Pilgrimage to Help a Friend

Normally I live at Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley, CA, USA, but I am writing this on a computer in northern India. I have just completed a pilgrimage to a few (but not all) of the Buddhist Holy Places with my friend, Manu. I am writing this to obtain the Paramita music files for him, as I think he will appreciate them.We traveled, in order, to Ajanta/Ellora (ancient Buddhist caves), Sanchi (stupa with Buddha relics and also stupa with relics of Sariputta and Maha-Mogallana), Sarnath (where first teaching was given), and Bodh Gaya (Bodhi Tree of Enlightenment). We kept journals but the whole story cannot be related here.Normally a “Good Buddhist” will want to go pilgrimage to the Holy Sites at some point in his/her life. However, the main reason I came to India was to help my friend, Manu, who was going through difficulties in his life. The Holy Sites allowed me to do this. A pilgrimage can be the most powerful way to overcome obstacles.Manu had spent three months at Abhayagiri in early 2004, helping serve our annual winter retreat. At that time I was having some difficulties as a newly ordained monk, and Manu told me that if I ever made it to being a monk for five years, he would invite me to India. So this is how the one month pilgrimage came about.

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