Painful 485-mile walk for peace

By Ross Lidbetter, IC Croydon, Dec 22, 2004

Glasgow, Scotland -- HE KNELT down to pray every three steps from Upper Norwood to Scotland, getting through 10 pairs of knee pads in the process. But for Buddhist monk The Venerable Thich Tri Nhu the painful 485-mile demonstration praying for world peace was worthwhile.

The 53-year-old was joined by three apprentice Buddhist nuns for the two and-a-half month journey from Croydon.

The group started at the Linh Son Temple, in Beulah Hill, on September 26, before reaching the Kagyu Samye Ling Tibetan Centre, in Eskdalemuir, on the Scottish borders, on December 10.

Anh Dang, a spokesman for The Venerable Thich Tri Nhu, said: "The cold weather in the north caused a few problems and he was sick many times. But after recovering he would continue to walk and was very pleased to complete the journey.

"This type of demonstration is unusual in Britain, but in China and Vietnam it is very common."

Following Buddhist tradition, the four stopped every three steps to kneel and pray for the peace of the entire world.

Despite their hands, legs and knees aching and sometimes facing bitterly cold weather, they battled through the pain barrier to reach their destination.

The peaceful walk, entitled "Three Steps, One Bow", started at 9am each day and continued until noon when the group would stop for lunch.

They then continued until 5pm before stopping in a caravan which followed them along the route. But once the journey was complete they returned by car.

Spokesman Mr Dang added: "Some of the people he passed were very supportive, others thought he was crazy. Sometimes he would pass through a town and people would say how very grateful they are to him. He feels very happy now."

The group weren't the first south Londoners to take part in overland challenges this year. Other acts of painful demonstration included performing artist Mark McGowan who took 10 days to roll a peanut with his nose from Peckham to Downing Street.

The artist was protesting against student debt in October last year.