When the walking gets tough

Monks putting heart and mind on foot towards awareness for compassion, world peace, and global harmony walk from Dharamshala to Leh.

Walking is a hugely underestimated activity in this fast-paced, instant gratification world we live in. Anyone who has run a marathon knows that feats of endurance require mental discipline — a way to fuse mind, body, and spirit. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, Thai monks at Dharamshala have walked from Dharamshala to Leh as physical and spiritual journey to promote world peace.

Walking is also an important Buddhist meditation technique. To achieve profound spiritual practice, the monks can choose to walk mindfully as a way of meditation. With no destination in mind, they just walk in the present moment, letting go of distracting thoughts, and walk with righteous intentions. In recent years, there are a group of monks who are walking in the name of Compassion and Dharma Awareness.

Dharamsala is situated at the edge of the Himalayas in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The peace march commences every year at the holy shrine of Bodh Gaya. The team of Buddhists march towards Dharamshala to seek the blessings of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama. The team then embarks the spiritual journey towards Ladakh barefoot while chanting mantras and playing traditional music. This peace walk is organized every year under the guidance of venerable Phrateppariyatti Thongsuk, Governor of Ecclesiastic Province of Singburi, Thailand.

Apart from helping in the maintenance of world peace, this peace walk also preserves the Buddhist cultural heritage of Himalaya. To spread the message of peace, humanity, love, and harmony across the globe, monks, nuns, and pilgrims will walk barefoot, covering almost 700kms in 28days through the Himalayas towards Ladakh this year in 2019.