Importance of Pilgrimage

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Importance of Pilgrimage

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:34 pm

I know there is a sutta where the Buddha recomends Pilgrimage (apologies for not providing it, i cant find it) but to me Pilgrimage does not seem all that important to Dhamma practice.

Does anyone else agree with me?
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Importance of Pilgrimage

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:44 pm

Maha-parinibbana sutta, Digha Nikaya 16:

Ananda, there are four places the sight of which will arouse strong emotion in those with faith. Which four? Here the Tathagata (enlightened one) was born, this is the first place. Here the Tathagata attained Enlightenment, this is the second place. Here the Tathagata set in motion the Wheel of the Dhamma, this is the third place. Here the Tathagata attained final Nibbana without remainder, this is the fourth place. The monk or nun, layman or laywoman, who has faith should visit these places. And anyone who dies while making a pilgrimage to these places with a devout heart will, at the breaking up of the body, be reborn in heaven.

I like pilgrimage, but that's me. It is not a requirement, like say, for the Muslims where it is one of the 5 pillars of Islam.

But if you have the means and the interest, it is a great devotional practice and a chance to meditate in the same spots the Buddha and the arahants did. It was very humbling and pleasant to be in the company of other pilgrims from around the world.

But by no means will one be any the lesser for not going. Practice can be done anywhere, in an apartment, house, even a basement.
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Re: Importance of Pilgrimage

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:03 pm

I'd certainly like to visit the historical sites in India when/if I get a chance. I'm sure it would be an uplifting experience. On the other hand, spending a few weeks on retreat instead would also be very beneficial. To me it's a matter of timing and priorities.

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Re: Importance of Pilgrimage

Postby Placid-pool » Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:17 pm

I agree - while going to a place may be an experience, staying home and having a thoroughly enriching experience in your own practice could be of more benefit.
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Re: Importance of Pilgrimage

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:40 am

a monk friend of mine told me about his time in india (all the monks i study under spent long periods of time in india as monks) and he told me one time he was sitting there in bodhgaya meditating as a buddhist monk in the same spots the buddha taught and meditated and tears just rolled down his face.

it a very inspiring thing , to be there "close" to the buddha, to walk where he walked etc
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Importance of Pilgrimage

Postby mountain » Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:33 pm

Dear Everyone,
I was lucky enough to visit Sri Lanka in the 80's. A place I often visited was the Temple of the Tooth. Very inspiring. It was a portal to a further place in ----. You feel such a profound community there. Perhaps there is such a place as a dhamma twilight zone. Please go if you can. Also in Kandy one finds the BPS.

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Re: Importance of Pilgrimage

Postby clw_uk » Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:53 pm

I do plan to make one someday, looking to go to bodh gaya mostly but will prob go other places as well, I can imagine how inspiring it must be to go there.

need to save up the cash first though lol

:namaste:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Importance of Pilgrimage

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:39 pm

clw_uk wrote:I do plan to make one someday, looking to go to bodh gaya mostly but will prob go other places as well, I can imagine how inspiring it must be to go there.
need to save up the cash first though lol
:namaste:

That's the drawback and difficulty for most. It can be very expensive, especially if you're from the States like me. It is a long, long, long way to Bodh Gaya from the West coast of the U.S. It was something like a 19 hour flight or so, from Los Angeles to Frankfurt, then Frankfurt to New Delhi and then New Delhi to Patna. Come to think of it, it was more like 24 hours including the times at the connecting stops.

When I was at the sites, I asked every white or African ancestry person where they were from, and the responses were typically: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, France, and the UK. I couldn't find any other yank.
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Re: Importance of Pilgrimage

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:58 am

Greetings,

I don't think I'll ever go to these places unless I happen to be in the vicinity for some other purpose... and that seems unlikely.

Metta,
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Importance of Pilgrimage

Postby thornbush » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:26 pm

Would be nice though....but I agree with the OP, its an optional part and not a vital essence to Dhamma practice.
But I heard of some who came back from pilgrimages 'revitalised' in their commitment and zeal for Dhamma, so case by case basis huh :shrug:

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Re: Importance of Pilgrimage

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:10 pm

Some people use their head too much and don't trust their heart. Don't under-estimate the benefits of wholesome practices like reverence — it is one of the ten wholesome deeds: charity (dāna), morality (sīla), mental culture (bhāvanā), reverence (appacāyana), service (veyyavacca), sharing of merit (pattidāna), rejoicing in merits (pattānumodanā), listening to Dhamma (dhammassāvana), discussing the Dhamma (dhammadesanā), straightening of one's wrong views (ditthujukamma).

Venerable Sāriputta was the wisest of the Buddha's disciples. Whenever he lay down to sleep at night, he would ask where the Venerable Assaji was staying so that he could lay down with his head pointing in that direction.

Muslims always want to know the direction of Mecca when staying in a new place so that they can bow in the right direction.

Meditation practice (bhāvanā) is just one of the ten kusala kammas. Without any of the other nine it will be of insignificant benefit, or actually harmful.

Having said that, there is no need to go to Bodhgaya or to other holy places. There are other ways of practising the wholesome deed of reverence, which is a mental attitude rather than a physical action.

In the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta it says:
Then the Blessed One lay down on his right side, in the lion's posture, resting one foot upon the other, and so disposed himself, mindfully and clearly comprehending.

4. At that time the twin sala trees broke out in full bloom, though it was not the season of flowering. And the blossoms rained upon the body of the Tathagata and dropped and scattered and were strewn upon it in worship of the Tathagata. And celestial mandarava flowers and heavenly sandalwood powder from the sky rained down upon the body of the Tathagata, and dropped and scattered and were strewn upon it in worship of the Tathagata. And the sound of heavenly voices and heavenly instruments made music in the air out of reverence for the Tathagata.

5. And the Blessed One spoke to the Venerable Ananda, saying: "Ananda, the twin sala trees are in full bloom, though it is not the season of flowering. And the blossoms rain upon the body of the Tathagata and drop and scatter and are strewn upon it in worship of the Tathagata. And celestial coral flowers and heavenly sandalwood powder from the sky rain down upon the body of the Tathagata, and drop and scatter and are strewn upon it in worship of the Tathagata. And the sound of heavenly voices and heavenly instruments makes music in the air out of reverence for the Tathagata.

6. "Yet it is not thus, Ananda, that the Tathagata is respected, venerated, esteemed, worshipped, and honored in the highest degree. But, Ananda, whatever bhikkhu or bhikkhuni, layman or laywoman, abides by the Dhamma, lives uprightly in the Dhamma, walks in the way of the Dhamma, it is by such a one that the Tathagata is respected, venerated, esteemed, worshipped, and honored in the highest degree. Therefore, Ananda, thus should you train yourselves: 'We shall abide by the Dhamma, live uprightly in the Dhamma, walk in the way of the Dhamma.'"
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Re: Buddhism and Abortion.

Postby Annapurna » Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:24 pm

Before I get a left hook from a Dalai Lama enemy,- ;) a question to the mods, -

What does General Dhamma and The Dhamma free for all mean?

Can we discuss views from other Buddhist schools, here?

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