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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,

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






Monastic ordination 2010


The Three Gifts


The Three Gifts – three practices you can give to the world every day. 
Though useful anytime, this practice is mainly meant to be applied when engaged with others. These qualities are contagious and bring out the best in ourselves and others.

1) Calmness
your gift of spaciousness, clarity, sense of harmony and contentment. Your patience, tolerance, and ease. Being cool-headed and rational minded.

How do we become calmer?
Simply wishing to be calmer is a start. By slowing down, and focusing on the breath, being mindful and aware, being in the moment, content and aware of others needs. The practices of mediation, mindfulness, yoga and Tia-Chi are excellent methods for making us calmer.

2) Caring
your gift of a caring attitude towards others. Your warmth, kindness, compassion, altruistic intention and sense of responsibility and concerned toward others. Being considerate, generous, openhearted and helpful.

How do we become more caring towards others?
By seeing others as people like ourselves and recognizing our shared humanity. Becoming less selfish and putting other’s needs before our own. Understanding the problems that come from self cherishing and the benefits in caring about others.

3) Stability
your gift of stability (mental, emotional and in relation to others).
Your balance, strength, consistency, dependability and maturity. Being durable, tough, self controlled and fair. Being a stable friend and parent while helping to create stability in others.

One of the qualities obtained through Buddhist practice is becoming a more stable person. When meeting genuine spiritual masters, I think their quality of stability is the most magnetizing to us. This sense of stability they radiate, reaches out and creates a feeling of calmness and peace in us. Giving us a feeling of hope and confidence that our own spiritual goals are achievable.

Stability might be the commodity we desire the most, but don’t know it.
From marriage to employment, weather to health, from our most basic needs, to our evening’s entertainment, there is not an aspect of our lives that we wouldn’t wish to be more stable. We want every apple to taste as sweet, every movie to be as funny and every holiday to be as pleasant. But stability is a quality that most of us rarely try to develop. When we talk about the quality of our daily lives, stability often just sounds idealistic. But stability is, at the very heart of our most basic desires and fears.

How do we become more stabile?
Again, just being aware of and recognize that stability is a quality worth cultivating is enough to get started. Understand its benefits to ourselves and others. Self-confidence is a key part, to stop doubting and start believing in ourselves and the power of our influence on others. How we take in information and how we react to events and things said to us, are also vital components to stability.

  • Developing the first two gifts (calmness and caring) is a foundation for building stability.
  • Taking in information with a cool and rational mind
  • Taking a minute before reacting, is a useful tool in becoming more stable.
  • Watching language, like watching a river. People’s thoughts and language flow out like a river. Distinguish what is important and what is not, let most of it pass by, especially any offensive speech, pay no attention to it, and wait for something meaningful to be said.

When combined, these three gifts of calmness, caring and stability create qualities of Grace, decency, and elegance. Making us more magnetizing to others and appearing more attractive both physically and in persona. These qualities enrich others while bringing out the best in us all.