What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

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Queequeg
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What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:05 pm

Pilgrimage has arguably had a prominent place in Buddhist practice, particularly lay practice, from very early on. In Japanese Buddhism with which I am most familiar, it is a significant practice even today, and it seems important in other places around Asia, too. In the West it does not seem to figure into practice much... Perhaps because we don't have significant places to visit, yet.

How do you view pilgrimage practice? Is pilgrimage part of your practice?
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Malcolm
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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:20 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:05 pm
Pilgrimage has arguably had a prominent place in Buddhist practice, particularly lay practice, from very early on. In Japanese Buddhism with which I am most familiar, it is a significant practice even today, and it seems important in other places around Asia, too. In the West it does not seem to figure into practice much... Perhaps because we don't have significant places to visit, yet.

How do you view pilgrimage practice? Is pilgrimage part of your practice?
The Buddha enjoined all followers to visit the four main sites: Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath (Deer park), and Kushinagara where he passed away.

I would opine that pilgrimage is very important to all Buddhists. We should all make an effort to visit these four crucial places.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by conebeckham » Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:38 pm

Pilgrimage is absolutely part of my practice. In addition to the locations Malcolm mentioned (I am at 2 outta 4 at the present time), there are a host of other locales worth visiting, if one is a Vajrayana practitioner.

Also, and this is somewhat tangential, I find great inspiration in spending time in environments where Buddhism has been practiced widely as part of general culture for a long time. I've not been to Tibet, but heartily recommend any Western Vajrayana practitioner make the effort to visit Bhutan, Nepal, and Sikkim. You can thank me later.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:22 pm

Yes, and I also believe that pilgrimage creates a sort of Devotional mindset that is overall very positive to one's practice and confidence in Dharma. Besides creating a connection with the virtuous activities of Buddhas and past time masters!
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:12 pm

Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:22 pm
Yes, and I also believe that pilgrimage creates a sort of Devotional mindset that is overall very positive to one's practice and confidence in Dharma. Besides creating a connection with the virtuous activities of Buddhas and past time masters!
:good:

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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:13 pm

Pilgrimage hasn't been a big part of my practice, although I do consider it to be important. I definitely want to visit those four famous sites that Malcolm mentioned which the Buddha encouraged his followers to visit, among others (Paro Taktsang). So far, the only pilgrimages I've done are to stupas and large statues in North America and a few touristy temples in China.

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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:10 am

Thomas Amundsen wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:13 pm
stupas and large statues in North America
like where?

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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:58 am

Fortyeightvows wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:10 am
Thomas Amundsen wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:13 pm
stupas and large statues in North America
like where?
Namdrol Pemay Gatshal stupa garden at Pema Osel Ling in Watsonville, California (near Santa Cruz). The 35 foot Vajrasattva statue and others at the Tashi Choling Mandala Garden near Ashland, Oregon. And the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee, Montana.
Last edited by Thomas Amundsen on Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:39 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:13 am

Thomas Amundsen wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:58 am
Namdrol Pemay Gatshal stupa garden at Pema Osel Ling in Watsonville, CA (near Santa Cruz). The 35 foot Vajrasattva statue and others at the Tashi Choling Mandala Garden. And the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee, Montana.
I'm impressed they were able to raise the funds to build all that! It's great you've been there, it's really amazing!

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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by TharpaChodron » Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:36 am

Thomas Amundsen wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:13 pm
Pilgrimage hasn't been a big part of my practice, although I do consider it to be important. I definitely want to visit those four famous sites that Malcolm mentioned which the Buddha encouraged his followers to visit, among others (Paro Taktsang). So far, the only pilgrimages I've done are to stupas and large statues in North America and a few touristy temples in China.
Me too. And so when is the Dharmawheel Buddhist pilgrimage tour happening? :) I'd love to help organize it, or jump on the bandwagon with a good one already arranged.

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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by DNS » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:24 am

If you can afford it, I highly recommend it. It should be on every Buddhist's bucket list (that can afford it). I went in 2006 and loved it.

It's kind of expensive for Americans since it's literally like going to the exact opposite side of the globe. I found a direct flight from Los Angeles to London and then another direct flight from London to New Delhi, so that it would only be 2 very long flights (otherwise it would have been about 4 flights and lots of layover time).

