Walking West for Peace; Zen Buddhists Begin Journey to California on Thursday

February 27, 2007

Author: Leslie Williams-Dennis

Source: Brownsville Herald


Nine Zen Buddhists, walking with only their backpacks and donated boots, will take the first steps of a long journey here Thursday.

“I walk in robes, I walk without money, I have to beg for everything,” Claude AnShin Thomas, a Zen Buddhist monk and group leader, said. “What we’re going to do is go border town to border town.”

The group will begin their expedition, the American Zen Pilgrimage, at 7 a.m. Thursday, headed toward Chula Vista, Calif., which the pilgrims plan to reach by June 1.

Their mission is to promote peace and nonviolence in the region, which is gaining increasing attention for issues ranging from immigration to poverty.

Day by day, the Buddhists will walk, relying only on the goodwill of the communities they pass through to supply them with everything they need. The entire journey will take about three months. To the group, the walk is well worth it.