I had been looking forward the pilgrimage all week while on the Formless Meditation retreat at The Hermitage, as I had read so much about these pilgrimages when working on the website about sacred sites in Wales – www.sacredsiteswales.co.uk – so was excited to finally go on one myself!
There are lots of intriguing sacred places in and around North Wales, but on that particular day we visited Llyn y Dywarchen. To reach the special lake and island, it’s only a short walk up the hill from a small car park, so it accommodated the different walking abilities and energy levels of us pilgrims perfectly!
I was especially pleased that we were visiting Llyn y Dywarchen due to its links to His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Trungpa Rinpoche (read the story of how Trungpa Rinpoche always wanted to dedicate an island on a lake to Guru Rinpoche, and that H.H. Dilgo Khyentse divined Gwynedd on the map – on www.sacredsiteswales.co.uk) and that so many visiting Lamas have visited here, including Lama Shenpen‘s teacher Khenpo Rinpoche, who I was lucky enough to meet earlier this year.
What’s pretty crazy is that ‘Dywarchen’ looks and sounds in English (i.e. when not using the correct Welsh pronounciation!) like ‘Dewachen’ – the name of Amitabha’s pure land! So it’s doubly interesting that this area has been linked to Guru Rinpoche, with its lake and island etc, as Guru Rinpoche is from Dewachen the pure land!
It was wonderful to imagine Khenpo Rinpoche walking around on the very same spot, and how pleased Trungpa Rinpoche would’ve been that the Awakened Heart Sangha had carried out his wishes and connected an island on a lake to Guru Rinpoche.
We sat a little way up the hill, up from the shore of the lake and chanted the Guru Rinpoche mantra and made special offerings. While we were chanting the sun even came out briefly, as if invoked by our puja!
There’s more about the pilgrimage with a photo of the lovely Guru Rinpoche shrine at https://sacredsiteswales.co.uk/sacred_sites_wales – you can also read more about other places of pilgrimage and what happens on Buddhist pilgrimages on the website.