AlejAndro Anastasio knows how to do a pilgrimage. He recently returned from China and Tibet, where he spent five weeks serving others, touring the area, and spending time with shaolin monks.
I recently sat down with him and he shared his experience. In addition to discussing the trip, he shared some deep level knowledge about the history of Buddhism and the martial arts. You see, AlejAndro isn’t your typical tourist. He’s a Dzogchen Vajrayana Buddhist practitioner. He also holds black belts in three martial arts. And, if that weren’t enough, he has a deep affinity for Zen (or Chan, as they call it in China).
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Bodhicitta, here’s a definition:
“Bodhicitta is a mind (including thought, action, feeling and speech) totally dedicated to others and to achieving full enlightenment in order to benefit all sentient beings as fully as possible.” Source
- The primary purpose of AlejAndro’s trip, was to serve as part of a medical mission at the request of one of the members of his sangha.
- The group traveled to Tibet, and to the community where his teacher, Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche, was raised, to administer medical assistance to the people who live there.
- This is the group’s third year travelling to Tibet as part of the One Path USA medical support mission.
- Near the village is the picturesque Dzogchen monastery.
- The village is very third world, without indoor running water.
- Some of the supplies they distributed while they were there included reading glasses and sunglasses, which the villagers need to help them avoid over-exposure to the sun at the high altitude.
- Despite not having access to a lot of medical care, the people are generally healthy, and very happy and grateful for the mission workers to be there.
- His primary role on this mission was geku (one who keep’s order and acts as security).
- After serving the medical mission, he traveled to the Shaolin Temple.
- AlejAndro has a very deep connection with and an affinity for Huike, Bodhidharma’s disciple who chopped off his left hand in a demonstration of his dedication to Bodhidharma.
- Near the Shaolin Temple is the cave Bodhidharma lived in for 9 years. Legend has it that Bodhidharma burned two holes into the wall of that cave from staring at it during meditation.
- AlejAndro climbed the 1000 steps to visit the cave, “[He] got a powerful vibe out of Bodhidharma’s cave.”
- “Bodhidharma is a genesis of martial arts.” AlejAndro says. He brought the movements of Kung Fu to the area.
- Bodhidharma is 28th in the lineage to Buddha.
- “Most people don’t realize that Kung Fu is based in Buddhism.” AlejAndro says.
- The Martial arts and Buddhism go hand in hand.
- The martial arts are really about self-discipline and self-discovery.
- “For me it’s a true mecca [The Shaolin Temple], not only from a martial art perspective, from a Buddhist perspective.” said Alejandro.
AlejAndro is a professional speaker who has spoken in seven different countries. He was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking, and he has delivered two TEDx talks.
Additionally, he has traveled across the United States engaging and empowering youth at the middle-school, high-school, and college levels.
Booking AlejAndro to speak at your company, organization, or school is easy. Simply connect with him via e-mail, or his social media accounts below.
AlejAndro’s e-mail is: email@example.com
Quote of the Week:
In essence, this whole thing is a giant pilgrimage. It’s all about service. As a Buddhist, I’m going to support my teacher’s activities. I’m going to help people, service people, practice bodhicitta, try to diminish people’s suffering and be the condition of their happiness and help them in as many ways as I can.” ~ AlejAndro Anastasio, speaking about his trip
- Boise Dharma Center – AlejAndro teaches at the Boise Dharma Center.
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