El·e·na [el-uh-nuh, uh-ley-nuh; It. e-le-nah] /ˈɛlənə, əˈleɪnə; It. ɛˈlɛnɑ/ –noun a female given name, form of Helen // A proud student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche // Personal assistant with a BSc (Hons) Psych from Uni of Warwick // These are snapshots of my life, in words and pictures

A comment on "David’s Pilgrimage to India"

December 6, 2015 0

In 2004, Dorje Shugden (through the Ladakh Oracle) advised me not to go to university just yet so I stayed back for a year. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made (duh). That year, I was able to go to Bodhgaya twice on pilgrimage, as well as Gaden and Nepal. Reading Pastor David’s write-up about his trip with his wonderful father brought back some really good memories. It was the first time I had travelled with Rinpoche and it was also during this year of pilgrimages that I made my first request to Rinpoche to become a nun :)


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Just to elaborate a little on what Pastor David wrote here, “It is mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures that the Buddhas of the past and the future ages would appear to perform enlightened deeds at these locations again.” – in past conversations, whenever this point has been brought up, people usually ask, but what happens if the earth explodes and is destroyed? How will future Buddhas come back to that spot?

What Rinpoche explained to us is that it is that point in the *space* where the future Buddhas will appear and through the karma of the beings at the time, something will manifest there in order for the Buddhas to appear. So it’s not a geographical location on earth that Pastor David is referring to, but rather an actual point in space where these future Buddhas will appear.

When Rinpoche took the first group of pilgrims to Bodhgaya in 2004, we were given this book of prayers to carry with us. Rinpoche reminded us through the trip (which Pastor David has captured in his writing) that visiting Bodhgaya and other pilgrimage sites is not any other holiday. You don’t go there to indulge, to take selfies, to brag to your friends about your latest trip to a trendy destination. When we go on pilgrimage to holy sites, we visit them to make a connection with the Buddha and future Buddhas to come so we may meet with them and their teachings in all our future lives.

Rinpoche said what makes these sites holy is that they are imbued with the energy of enlightened activity, of practice and people holding vows. Rinpoche asked us to consider, why is it out of all the points in the universe, Shakyamuni (and past and future Buddhas) chose to achieve enlightenment at that exact spot?

One more piece of advice that Rinpoche gave to us, which some may find helpful and has stuck with me to this day: when we are circumambulating holy sites, we shouldn’t talk or gossip or be playful. Instead, Rinpoche asked us to visualise that we are walking to go and see Lord Buddha, and to recite mantras as we do so. In this way, our body (the act of walking), mind (the act of visualisation) and speech (reciting mantras) are all engaged in making merits. Rinpoche told us this would be the best way to get the most benefit out of our pilgrimages.

Pastor David and Uncle Lai were very lucky to be able to visit these holy sites (yes, it’s being said with a little bit of jealousy hehe). May KFR become a place like this for others _/|\_ which is totally possible if you think about it. Since a place is made holy by virtue of the activities carried out in that location, in order to make KFR holy we should conduct activities befitting of the Three Jewels.

Speaking of holy activities, I like the fact Pastor David likes places that are spiritual, and less crowded and less popular because it gives him more time to spend doing his prayers there :) if people read carefully, at every location, he mentions that he grabbed the opportunity to recite prayers whenever he could. This is actually a really comprehensive, well-documented post on various pilgrimage sites, something that everyone should read before they embark on their own pilgrimage. Pastor David, you should make a book out of this!

Reflections and Teachings

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