Ron Therese Harry Kathy Christy Brandi Brad Karen Leigh Minia Steve Sydney

One Reason for going on a Buddhist Pilgrimage

As recorded in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta (Digha Nikaya 16), when the Buddha was dying, his attendent, Ananda, voiced his concern that the Buddha's followers would no longer have Him around to inspire them:

Ananda's Concern
V.15. "Formerly, Lord, on leaving their quarters after the rains, the bhikkhus would set forth to see the Tathagata, and to us there was the gain and benefit of receiving and associating with those very revered bhikkhus who came to have audience with the Blessed One and to wait upon him. But, Lord, after the Blessed One has gone, we shall no longer have that gain and benefit."

Four Places of Pilgrimage
V.16. "There are four places, Ananda, that a pious person should visit and look upon with feelings of reverence. What are the four?

V.17. "'Here the Tathagata was born!' This, Ananda, is a place that a pious person should visit and look upon with feelings of reverence.

V.18. "'Here the Tathagata became fully enlightened in unsurpassed, supreme Enlightenment!' This, Ananda, is a place that a pious person should visit and look upon with feelings of reverence.

V.19. "'Here the Tathagata set rolling the unexcelled Wheel of the Dhamma!' This, Ananda, is a place that a pious person should visit and look upon with feelings of reverence.

V.20. "'Here the Tathagata passed away into the state of Nibbana in which no element of clinging remains!' This, Ananda, is a place that a pious person should visit and look upon with feelings of reverence.

V.21. "These, Ananda, are the four places that a pious person should visit and look upon with feelings of reverence. And truly there will come to these places, Ananda, pious bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen, reflecting: 'Here the Tathagata was born! Here the Tathagata became fully enlightened in unsurpassed, supreme Enlightenment! Here the Tathagata set rolling the unexcelled Wheel of the Dhamma! Here the Tathagata passed away into the state of Nibbana in which no element of clinging remains!'

V.22. "And whoever, Ananda, should die on such a pilgrimage with his heart established in faith, at the breaking up of the body, after death, will be reborn in a realm of heavenly happiness."

So we went, twelve 21st century pilgrims from North America, half way around the world to visit these four places and others where the Buddha lived and taught the Dharma which continues to inspire and guide us 2500 years later.


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Leigh Brasington / milpilgrim@yahoo.com / Revised 12 Jan 2001