In the Footsteps of the Buddha - Peepal Pilgrimage
with Dharmacharya Shantum Seth & Wendy Garling
17th February to 2nd March 2018 (14 days)

For futher information & registration please contact us at info@buddhapath.com

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Shakyamuni Buddha discovered the truth of overcoming suffering and bringing happiness to the individual, family and society. Before he died, the Buddha suggested that it would be of great benefit to those who are interested in his teachings to make a pilgrimage to the places associated with his life.

We have an opportunity to travel in the company of Shantum Seth, an experienced and renowned guide on the Buddha's path, who has been leading pilgrimages since 1988. A Buddhist scholar and practitioner, he is an ordained Dharma teacher in the Zen tradition of the Vietnamese Master, Thich Nhat Hanh. As we journey, Shantum shares stories and teachings of the Buddha and the practices of daily meditation and mindfulness. In this way the Buddha comes alive not only as a historical person, but in the here and now, someone who is relevant to our lives today.

Together we visit the actual sites where the historical Buddha was born, spent his childhood, attained enlightenment, taught, meditated and where he passed away. We travel along the fertile plains of the Ganges, beautiful with its mustard and lentil fields, to the lush 'terai' that leads to the foothills of the Himalayas. We visit the remains of ancient monasteries and stupas, museums with exquisite art, living temples and villages that have changed little since the time of the Buddha 2,500 years ago. We take a boat ride, stop at mango groves, visit Hindu temples, Muslim mosques, visit schools and meet/mingle with pilgrims from all over the world.

The pilgrimage has all the ingredients of a truly memorable journey, widening our perceptions and consciousness. It is an opportunity not only to deepen our knowledge and practice of the Buddha and his teachings but also to get an insight into an India that few penetrate. On this journey we touch a culture and civilization that are both ancient and contemporary. We take an inner and an outer journey through a fascinating and mysterious India.

India herself is a great teacher. Shantum, who has been an advisor to the United Nations Development Programme on a number of social development and environmental programmes in India, shares the underlying structures and subtleties of Indian society so that the travelers get a real sense of our living and ancient cultures. We visit homes of both villagers and city dwellers, and have an opportunity to share ideas and stories with local people. This journey is not only intellectually stimulating, exposing the mind to challenging ideas and diverse lifestyles, but also spiritually transformative.

Normally there are 8-20 people on each journey, which allows for greater individual attention in the context of a supportive sangha and also makes it possible to cater to personal needs and interests.

In the Footsteps of the Buddha; February 17 – March 2, 2018 

Peepal Pilgrimage 2018:
This journey will begin in New Delhi on the 17th of February 2018 at 11:30am. The next day we will fly to Varanasi.  Thereafter we travel by our own private coach to Bodh Gaya, Nalanda/Rajgir, Vaishali, Kushinagar, Lumbini, Kapilavastu and Sravasti.  From Sravasti we go to Lucknow and fly to Delhi. We will be back in Delhi in the evening of the 28th of February 2018, where the tour ends. You should book your departure flight for either late night of 28th February or early morning of March 1, 2018.

Half Peepal I Pilgrimage:
This journey will begin in New Delhi on 17th February 2018 at 11:30am.  The next day we will fly to Varanasi.  Thereafter we travel by our own private coach from Varanasi to Bodh Gaya, Nalanda/Rajgir and Vaishali. We will be back in Delhi in the early evening of the 25th of February 2018. You should book your departure flight on the 18nd of February 2018 for a late evening flight.

Half Peepal II Pilgrimage:
This journey will begin in New Delhi on 22th February 2018 after which we fly to Patna.  Thereafter, we travel by our own private coach to Rajgir, Vaishali, Kushinagar, Lumbini, Kapilavastu and Sravasti. From Sravasti we go to Lucknow and fly to Delhi. We will be back in Delhi in the evening of the 2nd of March 2018, where the tour ends. You should book your departure flight for either late night of 2nd March or early morning of 3rd March 2018.

