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News from True Cultivators

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by Heng Sure and Heng Ch'au

A Pilgrimage for Peace

Two young American men from the Midwest with bald heads, dressed in Buddhist ceremonial robes bowed up the entire coast of California to the sacred site of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.

From 1977 to 1979, modern American Buddhist monks Heng Sure and Heng Chao undertook the ancient ascetic practice of bowing once every three steps, on a two and a half year pilgrimage from Los Angeles to Ukiah, California.

They took with them only their faith and a wish for world peace. Who helped feed the monks? Where did they sleep? How did they diffuse the anger of drunks and overcome the hostility of law enforcement? What lessons did they learn in compassion and humility? And most important, what can we learn from them?

Celebrating the 24th anniversary of the completion of the journey (Oct. 15, 1979), News from True Cultivators is a collection of letters Heng Sure and Heng Chau wrote on their pilgrimage reporting their activity and progress to their teacher, Master Hsuan Hua, founder of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.

Heng Sure is Director of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery and teaches on the staff at the Institute for World Religions. He lectures monthly at Gold Sage Monastery in San Jose. He has an M.A. from University of California, Berkeley, and Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union.

Heng Chau, Martin Verhoeven, graduated with his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a professor at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) and Dharma Realm Buddhist University.

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