Just prior to entering into parinirvana, it is said that the Buddha encouraged his disciples to go on pilgrimage after his death to the sacred sites associated with his life. For over 2500 years practitioners from every corner of the Buddhist world have gone on pilgrimage. As a result, pilgrimage has both a rich literary history and a diverse array of practices associated with it.
This course is an inquiry into what pilgrimage means, both in its ideal form as described in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist writings, as well as how the principles of pilgrimage can infuse our lives with greater meaning and purpose. While investigating this topic, we will:
• “visit” sacred pilgrimage sites of Buddhist traditions—such as Bodhgāya and Sarnatha in India, and Samye Chimpu and Tsogyal Lhatso in Tibet—through multimedia presentations.
• explore traditional Buddhist materials.
• engage in contemplative and relational practices.
• elucidate the meaning of pilgrimage through our collective wisdom.
• begin to reimagine our everyday activities in and through the lens of pilgrimage.
Our investigation will include materials related to the historical Buddha, as well as other historical Buddhist figures, such as the Tibetan female master Yeshe Tosgyal and the Chinese pilgrim-explorer Xuanzang.
Grounded in Justin’s six principles of pilgrimage—awareness, movement, education, kindness, inclusivity, and nature—this course is both experiential and interactive. Participants will be invited to engage in weekly exercises that will inform the unfolding of our sessions together and, while gathered, we will engage in dialogue in service of more fully understanding the experience of pilgrimage.
This course is appropriate for people of all walks of life and stages of practice. The only requirement is an open heart.