February 25, 2012
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Our time in Sarnath was brought to a close after a visit to the outstanding archeological museum and the Alice Project, a not-for-profit school that incorporates meditation from a variety of religious traditions into its curriculum and Buddhist understandings of the mind into its teaching methods. The Project has three main schools in India and oversees the education at many other places of learning throughout the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
We then headed for Bodhgaya, where we spent three days exploring the Mahabodhi Temple, site of the Buddha's enlightenment. We visited local monasteries from various Buddhist traditions, and the Dungasiri caves, where the Buddha spent time practicing austerities prior to his awakening.
We are now in Rajgir, the ancient capital of the Magadh kingdom. Upon arrival, we spent a few hours practicing and listening to teachings from John in Venuvana Grove, one of the two places where the Buddha is known to have spent time in Rajgir. We then spent the day today at the ancient Nalanda University, where local expert Deepak Anand offered insight into the origins and occurrences at the great university. Tour scholar and dharma teacher John Peacocke continued his teachings on the Ariyapariyesanā Sutta (The Noble Search). Later in the day, at Vulture's Peak, Deepak continued to inform us of the geographical and historical importance of this location and its surroundings. John began to teach on the Parinibbana Sutta, which begins in this very spot.
The experience of the teachings where the Buddha lived and breathed continues be deepen and the bonds between the group. We will move north to Patna and on to Vaishali in the coming days. Stay tuned for more updates.
- Tour leader Justin Kelley