Ruth: I can feel that we are getting closer to the edge of the Kochi Prefecture, and with that the end of the period of asceticism and the beginning of enlightenment.  Our routes for the past two days have been varied and absolutely beautiful. We have moved from the rocky headlands and beaches of the southwest tip of Shikoku into the mountains again on a tiny road snaking through the trees.  The frog chorus constantly encourages us forward on our path. 

Enlightenment must be just around the corner because, after all, there have been signs. Like finding a frog waiting for me in the bathroom at a rest stop. After Gord gently picked him up and placed him in a pool of water, I’m sure he winked at me and wished us well. Or the emerald green beetle that got under my shirt and pinched me repeatedly, pushing me forward until I pulled him out and let him fly away. And surely when you see a man pulling a volcano it has to mean something! 

Our period of suffering through asceticism has been an important part of the journey. As Thich Nhat Hanh explains:
“With understanding and compassion, you will be able to heal the wounds in your heart, and the wounds in the world. The Buddha called suffering a Holy Truth, because our suffering has the capacity of showing us the path to liberation. Embrace your suffering, and let it reveal to you the way to peace.”
(From: Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation page 5.)

Fingers crossed. 

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