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  A pilgrim in Shikoku rings a bell as he travels around eighty-eight amulet-giving temples. On hearing the sound of the ringing bell, a person living in the area says, "Here comes o-henro-san (pilgrim)," and goes out on the street to offer the pilgrim the refreshments of Japanese tea and cakes.
"O-henro-san, I am very grateful that I can courteously receive you. Would you please have some tea and cakes?"
In Shikoku, people look up to pilgrims as if they are great teachers of Buddhism. They are always prepared to serve the pilgrims with reverence.
O-henro-san walks alone silently. As you know, he has a stick and a sadge hat with dokoku-ninin, meaning 'with the other person,' written on. Although he is seemingly quiet alone, he, however, is not alone, accompanied by 'the other person.' Are you not now wondering who this 'other person' is? In summer, during his trip, o-henro-san is usually accompanied by the sweet, refreshing chirping of cicadas and birds. These beautiful sounds of nature are no less than the 'other person.' O-henro-san merges into nature through the melodic calls of these living things, becoming one with nature, neither subject nor object.
Originally 'other person' was founder of the Shingon-sect, Koubou-Daishi. Every o-henro-san believes that he is always with Daishi-sama and that he is able to engage in the practice of Buddhist austerities under the shadow of the great pries. Nowadays, 'the other person' means the chirpings of cicadas and birds. Do you not think this is a little strange? Without a doubt, you will wonder what the connection between natural phenomena and Daishi-sama's Buddhist world is. I do not think this is so strange. This is profound recognition in Buddhism that nothing in nature is a sign of the Buddha's teachings. Reverend Dogen said that Buddha-dharma is manifest in the murmur of steams or in the shapes of mountains. Nature is nothing but the Buddhist world. Taking this view, the calls of cicadas and birds can naturally identified with Koubou-Daishi, who is thought to be the embodiment Of the Shingon-sect of Buddhism. In other words, o-henro-san takes in Koubou-Daishi, while walking, bathed in the sweet refreshing sounds of nature. The world where o-henro-san's mind is acting is not only a world of natural phenomena, but the Buddhist world. Rarely could you be more blessed. Such a world may be called the 'Pure Land' or 'Dogyou-ninin.'
Would you like to be going on a pilgrimage with 'the other person?'