On the evening of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday, July 6, 2015, eleven-year-old Mia Stafford began her Miles of Merit marathon to raise funds to continue building the Mahabodhi Stupa at Land of Medicine Buddha. We gathered – a couple dozen of us – at the half-built stupa to recite the verses of praise to Shakyamuni Buddha and then set our motivation for the evening’s activities and for building the stupa – to create a powerful holy object to benefit sentient beings.
Then we cheered Mia off on her run around the Eight Verse Loop Trail, while we headed off for a comfortable stroll. We stopped at each station of the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation, read the verse out loud together, listened to His Holiness’s commentary on it, paused to internalize the meaning and then walked meditatively to the next station. Every now and then we had to step to the side of the trail to let Mia pass.
Mia ran 4 laps (miles) on July 6 and will continue running about twice a week until she has completed 108 laps, i.e., miles. People have sent in sponsorships already, but there is still time to sponsor Mia’s Miles of Merit as the campaign remains open until July 23, 2015.
Examples of amounts you can sponsor are:
- $27 (for 25¢ per mile)
- $54 (for 54¢ per mile)
- $108 (for $1 per mile)
- $216 (for $2 per mile)
- $540 (for $5 per mile)
- $1080 (for $10 per mile)
(We will accept any amount; these are just some of the pre-set options.)
We have raised $3,113 so far through Miles of Merit (as of July 8, 2015). Our goal for this campaign is 108×108 = $11,664.
As for the birthday celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the rest of us completed one lap at a leisurely pace and then returned to the stupa to perform the Extensive Light Offering practice. As the evening darkened the electric lights plus a couple of rows of tealights grew more beautiful. Then we read various long life prayers and prayers of auspiciousness. Finally, we enjoyed eating the birthday cake that had been offered in front of a picture of His Holiness on the stupa.