On Pilgrimage and Tudong
Ajahn Pasanno, Ajahn Karuṇadhammo and Ajahn Ñāṇiko
Upāsikā Day, Apr. 25, 2015
Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley, California
2 sessions, 27 excerpts, 1:05:27 total duration

The teachers describe monastic wandering pilgrimages in India, Thailand, and the United States.

External website

Session 3: Questions and Answers about Pilgrimage

Session 4: Tudong Pilgrimage in Thailand

Session 3: Questions and Answers about Pilgrimage – Ajahn Pasanno – Apr. 25, 2015 Download audio (16:41)
[Visiting holy sites]

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1. [0:23] “You showed pictures of the statue at Bodh Gaya. It seems like the Bodhi Tree is more important. Does the statue have no historical importance?” Answered by Ajahn Karuṇadhammo, Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Jotipālo. [Bodhi Tree] [Buddha images] // [Devotional practice] [History/Early Buddhism] [History/Indian Buddhism] [Symbolism]

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2. [4:53] “Was there a time when monks could wander the entire year in Thailand unhindered?” [History/Thai Buddhism] [Tudong] [Culture/Natural environment]

Story: Ajahn Kinaree wanders from Thailand to India. [Ajahn Kinaree]

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3. [6:14] “Did pilgrimage continue during the time Buddhism was dormant or nonexistent in India?” [History/Indian Buddhism] // [History/Mahāyāna Buddhism]

Comment: It seems like the memory would have continued in Sri Lanka. [History/Sri Lankan Buddhism]

Response by Ajahn Karuṇadhammo.

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4. [9:09] “What is considered pilgrimage in the modern world? Going by train or bus?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Karuṇadhammo. [Technology] [Travel] // [History/Thai Buddhism] [Ajahn Jayasaro] [Generosity] [Pace of life]

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5. [11:43] “I would love to go to Thailand with my dad some time, but I don't know how to do it.” [Culture/Thailand]

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6. [12:31] “Do you plan to lead any trips on pilgrimage?” [Ajahn Pasanno] // [Sickness]

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7. [13:16] “What is the mileage from Lumbini to Bodh Gaya?” Answered by Ajahn Karuṇadhammo and Ajahn Jotipālo.

Quote: “One mile in India does not equal a mile in America.” — Ajahn Karuṇadhammo [Culture/India]

Reference: Rude Awakenings and Great Patient One by Ajahn Sucitto and Nick Scott.

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8. [14:41] “Is it possible to travel in India by bicycle?” [Culture/India] [Travel]

Story: Ajahn Tiradhammo bicycled around India as a layperson. [Ajahn Tiradhammo]

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9. [15:30] Comment: I was inspired by a picture of the Buddha's walking path. [Buddha] [Posture/Walking] [Faith]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno.

Session 4: Tudong Pilgrimage in Thailand – Ajahn Pasanno – Apr. 25, 2015 Download audio (59:16)

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1. [3:28] Story: Ajahn Chah tells a restless junior monk to go tudong around the monastery. [Ajahn Chah] [Restlessness and worry] [Sequence of training]

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2. [4:26] Story: Ajahn Chah lets a restless junior Western monk go tudong in the hot season with strict conditions. [Ajahn Chah] [Restlessness and worry] [Sequence of training]

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3. [6:53] Quote: “Tudong should be something you're learning from.” [Learning]

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4. [8:50] Story: Ajahn Mun didn't stay consecutive Rains Retreats in the same place until he was close to 70. [Ajahn Mun] [Rains retreat]

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5. [10:47] Story: Lay disciples ask Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo to take them on tudong but bring too much baggage. [Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo] [Lay life] [Simplicity] // [Ajahn Mun] [History/Thai Buddhism]

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6. [14:04] Story: Ajahn Chah packs too much gear on his first tudong. [Ajahn Chah] [Simplicity] [Contentment]

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7. [16:42] Recollection: Ajahn Chah laments that the forests in Thailand are being destroyed so quickly that there's not much place for monks to wander any more. [Ajahn Chah] [History/Thai Buddhism] [Environment] [Culture/Natural environment] // [Culture/Thailand] [Ajahn Dtun]

Quote: “Nowadays it's hard to tudong because you taludong (go through the forest).” — Ajahn Chah [Thai]

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8. [22:13] “In one of Ajahn Amaro's first tudongs in England, the laypeople often knew where he was going to be. Is that accepted in Thailand?” [Ajahn Amaro] [History/Western Buddhism] [Mutual lay/Saṅgha support] [Culture/Thailand] // [Culture/Natural environment]

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9. [25:34] Comment by Ajahn Jotipālo: When Jay and I did our tudong in preparation for the Mississippi tudong, we planned every single night. We learned from that: Don't plan. [Ajahn Jotipālo] [Learning] [Impermanence]

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10. [25:57] “What happens if you lose your spoon?” [Almsfood] // [Requisites]

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11. [26:34] “Can tudong be understood as a metaphor for practice? When we carry a lot of heavyweight stuff for a long time, we get tired and need to drop something.” [Symbolism] [Clinging] [Suffering] [Relinquishment]

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12. [27:33] “As laypeople, how do we know if it is a good or bad time to go on tudong?” [Lay life] // [Fear] [Doubt] [Learning]

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13. [28:42] “After the initial impulse and intention to go tudong, once it's going to happen, is there an upwelling of uncertainty?” [Doubt] // [Renunciation] [Impermanence] [Clinging] [Learning] [Ajahn Chah]

Story: Chao Khun Nor stayed in his kuti and ate the same thing every day. [Chao Khun Nor] [History/Thai Buddhism]

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14. [33:09] Comment: This speaks to a Boddhisattva/Zen approach to karma. It's more your attitude towards your karma. [Bodhisattva] [Zen] [Kamma] [Merit] [Harsh speech]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Impermanence]

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15. [34:11] Story: Ajahn Pasanno's tudong in India with Ajahn Jayasaro. [Ajahn Pasanno] [Ajahn Jayasaro] [Culture/India] // [Impermanence] [Mutual lay/Saṅgha support] [Not handling money] [Hinduism] [Islam] [Shelter] [Trust] [Almsround] [Visiting holy sites] [Compassion] [Devotional practice]

Story: An Indian Kshetriya notices that Ajahn Pasanno's etiquitte matches his training. [Vinaya] [Buddha/Biography]

Story: Ajahn Jayasaro tries to explain cricket to Ajahn Pasanno. [Recreation/leisure/sport]

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16. [55:49] “Is it difficult for two monks to get along the whole time?” [Communal harmony] [Conflict] // [Ajahn Pasanno] [Ajahn Jayasaro]

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17. [56:14] “Do you split up your almsfood?” [Almsbowl] [Almsfood] [Ajahn Pasanno] [Ajahn Jayasaro] [Generosity] // [Culture/India]

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18. [57:40] “You slept outdoors?” [Shelter] [Culture/India]

Story: Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Jayasaro stay the night at the Buddha's kuti. [Visiting holy sites] [Ajahn Pasanno] [Ajahn Jayasaro] [Buddha/Biography] [Great disciples]