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DEREK HENDERSON

Derek is an author, Buddhist, cook, music lover, photographer & traveller

PILGRIMAGE
Guru Rinpoche

"Pilgrimage as a devotional exercise and a yoga is as old as Buddhism itself. The...pilgrim may be intent on accumulating merit...or...may have come...to pay homage at the power-places...Thus the physical exertion and the sensual feast that is an integral part of pilgrimage...can become the mode and the means of attaining the Buddha's enlightenment. The rarity of the ...atmosphere...the sense of immense space and isolation; the unpolluted purity of the environment; and the unfiltered rays of the sun making a critical but undefined contribution: the body and mind are transformed and cleansed...exertion stimulates the senses to higher appreciation of light, sound and smell, and the sparseness of human settlement gives a heightened awareness of the interdependent, holistic qualities of nature...Nevertheless the most powerful places of pilgrimage...are certainly the cave-sites...associated with Guru Rinpoche...the pilgrim's destination is always a special point of the earth's surface endowed with a powerful mystique...Circumambulation, prostration, offering, recitation of mantra, and meditation are the devotions performed by every pilgrim...Devotion is a necessary condition for the fulfillment of the pilgrim's purpose."
Keith Dowman  The Power Places Of Central Tibet  Routledge & Kegan Paul  1988 (Text & image)

"The faithful set out in hope of finding virtue and gaining merit. Among Buddhists, they visit places where a spiritual master once spent time meditating. His presence makes the place seem somehow blessed or charged, as if there is some kind of electricity around it. Pilgrims come to feel these mysterious vibrations. They try to share in the visions of the master. Along their road, they undertake hardship with no thought of material reward. Their every step, every movement, becomes filled with a sense of spiritual progress...We Buddhists believe that merit is accumulated when you take part in something religious, with discipline and faith, because in doing so you shape a proper attitude within. With the right attitude, any journey to a sacred place becomes a pilgrimage."
H H The XIV Dailai Lama  The Dalai Lama on the Value of Pilgrimages  Newsweek  23 April 2007
(Reprinted in Tibet Foundaton Newsletter Number 51 - Spring 2007)


See complete list of pilgrimage sites visited

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