Pilgrimage for compassion at Lawai International Center

Tomorrow from 3-5 p.m, world-renowned shakuhachi (Japanese flute) Grand Master Riley Lee will perform at Lawa‘i International Center’s Seventh Annual Pilgrimage for Compassion at the 88 shrines in Lawa‘i Valley.

All are invited to walk this ancient pilgrimage and share with those who have a special bond with this site.

Lawa‘i 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 are bringing these shrines and this valley back to prominence as an international center for compassion, education and cultural understanding.

Thirty years ago, Grand Master Riley 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 Sates, Europe and Asia including the Sydney Opera House, Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and 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.

Organizers said, “Join us on this meditative pilgrimage on this memorable day in a valley that has comforted and healed many generations of islanders. Ancient shakuhachi (Japanese flute) melodies performed by Grand Master Riley Lee will accompany each step of our journey.”

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 if possible, please carpool. Donations will be accepted with gratitude. For more information call 639-4300 or e-mail LM@hawaii.rr.com

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