In just a week, our next Eco Pad Yatra will start, from Mumbai to the sacred Sanchi stupa. More than 400 of us are now going to Mumbai, by batches. Obviously, unlike the 2 previous ones in the Himalayas, this forthcoming Pad Yatra is not going to be too difficult and challenging for people who are used to modern facilities. But as anything in life, challenges are always there. Even when we live in a so-called perfect physical environment, we will still face difficulties if we do not know how to appreciate and enjoy. For example, when we were walking in the Himalayas during the last 2 pad yatras, almost all the foreigners were complaining about the food, failing to realise how much effort had been put in to bring the food, the cooks and the utensils up to the mountains.
The sense of appreciation is always lacking in our life, that’s why we are always missing the path to happiness. In the middle of complaining, feeling unhappy and looking always for excuses to dislike or be angry with the circumstances and people around us, we expect ourselves to be happy. If our mind is only looking for problems, how will we be happy? It would be a great miracle if we can be happy this way. If mind is problematic, then speech and activities will not be smooth, successful and happy.
One of the Rinpoches asked me how can one have quick and effective purification? I said the best way these days is to join the Pad Yatra. Anything with a beneficial motivation and done with external hardships would be good. But these days, it’s really difficult to find physical hardships even in our daily life because of modernisation and convenience. So we need to organise the Pad Yatra as one of the most effective ways to purify our negative defilements, especially for those people who have the physical abilities and mental strength to do this.
Since there are not much of external difficulties for this forthcoming Pad Yatra, all the participants should be carrying our own belongings, no human beings or animals to help us. In order to prevent complaints from the foreign participants about the kinds of food offered by monks and nuns, the foreigners will be grouped together and they have to cook by themselves. All cooking should be vegetarian only. Each group will be given a budget and with this budget, everyone should be managing nicely and free to cook whatever you feel like eating. There should at least be some kind of discipline for a Pad Yatra, so we are going to provide the budget accordingly. Monks and nuns will have their own groups and they will cook their own food. Cooking facilities will be carried by some helpers, and the rest we all have to do by ourselves. We can’t wait to experience all the excitements, at least I myself cannot wait for this to happen!