Toward Ultimate Things
Andrew Schelling - 'Meeting the Buddha'
Edited by Molly Emma Aitken
Only the walker who sets out toward ultimate things is a pilgrim. In it lies the terrible difference between the 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 at home. The pilgrim is different. The pilgrim resolves that the one who returns home 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.
A Buddhist dictum has it that 'The Way exists but not the traveler on it.' For the pilgrim the road is home; reaching your destination seems nearly inconsequential.