Tricycle Pilgrimage 2012

Tricycle’s Pilgrimage to Nepal and Bhutan
November 18th- December 7th, 2012
Sacred Sites and Living Masters of the Himalayan Buddhist Tradition

Join us as we cross the Himalayas through Nepal and Bhutan, visiting sites central to the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Meet with eminent spiritual masters who will offer teachings on the core thought and practices of their respective lineages. Interact with specialists from diverse fields, who will highlight the historical, cultural, and spiritual significance of the places you visit.

Teachings will be further illuminated by Buddhist scholar and practitioner Dr. John Makransky, who will lead daily meditation practice and periods of reflection.

This program is practice-oriented and not a traditional travel tour. It is open to all, beginners and longtime practitioners alike.

Tigers' Nest, Bhutan

Our Featured Teachers:

Tsoknyi Rinpoche III
For over 21 years, Tsoknyi Rinpoche has been teaching on the nature of mind according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Rinpoche is one of those rare teachers whose lighthearted yet illuminating style appeals to beginners and advanced practitioners alike. He is truly a bridge between ancient wisdom and the modern mind, maintaining a keen interest in the ongoing dialogue between neuroscientists and Buddhist practitioners and scholars. Widely recognized as an expert meditation teacher, Tsoknyi Rinpoche is the author of Open Mind-Open Heart; Carefree Dignity; and Fearless Simplicity.

Dr. John Makransky
Dr. John Makransky
combines his academic career as a professor of Buddhism and Comparative Theology at Boston College with his role as a Tibetan Buddhist meditation teacher. John has practiced meditations of compassion and wisdom from Tibetan traditions for thirty-four years, and has developed new ways of bringing them into the fields of service and social justice by making them newly accessible to people of all backgrounds and faiths. He has also helped Western Buddhists deepen their contemplative experience of awareness and loving compassion. On this pilgrimage, John will serve as the bridge between the local masters and pilgrims, drawing on his background as teacher and scholar to further illuminate the essence of the teachings. John is the author of Awakening Through Love: Unveiling Your Deepest Goodness.

Our Expert Guide:
Justin Kelley
has been living in India and Nepal since 2005. He has studied under a number of masters in both the Tibetan and Theravadan traditions. He took monastic ordination with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, with whom he has practiced since 2007. He has designed South Asian travel programs for the past five years, deepening his—and our—understanding of pilgrimage as practice. Justin speaks proficient Tibetan and conversational Hindi. He sits on the Tergar International Translation Committee.

Teachings and meditation
The teachings will include instructions to cultivate our innate capacities of loving-compassion, concentration and wisdom. We will use traditional texts (which will be provided) according to the instructions of Tsoknyi Rinpoche and other spiritual teachers we encounter. Our meditation/reflection sessions will center on themes presented in the teachings, and our pilgrimage journey will provide a container for our practice. We will use specific practice texts when appropriate to aid our sessions.

Daily schedule:

A typical day will begin with a practice session, led by Dr. John Makransky, highlighting various themes of the teachings and practice. We will then take breakfast as group at the hotel and proceed to either: a pilgrimage site, where our guides will provide historical and cultural detail; or to a teaching with a local master. In the afternoon, we will either visit a pilgrimage location, or receive teachings, depending on what the morning includes on that given day.

Guests:
Throughout the program, in addition to the great masters, program teacher and guide, we will have the opportunity to work with a variety of experts from diverse fields. They will help us to better connect with the areas we visit and provide local, historical, and cultural perspective.

Itinerary
The 2012 Sacred Sites and Living Masters of the Himalayan Buddhist Tradition program is organized in three parts.

