By J. A. Kempf

For over 2,000 years, the realm of India that's this day western Bihar and jap Uttar Pradesh has served because the vacation spot for religious Buddhist pilgrims from in all places Asia. In 2010, James Kempf and his spouse Renate undertook a pilgrimage to the Buddhist sacred websites including 28 different Western pilgrims. Led by way of the well known British meditation instructor Stephen Batchelor, the crowd visited the world the place the Buddha walked and taught, a space untouched by means of the Indian excessive tech revolution but wealthy in cultural treasures. during this frank memoir, Kempf tells the tale of that pilgrimage, interwoven with the tale of his forty years of meditation education and his profession as a software program engineer in Silicon Valley. stick with Kempf as he ordains as a Zen priest and negotiates his manner during the maze of the Silicon Valley truth distortion box, searching for knowledge and compassion in the middle of greed, hatred, and confusion, and reviews the advantages and hazards of a troublesome middle meditation perform. the trail of pilgrimage and the trail of perform unite in a attention that the Buddha’s instructing wasn’t approximately mysticism and meditation reviews, yet quite a couple of rational, real looking blueprint for decreasing soreness.

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Sample text

The mythic landscape Faxian described vanished with the disappearance of Buddhism from India in the 10th century. In the fading light of the day, I reflect on the motivations of Xuanzang and Faxian to undertake what at that time was an arduous journey, and compare them with my own. Both were pious Buddhist monks and had spiritual reasons as their primary motivation. But what would that have meant to them? What sort of spiritual benefit would they have expected from undertaking such a journey? In accordance with their Mahayana beliefs, they probably would have expected accumulating merit towards a favorable rebirth.

We make our way to the long line leading into the maw of the checkpoint. A month before our flight, Richard Reid tried to blow up a plane in Detroit by setting his underwear on fire, throwing international aviation security into high alert. We are expecting the worst, but TSA has no unpleasant surprises for us and the security check proceeds smoothly, with little delay. The airlines instituted new baggage fees during the previous summer in an effort to increase revenue, so now everyone is carrying baggage onto the flight to avoid the fee.

The plane is scheduled to leave in 15 minutes. I turn back to her. " I turn and run down the stairs to the departure gate where I can see buses waiting to take us to the plane. The others follow. As our bus is pulling out, I see Stephen Batchelor trying to get through the door to the bus, which has just closed, but still no sign of Shantum. At the plane I settle into my seat next to the window in the tail section. The woman who had asked about what the holdup was after the security checkpoint sits down next to me and introduces herself as Sophia.

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