Font Size

Cpanel

24June2017

A Journey of Blessings

More than 2,500 years ago, a prince renounced his kingdom, meditated under the Bodhi tree, discovered a path to spiritual enlightenment and started expounding the principles of the Four Noble Truth and Eightfold Path. Based on these principles, 84,000 different methods to attain perfect liberation had been introduced and grouped under the three major vehicles or yanas: Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana.

The prince who had come to our realm and given us so many different solution to disentangle from samsaric existence is none other Buddha Shakyamuni, the Exalted One from the Shakya clan.

Holy places are subject to wear and tear and manmade distortion. The recent unfortunate bombings in Bodhgaya had prompted His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa to lead a pilgrimage to the holy places of Buddha, with Rinpoches, monks, nuns and devotees. This is a precious opportunity to pay homage to Buddha's holy places in the company of Sangha and receiving teaching from His Holiness. We call this "A Journey of Blessings" as this would be a journey with our Gurus and the Three Jewels.

As His Holiness has not been taking a group pilgrimage to sacred pilgrimage sites of Buddha on vehicles for a very long time, this is an opportunity for many who had not participated in our previous pilgrimages by jeeps and buses. For those who have joined before, this is a chance to relive the blessed moments.

Programs

14th-23rd November

A Pilgrimage to Holy Places of Buddha

24th-28th November

Teaching Retreat at Druk Amitabha Mountain, Kathmandu, Nepal

24th November Lhabab Duchen Prayers
25th-27th November Teaching by His Holiness
on "Clarity of Mind - the Mahamudra Path"
28th November Anniversary of the First Gyalwang Drukpa -
Grand Ganachakra and Prayers

 

Preparation Practice for the Pilgrimage and Retreat

His Holiness has advised that each registrant should accumulate recitation of 10,000 Vajra Guru Mantra prior to joining the pilgrimage and the retreat. Recitation of 10,000 Vajra Guru Mantra is a commitment for each registrant. If you can recite more, it would be an encouragement to all the masters leading the pilgrimage and the teaching retreat. We thank you in advance. Submit your mantra count at the beginning of the pilgrimage or teaching retreat. A monk/nun will be going around getting the count from you. We have prepared a mantra counting sheet to assist all registrants in recording the recitation count. Please click the above button to download counting sheet. Below is the recommended sequence of practice for each session of mantra recitation.

Live webcast of "Clarity of Mind - The Mahamudra Path" will be available on Drukpa Channel

Pilgrimage Sites

LUMBINI - where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to the Buddha. Lumbini was where the Buddha lived until the age of 29. Lumbini has a number of temples, including the Mayadevi temple, and others under construction. Also located here is the Puskarini or Holy Pond where the Buddha's mother took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where he, too, had his first bath, as well as the remains of Kapilvastu palace. The holy site of Lumbini has ruins of ancient monasteries, a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond, the Asokan pillar and the Mayadevi temple, where the precise place of birth of Buddha is located. From early morning to early evening, pilgrims from various countries perform chanting and meditation at the site.

BODHGAYA - where the Buddha attained Perfect Enligtenment. According to Buddhist traditions, at around 500 BCE Prince Gautama Siddhartha, wandering as an ascetic, reached the sylvan banks of the Phalgu, near the city of Gaya. There he sat in meditation under a Bodhi tree. After three days and three nights of meditation, Siddhartha attained enlightenment and insight, and the answers that he had sought. He then spent seven weeks at seven different spots in the vicinity meditating and considering his experience. After seven weeks, he traveled to Sarnath, where he began teaching Buddhism.

SARNATH - this is the deer park where the Buddha first taught the Dharma, and where the Buddhist Sangha came into existence through the enlightenment of Kondanna. Sarnath is mentioned by the Buddha as one of the four places of pilgrimage which his devout followers should visit, if they wanted to visit a place for that reason. It was also the site of the Buddha's Dhammacakkappavattana Sutra, his first teaching after attaining enlightenment, in which he taught the Four Noble Truth and the teachings associated with it.

KUSHINAGAR - where Buddha entered Mahaparinirvana. In ancient times, it was known as Kushavati (Jatakas). It finds mention in epic Ramayan as the city of Kusha the son of Ram, the famous king of Ayodhya. Kushinagar was a celebrated center of the Malla kingdom of ancient India. Later, it would be known as Kushinara, one of the most important four holy sites for Buddhists. At this location, near the Hiranyavati River, the Buddha attained Mahaarinirvana after falling ill from eating a meal of a species of mushroom.

SHRAVASTI - where Buddha lived most of his monastic life. His first visit to Shravasti was at the invitation of Anāthapiṇḍada, whom he met in Rajgir. Anāthapiṇḍada was extremely wealthy and a patron of the Buddhadharma. He offered Jetavana to the Buddha having purchased it from Prince Jeta. He honored the Buddha with laying out 1.8 million gold pieces in the grove. Anāthapiṇḍada upon death entered Tusita heaven. he was known as the "foremost disciple in generosity". The main monasteries in Shravasti were the Jetavana and the Pubbarama. Shravasti also contained the monastery of Rajakarama, built by Pasenadi, opposite Jetavana. Not far from the city was a dark forest called the Andhavana, where some monks and nuns went to live. Outside the city gate of Shravasti was a fisherman's village of five hundred families.

RAJGIR - where Buddha subdued Nalagiri, the angry elephant, through compassion and loving-kindness. It was here that Buddha spent several months meditating, and preaching at Gridhra-kuta, the Vultures' Peak. He also delivered some of his famous sermons, such as "Heart Sutra" and "Diamond Sutra" and initiated king Bimbisara of Magadha and countless others to Buddhism. On one of the hills is the Saptparni cave where the First Buddhist Council was held under the leadership of Maha Kashyapa, one of the principal disciples of the Buddha.

VAISHALI - where Buddha received an offering of honey from a monkey. After renouncing his father's kingdom in Kapilavastu, Prince Sidhartha went to Vaishali first and had his spiritual training from Ramaputra Udraka and Alara Kalama. After attaining enlightenment, the Buddha frequently visited Vaishali. He organized his Bhikshu Sangha on the pattern of Vaishalian democracy. It was here that he established the Bhikshuni Sangha, initiating his maternal aunt Maha Prajavati Gautami into the order. His last Varshavasa (rainy season resort) was here and he announced in Vaishali his approaching Mahaparinirvana (the final departure from the world) just three months in advance. Before leaving for Kusinagar, he left his alms-bowl with the people of Vaishali. The Buddha visited Vaishali in the fifth year after his enlightenment, and spent the rainy season there.