PILGRIMAGE in India with the Holy Lama
January of 1998 Lama Zopa Rinpoche and His holy Guru, Ven Ribur
Rinpoche led a hundred and fifty monks, nuns and students on a
16 day Pilgrimage of holy places in India. I was one of the lucky
ones on that fantastic journey which brought so much of the Holy
Buddha’s teachings to life for us.
At the River Ganges where we did Animal Liberation
visited VARANASI where Buddha Shakyamuni taught his first
sermon after attaining Enlightenment at DEER PARK, and
we attended a PUJA conducted by the Lamas at SARNATH. It
was here that the Buddha took His first sip of milk after having
fasted and realizing the ascetic life did not hold the answers
He sought. At the temple adjacent to DEER PARK we were so blessed
as we had the opportunity of viewing the Lord Buddha’s relic –
reverently preserved in a beautiful temple.
the Lamas took us to the GANGA RIVER to participate in
the Practice of animal liberation. It was an experience of a lifetime
releasing all those fishes back into the river. Rinpoche explained
that this Practice was so beneficial since it would create the
cause for a good rebirth and ultimately Enlightenment.
traveled by third class train from VARANASI to GAYA
– a journey of 7 hours. I never felt so thankful for my good karma
as when I was on that difficult and uncomfortable train journey.
It brought home to us how lucky we were and I felt it was a Purification
of sorts … Everyone with me on that train were well heeled people
whose good karma ensured we had a good life with the opportunity
to practice Dharma and make our life meaningful. It was a profound
learning experience. My travel companions on that train ? Real
lucky people I tell you . There was a Banker multi millionaire
from Singapore. A wealthy lawyer from Hong Kong. A successful
Interior decorator and there was even a famous Hollywood movie
star – everyone of us was so blessed to be on the Pilgrimage we
never noticed the dirt and the squalor or the crowded conditions
of the train.
On the grounds of Nalanda we held a Puja and experienced
the miracle of multiplying food parcels.
Pilgrimage continued with a visit to the famous NALANDA
University where so many Buddhist scholars studied, and then on
to VULTURES PEAK where the Lord Buddha had given the sermon
of the PERFECTION OF WISDOM. At the top of VULTURES
PEAK, HH Ribur Rinpoche led a Puja and the skies opened on
that grey day and the sun shone brilliantly down on us sending
forth light that resembled a flow of nectar blessing us all. It
was stunning and I have captured it on film too …
NALANDA earlier in the morning we had also had a PUJA and
there too we saw the miracle of the food packets. They had asked
us to share the food parcels. There was not enough to go round
the organizers told us .. and yet by the end of the PUJA everyone
had their own box of food with a whole lot left over ! .. and
the lamas seemed oblivious to it. These Lamas are so wonderful.
They create miracles and then pretend they don’t know anything
about it .. !!
Pilgrimage culminated in a series of teachings given by HH
Dalai Lama at Bodhgaya. Anyone who has ever heard His Holiness
teachings will know how special the experience can be..