Compassion pilgrimage set for Saturday in Lawai

World-renowned shakuhachi (Japanese flute) player Grand Master Riley Lee will perform at Lawai International Center’s 7th annual Pilgrimage for Compassion at the 88 shrines in Lawai Valley Saturday.

All are invited to walk the ancient pilgrimage.

Lawai International Center, a non-profit community project, is an archaeological and cultural treasure in a valley that has long been recognized as a healing sanctuary.

In 1904 the first generation of Japanese immigrants built 88 shrines replicating an ancient pilgrimage of 88 temples in Shikoku, Japan. Today, it is the only such site existing outside of Japan and one of the oldest Buddhist temple sites in the country.

Volunteers hope to bring the shrines and the valley back to prominence as an international center for compassion, education and cultural understanding.

Some 30 years ago, Lee was the first non-Japanese to attain the rank of Grand Master in the shakuhachi tradition and remains one of the few outside of Japan. He has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, and was honored at Princeton University as a Visiting Fellow. Over 50 of his recordings have been released on international labels.

His traditional training included practicing barefoot in the snow, blowing his flute while standing under a waterfall and in blizzards until icicles form at its end.

“Join us on this meditative pilgrimage on this memorable day in a valley that has comforted and healed many generations of islanders. Ancient shakuhachi melodies performed by Grand Master Riley Lee will accompany each step of our journey,” states a press release from the organizers of the march.

A rare performance of the pulsing drums by members of Taiko Kaua‘i will open the event.

Wear comfortable shoes for this hillside walk, bring an umbrella and carpool if possible.

The event is scheduled from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

For more information call 639-4300, or visit


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