Odyssey of the 8th Fire is the true tale
of an epic pilgrimage for the Earth
across North America

by people of all colors and faiths.

  - A creative non-fiction book in online evolution - ◊
© - 2007 by Steven McFadden

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Odyssey of the 8th Fire,
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"Civilization has nothing to do with having electric lights, airplanes, or manufacturing atomic bombs. It has nothing to do with killing human beings, destroying things or waging war. Civilization is to hold one another in mutual affection and respect."

- Nichidatsu Fujii

Day 171 - Sunday, December 10, 1995 - I talked briefly on the phone with Rita Sebastian. She told me the walk was making good progress, and that she was looking forward to re-connecting with friends and acquaintances at Hopi and Big Mountain.

Rita Sebastian

"When I was at Sundance out at Big Mountain two years ago," she said, "I came to realize that the government sees the Earth as mineral resources: coal, uranium, gold and that's all. They just see the physical and monetary potential of the Earth."

“Traditional people see these as spiritual resources. Native people were told in the beginning to leave these things in the Earth, that they are needed there as spiritual resources to the Earth and the people.

"Now those resources are being ripped out by huge machines," Rita said. "That's an important part of why there is so much craziness and so many problems now. In pursuit of short-term profit, corporations are ripping not just physical resources from the breast of the Earth Mother, but also spiritual resources."


Jun San - Walks Far Woman

Jun Yasuda, known widely as Jun San, has joined our Sunbow 5 walk. She is a Nipponzan Miyohoji Buddhist Nun, and an experiened pilgrim. Jun San has has already crossed North America three times on foot, steadily sounding her drum while chanting a prayer for peace: Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo.

Precise English-language interpretations of the chant differ, but the general sense of it is: "I devote myself to the Lotus Sutra (the Spiritual Law of the universe)."

In 1978, Jun San went on her first long pilgrimage, the "Longest Walk," organized by Native Americans. That walk was on the road from Alcatraz near San Francisco, for thousands of miles to Washington, D.C. Jun San was also at also at Wounded Knee, South Dakota for the historic Wiping the Tears and the Mending the Sacred Hoop ceremonies. At those gatherings she was honored with a Lakota name: "Walks Far Woman."

Peace Pagoda in Grafton, NY.

Jun-San has traveled out west to meet and join our Sunbow walk from her home base at the Grafton Peace Pagoda in New York State.

Peace pagodas are a symbol of non-violence dating as far back as 2000 years to the Emperor Ashoka of India. He was known as a bloody warlord. But after one exceptionally brutal battle, he had a spiritual awakening and turned his life around. He used the pagoda temple form to help establish peace.

Jun San started started building the Grafton pagoda in 1985 with nothing more than faith, and a single spoon for digging. Since her Buddhist sect does not permit solicitation for money, she had to go forward on faith and wait until all materials and labor were eventually donated out of the initiative of other people, people of all colors and spiritual traditions.  The pagoada was completed in 1993 .

Her order, Nipponzan Myohoji, is not a "sitting" order. Their mission is to walk and to pray for peace, combining spiritual practice and political activism.

Jun San says she is one of us, and will walk every step in prayer and meditation as we go toward Humqaq, the Western Gate of Turtle Island (North America).


Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden

Read Day 172 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire

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  With thanksgiving — Steven McFadden


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Odyssey of the 8th Fire Copyright © 2006-2008 by Steven McFadden