Approaching the Holy Sites

Remembering Anathapindaka

Jack Kornfield wrote about a walk he did with Aborigines in Australia. As they approached their holy site, they first walked silent, then proceeded with an ever-deeper bow until they were crawling on hands and knees and finally wriggling along the ground...

The sites we visit are supremely haloed; traditionally credited with the power to heal and bless – even the blessing of Insight. As we draw near, leaving other thoughts aside we repeatedly bring to mind thoughts, images and feelings connected with the events in the life of the Buddha that occurred at that site. Usually we will wend our way in silence, straight to the most holy spot. Often we will stand and sometimes sit in silence. And in the silence really look, seeing the place for the first time with an uncluttered mind. Seeing too in imagination, perhaps as if for the first time, the events that occurred there.

So, we approach and stand or sit in silence. And from our silence perform our puja, sing our songs, dance our jigs, make our offerings salutations circumambulations and prostrations. Then we wander around visiting other important sites, taking in the scene, imagining what it was like when the Buddha was there, or Nagarjuna, or Padmasambhava. Other times we will return to meditate, reflect, make offerings and do puja.

Silaketu in Sariputta's Enlightenment Cave