Date(s): Oct. 15, 2016 - Oct. 28, 2016
The International Plum Village Community has begun a series of bi-annual Pilgrimages in India, with Plum Village Dharma Teacher Shantum Seth.
In October 2014, Plum Village practitioners from the EIAB and sanghas in Europe experienced a deep and transformative pilgrimage, accompanied by eight monks and nuns.
This coming October 2016, there will a special pilgrimage to India/Nepal for US-based practitioners, accompanied by monastics from Deer Park Monastery, California:
In the Footsteps of the Buddha
(14 days, beginning and ending in Delhi)
October 15 – 28, 2016
This 14-day journey will begin in New Delhi on the 15th of October 2016 after which we fly to Varanasi. Thereafter, we travel by our own private coach to Bodh Gaya, Nalanda/Rajgir, Vaishali, Kesariya, Kushinagar, Lumbini, Kapilavastu and Sravasti. From Sravasti we go by road to Lucknow and then fly to Delhi. We will be back in Delhi on the 28th of October in the evening. You should book your departure flight late night (after 11 pm) on 28th October or early morning of 29th October 2016.
In Delhi, we will visit the place where Mahatma Gandhi, the father of India, lived and died. This is a wonderful place to begin the pilgrimage as Gandhiji reminds us of the Buddha in our time. He personified a unique way of living, faith and politics where it became a practice of applied ethics.
The Buddha lived and traveled along the plains of the Ganges. Besides Delhi, we shall visit two states of northern India, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and go into southern Nepal. Our journey will take us to the Deer Park at Sarnath, where the Buddha gave his first teachings; Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment; Kushinagar, where he passed away and Lumbini where he was born. We will visit his favorite meditation place, Vulture Peak in Rajgir; take a gentle walk across the countryside to Dungeshwari cave where he practiced austerities; visit the village of Sujata, the young girl who offered him rice and milk when he was starving to death; Sravasti where he spent 24 rain retreats; Kapilavastu, where he spent the first 29 years of his life; Vaishali, where the first nuns were ordained; Kesariya, where the largest stupa in the world is; and Nalanda, the site of the famous university from the 5th to 12th centuries where a lot to Mahayana teachings were developed. Aside from visiting the places where the Buddha lived, we shall visit monasteries, temples and shrines of different faiths, take a boat ride at sunrise along the Ganges at Varanasi, have discussions with locals, visit the homes of the poor and the privileged and get a deep understanding of historical and contemporary India. We would discuss this within the context of the Buddha’s teachings, so we can examine what we are witnessing and experiencing both from an external and internal perspective.
India’s cities stand in contrast to her villages and have their own interesting (if seemingly chaotic) lifestyle. Varanasi and Bodh Gaya are both significant pilgrimage sites, having their own distinct character and personality. In these places we get a closer view of how modern and traditional India co-exist. Kushinagar, Lumbini, Sravasti and Rajgir are smaller towns and relatively quiet, giving the pilgrims the opportunity to absorb the nuances of the local culture and society.
Join us on this journey through a fascinating and mysterious India – as we walk ‘In the Footsteps of the Buddha’. The pilgrimage is an unforgettable opportunity to explore areas that few tourists visit and to see and experience aspects of Indian life that, in many ways, that have not changed since the time of the Buddha. We invite you to journey with other practitioners on a transformative journey that will allow you to touch an ancient culture and civilization, and experience the life of the Buddha through the places he lived and taught.
Trip Cost and Details
The cost for the pilgrimage “In the Footsteps of the Buddha” (October 15 – 28, 2016) is US$ 2600 based on double occupancy. The single room supplement is an additional US$ 1800. Does not include airfare to Delhi, India. A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required at the time of booking. The remainder of the cost of the pilgrimage is due by August 5, 2016. To register, you may complete the form in this document and follow the included instructions. Complete details also included in the document.
If, after reviewing the information packet, you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that currently, this pilgrimage is for US-based practitioners.
In order to provide a deep, intimate and mindful experience spaces will be limited.