In November, Dorje Palmo and her husband escorted a group from the Yongey Buddhist Center to Nepal to attend teachings by our Guru Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche at his monastery in Kathmandu. While there, the 30-member group visited Buddhist pilgrimage sites throughout the Kathmandu Valley and Southern Nepal. Dorje Palmo’s husband, Dwayne, describes the Teachings and Tour…
We arrived several days before Rinpoche’s teachings and used the time to adjust to the Himalayas and visit pilgrimage sites. We first journeyed by air to Lumbini, the birthplace of the Lord Buddha, and visited the Maya Devi Temple and Holy Pond and Garden. While there, we visited many monasteries, temples and pagodas constructed by the international Buddhist community within the World Heritage Site. We also made a pilgrimage to the village of Kapilvastu where Prince Siddhartha grew up and lived his early years before becoming the Buddha, and visited the historical site Kudan where the returning Lord Buddha met his family after renunciation.
Upon returning to Kathmandu, we continued our tour of local pilgrimage sites before journeying up to Rinpoche’s monastery. We visited the Great Boudha Stupa at Boudhanath (reported to be the largest stupa in the world) and the famous Swayambhu Stupa (Monkey Temple). From there we journeyed by van up the hill to the monastery and got ourselves registered and settled into the guest quarters. Our stay at the Tergar Osel Ling Monastery was for four nights with teachings each day in a large covered tent on the monastic grounds. Our meals were quite simple but healthy and nutritious. One night, however, we did journey down the mountain to attend a special dinner with Rinpoche and his family and monastic staff that was hosted by our Kathmandu friends, Pradip and Birendra. Over 800 students attended the teachings with most staying in outside lodging and climbing the mountain each day for the teachings.
Rinpoche’s teachings were on Death, Dying, and Phowa: Teachings of the Bardos. This complex teaching was presented in an engaging manner that helped everyone understand the nature of dying and introduced Phowa: the practice of ejecting consciousness at the time of death. Rinpoche taught two sessions each day and culminated the program with the Amitabha Empowerment.
After the teachings, we returned to lodgings in Thamel and continued our daily tours of pilgrimage sites. We journeyed out to Bhaktapur to visit the Royal Palace and Durbar Square where we admired the ancient architectural buildings and multi-roofed temples. We then visited the Mahabuddha Temple in Patan where we were greeted by the Preservation Committee, and thanked for the support of the Yongey Buddhist Center in helping restore the temple structure after damages sustained in the 2015 earthquake. Dorje Palmo led our group in circumambulating the stupa and a butter lamp offering ceremony. We also made a pilgrimage to the village of Pharping to visit the image of the Green Tara and the Asura Cave where Guru Rinpoche once meditated. One morning several adventurous members of our group took an early morning flight over the Himalayan Mountains. Before departing Nepal, we held a farewell dinner that featured Nepalese cuisine and entertainment. It was a fitting highlight to our travel experience.
In appreciation, Dorje Palmo and our tour group: Emily, Patricia, Wendy, Cathy, Agnes, Jennifer, Mariann, Philip, Marie, Mike, Allison, Gloria, Tina, Gee, Sally, Sue, Joyce (New York), Morgan, Joyce (daughter), Virginia, Keith, Alice, Amy (Malaysia) , Michael, Virginia, Amy (Taipei), Eddy, Joyce (China) and me (Dwayne) want to acknowledge the wonderful care and attentiveness provided by Nina and Seseg at Tergar Osel Ling Monastery, and also our friends, Pradip and Balaram, who made every effort to ensure our visit to Kathmandu and Nepal was most enjoyable.
We want to dedicate this wonderful experience to our dear friend, Surrendra, who passed away while we were returning from this trip. Surrendra was a most gracious host and friend of Dorje Palmo and myself.
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