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In late July, a GFR Mitra completed a 5 day ‘modern pilgrimage’, walking over 120 miles from Adhisthana to the Liverpool Buddhist Centre, in central Liverpool. Along the way, David Tyfield carried four heavy texts from the newly published Complete Works of Sangharakshita, and signed by Bhante himself at Adhisthana the day before setting off. Inspired by the great fabled pilgrimage of the 7th Century Chinese monk Xuanzang, mythologized in the Monkey Tales of ‘Journey to the West’, David organised the walk to raise funds for two important causes for Buddhists: the ‘Save the Children’ campaign for the Rohingya displaced to Bangladesh; and the fund for Liverpool Buddhist Centre to buy a permanent premises.
On the one hand, the latter fund feeds an important venture for Triratna. Many UK cities already have large thriving Buddhist centres. Liverpool’s has for many years remained comparatively small for such a large and great city but now it is growing strongly, with at least 5 Order Members. Permanent premises would cement this progress.
On the other, regarding the former, the ongoing persecution and suffering of the Rohingya in Rakhine state of Myanmar since August 2017 is an affront to humanity. This includes over 350,000 children, forced to abandon their homes and run for their lives. Adding insult to outrageous injury, those inciting and committing these atrocities claim to do so in the name of Buddhism.
As leading Buddhists, including from Triratna, have already stated, this is a grotesque distortion of the message of the Buddha, who taught universal compassion, strict non-violence and an abomination even of anger, let alone aggressive hatred. But David also wanted to do something to alleviate this distant suffering perpetrated in our name through counterexample of what the Buddha really taught, especially regarding dana (generosity) and virya (energy in pursuit of the good).
Stopping overnight at BnBs near Kidderminster, Shrewsbury, Whitchurch and Chester, David walked across the west of England chanting the mantras of Vajrapani and Tara, which kept him going when footsore and stiff. On arrival at the Liverpool Centre, the books were presented to the shrine in a brief puja (see photo), while passages from all 4 books were read by the local Sangha. Though chosen at random, these passages nonetheless seemed to have a moving coherence, roughly around the ‘true individual’.
David would like to thank all those, especially Sangharakshita, who have already supported the walk, including the many who have already generously donated over £1,500. If you would like to sponsor this event, the funding webpage will remain open until the end of October.