For those who take the optional visit to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, (both UNESCO World Heritage sites) we travel by a day train from Lucknow to Agra on the 2nd of March. We will spend one night in Agra and will return to Delhi by late evening on the 3rd of March. You should book your departure flight for either late night of 3rd March or early morning of 4th March 2018.

For those who take the optional journey to the Ajanta and Ellora Caves, (both UNESCO World Heritage sites) we fly from Delhi to Aurangabad in the morning of 4th March 2018. We will spend two nights in Aurangabad visiting Ajanta and Ellora and will return to Delhi in the evening of 6th March. You should book your departure flight for either late night of March 6th or early morning of March 7, 2018.

(Please note that Shantum Seth will only lead the pilgrimage if there is a minimum of 8 registrants. Otherwise it will be led by a person trained by Shantum)

Led by: Dharmacharya Shantum Seth & Wendy Garling

The Buddha lived and traveled along the Gangetic plains in Northern India.  Besides New Delhi, the pilgrimage visits two states of northern India, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

India’s cities stand in large contrast to her villages and have their own interesting (if seemingly chaotic) lifestyle.  Varanasi and Bodh Gaya are both significant pilgrimage sites, having their own distinct character and personality.  In these places we get a closer view of how modern and traditional India co-exist.  Kushinagar, Sravasti and Rajgir are smaller towns and relatively quiet, giving the pilgrims the opportunity to absorb the nuances of the local culture and society.

In Delhi, we will visit the place where Mahatma Gandhi, the father of India, lived his last days. This is a wonderful place to begin the pilgrimage. Gandhi reminds us of the Buddha in our living memory, and personified a unique way of peaceful living and politics. He was a man open to all cultures and religions but with deep faith in his own.

Our journey will take us across the plains of the river Ganges to Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment, and the Deer Park at Sarnath, where he gave his first teachings.  We will visit his favorite meditation places such as Vulture Peak in Rajgir, the Jeta Grove at Sravasti (where he spent 24 rainy season retreats), and Kushinagar, where he passed away.  We will also visit Lumbini, where he was born, and the palace at Kapilavastu, where hespent his childhood. Aside from visiting the places where the Buddha lived, we will visit monasteries, temples and shrines.  The trip includes visits to homes of locals in cities and villages, a gentle walk to the Dungasiri Mountain (Mahakala Cave) where the Buddha practiced his austerities.  We would meet environmental and social activists and visit the homes of both the homes of the poor and the privileged to get a sense of contemporary India. We would combine this with the underpinnings of the Buddha's teachings, and some of the places he lived and visited so we can examine what we are witnessing and experiencing both from an external and internal perspective. In Varanasi we will also take a boat ride on the Ganges at sunrise.

At each pilgrimage site along the way, Shantum will tell stories of the Buddha’s life and give teachings to help us understand the Buddha as a human being, the drama of his life and the significance of what he taught.  We will schedule time for daily sitting and walking meditation, regular discussions, and contemplative time for ourselves.  The creation of a traveling sangha will be an important aspect of this trip, giving the journey a greater cohesiveness and building a sense of support for those seeking to deepen their practice.

Accompanying us on this journey is Wendy Garling, who will offer a perspective on Buddhism's feminine roots. Seemingly forgotten, many early sources hold an abundance of women’s stories that were originally integral to the earliest biographies of the Buddha. Wendy will share these ancient women’s stories, weaving them into a refreshing new biography that aims to shift the traditional patriarchal paradigm to a more accurate, gender-balanced and female friendly understanding of early Buddhism. These stories along with Shantum’s stories and teachings will become our pilgrimage narrative.
The pilgrimage is an unforgettable opportunity to explore areas that few tourists visit and to see and experience aspects of contemporary Indian life that, in many ways, have not changed since the time of the Buddha.  We invite you to join other practitioners on a transformative journey that will allow you to touch an ancient and diverse culture and civilization, and experience the life of the Buddha through the places he lived and taught.  Join us on a fascinating journey in the women’s footsteps as well as those of the Buddha, through a mysterious India.

