jayeshanarHow can they give so much to so many? My own feeling of intense gratitude for Jayeshbai and Anarben is not unique. How could I ever repay them? Nearly everyone they encounter soon feels the same way. How are they able to give so much to so many?

In 1977, two Western monks, under the guidance of the Chan Buddhist, Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, began on an 800 mile bowing pilgrimage from South Pasadena, Southern California to Ukiah, Northern California. With hands folded in prayer, they would take three steps, then drop to their knees and do a full bow, placing their foreheads on the road, only to get up, take another three steps and bow again. This journey took them over 2 ½ years and served to strengthen the spiritual foundation of The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, which they were working in their own ways to establish.

3steps02In tribute to this practice, a group of about 20 set out in the middle of the night to walk 13 km, from the new campus of the Environmental Sanitation Institute (ESI), that Jayeshbhai’s father founded. We started by taking three steps and a bow for 2 ½ hours straight and then mixed it up with walking in order to arrive at their home at 7 am.

This exercise is amazingly powerful. While you step consciously with hands in prayer, you are finding your own center, your own heart, your own truth. As you get down and bow, you are at first letting go, offering yourself to the universe, and then taking in the expansiveness in return. As this process is continued, one can’t help but purify. To do this for so many years, continuously in complete silence, must have been extraordinary.

When we arrived, they were deeply moved, overwhelmed by the humble gift of gratitude they had received from so many.