Pilgrimage to the Womb World

Mountain Pilgrimage - entering the Womb World

Mountain Pilgrimage – entering the Womb World

2014 Pilgrimage – Journey into the Womb World of the Divine Feminine

For this year’s pilgrimage, I will be undertaking mountain ascetic practices at sacred sites associated with the Divine Feminine in Japan. Undertaking a pilgrimage, especially in mountains, is a physically demanding meditation that takes the pilgrim into a transcendent liminal space that is between life and death, drawing in the inherent power of these sacred spaces wherein spiritual transformation is possible, which then culminates in being reborn into this world. This is why pilgrims in Japan always wear white clothing: white is the colour of death. The journey itself is an act of entering into a sacred space that is a three-dimensional mandala, beyond and yet contained in this world. The Esoteric Buddhist practices that I will undertake in this year’s journey will be focussed on entering the Womb World Mandala, which represents the principles of the Divine Feminine, such as compassion, nurturing and unconditional love; it also represents the source and the reality that we experience in our everyday lives, in all its organic messiness, but which is imbued nonetheless with Enlightenment. Undertaking this journey is a meditation on our own innate enlightened being.

dalai_lamaMy journey this year will culminate in a unique initiation into the Womb World Mandala by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is being hosted by my own guru and home temple in the sacred precincts of Mt Koya, Japan, for four days of teaching and initiation. This is an event of great karmic significance and I feel overwhelmingly blessed to be participating in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

As always, in my role designated by my guru as “The Prayer Vessel,” at the various sacred sites along the way, I will be offering the prayers, wishes, intentions and hopes of anyone who wants me to offer a prayer on their behalf. In the past 20 years, I have offered thousands of prayers for people of all spiritual paths, from all over the world, and I have witnessed many miraculous events as a result of offering these prayers. It would be a great privilege for me to carry your prayer on this special journey as well. Please don’t hesitate to ask for what you feel you need in your life right now, or offer a prayer of hope for those you love.

Because this year’s journey is dedicated to the Divine Feminine and its manifestation in the Womb World, I will be especially focussing on blessings related to women’s issues, such as women’s health, conception, safe pregnancy and birth, pregnancy loss (miscarriage or abortion), relationship happiness, looking for a partner, looking for love, peaceful family life, success for children’s school life, success for children finding jobs, etc.

Womb World Mandala

Womb World Mandala

How to write a prayer

A prayer is simply a written account of whatever it is that you wish for or hope for; it is a statement of your intention for change in your life. I believe that when you write down your innermost hopes and wishes and desires and intentions, then you are activating that energy into the world: you are actively participating in creating your own desired destiny. My role, in offering your prayer at these sacred sites that are so powerful and ancient, is to magnify your intention – to ripple it out into the cosmos and help that energy to grow. So it is a combination of the energy of your own intention, which is made manifest by writing it down, then amplified by my offering your written prayer in places that are focal points of great spiritual energy, where transformation is made possible. Prayer is a very powerful tool in creating your destiny, and I have witnessed many miracles that have resulted from prayer – even though these miracles may not always be what the person had envisioned for themselves! You may be very surprised at the blessings that enter your life!

The most spiritually beneficial way of offering your prayer is to write in on the back of a sacred text called The Heart of Wisdom Sutra, which is an ancient text succinctly describing the nature of Reality. Because each Chinese/Japanese character is a pictograph – a symbolic picture of an idea – when you trace over its letters, you are creating an abstract painting of that Reality. Even if you don’t understand these words, there is a great spiritual satisfaction in ‘painting’ it as a writing meditation. So, first you can trace over the letters of the sutra, and then when you’ve finished, you write your prayer on the back and then send it to me. I recite your prayer at the sacred sites, offer it at the temple, and then it is ritually burned by the priests at the temple, which completes the offering of the prayer. You can find a copy of The Heart of Wisdom Sutra and more information about sacred calligraphy in the section “Sacred Calligraphy” on my website www.catekodojuno.com

Please contact me at catekodo@gmail.com and I will be happy to help you with your prayer. Or, once completed, send it to Wabi’an, 8 Bouvard Drive, Bouvard WA 6211, Australia by March 31st. I do not charge anything for this service, however, it is appropriate to send a monetary offering to be made at the sacred sites as a sign of your commitment and intention. And any donations towards the pilgrimage are gratefully appreciated 🙂

Offerings/donations can be made by cash, money order or direct bank deposit (please contact Cate for details)

Eat a ducky, Muss!

“Who’s Muss? And why do Japanese people eat so many ducks?” my five-year-old son asked me when we first went to Japan. On sight of my puzzled face he continued, “Well every time Japanese people start to eat, that’s what they say – eat a ducky muss.”

In fact, what they say is “itadakimasu,” which means “I humbly receive” with the implication in this humility of offering gratitude for the meal. This is very similar to the traditional grace before meals that is familiar to many readers, “For what we are about to receive, may we be truly grateful.” As a practicing Buddhist, awareness is centred not on the food itself, but on the generosity of the person who has taken the time to prepare it. This appreciation extends to the person who bought the food, who packaged the food, who drove the delivery truck, who grew the food – and even to the earth, the water and the sunshine that nurtured the food. In this way, “I humbly receive” reflects the awareness of a profound connection in that moment to all the living beings and components of the universe that made this meal before me possible.

This deep awareness and appreciation can also challenge the ideas that we may cling to as our fixed beliefs, such that if the dish that I am being offered by another person contains meat or fish, and I am a vegetarian, then I am tempted to politely but firmly reject the offering, based on my personal beliefs. However, I feel that it is much more important to recognise the gift of the offering from this person who has gone to the trouble of feeding me, rather than focus on my own likes and dislikes. This is one of the principle reasons why Buddhists cannot be said to be strictly vegetarian – when collecting alms of food, in times gone by, monks and nuns would gratefully accept whatever was offered and this was an important part of their training. So whilst I have the freedom of choice when I make my own food, my own preferences are overruled by the need to open up to the generosity being offered by another person. Acknowledging generosity with gratitude is more important that having narrow fixed views. When confronted by the limitations of our own beliefs, there is no way to expand our spirit – our hearts cannot reach out and embrace kindness if we are chained in our minds by our fixed ideas.

And this receiving with gratitude does not just apply to food: When you hear a bird singing – receive the sound with gratitude; when you smell a flower – receive its scent with gratitude; when you feel the sunshine on your body – receive its gift of warmth with gratitude. It is a rewarding spiritual practice to try and be aware all the time and to be open to these offerings. In this way, you can open up all your senses to receive the gifts being offered all around you, in every moment, filling your life with unexpected blessings. In this way, being “humble” doesn’t mean grovelling subservience or feeling inferior in some way, but instead it is quite the opposite: grateful awareness opens us up to receive so many wonderful gifts that will make our lives filled with joy. Really! Try it!