Seek a deeper understanding of the fundamental and enduring questions that have been raised by thoughtful human beings in the rich traditions of the East.
China Spiritual Origins Tour
Tricycle’s 2013 China Spiritual Origins tour will tap the wellspring of China’s ancient spiritual practices and beliefs. We will not only visit key historical Buddhist sites but also experience first hand the living traditions of China’s many cultural currents, including Taoism, tea culture, and Taiji (T’ai Chi) exercise.
Andy Ferguson is the author of Zen’s Chinese Heritage: The Masters and their Teachings, a widely used collection of the biographies and teachings of more than one-hundred-fifty ancient Chinese Zen masters. Among Andy’s other works are Tracking Bodhidharma: A Journey to the Heart of Chinese Culture and Map of the Zen Ancestors. Andy has been designing and accompanying tours to Chinese historical and pilgrimage sites for more than a decade.
Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, PhD, is the Abbot of The Village Zendo. A Soto Zen Priest and certified Zen Teacher, she is a lineage holder in both the Soto and Rinzai lines of Zen Buddhism through the White Plum Lineage. Roshi also serves as the Guiding Spiritual Teacher for the New York Center For Contemplative Care. She is a Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Family, a social action association. Enkyo Roshi’s focus is on the expression of Zen through caring, service, and creative response. Her Five Expressions of Zen form the matrix of study at the Village Zendo: Meditation, Study, Communication, Action, and Caring.
Dunhuang, the most famous and best preserved of China’s Buddhist grottos, serves as the centerpiece for our exploration of Buddhist influence in ancient China. A World Heritage site, Dunhuang’s magnificent sculptures and paintings are testament to early Chinese practitioners’ depth of devotion to the Buddhist teachings that had newly arrived from lands to the west. We’ll also visit the Longmen (“Dragon Gate”) grottos near Luoyang, where for three centuries brilliant artisans carved tens of thousands of Buddhas into solid stone above the Yi River. Both UNESCO World Heritage sites, these wonders display the power and beauty of Buddhism in China’s traditional culture.
We will also visit Yunju Temple, where Chinese monks endeavored to preserve the Dharma by carving the entire canon onto stone tablets. This astonishing project, perhaps the greatest literary undertaking in history, began circa 625 CE and continued on for more than eight hundred years afterward. Recently, the meticulously inscribed tablets have been put on public display in an underground vault beneath the 1,400-year-old-temple.
Ch’an (Zen) Ancestors:
We will visit the ancient Dharma seats of key Zen figures, including Zen’s first ancestor, Bodhidharma; Huike (Second Ancestor); Linji (Rinzai); and Zhaozhou (Joshu).
• Bodhidharma’s cave at Shaolin Temple and his burial site at Empty Appearance Temple.
• Huike’s Dharma seat, now a Buddhist nunnery, where Bodhidharma lived and taught for more than thirty years. Yuanfu Temple, adjacent to the ancient “Second Ancestor’s Village,” contains a stone monument whose inscription is said to have been composed by Emperor Wu to honor Bodhidharma and his primary disciple, Huike.
• Zhaozhou’s temple, Cypress Grove Monastery, will give pilgrims an opportunity to experience Zen as it is practiced in China today. The monastery, where Zhaozhou (Joshu) taught, remains one of the most significant monasteries in China. At Zhaozhou’s Dharma seat, we’ll see the great master’s magnificent 9th century burial pagoda. Linji’s seat, which we’ll also visit, is likewise the site of a burial pagoda of the same era.
Taiji (T’ai Chi):
Ancient Guangfu Village, the picturesque home of both the Yang and Chen style of Taiji, offers a rare perspective on old physical culture in China. Its moat and city wall still intact, the village offers a glimpse into China’s traditional country life. The area’s cultural relics include an intricate and ornately carved 1,400-year-old stone bridge, a marvel of engineering that is regarded as a “sister” to Zhaozhou’s bridge, also visited on the tour.
The tour will visit a traditional Chinese tea house in the city of Xian where we’ll view “Gongfu Cha” Chinese traditional tea ceremony.
Hangu Pass, where Laozi is said to have composed the Dao De Jing, offers a perspective on Taoism in China today. After resolving to abandon the world, Laozi is said to have ridden into the west on a donkey, and stopped here at a border crossing. Responding to the request of a border guard, he composed his famous treatise on attaining the Way just before riding on into the mists of history.
In addition to the above, we will visit Xian, where we will see the famous Terra Cotta Warriors, a must for visitors to the city. The tour also stops at Wild Goose Pagoda, where the famous monk Xuan Zang stored and translated the Yogacara scriptures that he brought back with him from his famous sojourn in India.
Oct 13 (Sunday): Arrive in Shanghai. Transfer to hotel.
Oct 14: Morning tour orientation meeting. Free time for optional sightseeing in Shanghai or rest.
Oct 15: Flight to Dunhuang. Tour the celebrated Dunhuang Caves to view centuries old Buddhist sculpture and artwork.
Oct 16: Continued visit in Dunhuang
Oct 17: Morning flight to the city of Xian. Afternoon visit to the Wild Goose Pagoda and old town market area.
