Join the Pilgrimage

cruz_santiago_1Although it is certainly not an exclusively Buddhist concept, following the Noble Path is the dominant metaphor for spiritual cultivation in the Buddha Dharma. It is not surprising, then, that pilgrimage has been an important practice among Buddhists for over two millennia.

While Lumbini, Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, Kushinara, Sravasti, Rajgir, Sankassa, and Vaishali ―the places in which the Buddha lived and preached― are the most ancient pilgrimage destinations for Buddhists, there are many others in Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, Tibet, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.

A pilgrimage site is not intrinsically ‘holy’. It is made sacred by the pure intention of those who undertake the practice. HH the XIV Dalai Lama has said: “The faithful set out in hopes of finding virtue and accumulating merit. […] Along the road, they undertake hardship with no thought of material reward. Their every step, every movement, becomes filled with a sense of spiritual progress.”

With the intention of honoring the millions of brothers and sisters who have walked to Santiago de Compostela, the foremost Christian pilgrimage destination since the eighth century, I will be undertaking a pilgrimage-retreat on the Camino de Santiago during the month of May. Along the Way, I will meditate, recite OM MANI PEME HUM, and offer prayers that all beings, human and non-human, be safe and happy, and that the union of wisdom and compassion manifest in our hearts.

10849968_856166584423219_2899929515059898443_nI will dedicate this pilgrimage most specifically to the success of the efforts of hundreds of thousands of Galicians who labor untiringly for the abolition of bullfighting, under the maxim “Galiza, mellor sen touradas. (Galicia, better without bullfighting.). A tortura no é arte nen cultura. (Torture is neither art nor culture.)”

I invite you to join me in this pilgrimage, wherever you may be. Please consider walking every day in May around your neighborhood, or just sit quietly, reciting at least one mala (108 repetitions) of OM MANI PEME HUM, and dedicating the merit to the abolition of the cruel ‘sport’ of bullfighting. If you are so inclined, please consider contributing here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/somos-mas-campana-antitaurina Thank you!

May all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering!

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Master of Healing

menlacvxIn every land in this world, by your mercy and the grace of our Lineage Masters, we recite your concise invocation with clarity, purity, and certainty: “It is thus! To the Essence of Healing, the Act of Healing, and the Master of Healing, I perfectly surrender.”

tayatha om

bhekandze bhekandze maha-bhekandze

radza samudgate so’ha  

By the merit accrued through the recital of your invocation, may all ten directions of cyclic existence abound in remedies, healers, nurses, food, and shelter for the poor and the infirm.

May I be reborn as remedy, healer, and nurse,

and perform perfect service until all the ill are rendered hale. 

May all remedies become powerful.

May all healers achieve perfection.

May all develop love and compassion in their hearts. 

May all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

May all embrace happiness and the causes of happiness.

May all abide in peace, free from self-grasping.

May all attain the union of wisdom and compassion.

om ah hum so’ha

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Useless Projects

ripples-1The mind is spinning around

about carrying out a lot of useless projects.

It’s a waste. Give it up!

Thinking about the hundred plans you want to accomplish,

with never enough time to finish them,

just weighs down your mind.

You’re completely distracted

by all these projects, which never come to an end,

but keep spreading out more, like ripples in water.

Don’t be a fool. For once, just sit tight.

―Patrul Rinpoche

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A Good Meditation

DivinePrinceDivineLightUniversalA good meditation has little or nothing to do with ‘extra-sensory perceptions’ or escaping temporarily from suffering. A walk, a nap, a vacation, or a good science-fiction film can be more effective for such purposes.

If we rise from the seat or the cushion with more tolerance, more patience, more love, and more compassion, our meditation has been good. If we continue to harbor the same prejudices, the same irritability, and the same indifference toward the suffering of others, it does not matter how many divine lights we see or how many celestial sounds we hear, our meditation is a farce.

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Not an Adornment

1383773_573684176031845_1116835791_nOur fundamental nature is intrinsic. No sane, intelligent human being is impeded from being in touch with this basic nature. There is no one standing between you and it, no one is appearing like a mara to perform dances of distraction.

At any given moment, each one of you —even with no understanding of Buddhism— has the natural potential to realize you are completely and inseparably united with your intrinsic wisdom nature. You have never been separate from it for a moment. It is not a sometimes-there-sometimes-not quality or an adornment that’s been attached or added on to you.

―Khandro Rinpoche

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Just as a Mother

10509483_487123958091597_4140049329810036473_nJust as a mother would guard her child,

her only child, with her own life,

even so let us cultivate a boundless mind for all beings in the world.

―Buddha Shakyamuni

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Buddha’s Disciples

DizangBy persuading others to renounce unwholesomeness and adopt wholesomeness, and leading them from the shallow to the profound ―this is how the Buddha delivers sentient beings. At no point have things ever been different from this.

Having now become a faithful adherent of the Buddha’s teaching, it is proper that one practice the Buddha’s loving kindness. It is not permissible to go on killing sentient beings and still call oneself a disciple of the Buddha.

―Ven. Ciyung Zunshi (964-1032), On Resolving Doubts and Replacing Blood Sacrifice with Vegetable Feasts
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