Pilgrimage to Adhisthana

When the Buddhafield yatra (a collective, sacred walk) pictured above turned up at Adhisthana it felt significant. They had walked 85 miles over eight days, camping together over the nights and walking in silence over the days. It looked like a medieval pilgrimage arriving.

Other journeyers have come here before and since who describe themselves as pilgrims.

Adhisthana offered a pilgrims event for the first time in 2023, with an invitation to participate in a 108 hour circumambulation of the burial mound.

A pilgrimage is a sacred, intentional walk to a place of significance. It’s also a return journey where the effects of pilgrimage are integrated back into our daily lives. Ideally it’s a slow journey. In June 2023 Ratnadharini walked 150 miles over 10 days from Sangharakshita’s birth place, Tooting Broadway, to his burial mound here in the Adhisthana grounds.

Not everyone can do that. But you may be able to slow your journey down a bit!  Some people walk or cycle here from the train station. If you would like to do that, we have a couple of maps below to help. 

Pilgrimage can also be a metaphor for the internal journey we take in meditation on a retreat. Our awareness is the pilgrim that travels to other realms that blur the boundary between interior/exterior, where we can meet Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Dakinis.

Most visitors to Adhisthana come to join an event or retreats. But, if you want to come just as a pilgrim and stay a few nights get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.

Walking to Adhisthana

From Ledbury | Click here

From Ledbury train station you can walk up through Frith Wood and over Oyster Hill. Turn right out of the station and go under the rail bridge. Then turn right up the footpath and left onto the Herefordshire trail footpath. At one point the Herefordshire trail turns left but you stay on the footpath. Once you come to the road, turn left and walk up the road for 5 minutes. Then turn right opposite some houses – this path leads up and over Oyster Hill and thus to Adhisthana.

FroM Colwall | Click here

From Colwall train station walk along the road and over the crossroads. Follow the road round to the left and then take the footpath at the end of the road. Initially keep left on this path, then straight over where it intersects with another footpath and follow it round to the right until you get to a road. Turn left, and then when the road bends to the left take the footpath that leads straight on. When you meet the road, turn right then left onto the next footpath and at the next road left then right onto the next footpath, through the animal fields, and then left along the road, right down the hill, and right at the junction. Adhisthana will be on your left.

For a slight variation using OSMaps, click here.

Only the walker who sets out toward ultimate things is a pilgrim. In this lies the terrible difference between tourist and pilgrim. The tourist travels just as far, sometimes with great zeal and courage, gathering up acquisitions, (a string of adventures, a wondrous tale or two), and returns the same person as the one who departed. There is something inexpressibly sad in the clutter of belongings the tourist unpacks back at home.The pilgrim is different. The pilgrim resolves that the one who returns will not be the same person as the one who set out. Pilgrimage is a passage for the reckless and subtle. The pilgrim—and the metaphor comes to us from distant times—must be prepared to shed the husk of personality or even the body like a worn out coat.

Andrew Schelling