The Power of Pilgrimage: Sacred Rite & Paradigm Therapy

The old man’s face is weathered, his wrinkles tell a story of centuries of hardship that he and his kin have endured as nomads exposed to the extreme elements of the high Himalayas.

And yet he smiles. His hands clasp together in prayer above his crown, and effortlessly as breath he utters the sacred mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum. His hands touch throat and heart, as he lowers himself to the ground in full prostration onto the ancient rocks beneath him. His eyes are unblinking in the cloud of dust, his internal gaze is likewise unflinching, transfixed on Chenrezig, the deity of compassion with a thousand arms. 

The man rises, carefully takes three steps forward, and repeats the prostration. He will continue like this—step by step, bow by bow, mantra by mantra—for hours, days, perhaps weeks. He is bound for Mount Kailash to circumambulate the

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