Each year end, we conduct pilgrimage tours to India and Nepal, covering the four holy sites that Gautama Buddha had identified to be the most worthy of pilgrimage:

  • Bodhgaya, Bihar (near Gaya), where the Buddha became enlightened under a Bodhi tree (the existing Bodhi tree is supposedly a 2nd-generation descendant of the original)
  • Lumbini (in Nepal), where the Buddha was born
  • Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh (near Varanasi), where the Buddha first taught his first five disciples
  • Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, where the Buddha finally exited samsara (the continuous cycle of suffering)

The pilgrimage tours often include other sites that are connected with the Buddha’s life, such as

  • Shravasti, Uttar Pradesh, where the Buddha spent most of his monastic life teaching at the Jetavana monastery
  • Rajgir, Bihar, where the First Council was formed
  • Vulture’s Peak, near Rajgir, where the Buddha also taught

 

The tours are often guided by monastics who are well-versed with the historical symbolism of the sites; these monastics will also provide guidance to pilgrims on chanting and meditation. It is hoped that visiting these holy sites can generate a feeling of spiritual urgency in faithful devotees and arouse a greater sense of appreciation towards the precious Dhamma practice.