Building Love  - Agra, the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort (beginning and ending in Delhi) March 2-3, 2018 – US$ 250
Agra was the capital of the great Mughals.  Emperor Akbar, was the main architect of the Agra Fort. His grandson Shah Jahan built the beautiful monument to love, the Taj Mahal, as a mausoleum for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Both these monuments are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The Exquisite Caves – Ajanta & Ellora (beginning and ending in Delhi) March 3-6, 2018 – US$ 1350
Ajanta
Ajanta is situated near Aurangabad. Beginning in the 2nd century BCE and continuing for 900 years, twenty-six caves were chipped out of a horseshoe shaped cliff.  The early followers of the Buddha created an isolated haven, shrouded in the darkness of the caves where they could meditate in peace.   The exquisite Buddhist paintings and sculptures created by using simple tools in the glow of lamps rank among the world's most important cultural treasures and the area has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Although the Jataka Tales form the main theme of the paintings, also depicted are scenes from contemporary courtly life all demonstrating a startling degree of sophistication.   In the Ajanta paintings we see the brilliant union between sacred and secular art.

Ellora
Ellora Caves: Nearby is Maharashtra state's most phenomenal ancient monument, the Ellora caves which carried on the legacy of Ajanta from the 7th century AD and was subjected to Buddhist, Jain and Hindu influences.   The sculptures at Ellora are massive in form and the entire spectrum of carvings pulsates with life and energy. The phenomenal rock cut Hindu temple of Kailash which is carved out of a hillside is the world's largest monolith and the site's principal attraction. Ellora too, is a World Heritage site declared by UNESCO.

TEACHER BIOGRAPHIES:


Dharmacharya Shantum Seth,an ordained dharma teacher, is the foremost expert on sites associated with the Buddha and has been leading pilgrimages since 1988. He worked with the United Nations on volunteering, peace, and social development for more than 15 years, and is currently Senior Advisor to the World Bank on pilgrimage tourism. He has co-authored books such as Walking with the Buddha and been a consultant for films like BBC-Discovery’s Life of the Buddha and BBC-PBS’s The Story of India.

 

 

Wendy Garling is the author of the acclaimed new book, Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha’s Life. She has a BA from Wellesley College and MA in Sanskrit language and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. A Tibetan Buddhist practitioner and dharma teacher, Wendy took refuge with His Holiness the 16th Karmapa in 1976 and met her root lama, Ven. Geshe Thubten Loden in 1979. For almost 20 years Wendy has taught women's spirituality focusing on Buddhist traditions, including original research into ancient Sanskrit and Pali literature.

 

 

DAILY SCHEDULE & SPECIAL EXCURSIONS
Our retreat schedule will include daily sitting and walking meditation, often starting with a morning meditation at one of the Buddhist sites.  This will be followed by breakfast at the hotel, after which we’ll visit one of the Buddhist sites listed below in the itinerary.  Shantum will offer a detailed talk on that site in the context of the Buddha’s life and teachings, and what was happening in the area many centuries ago.  Pilgrims will have some time at the site itself, after which we will go to lunch.  We’ll rest after lunch or we may visit another site, go to a village, school, visit a teacher or institute, meet with environmental activists, etc. We return to the hotel by evening in time for dinner and usually end with a group discussion on the day.  On the days we travel, the itinerary will vary slightly, and there will be some flexibility depending on the size, needs, and interest of the group.

 

Extensions that may be added before and after the Peepal Pilgrimage:

 

Journey to the East - Touching the Earth 2018: 10th February to 16th February 2018

The Taj Mahal at Agra - 2nd March to 3rd March 2018

The Exquisite Caves - 4th March to 6th March 2018

 

Pilgrimage Sites >>

 

For futher information & registration please contact us at info@buddhapath.com
 

Itineraries

Peepal Pilgrimage 2018: 17th February to 2nd March 2018 (14 days)
Peepal Pilgrimage 2018 (HALF)- I: 17th February to 25th February 2018 (9 days)
Peepal Pilgrimage 2018 (HALF)- II: 22nd February to 2nd March 2018 (9 days)
Peepal Pilgrimage 2018 (Agra Option): 3rd March to 3rd March 2018 (1 day)
Peepal Pilgrimage 2018 (Caves Option): 4th March to 6th March 2018 (3 days)

