Lynne- Marie shares a journey carrying Buddhas in pockets…

“Arthavadin, Satyamuni and I (Lynne-Marie) completed the Coast to Coast walk across the UK from St. Bees to Robin Hood Bay a total of 192 miles in September. We walked with Buddhas in our pockets offering the third stage of the loving kindness practice, connecting with fellow travellers and local communities. We intended to connect the Triratna movement handing out buddhas gifted from the Sangha to the people we met a long the way. The walk felt like a pilgrimage, each day started with meditation and chanting of the Tiratnavandena. We have raised over £4700 towards the Manchester Buddist Centre Ground Floor Up project. This is one of the many stories of where the Buddhas went and the connections they made…

This is the story of Vajramudita and the Buddha Amoghasidhi donated by Dharmakasara

A few days into planning the Coast to Coast walk, Arthavadin and became aware that we clearly did not have all the skills necessary for planning a trek on this scale, things like map references or even which way up the map needed to be were a challenge! We decided to call on the expertise of the Sangha and contacted Vajramudita and her husband Alan (the expert mountaineers) to assist in planning the 15 day trek along a trail that is for much of the way unmarked. They did an admirable job and helped us book accommodation and decided how long each days
walk would be taking into consideration the terrain. Vajramudita decided she would
join us for a few days of the walk.

The plan...Vajramudita was to join us for the first weekend of
the walk and organised her working week to be in the Lake District. This section of the walk
would take us to some of the remotest parts of the UK including a stay at Blacksail
YHA, the remotest YHA in the country. Vajramudita planned to walk into Blacksail, a two hour
walk over a mountain pass, to meet us at the Youth Hostel by 8pm Friday night and stay overnight at this charming hostel and then walk with us for the next two days.

The reality…Friday morning Arthavdin, Satyamuni and I set out walking from Ennerdale Bridge, a beautiful rural village with a pub, local store and cafe all run by the community. The weather turned increasingly blustery with torrential rain. We arrived at Blacksail around 4pm, the light was fading and the wind strength increasing. We were welcomed by a number of intrepid explorers, got out of our wet clobber, stood our boots to dry on the beams above the wood burning stove and hunkered down in the rather cosy cabin with fellow travellers. We exchanged stories and even took a video inviting everyone to say a few words.

As time progressed we became increasingly worried about Vajramudita, I meditated and sent her metta, I chanted and the whole hostel got out maps to try to work out which way she may be walking in. The limited normal communication systems were not working at the hostel, even the staff were out of communication. The night progressed and Vajramudita’s dinner lay unclaimed in the kitchen. She failed to turn up that evening. Worried and confident she would be OK we turned in for the night.

The next morning the weather was calm and sunny, we walked out of Blacksail and as we reached the top of the ridge I made the first of many attempts to contact Vajramudita, all to no avail. We continued walking checking each hostel on our way to see if she had stayed the night. We were worried and at the same time I felt very connected to her and had this sense that she was OK. It wasn’t until the end of the day, Saturday, when we arrived at the YHA Grassmere that we eventually met up.

When we met Vajramudita told of her night spent alone in the open. Vajramudita had set off to join us at Blacksail, she had realised the weather was bad but had not expected the strengthening wind to gale force, as she crossed the high pass into Blacksail she had been blown off her feet, she continued on. With the worsening visibility and poor light she kept close to the beck (stream or small river), as she tried to cross one beck she had been knocked over and washed down stream by the force of the water, her clothes were soaked and her mobile phone left inoperable. Fortunately the clothes she was carrying in her back pack were in dry bags, keeping her wet clothes on she layered up with all the dry clothes she had and then realising she couldn’t go back over the pass and that it was too dangerous to try to cross the two becks that lay ahead of her, she was benighted and spent the night sheltering under a rock.

Vajramudita has a connection with Vajrayogani and chanted and visualised her presence through the long cold hours she spent in the open. Part of the Vajrayogini practice includes methods for preventing ordinary death, and for transforming all mundane daily experiences into higher spiritual paths.

At first light Vajramudita retraced her steps out of Blacksail as the becks were by now huge torrents of water swollen with the rain overnight.

When we met her she appeared in shock and with a badly swollen hand. We exchanged stories, administered first aid, hugged and shed a few tears of relief. Vajramudita has a suspected fracture of the scaphoid bone in her hand. She is now recovering although using her right hand is painful. The Buddha she chose was Amoghasidhi, donated by Dharmakasara from the Manchester Buddhist Centre.  Amoghasiddhi’s emblem is the double vajra, his mudra is Abhaya or Fearlessness, how fitting!