Some of you may have noticed we have changed the name of the title of our book from Pilgrim Mara to Pilgrim Maya. Bela first learned about the meaning of Mara when she read When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. Turns out the Four Maras are the final tempters who attack Buddha just as he is about to attain enlightenment. The Maras are the demons who distract us from attainment. We wanted a more positive name for our character so we changed her name to Maya, which means “Illusion” in Sanskrit. The new name, Maya, is a subtle and complex reference to the changes our character goes through on her pilgrimage path.
The book is currently being copy edited and will be published next year. In late summer 2022, we are planning a trip around the country to celebrate both our 30th anniversary and the publication. Camping, staying in hotels and with friends, we will be setting up many bookstore readings and signings for Pilgrim Maya.
We have both been spending more time “on the cushion” as the Zen expression goes. Our meditation practices deepened during the writing of the book, and have continued to develop during the pandemic. Stephen is participating in online discussions with a group called Boundless Way Zen in Northampton, and has had a couple of Zen Peacemaker journal entries published which we have posted here as blog entries. Bela is reading extensively in Buddhist literature and meditating also.
We hope Pilgrim Maya will inspire readers. Our main character Maya suffers through difficult times. She becomes involved with the leader of a cult movement called The Lost Tribe, participates in a creative communal living situation with the Bon Vivants, and finally leaves these illusions behind and finds redemption in meditation and “involved Buddhism.” We wrote the book in 2019 before the pandemic began, but Maya’s search for hope in the world mirrors the feelings many of us have now, of doubt and despair mingled with promise and expectation. We look forward to sharing Pilgrim Maya with you.