The man reading a book on a seat in a beautiful park in Cambridge rose in response to seeing us.
I was walking with my Preceptor ( the person who Ordained me 17 years ago and gave me my Buddhist name) having just arrived by train.
In that moment of just beginning to take in my surroundings, my first thought as he moved towards us, was that his extended hand was requesting a buddha from my back pack.
During my brief visit to the UK the small amount of buddhas I brought from home had already doubled as people generously donated them after hearing about the Australian pilgrimage. Although my visit is not specifically to hand out buddhas it seems the pilgrimage response is never far from the surface of my being.
Instead, unaware of the buddhas in my back pack, this man was wanting to introduce himself as he had spotted my kesa.
I often forget I have the kesa around my neck as I walk around in public, until I notice people who stare at it, trying to work out what it represents. We don’t usually wear our kesas everywhere but I had decided to do so for the length of the pilgrimage.
So here I was walking with the person who had first placed that kesa around my neck in a moving private Ordination ceremony in Tuscany all those years ago.
And that had triggered this spontaneous connection with one of the 2,500 members of our worldwide Order- a New Zealander living in Cambridge.
As we sat and talked, a buddha moved into his care and the pilgrimage was alive in the lovely town of Cambridge.

Buddha donated by Claire Manchester UK