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Buddhism – A Spiritual Journey ( Tour & Meditation )

 

"After I am no more, O Ananda, men of belief will visit the four places with faith, curiosity and devotion:

  • * Lumbini where I was born,
  • * Bodh Gaya where I attained Enlightenment
  • * Saranath where I gave the first Sermons
  • * Kushinagar where I shall pass into Maha Pari Nirvana."

                                                                                           ............ Lord Gautam Buddha

India is the birthplace of one of the most widely accepted religions in the world - Buddhism. The four holy places associated with Gautam Buddha in India are - Lumbini, his birthplace, which now lies in Nepal; Bodhgaya, where he attained enlightenment; Sarnath, near Varanasi, where he preached his first sermon; Kushinagar, near Gorakhpur, where he achieved Mahanirvana. The other important tourist places associated with Buddhism are: Sanchi, Vaishali, Nalanda, Amravati and Nagargunakonda. All these places together are known as the famous Buddhist circuit in India.

Bodhgaya is the most important Buddhist pilgrimage amongst all these places in India. Apart from being a significant archaeological site, it is renowned for the Mahabodhi Temple, which houses a 50 metre high pyramidal spire and an image of the Buddha. Sarnath near Varanasi is a vital centre of the Buddhist world where he delivered his first sermon and set in motion the wheel of law, the Dharmachakra. Buddhism germinated in Sarnath amidst the deer park.

Nalanda is the famous education centre of Buddhism where the Chinese scholar and traveller Hiuen Tsang stayed in the 7th century to explore the roots of Buddhism. Vaishali is significant to Buddhists as Lord Buddha announced his impending Nirvana here. One of the famous pillars erected by Ashoka to propagate Buddhism also stands here in Nalanda. Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh is known for its numerous stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars dating from the 3rd century B.C. to the 12th century A.D.

Amaravati on the bank of river Krishna in the South India is famous for its temple, dedicated to Lord Amarewara. The temple is the dilapidated 2000-year-old Buddhist stupa that draws millions of archaeologists and pilgrims every year. Named after the great scholar of Buddhism, Nagarjunakonda, located on the banks of river Krishna retains its status as the greatest centre of Buddhist learning in the South of Vindhyas. Earlier known as Vijayapuri, Nagarjunakonda was the venue of the massive congregation of monks and scholars during the bygone era. The Buddhist circuit in India thus introduces you with the major townships in India that mark the evolution, development and propagation of Buddhism. After Gautam Buddha, it was Emperor Ashoka followed by his daughter and son Sanghmitra and Mahindra, who took the charge of propagating Buddhism in India as well as the South Asian countries like Burma, Nepal, China, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka etc.

The profound and vast teachings of Buddhism were expounded for our present age by Shakyamuni Buddha. These doctrines were preserved and explicated for over a thousand years in India by a succession of unsurpassed masters of the tradition. During the eighth century A.D, these fully-developed cannon of teachings were firmly established in Tibet by Khen-lob-chos-sum (Khenchen Bodhisattva, Lobpon Padma Jungnas or Acharya Padmasambhava and Chogyal Srong-tsen Gampo). Since that time, there has been a great flourishing of both the Sutra and Tantra traditions of Buddhism.

Four main schools of Buddhism developed within Tibet - Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu and Gelug - each with its own incomparable lineage of teachers and emphasis on particular practices.


The Tibetan Buddhist practices of Meditation

The Tibetan Buddhist practices of meditation are part of the spiritual wealth of humanity and deity meditation forms the heart of this treasure. For over a millennium, Tibetan lamas have used meditation on deities as a means to master the inner world. Chenrezing (Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit), the deity that represents the loving and compassionate potential of the mind, is the most popular deity of Tibet. Chenrezing is within us because love and compassion are not qualities added to the mind. These qualities are part of the awakened state even if for the moment this state exists only as potential for us. Deity meditation is perhaps the least understood of all practices within Tibetan Buddhism. Yet the use of visualized images in mental and spiritual development forms the heart of this practice. For over a thousand years monks, nuns, and mountain yogins have developed and perfected this unique style of meditation.

Rumtek Monastery
His Holiness the XVIth Gyalwa Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorjee, holder of the sacred treasure of Vajradhara, founded Rumtek Monastery as his main seat outside Tibet. As the Supreme Head of the Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism, he embodies, represents, and guides its accumulated spiritual energy. The Karma Kagyu lineage was founded by the 1st Gyalwa Karmapa, Dusum Kyenpa, in 12th Century A.D. and was born in 1110 A.D. His accomplishments were so great that he was declared to be the "KNOWER OF THREE TIMES"; he had also been prophesied by Buddha Sakyamuni in the Samadhiraja-sutra. Dusum Khyenpa established Ysurphu Monastery as the seat of all the Gyalwang Karmapas in the twelfth century. His reincarnation, Karma Pakshi (1206-1283), was the first reincarnation (Tulku) ever recognized in Tibet.

H.H. the XVIth Gyalwa Karmapa passed away into Parinirvana in 1981. A unique aspect of the Gyalwa Karmapa reincarnations is his ability to predict his reincarnation by himself.

The present XVIIth Gyalwa Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje was found in Tibet, according to the Prediction Letter (Dakhaishalchem) and confirmed by H.H. the Dalai Lama, spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet. H.H. the XVIIth Gyalwa Karmapa was enthroned at Tsurphu Monastery.

Meanwhile at Rumtek Monastery, various spiritual ceremonies and the Dharma activities are headed by H.E., the XVIIth Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, and Resident Regent of H.H. Gyalwa Karmapa. Marpa, the great translator, brought the Kagyu Dharma to Tibet and H.H. the XVIth Gyalwa Karmapa spread the Karma Kagyu Dharma to the world.

Gradually, H.H. the XVIth Gyalwa Karmapa established many Kagyu centers all over the world in order to provide the opportunity for people to study and practice the Buddha's teachings. It has been designed to keep the Karma Kagyu tradition intact and make the teachings of the Buddha available to people of all nationalities who could benefit from the insight and wisdom.

Bokar Ngedon Chokhor Ling – Bokar Monastery, Mirik
Bokar Ngedon Chokhor Ling is located in Mirik, a small hill village within the district of Darjeeling, in the northeastern Indian state of West Bengal. Mirik is a sacred place for many. Apart from the present monastery, retreat centre and Stupa, the great Indian Mahasiddha Maitripa was known to have spent time meditating here. Marpa, the most eminent Tibetan translator and holder of the Mahamudra Lineage, received some of his highest transmissions from Maitripa. Situated at one of the highest points in Mirik, the monastery offers its warm presence to the village and the lake below.

The initial ground-breaking ceremony and lying of the foundation stone was performed by the Most Venerable Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche and the Venerable Bokar Rinpoche in 1984. On the auspicious 15th day (Full Moon) of the 3rd month, in the year of the Fire Tiger (1986), the opening ceremonies and blessings were presided over by H.E. Gyaltsab Rinpoche and the Most Venerable Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche, along with Ven. Bokar Rinpoche, and Khenpo Lodro Donyo Rinpoche. A large body of lamas, monks, patrons, and devotees, connected with the monastery, also gathered to celebrate this significant event.

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