Join us in this unique sacred adventure to Nepal and northern India, visiting Lumbini, Buddha’s birthplace, Bodhgaya, the place of Buddha’s awakening, Sarnath and Varansai, where Buddha first taught the Four Noble Truths at Deer Park, and Kathmandu, the precious place of devotion.
This carefully curated pilgrimage, featuring small group experiences, begins and ends at storied Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, where art and spirituality have flourished since the 6th Century B.C.
With 60 linguistic, ethnic, and caste groups, Nepal has robust cultural traditions with deep roots in Hinduism and Buddhism. Nepal and Kathmandu, with glorious temples and indigenous markets with a rich mix of mysterious religious syncretism, is at the crossroads between India and Tibet.
We will visit Tibetan monasteries and interact with local lamas (teachers). We will have time to absorb the preciousness of the sacred Boudhanath Stupa temple, the classic wood and brick 13th Century pagodas, and Tibetan mandalas and thanka paintings. Markets overflow with distinctive Nepali woodcarving, pottery, papier-maché masks, paintings and puppets. We will have time for short, gentle treks in the surrounding verdant farmland of Kathmandu, along with meditation and encounters with local wisdom-keepers.
With the nearness of sacred sites in the Kathmandu Valley, we will be visiting a number of compelling UNESCO World Heritage sites. We will also visit the cultural heart-beat center of Kathmandu, Durbar Square with its magnificent architecture, and also the shrines of Swayambhunath and Pashupatinah.
Lumbini. We will visit the 5 square km Sacred Garden where Siddhartha Gautama was born in 623 B.C. Here we will absorb the life of the Buddha’s mother, Mayadevi and the cultural roots of life and times 3rd Century B.C. to 9th Century A.D. The Monastic Zone features temples from Myanmar,, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet.
Bodh Gaya. The holiest site in Buddhism, here took place the profound event in the 6th Century B.C., with Prince Siddhartha attaining enlightenment, in the process of meditating 49 days under the venerated Pipal tree. We will visit the Mahakala Caves where the Buddha undertook six years of ascetic meditation in two caves. We will visit the Bhutan Temple, the Thai Temple, and the Japanese Daijokyo Temple, and the take-your breath away Gelug-pa Tibetan Monastery, with its fresco paintings of clouds, wheels, and bodhisattvas. We will participate meditation sessions at the Root Institute for Wisdom Culture in a quiet, intimate compound doubling as a hospital for lepers and polio victims.
There will be community service opportunities for our pilgrimage participants.
Sarnath and Varansai. It is here, Gautama Buddha gave his first talk, the famous “Sermon in the Deer Park”, after walking 200km from Bodh Gaya. Surrounded by deer and peacocks, Buddha shared the Noble Eightfold Path. We will walk through the woods and gardens, where the Buddha meditated and taught the Four Noble Truths. Our time in this precious place will culminate with a visit to the Dhamekh stupa and then the Archeological Museum.
Kushinagar (Kusinara). “All things must pass. Decay is inherent in all things”. With these words the Buddha preached his last sermon and passed on in Kushinagar, breaking the cycle of re-birth, where he was cremated. This is the place where Buddha attained ultimate happiness, parainirvana. Here we will absorb so much of the past, present, and future within the nearby temples of Japanese, Korean, Thai, Burmese, and Indian origin. Visit to the River Hiranyavati, the place of the cremation of the Buddha.
Kathmandu Valley. A return to Kathmandu to embrace its exuberance, mysticism, and delight, as a cradle of spirituality and spirit.
Details regarding trip cost, logistics, and actual dates will be posted on www.twotruths.org in January, 2023. If you are interested, please send a note to Charles and Marla at:
Tashi Delek and Namaste
Charles and Marla