Pilgrimage: Journey to Outer and Inner Landscapes

By Asa Hershoff
Buddhistdoor Global
August 4, 2023

Pilgrimage has been a part of our collective journey for as long as humankind has dwelt upon the Earth. Through the ages, beautiful and powerful landscapes have become the stage for activities and personages that left lasting impressions. There, architectural monuments remain as silent testament to the history and strivings of a people or even an entire civilization. But as the human drama unfolded, the central pilgrimage sites became not just places to celebrate one’s culture, but also imbued with deep spiritual value. Such locales are the central locus where the aspirations, hopes, and fears of an entire populace can be directed toward higher principles, transcendent values, and distant and promised shores. Particularly, these are sites wherein renowned saints, sages, prophets, avatars—those who broke through the bonds of suffering, mortality, and the perilous precipice of our fragile lives—lived, attained deliverance, and died. But what creates this heady mixture of possibilities that is a sacred site? And what is the spectrum of things that can happen there?

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