Nepal holds a unique place in the world of Buddhist culture and teaching. Lumbini, being the place of birth of Prince Siddhartha, who after leaving his palace and practicing for years. attained full awakening, enlightenment in Bodh-Gaya in India and thereafter known as The Buddha, the awakened.. Awakened from the ignorance belief of an existing self-nature.
Nepal is said to have also been visited by Buddhas prior to our historical Buddha of the present age, Sakyamuni. A place blessed for thousands of years and where the teaching is maintained today. Rare in this world.
“Unique experience in this world”
During his life and thereafter it is said that the Buddha “turned the wheel of dharma” of which the present day Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions developed… These teachings are all related to each other and all inspired by the truth that this world “samsara” is unsatisfactory in its outcomes among which are birth, old age, sickness and death. As well as the impermanent, illusory nature of all appearances in this world.
Of great importance is that the Buddha taught extensively on the path, Dharma, which leads one to liberation…How to do. At its core is the “recognition” of our absolute, non inherent ego, non-existing self-nature…From this illusion of self-arises all ignorance and accumulation of karma which results in suffering.
Theravada, school of elders, is based on Lord Buddha’s first teaching in Sarnath India shortly after his enlightenment. On later sutras as well.
Mahayana, the second turning, was given in Rajgir India. In addition to proper conduct and concentration as well as awareness, vipassana of mind given in the first turning of the wheel, Mahayana introduces the bodhisattva vow to attain buddhahood for the benefit of all beings….The practice of compassion takes on profound meaning as does the nature of mind, “shunyata” in sanskrit, which translates as “emptiness”. A creative factor from which all things appear without solid existence.. All things being “interdependent” and “illusory” in nature. In this way one lessons one’s attachment in a practical manner to things in this world, as well as our own emotional, habitual tendencies.. One is able to live one’s life in fullness without attachment, the basis of suffering. Any step in the right direction is meaningful. It is still emphasized to give up wrong action which is harmful to oneself and others. Motivation is furthermore an important aspect.
The third turning “vajrayana” is based on “recognizing ” our true inner wisdom awareness nature of mind as “basic goodness”, called “buddha nature”. This is described as being the true nature of all beings, not created from outside ourselves.. Our challenge is to clear away, purify, transform our negative tendencies accumulated from a long time and “recognize” awaken to our wisdom, compassion and nature.. “Mahamudra and Dzokchen” meditation are formless meditation techniques to recognize nature of mind.
Vajrayana also may make use of subtle energy aspects of our being. Sanskrit “nadi” physic nervous system of the body. “prana” inner airs and “bindu” life force…. In tibetan “tsa, lung and tigley”
Through the revelation of different tantras and accompanying meditation of ” body, speech and mind ” one is able to utilize these energies to attain buddhahood for the benefit of all beings. tibetan,”lung sem yermay”…control of mind and airs can with proper view and aspiration lead to buddhahood.. In the short term, this can liberate our emotional habitual tendencies to act skillfully with wisdom and compassion in our world.
From the point of view of Vajrayana all teachings of Lord Buddha compliment each other. All are utilized together. This is a rare and precious method of liberation for oneself and all beings. Nepal has been fortunate to maintain all three traditions of the Buddha’s teaching in its living culture. What’s more, embodied in its temples, festivals, holy places of wisdom, energy, pilgrimage and generally by its living present day culture …one is able to experience this at its source and get a glimpse of how this practically relates to individual practice. The relationship between “Merit and Wisdom”. Temples and our Mind…. The Buddha, in all its aspects, is worshiped.. Yet its true nature resides in our innermost being…Our own mind.
The Buddha is beyond all limitations…. Manifests skillfully for the benefit of all beings.
Participants in this pilgrimage tour will be introduced to a traditional basic mindfulness meditation on breath and awareness of thoughts and emotions. How to deal with that.. “Letting go”
In addition, by visiting pilgrimage sites, temples, places of worship etc. one can see firsthand how the local population still carries on this age-old tradition… One can apply this to one’s own meditation and life practice.
Richard David Holden is a spiritual traveler who has been into spirituality for 50 years. Travelling around the world, he was inspired by Nepalese culture, philosophy and daily life practices. The sheer knowledge of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Tibetan influence on the culture lured him to Nepal again and again, and eventually indulged himself in learning Buddhism from many fellow teachers from Burma, India and Nepal, which led the path to spirituality.
Eternal Lamp at Lumbini Garden- The birth place of Buddha
“Spiritual Travel” is a journey which enables participants to come in contact with ancient holy places and power spots of our world. For thousands of years pilgrims have journeyed to visit such places in order to pay respects and connect with the energy of such places. Furthermore in the hope of receiving some practical methods so that they may participate directly in such spiritual disciplines.