Loved that sign at the airport in New Delhi: Your karma brought you here

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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by Malcolm » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:32 am

Thomas Amundsen wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:58 am
Fortyeightvows wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:10 am
Thomas Amundsen wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:13 pm
stupas and large statues in North America
like where?
Namdrol Pemay Gatshal stupa garden at Pema Osel Ling in Watsonville, California (near Santa Cruz). The 35 foot Vajrasattva statue and others at the Tashi Choling Mandala Garden near Ashland, Oregon. And the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee, Montana.
You need to do Khandroling and Mahasiiddha. There is a very beautiful Peace Pagoda quite near us as well.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by tingdzin » Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:05 am

Fortyeightvows wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:10 am
like where ?
Shambhala Mountain Center in northern Colorado, has a world-class statue of Cakrasamvara.

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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:36 am

I cannot go out of the country due to funds and time, but I am attempting to make my second trip to The Garden of 1000 Buddhas in Missoula Montana, which is a wonderful place. Other than that I try to visit Dharma centers, and hunt down stupas to circumambulate every time I travel. Beyond the obvious benefits of practice it exposes me to a wide variety of Dharma folks and it is one way to get a Buddhist education of sorts, in terms of understanding the general tone and approach of students in various schools. I concentrate mostly on Tibetan traditions since that is where I practice, but I have a couple Zen places I am somewhat interested in seeing too.

I wish I could do pilgrimages in India, but at the moment these are out of my reach.

One of my favorite experiences was finding a stupa in this is in this little junky town called Carnuel New Mexico at the foot of the Sandia mountains. There was a chained up pitbull eyeing us as we did our thing, it didn't look like much but something about the experience affected me deeply. This stupa used to be on federal land near ancient petroglyphs and was removed, eventually getting dubbed "the lost stupa of Albuquerque", then some Nyingma dude put it in his front yard in this little, scrubby, very quintessentially New Mexican town. It was great.
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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:39 am

tingdzin wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:05 am
Fortyeightvows wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:10 am
like where ?
Shambhala Mountain Center in northern Colorado, has a world-class statue of Cakrasamvara.
I have been in there and seen that statue.

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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:47 am

Here's an old thread of mine when I visited the Garden of 100 Buddhas for the first time, to leave a Dharma friends tsa-tsa.

https://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.p ... as#p321668
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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:02 pm

It would be great to compile a list of pilgrimage sites in N. America and Europe. On occasion I've mapped out Buddhist temple/centers in NYC for a walking circuit but never actually did it. I've also thought of setting up a pilgrimage hiking trail someplace like the Catskills. It would involve setting up small, unobtrusive shrines. I don't know how that might be received by others in a public place so maybe not a good idea.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by Sentient Light » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:35 pm

When I was a kid, we'd fly out to California and do tours of the monasteries out there, most of them Vietnamese and some of them Chinese. Many of these monasteries are quite large, extravagant, and beautiful.

The 72-foot tall statue of Avalokitesvrara in Sugar Land, Texas is a sight to behold, and really unlike anything else you can find in North America. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuong_Phat_Quan_Am
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
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:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by conebeckham » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:55 pm

I think someone did a blog concerned with a North American Stupa pilgrimage. There are a number of great places to see in North America--and more all the time.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Re: What place does pilgrimage have in Buddhist practice?

Post by DNS » Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:30 pm

Sentient Light wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:35 pm
The 72-foot tall statue of Avalokitesvrara in Sugar Land, Texas is a sight to behold, and really unlike anything else you can find in North America. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuong_Phat_Quan_Am
Interesting that you mention that statue in Sugar Land, Texas. In my earlier post I mentioned how the U.S. is about exactly the other side of the globe from India, so decided to look up the exact spot which is exactly the other side of the globe and it turns out to be not too far from Sugar Land, Texas.

Sugar Land Texas is:
Coordinates: 29°35′58″N 95°36′51″W

And Maha Bodhi Temple, India is:
coordinates: 24.6959° N, 84.9911° E

85 degrees East (MBT) + 95 degrees West (Sugar Land) = 180 degrees

And then the coordinates north of the equator are also very similar.

The exact spot appears to be some spot just East of Brownsville, Texas in the Gulf of Mexico.

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