 

 

 

 

Peepal Pilgrimage 2018: 17th February to 2nd March 2018 (14 days)
Price: US$ 5950 (US$ 1350* single room supplement)

 

Day 1: 17th February 2018:: Begin at 12 Noon. Delhi

Day 2: 18th February 2018:: Delhi - Varanasi by air

Day 3: 19th February 2018:: Varanasi

Day 4: 20th February 2018:: Varanasi - Bodhgaya

Day 5: 21st February 2018:: Bodhgaya

Day 6: 22nd February 2018:: Bodhgaya - Nalanda - Rajgir

Day 7: 23rd February 2018:: Rajgir

Day 8: 24th February 2018:: Rajgir - Kushinagar

Day 9: 25th February 2018:: Kushinagar

Day 10: 26th February 2018:: Kushinagar - Lumbini

Day 11: 27th February 2018:: Lumbini

Day 12: 28th February 2018:: Lumbini - Sravasti

Day 13: 1st March 2018:: Sravasti

Day 14: 2nd March 2018:: Sravasti - Lucknow - Delhi by air. Departure or Lucknow - Agra by train (for Agra option)

 

With the Agra Option:
Price: US$ 395 (US$ 130* single room supplement)

2nd March 2018: Sravasti - Lucknow - Agra by train or to Delhi by air

3rd March 2018: Agra - Delhi by Satabadi train or Delhi-Agra-Delhi by coach. Departure.

 

With the Caves Option:
Price: US$ 1350 (US$ 355* single room supplement)

4th March 2018: Delhi - Aurangabad by air

5th March 2018: Aurangabad.

6th March 2018: Aurangabad - Delhi by air. Departure.

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Peepal Pilgrimage 2018 (HALF)- I: 17th February to 25th February 2018 (9 days)
Price: US$ 3950 (US$ 830* single room supplement)

Day 1: 17th February 2018:: Begin at 12 Noon. Delhi

Day 2: 18th February 2018:: Delhi - Varanasi by air

Day 3: 19th February 2018:: Varanasi

Day 4: 20th February 2018:: Varanasi - Bodhgaya

Day 5: 21st February 2018:: Bodhgaya

Day 6: 22nd February 2018:: Bodhgaya - Nalanda - Rajgir

Day 7: 23rd February 2018:: Rajgir

Day 8: 24th February 2018:: Rajgir - Kushinagar

Day 9: 25th February 2018:: Kushinagar, Kushinagar - Delhi by air. Departure

 

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Peepal Pilgrimage 2018 (HALF)- II: 22nd February to 2nd March 2018 (9 days)
Price: US$ 3950 (US$ 830* single room supplement)

Day 1: 22nd February 2018::Delhi - Rajgir

Day 2: 23rd February 2018:: Rajgir

Day 3: 24th February 2018:: Rajgir - Kushinagar

Day 4: 25th February 2018:: Kushinagar

Day 5: 26th February 2018:: Kushinagar - Lumbini

Day 6: 27th February 2018:: Lumbini

Day 7: 28th February 2018:: Lumbini - Sravasti

Day 8: 1st March 2018:: Sravasti

Day 9: 2nd March 2018:: Sravasti - Lucknow - Delhi by air. Departure or Lucknow - Agra by train (for Agra option)

 

With the Agra Option:
Price: US$ 395 (US$ 130* single room supplement)

2nd March 2018: Sravasti - Lucknow - Agra by train or to Delhi by air

3rd March 2018: Agra - Delhi by Satabadi train or Delhi-Agra-Delhi by coach. Departure.

 

With the Caves Option:
Price: US$ 1350 (US$ 355* single room supplement)

4th March 2018: Delhi - Aurangabad by air

5th March 2018: Aurangabad.

6th March 2018: Aurangabad - Delhi by air. Departure.

 

*Forced single room supplement (in case we are not able to room you with anyone else) will be 40% of the single supplement)

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