The Kaihōgyō is a quest to become a living Buddha through 1000 days of gruelling rituals. Ivan Olita was granted rare access to a temple near Kyoto to film The Seven Year Pilgrimage to Enlightenment.
Shot on the holy Mt. Hiei, at the Enryaku-ji temple complex located just outside modern day Kyoto, "The 1000 days" documents the legendary ritual of the Kaihōgyō, a quest to become a living Buddha with a practice of daily pilgrimage that over 7 years and 1000 days brings the few monks who undergo it to travel 24,000 miles – roughly the equivalent of the Earth's circumference – in the search for the ultimate enlightenment. The piece gives us an exclusive access into these incredible human beings and the teachings they live by to complete the training which would rank among the most demanding physical and mental challenges in the world. Only 46 men have completed the 1000 day pilgrimage since 1885.