Oct 18: Morning visit to the Terra Cotta Warriors. Afternoon Chinese tea outing and rest.
Oct 19: Morning departure for Huashan, one of China’s ancient Taoist mountains. Afternoon visit to Hangu Pass, where Laozi composed he Dao De Jing. Overnight at Sanmenxia City.
Oct 20: Morning visit to Empty Appearance Temple, the burial temple of the first Ancestor of Zen in China, Bodhidharma. Afternoon visit to White Horse Temple near Luoyang City. White Horse Temple is traditional regarded as the place where Buddhism took root in China.
Oct 21: Morning visit to the Longmeng Buddhist Grottos near Luoyang. Proceed to Dengfeng City on Mt. Song, home of Shaolin Temple. Afternoon visit at Huishan Temple, home of Jingzang, the mysterious “Seventh Ancestor” of Zen.
Oct 22: Visit Shaolin Monastery and Bodhidharma’s cave. Meeting with Shaolin’s abbot Shi Yongxin (subject to the abbot’s scheduling).
Oct 23: Depart Dengfeng for Handan City by coach. After lunch in Handan visit Kuangjiao and Yuanfu Temples, the Dharma seat and burial place of Zen’s second Ancestor in China, and first Chinese ancestor, Dazu Huike.
Oct 24: Depart Handan to visit Guangfu Village, the birthplace of the Yang and Chen styles of Taiji. Proceed to Shijiazhuang City hotel.
Oct 25: Visit Zhaozhou’s Bailin (Cypress Grove) Monastery. This famous monastery is where the great Zen master Zhaozhou (Joshu) lived and taught. Here the group can observe Zen practice in China today.
Oct: 26: Visit the Zhaozhou Bridge, a famous landmark of both engineering and cultural significance that was built in the early 7th century.
Oct 27: Day tour of Zhengding City, where several important cultural sights remain from ancient times. Here the group will visit Longxing Temple to view the twenty-one-meter-tall bronze statue of Kwan Yin, a sight famous in ancient times. We also visit Linji’s (Rinzai’s) temple. The famous Zen master’s Dharma seat is an active monastery and his majestic ninth century pagoda remains on public display.
Oct 28: Morning departure for Yunju Temple near Beijing. At this temple Chinese Buddhists carved the entire Chinese Buddhist canon into stone in a project lasting more than eight hundred years. Evening arrival in Beiing.
Oct 29: Visit Beijing’s Bell Museum, where ancient Buddhist Temple bells are on display. Among the exhibits is the astonishing Yongle Bell, a 54-ton bronze masterpiece that was cast in 1426 by the Ming Emperor Chengzu. The bell was created with tens of thousands of Chinese characters from Buddhist sutras on its surface. It remains a technological and cultural masterpiece that would be nearly impossible to duplicate even using modern technology. After lunch, the group will visit the Yong He Temple, the key Buddhist temple in Beijing today that incorporates both the Tibetan and Chinese Han Buddhist traditions.
Oct 30: Depart China. Optionally, tour participants can stay in Beijing extra days to do additional sightseeing of the Great Wall and Forbidden City, or other sights.
Program Fee: $5,820, $1,000 of which is a tax-deductible donation to the Tricycle Foundation. This fee is for a standard, double occupancy room. If you would prefer more privacy, we have single occupancy lodging available. The program fee for single occupancy is $6,815.
Stated pricing includes in-country expenses in Asia including ground, water, and air transportation, accommodations, transfers, sightseeing, meals as described, guide service, and luggage transport of one piece of luggage weighing not more than 20 kilograms (44 pounds). Not included are gratuities, visa fees, travel insurance, personal expenses such as laundry, postage, communications, and beverages that are not listed as included.
Hotels will be comfortable and good quality 4 star hotels (out of 5 star system used in China) or the best available accommodations in a given locale.
Obtaining a Chinese visa can be difficult for Americans, so we recommend Ananda Travel USA for assistance with this process.
If you would like to employ their services, please send the following items to their address below:
- Completed visa application with affixed, recently taken 2x2 in passport photo
- Passport (valid for at least six months beyond the date of application and containing at least two blank visa pages)
- $190 check made payable to Ananda Travel Service, Inc. This inludes the visa, service, and mailing fees.
Ananda Travel Service, Inc.
Attn: May Tsan
207 Powell St 7th Fl
San Francisco, CA 94102
To register for the China Spiritual Origins tour, please gather and submit the following materials via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post to the address below:
1. Scanned passport copy. Please scan the data page with photo only and email to us as attachment. We request that the file be a JPG no larger than 150KB. If there are any problems with scanning, a low resolution digital photo works as well.
*Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from date of entry.
2. Flight reservation
3. Insurance information if purchased independently
4. Completed registration form including signed waiver
5. Non-refundable $500.00 deposit
Attn: Pilgrimage Registration
1115 Broadway Ste 1113
New York, NY 10010
All required information must be submitted to Tricycle by August 13, 2013.
We reserve the right to make changes to this itinerary based on a variety of considerations, and will make every effort to ensure that any changes conform to the character and tone of the program.
For more information, write email@example.com.