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Hello friends. I am currently on a pilgrimage of Buddhist Asia: Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, China, and Mongolia, which will finish in the fall of 2019 (and with a bit of luck will continue onto a pilgrimage of Europe). I’m traveling alone with only my begging bowl and backpack (and laptop for writing). I am staying and studying at monasteries of the different Buddhist traditions while gathering material on meditation and monasticism for future books. I am surviving only on local alms (charity) for shelter, food, and land travel, although I rely on online donations for any air travel, visas, and entry/exit fees. You can follow my travels on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/tenzin.tharpa.52
If you would like to participate in my journey by lending your support, please click on my help and support page on this website. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Peace and prayers,

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The Practice of Pilgrimage

What exactly is a pilgrimage?
Within Buddhism, a pilgrimage is a spiritual journey, usually to a spiritually significant destination. Here, the travel itself is seen as most significant, rather than the arrival at one’s destination. During a pilgrimage, practitioners, while focusing on the Buddha’s teachings and tenets, travel mindfully with the aim of reducing worldly attachment. The goal of the practice is to gain insight and understanding into oneself and one’s life while at the same time generating and accumulating virtuous merit. Pilgrimages can be used to mark a significant point or change in one’s life, e.g., the loss of a loved one, the birth of the “new you”, or to find clarity and answers against uncertainty in one’s life. A common practice when undertaking a pilgrimage is to choose something to renounce. This could be any unwholesome or problematic habit, behavior, view, attitude, or intention. Conversely, one may also set out to attain something on their pilgrimage, possibly the adoption of wholesome or beneficial habits and behaviors; or to habituate new views, attitudes, or intentions.

The way a pilgrimage works
While on pilgrimage, one’s daily concerns and responsibilities are suspended, while at the same time, the travel and changing environment wards off boredom and complacency. Here, one gets the space and time to view their life from a different vantage point, away from the constraining walls of one’s home and the criticism and influence of one’s community. However, the true validity of a pilgrimage (including any benefits gained) lies in the fervor and fidelity that the practitioner brings to it. For a true pilgrimage is not an external journey but an internal one. With that said, my pilgrimage, because of the unique situation I’m in, is different. For the first time in ten years, I’m leaving the safety of my monastery without plans of returning or a clear destination or fixed end in mind. In Buddhist traditions, this type of practice is referred to as being a wandering monk.

Pilgrimage vs. wandering monastic
Where pilgrimages are usually focused more on oneself, one’s practice, and one’s accumulation of insight and merit; a wandering monastic’s intentions are directed outward towards others, focused on how best they can benefit those they meet. Usually, this takes the form of teaching, or performing requested ceremonies, but can also include volunteering with charities and working with local communities. On a deeper level, the practice of a wandering monastic is aimed at uprooting one’s self-cherishing by losing oneself in the benefiting and cherishing of others, through which one may awaken from ignorance and self-delusion.

Revised Debate Text 4th Edition

A revised version of my debate text:
Debate Text-1 / Foundations of Debate
Collected Topics (for English speakers)
is now available for free download from the download library








This revision includes additional maps on the debate subjects of:
Asserting Objects
Asserting Object Possessors
Mind and Mental Factors
Hearer’s Grounds and Paths
Solitary Realizer’s Grounds and Paths
Bodhisattva’s Grounds and Paths

Spoken Tibetan Basics

For those looking for an easily accessible no-nonsense beginner’s guide to the spoken Tibetan language, look no further. This unique text shares a presentation of the Tibetan language that is currently being spoken by Tibetans throughout India and the world.
1st edition 2013 – Download free from the download library


Spoken Tibetan Basics
a Tibetan Language Primer  (for English speakers)
Free Download: Tib-Spoken-Basics.PDF






Sera Je Monastery, South India

Gyudmed Tantric Monastic University

Monastic ordination 2010


Meditation Prayer

Setting one’s intention -When beginning meditation, once seated and comfortable, one sets their intention/motivation in order to generate inspiration, appreciation, openness, and a joyous effort. This is accomplished through reflecting on the preciousness of life and the vast opportunities which that allows. The first three lines of this prayer pertain to cultivating a proper appreciation, whereas the last four lines pertain to cultivating a proper intention.This meditation prayer and accompanying dedication prayer were created with all meditators in mind regardless of tradition, spiritual belief, or lack of belief.

Meditation prayer
With a deep appreciation for this precious life and a resolve not to waste it,
I now engage in meditation.
With a deep conviction in the vast benefits and importance of this practice,
I now engage in meditation.
With the wish to develop myself and uncover my full potential,
I now engage in meditation.
With the wish to gain mastery over my mind and emotions,
I now engage in meditation.
With the wish to free myself from ignorance, delusions, and afflictions,
I now engage in meditation.
With the wish to bring peace, contentment, and genuine happiness to my life,
I now engage in meditation.
With a mature resolve to persevere in spite of any obstacles that might arise,
I now engage in meditation.
~ Tenzin Tharpa

* The repeating line “I now engage in meditation“, can be replaced with other phrases pertaining to other practices. E.g., “I now engage in mindfulness“, “I now engage in contemplation“, “I now engage in study“. Additionally, it can be used as a morning prayer by using the phrase “I follow the Buddha’s teachings“.

Click here to download this prayer: Meditation-Prayer.PDF