February 28, 2012
This post contains images. View them now
We have traversed some serious ground—traveling from Rajgir through Patna, Vaishali and onto Kushinagar and eventually Lumbini, Nepal, where we are now. Our days in Rajgir were wonderful and as we headed north through Patna and Vaishali to Kushinagar John continued his wonderful teachings on the Parinibbana Sutta. Recapping the footsteps of the Buddha in this specific sutta, as we navigate the exact path, more or less, that he took has proved extremely profound. Vaishali was an excellent way to break up the trip from Patna to Kushinagar. The group spent time in, and around, Ananda's Stupa, the Lichavi Stupa and the Shanti Stupa (a Japanese edifice dedicated to world peace).
In Kushinagar, we spent extended time in and around the Parinibbana temple and Stupa, which provided a wonderful space for participants to reflect on the impermanence of life. John's further explanation of the Parinibbana Sutta over these three days was an absolute highlight. We spent a full day in silence at the local Tibetan monastery, which was graciously offered to our group as a refuge for this undertaking. This allowed each of us to reflect a bit deeper on the teachings, touch in with our practice and attempt to embody what the Buddha was putting forth. I think it was a great way to break up action packed days in Bodhigaya, Rajgir and now in Lumbini.
The ride from Kushinagar to Lumbini was an eventful one—a couple hours in heavy traffic, loads of farm animals dotting the roads and rice paddies and sugar cane fields for as far as the eye could see.
The days have been filled with inquiry, nourishing conversations, tremendous teachings and insightful reflections. As was reflected in tonights evening dialogue, group members are growing closer by the day and the third, often neglected, jewel of Sangha is growing rapidly. This is providing essential support and nourishment for the examination of the teachings we are receiving and the places we are traveling to.
- Tour leader Justin Kelley