Question: Is there any value in western students making a pilgrimage to Thaktsang or to Bodhgaya?

Yes. Pilgrimage, although it has become very ritual now, sort of devotional, ritual thing. The essence of going to all this pilgrimage is to remind ourself that such beings exist. Not as a hero, not as someone who has done this, did this, but as an example. Even going to places like Hiroshima probably can, even if it is a minute, might remind you how we human beings destroy ourself. It is like that. Going to Kushinagar for instance can remind you that life is impermanent. Even the Buddha himself. Going to places like Saranath can remind you that one of the greatest – I will just wait until that thing pass – one of the greatest thing that has been said in this world was said there. And then it might invoke a little interest, what did he say. Know the suffering, abandon the cause of suffering, and so on and so on. So important to remind ourself. I mean of course if you are a good practitioner you don’t need these things. But I think one should help ourself with all kinds of help. Even it requires some kind of gross reminder like a holy land mountains, trees, whatever you know. It is like keeping the nostalgia, that is the word I was looking for. Nostalgia can open a door to many things. Nostalgia can be a fuel for creativity. Here we are talking about nostalgia of an enlighten being. And that may trigger the creativity in the sense of really valuing the Dharma, spiritual path. And seeing the futility of this worldly life.

from the movie Words of My Perfect Teacher

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