by Bonnie Pooley
Toshio Hashimoto is truly a renaissance man. Not only is he an auto mechanic of great repute, a shitake mushroom grower, a Taiko drummer, and a Mahoosuc Mountain Rescue Team member, but he is also a lifelong, devout Shignon Buddhist. On March 4, Toshio spoke to a packed auditorium at Gould Academy about his pilgrimage around the Japanese island of Shikoku.
|Toshio Hashimoto on his journey|
|Toshio and statue of Kobo Daishi|
Toshio next showed pictures and told stories of his 38-day walking journey and the rituals he performed at each of the 88 temples. The audience was moved by his openness in speaking of his sincere and devout Buddhist beliefs. Toshio told of the beauty of the shrines and the rural countryside. At times, he walked with a view of the Pacific Ocean; at other times, he climbed and descended endless mountains. We also saw pictures of the terrible blisters on his toes, the bus shelters in which he sometimes slept, and the vending machines where he often got his food and drink.
|With one of many fellow pilgrims|
|Cherry blossoms in spring|
Toshio’s talk once again proved that these western mountains of Maine harbor rich and multi-faceted hidden gems, one of which can often be found with his eyes peering into a Subaru engine.
|One of the 88 shrines|
Thanks to Herb and Paula Gross for producing and hosting this event. Herb and Paula helped Toshio sort and organize his photos, sifting through more than 1000 pictures to arrive at the 200 slides in the presentation.
For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at http://sad44.maineadulted.org/western_mountains_senior_college