using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Summer 2010
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly summer 20 1 0 36 about the experiences of these pilgrims: carved stone statues speaking to them; their doubts dissolving the moment they laid eyes on certain holy images or when a gentle breeze caressed their cheeks as they waited to enter a temple. There are stories about practitioners who, by simply looking at the spot under the bodhi tree where Buddha sat, were overwhelmed by the fact that on an ordinary flat stone—not an expensive Italian sofa or jade throne—Siddhartha exhausted the cycle of existence and finished with samsara, bringing to an end the continuous sufferings of rebirth to become the ultimate Jina, or Victorious One. Not only that, but on this very spot the future Buddha, Maitreya, will accomplish exactly the same feat. It is important for us to remember that making a tour of the Buddhist holy sites won’t solve all our problems in one go, nor will we immediately attain enlightenment. At the same time, we human beings are dependent on the conditions and circumstances in which we find ourselves. As Buddha said, “All phenomenal existence is conditioned, and that conditioning is dependent on motivation.” Conditioning and motivation are the central engines that power the cyclic existence of samsara, and when we are free of them we will also be released from the cycle of rebirth and death to enjoy the freedom known as nirvana. Conditioning has a tremendous impact on us at every level—for example, how we choose to dress, our educa- tion, the political system under which we live, the food we eat, the people we hang out with, and the places we visit. Therefore, the holy sites we explore during a pilgrimage will be yet another powerful conditioning influence on us, and a very positive one. What exactly is the right motivation for going on a pilgrim- age? At best, it is to develop wisdom, love, compassion, devo- tion, and a genuine sense of renunciation (renunciation mind). So, as you set out, you should make the wish that your journey, one way or another, will continuously remind you of all of the great noble enlightened qualities of the Buddha, and that as a result you will accumulate merit and purify defilements. Initially, the idea of developing a good motivation sounds quite easy, mostly because we approach it with the same habit- ual assumptions we’ve grown up with. After all, what’s so hard to understand? A motivation is nothing more than a thought, it’s not even an action, so what’s the big deal? You’ll find your attitude changes, though, when you start working with your mind. Most of us find, much to our surprise, that establishing the right motivation is really quite difficult and, certainly at the outset, we struggle. Once you get better at it, though, you will be able to develop the right motivation from the moment you start to plan your trip. As you pack and shop for diarrhea tablets, excitement mounts because everything you’re doing is part of the process beings. While we should aspire to visit all these places, tradi- tionally four sites are considered to be the most important: • Lumbini, where Siddhartha was born in this world as an ordinary person; • Bodhgaya, where Siddhartha became enlightened; • Varanasi (Sarnath), where he taught the path to enlightenment; • Kushinagar, where he passed into parinirvana. It’s important to remember, though, that the main point of pilgrimage isn’t just to visit a saint’s birthplace, or to gaze on the site of an extraordinary happening. We undertake a pilgrimage to help us remember all the Buddha’s teachings, the quintessence of which is to be found in the four statements he made before he passed away. For us, as Buddhist practitioners, remembering the Buddha isn’t like having a daydream about our teacher; what we’re doing is remembering each and every one of his teachings, because the Buddha is the teaching, not just the teacher. Pilgrimage to India For hundreds of years, courageous dharma practitioners from Tibet and China devoted large portions of their lives to the long and dangerous journey to India so they could visit the land where the Buddha and great bodhisattvas once lived. Many such pilgrims, having finally arrived at Bodhgaya or Lumbini after months of traveling, unexpectedly experienced remarkable realizations, visions, and dreams. There are marvelous stories Pilgrimage is such a powerful method for accumulating merit that even making the preparations, like saving the money to pay for it and booking time off work, will earn a great deal. marcPolJaKJoanneBethell Entrance to the Mahabodhi Temple complex