Nepal is unique in the world for several reasons. For thousands of years it has been home to the teachings of both Buddhist and Hindu sages. Pilgrims have journeyed there from far corners of Asia during which times travel was quite difficult and full of hardships and dangers. It is only in the past century that travel other than by foot or horseback, has been available.
In such a way Nepal has been a destination for pilgrims visiting its holy places. This is evidenced by several records and chronicles of pilgrims, many of whom stayed in Nepal for extended periods as well as returning to their lands to spread the teachings they had encountered. This was made possible also by meetings and connections to accomplished lineage holders and practitioners of spiritual disciplines. Witnessing first hand. Through direct contact with sacred places in Nepal and connecting that to one’s own intelligence and inherent wisdom nature of mind.
In addition, for a thousand years, Nepal has been a transit place for seekers from Tibet traveling to India to encounter Buddhist teachings as well as Indian accomplished masters traveling to Tibet to establish the dharma there. In such different ways Nepal became a center for Buddhist activity and the development of traditions of Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Having never been conquered by outsiders, these traditions are still maintained and practiced both by ordinary people as well as accomplished individuals and monastic congregations. Nepal can boast of a rich homegrown background of a continual lineage of its people and dharma masters who have kept and maintained the teaching of Lord Buddha alive to the present time. Together with its ancient Hindu traditions, Nepalese worship and practice of lord Buddha’s teachings makes it a unique society in the world. A precious living container of ancient and modern wisdom.
In our modern times we are able to make use of available assets such as air travel, and internet technology to make such travel more easily available. These ancient, traditional teachings are such that their value to our world remains unchanged. As they deal with our basic nature they involve our fundamental essence as well as our present impermanent emotional situations. These are all characteristics of mind, as taught by the Buddha.. The path of the Buddha’s teaching is one of total liberation. Along the way, by such teachings, we learn how to deal more effectively with our life situations. They are in fact to be used in a skillful way as an important part of our practice. All such situations become usable toward our development. They are in fact seen as opportunities for practice. As has been said, “A skilled farmer uses manure to fertilize the fields. In such a way do we ripen the field of Bodhi, awakening.”
Swayambhunath Stupa- The Monkey Temple
I was fortunate to come overland to Nepal and India from Europe in 1971-72. At that time, we travelers of that generation mostly went by public or private bus. My journey was by public buses through Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Myself and my two companions arrived at the Indian border and went first to Amritsar where we were kindly welcomed by the Sikh community at their Golden Temple, to witness their spiritual tradition. We then journeyed to the holy hindu place of Rishikesh on the river Ganges and mountain area of Manali and thereabouts in North India for a pleasant stay of 3 weeks.
Traveling by bus, we crossed the border from India to Nepal and walked to Lumbini, through rice fields. I recall being joined by some Tibetan Buddhist monks. I must honestly say that at that time upon entering Nepal and nearing Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, I felt a naturally arising very good feeling. I like to think of that as “blessing”… From that time I felt devoted to Lord Buddha’s teaching. ..
Many pleasant experiences followed in Kathmandu, capital city of Nepal. Many wonderful sights, introduction to several aspects of the marvelous spiritual traditions there, both Buddhist and Hindu. Soon after, taking up residence in nearby Swayambhu, the sacred place for worship of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. An ancient stupa with a history dating back to a previous Buddha and Bodhisattva connected to the ancient founding of the Kathmandu valley as recorded in the “Swayambhu Purana”.
Then in the winter journeying back to Bodhgaya, the place of the enlightenment of Lord Buddha. A very special place with very special energy, blessings and feelings. There began study and practice of Lord Buddha’s teaching by meeting Indian teachers of Burmese Theravada traditions. Soon after, continued by meeting Buddhist lineage holders of the Tibetan tradition of teachings originating from India centuries before. Those individuals, as well as many others, had recently come from Tibet..
And so it has been and still is.This spiritual path is an ongoing experience of unfolding. To meet it and engage with it is a great joy.
During the time of this tour, I will share with participants a traditional meditation practiced by all Buddhist traditions. Calm Abiding and Awareness Meditation (tibetan, shinee and lhaktong), a meditation based on awa
reness of breath and thought awareness. A crucial aspect in awareness of our wisdom nature. A natural function of mind.
In addition we will use the experiences of visits to pilgrimage locations as a format to understand their relevance to the dharma of Lord Buddha according to Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
I look forward to sharing with you the wonders of Nepal.
Our team at Royal Mountain Travel, an experienced tour operator in Kathmandu, are ready to assist you in your experience of a lifetime… Welcome to Nepal, a land of rich spiritual and cultural wonder… 🌹
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