Buddha For You: Pilgrimage in San Diego
Posted by the Dharma Bums
Over 1,000 Buddha Statues were marched into their new home in San Diego on Sunday, January 30, 2011. The Buddhist Pilgrimage was organized by Buddha For You Two, a retail shop that sells Buddha statues, Asian art, incense, and meditation supplies, and hosts free intro to Buddhism and meditation classes. After 12 years in its old location, the new owners decided it was time to move. When the thought of moving so many statues became a reality, a traditional Buddhist Pilgrimage seemed to be the best option.
Over 150 people came out and joined in the Pilgrimage. The participants were led by Tulku Orgyen Zangpo Rinpoche in the 3 block walk chanting “Om Mani Padme Hum” the entire way. The morning began with people selecting their favorite statue and being taught how to mindfully carry the statue. One by one everyone exited the old Buddha For You with statue in hand, marched 3 blocks to 6145 El Cajon Blvd and into the new Buddha For You.
As people made their way into the large Vons shopping plaza near San Diego State University, they slowly walked past shops such as GNC, Yogurtland, Starbucks and Vons. Many of the locals are still talking about the event and trying to figure it out. So many of them knowing nothing about Buddhism and yet now are very curious. Over the years many different walks of life have strutted down El Cajon Blvd., but never before have so many Buddha Statues been escorted so gently on the Boulevard.
The Buddha says that if such a journey is undertaken with a ‘devout heart’ it will be very beneficial to one’s spiritual growth. Obviously pilgrimages, like worshipping Buddha statues is a behavior growing out of and able to reinforce positive emotions like faith, determination and humility which in turn strengthens one’s practice. In time each Buddhist country developed centres of pilgrimage as well, places associated with the introduction of Buddhism.
“There are four places, the sight of which will arouse strong emotions in those with faith. Here the Tathagata was born. Here the Tathagata attained Enlightenment. Here the Tathagata set in motion the Wheel of the Dharma. Here the Tathagata attained final Nirvana. The Monk, the Nun, the layman or laywoman who has faith should visit these places.” ~ The Buddha