November 18-21
Part I: Entering the Buddhist Mandala: Arrival in the Kathmandu Valley- Boudhanath, Nepal

We begin with local masters,* who will provide three days of teachings, focusing on the stages of the path central in the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

Our daily itinerary will include:

− Lodging: Hotel Tibet International
− Nov. 18 - Arrival and settle in.
− Nov. 19 - Teachings with a local master, followed by an in depth tour of the Boudha Stupa and surrounding monasteries
− Nov. 20 - Teachings with a local master, followed by a pilgrimage to Namo Buddha, the place where the Buddha-to-be offered his body in sacrifice to the Tiger.
− Nov. 21 - Teachings with a local master, followed by a visit to the ancient Vajroyogini temple in Sanku.

Throughout our visits, we will be joined by local scholars and experts who will explain the sites in detail from a historical and cultural perspective.

* We are currently in discussion with Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and have invited him to provide three days of teachings while we are in Nepal. If he is unable to, masters from the great institutions in and around Boudha, such as Shechen Monastery and Ka-Nying Monastery, will teach in his place. Please check again for updates.

November 22 – 30
Part II: Experience the Ancient: Bhutan

The Bhutanese experience will build upon the foundation we will have established in Nepal. During our time in Bhutan, we will continue to practice formally as a group, receive teachings from masters residing in Bhutan and meet with local experts who will discuss Bhutanese history and culture in depth.

Our daily itinerary will include:

− Lodging: Three star, or better, Bhutanese government-sanctioned hotels and guest houses
− Nov. 22 - Travel from Kathmandu to Paro, Bhutan, settle in and visit the Paro Dzong (fort).
− Nov. 23 - Trek to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, where Guru Rinpoche remained in meditation for three months in the 8th century.
− Nov. 24 - Travel to Thimphu, visit the Thimphu Dzong, the memorial Chorten, Changangkha Lhakhang, which provides a spectacular view over the Thimphu valley, the handicraft center, and more.
− Nov. 25 - Travel from Thimphu to Punakha and visit the Punakha Dzong
− Nov. 26 - Travel from Punakha to Bumthang
− Nov. 27 - 28 - Visit the Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most significant holy sites of Guru Rinpoche; Jakar Dzong; Jambay Lhakhang, one of the 108 miraculous Himalayan temples constructed by Tibetan King Songsten Gampo; Thamshing Lhakhang, the Nyingma center associated with Terton Pema Lingpa; Tharpaling Gompa, founded by the great yogi Longchen Rabjam in the 14th century
− Nov. 29 - Travel from Bumthang to Wangdue
− Nov. 30 - Visit the Wangdue Dzong and travel to Thimphu in the afternoon.

During our time in Bhutan we will visit with local masters when available. At this time, Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche has tentatively agreed to received the group at his seat in Paro, Bhutan.

December 1 – 6

Part III: Deepening our understanding

Our second sojourn in Kathmandu will be highlighted by five days of teachings by the venerable Tsoknyi Rinpoche at his nunnery in Chobar, Nepal. Here, in addition to Rinpoche's daily teachings, we will pack a lunch and visit with the nunneries monastic community.

Our daily itinerary will include:

− Lodging: Hotel Vajra
− Dec. 1 - Travel from Paro to Kathmandu, down time throughout the afternoon
− Dec. 2- Teachings with Tsoknyi Rinpoche followed by a visit to the great Swayembunath Stupa (sometimes called the “Monkey Temple”) and its surroundings
− Dec. 3 - Teachings with Tsoknyi Rinpoche followed by a trip to Pharphing, retreat site of the legendary Indian sage Padmasambhava
− Dec. 4 - Teachings with Tsoknyi Rinpoche followed by a trip to the ancient Buddhist kingdom of Patan, where we will visit with the dynamic community of local artisans and craftspeople
− Dec. 5 - Teachings with Tsoknyi Rinpoche and a visit to Nagi Gompa, the home of the late Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and his young reincarnation − Dec. 6 - Teachings with Tsoknyi Rinpoche and a visit to a number of pilgrimage destinations in the Kathmandu Valley

We will be accompanied by local experts throughout our time in Swayembu. Experts will provide explanations of the local areas of interest.

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 pilgrimage@tricycle.com