Rinpoche and the pilgrimage group coming down from Vulture Heap Mountain.
At Vulture Heap Mountain, sixteen years after his enlightenment, Buddha set forth the second turning of the Wheel of Dharma to an assembly of 5,000 monks, nuns, and laity. This was the very essence of his teachings4.
One of the spiritual practices central to Tibetan Buddhism is The Heart Sutra and the practice of the profound perfection of discriminating insight We meditated and repeated the Heart Sutra Mantra in the cave that was the inspiration for this great writing.
The Heart Sutra Mantra 5
TEYATHA OM GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SOHA
In this way: OM gone, gone, gone beyond, Gone completely beyond, enlightenment. So be it!
Today the abodes of the Gods, the power places, are climbed and conquered rather than circumambulated and used as places for meditation, prayer and worship. We were fortunate to take this trip with a very special group of people who connect living rituals with the sacredness of place. Our practices were repeated many times, always with the wish that all beings could be relieved of suffering and be blessed to attain enlightenment.
To some extent, our Pilgrimage reflected a nostalgia for a vanishing culture. With it comes a plea for sensitivity to what remains and an appreciation for what can be preserved. Most importantly, we found joy in sharing the celebrations at these most sacred spots. That joy and the effects of it are still with us.
We left India on October 24, 1998.
4From Sakya Pilgrimage tour materials.