Choice : Retreat or Pilgrimage?

Hem: Should I go for a pilgrimage to ‘Buddha’s India’ or attend a Pure Land retreat? 
Haw: Both are excellent! Why not go for both?
Hem: I would love to, but I have limited annual leave to spare!
Haw: Then you should decide based on your priorities.

Hem: How should I do that?
Haw: Do you prefer to visit places where the Buddha taught, or visit a place (Pure Land) where a Buddha is teaching?
Hem: The first Buddha refers to Shakyamuni Buddha and the second Amitabha Buddha?
Haw: Yes. (Practising well in a Pure Land retreat preps one to be reborn in Pure Land.)

Hem: It’s still hard to decide!
Haw: Yes it can be hard! Visiting places where the Buddha went can be inspiring…
Hem: … and visiting a Buddha in person to learn from him is also inspiring!
Haw: Going on pilgrimage can inspire faith in Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings on Amitabha Buddha’s Pure Land too! 
Hem: Going on a Pure Land retreat can inspire faith in Shakyamuni Buddha’s other teachings too!

10 thoughts on “Choice : Retreat or Pilgrimage?

  1. The best of both is if there is a Pureland retreat at Jeta Grove where Buddha taught Amitabha Sutra!!!
    And also a short meditation retreat at Bodhgaya???
    It will be good if a short 1 or 3 day retreat could be incorporated in the pilgrimage tour !!!
    Let me know if any? I will be very interested!!!

  2. Good idea!
    Usually a retreat is more stationary,
    while a pilgrimage is more on the move-
    but there can be a mix of both

  3. A pilgrimage is a retreat in motion .

    A retreat is an inner pilgrimage to the sacred shrine of our Buddha nature.


  4. Is there a English speaking Pure Land (Chinese Amituofo)community/society in Singapore?
    I understand that the Amitabha Buddhist Society (Singapore)happens to be a Mandarin speaking one.

  5. Hi Upekkha,

    You may want to join an ‘Amituofo’ Yahoogroup, where the Amitabha teachings are shared mostly in English : (You can subscribe by sending a blank mail to ) The mailing list will send news of upcoming English Pure Land activities too.

    You can also join an English Pureland Fellowship (Best if one already has basic understanding of Pureland teachings) Currently we are discussing “The 48 Vows of Amitabha Buddha”

    For a better sense of progress in practice and understanding,
    below are the formats of the weekly Friday sessions.

    Part 1: For Practice: 7.30 to 8.00 pm (30 min)

    (A) Silent Chanting of Name of Amitabha Buddha (10 min) +
    Group Chanting of Name (20 min)

    (B) Chanting of Amitabha Sutra (15 min) +
    Group Chanting of Name (15 min)

    (A) & (B) switch on alternate weeks

    Part 2: For Learning: 8.00 to 8.30 pm (30 min)
    Thematic Dharma Lesson on Pureland Teachings

    Part 3: For Sharing: 8.30 to 9.00 pm (30 min)
    Q&A for Pureland Teachings & General Buddhism

    Location is the first small room on the right from the front entrance of the Ven. Hong Choon Memorial Hall (KMSPKS Monastery).

    Hope to see you there 🙂

  6. May I know how often would the event like the one held on Amitabha Buddha’s Celebration Day be held again?

  7. Hi guanzhao,

    Thanks for the detail info. Really appreciate it!
    I’m glad there is a English Pureland Fellowship.
    FYI, i just signed up for a 3 year Basic Buddhism Course which happens to be on every Friday evening.
    Nonetheless, i already signed up with the Amituofo Yahoo Group and will be reading up on Pureland teaching and hope to join your group/activities as soon as it is possible.
    Keep up the good work on the Pureland Fellowship!
    Amituofo! 🙂

  8. Hi Faith, we’ll try to hold the retreat on every anniversary, but are likely to hold more 1-day retreats in 2009 too. You can keep tabs on upcoming ones by joining the mailing list too 😉

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