walking and blisters is the challenge. He manages to add interest by including his fellow pilgrims and exploring their reasons for walking. He also describes the more interesting temples and the traditions of devotion practiced as one en ...more
Christine Harvey
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
We begin our 88 Temple Pilgrimage in one month. This was a great read to get us excited and a little prepared. I enjoyed the descriptions of scenery and Pilgrimage experiences. I'm even more excited.... ...more
Jenna (Falling Letters)
Brief thoughts originally published 31 December 2015 at Falling Letters.

Another book exploring matters close to me, so it's hard to give an objective opinion.

I can write with certainty that it's a good introduction to the Shikoku Henro, even for those who know nothing about it. Whether you just want to learn about it, or if you've already undertaken the pilgrimage, I recommend this account.

I appreciated hearing a foreigner's perspective, someone who has a very similar mindset to me - at first to
...more
Ravi Singh
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Love Japan, love Shikoku, want to visit the 88 temples, but this travelogue (for that it what it is) was a dull type. It is often the way with Americans they visit somewhere and show it to be otherworldly and how they 'grew' or 'found themselves', this is in that vein. I know the writer is Canadian, but lets face it, not much different to Americans who always excel at other people's cultures, or destroy them when they can. More on the temples would have been nice rather than the writer's own 'in ...more
Nancy
Dec 10, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a very interesting book about a pilgrimage in Japan. It is well written and actually made me want to take the trip myself, though I have no idea how I would get enough time off to do it. Interesting characters met along the way. Robert Sibley did share some special moments. I was very glad for the epilogue and surprised by the ending.
Chris Mattern
I would love to do this pilgrimage. Sibley fully describes his walking pilgrimage beautifully. He describes the beauty of the island, his fellow pilgrims, plus his personal growth along the way without being preachy. I will read this again and hopefully one day go.
Malika
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
A vivid, moving description of the author's experience, with a good combination of history, psychology, anthropology, and spirituality. It makes me want to walk the pilgrimage myself someday. ...more
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