, ,

Why do we go overseas for Buddhist pilgrimage?

Chiangmai temple
Northern Peak of Mt Wutai

Northern Peak of Mt Wutai, the mountain dedicated to 文殊菩萨 Manjushri Bodhisattva.

Why do we go overseas for Buddhist pilgrimage? Is it not the same if we do our prayers back in our own country in local temples or at home even? I guess that is one of the questions I have always been thinking of. Even though I am working in a travel agency which has been doing Buddhist tours for all this years, this question still comes back to me now and then. Having the opportunity to lead some of the Buddhist tours, took those chances to reflect on this burning question that I have.

Samaneras in line during a dana ceremony

Samaneras in line for a dana ceremony in Mahaganthayon Monastery in Mandalay, Myanmar

During these trips, we visited temples, did prayers and chants, made charitable acts such as donations and offerings to the monks and the poor. At the end of the day, we would also transferred the merits to all beings around us. As Buddhist, these activities may not seem unfamiliar as we do them even in our home country, our local temples or even at home.

Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum

Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum, Kaoshiung, Taiwan

However I did notice something each time when we are overseas and it made all the difference.

Pilgrims at the Ramabhar Stupa

Pilgrims at the Ramabhar Stupa, the cremation site of the Lord Buddha in Kushinagar, India

Being miles away from our home and our normal lives, we have manage to leave most of our troubles behind. With our work being left on hold (at least we try to), with our household duties being done by our loved ones at home. With fewer worries and distractions to fill our hearts, we are able to put our best efforts and concentration to focus in prayer. Praying and at the same time cultivating ourselves to be a better person spiritually. The heart is calm. The people during such pilgrimage are able to overcome their inner demons and show the very best of themselves. Their hearts filled with joy and happiness being accompanied by people with similar feelings. It is always at such moments when I would be moved by their sincerity and faithfulness.

As I wipe off the tears forming at the corner of my eyes, I know then the reason why we hold our prayers overseas. Quietly, I placed my palms together and prayed…

 Maitreya Bodhisattva statue at Thiksey Monastery

Maitreya Bodhisattva statue at Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh, India

Thank you for reading my humble thoughts on this. I am sure there are many other reasons that motivate each and everyone for going for such trips. What are your thoughts on going overseas for a pilgrimage? Please feel free to leave a comment below to share your thoughts with us!

All your comments are valuable to us! Who knows, your sharing might actually give us more insights. With these new insights, you may be able to help direct this little travel agency towards creating more happiness and more successful Buddhist pilgrimages for everyone in future.

With thanks.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *