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Guru Rinpoche Pilgrimage
November 9 - December 1
Seeing me, all the Buddhas are seen,
Accomplishing my practice, the practice of all the Buddhas is accomplished,
For I am the embodiment of all the sugatas.
Dear Dharma friends near and far,
It is with great joy, after three years of hard work, that we are announcing the completion of the Nepal volume in our forthcoming series of pilgrimage guides dedicated to Guru Rinpoche’s life and deeds. To inaugurate this special event, we wish to invite you to join us this autumn as we follow in the footsteps of our precious Lotus-Born Guru, Padmasambhava, travelling to the holy sites of Nepal, where he taught, practiced and accomplished the Dharma.
This, our first official Guru Rinpoche pilgrimage, will be taking place in the auspicious Tibetan Year of the Bird – the same year in which, generations ago, the precious Jarung Kashor, otherwise known as the Boudhanath Stupa, was completed and consecrated.
The mountains and valleys of Nepal played a unique role in the life of Guru Rinpoche, the precious master of Uddiyana. In his previous life, as the son of a poultry-woman, he had made the following aspiration in front of this same stupa:
By virtue of completing our mother’s stupa, out of you, my two elder brothers, one will establish the Buddha’s teachings and the other will uphold them in the borderland of ice and snow. When that happens, may I not be born from a womb but be miraculously born upon the anthers of a lotus flower. I will cut the cycle of birth and death and my lifespan will equal that of the sun and moon. Having been born as one who can mightily tame gods, demons, and humans, may I subdue all the malevolent spirits and demons in that very borderland and help fulfill both of your wishes! May I be born as a powerful mantra master to protect the entirety of the Buddha’s teachings!
With this powerful aspiration made in front of a stupa that fulfills all wishes, the poultry-keeper’s boy became destined to take rebirth as Guru Padmasambhava.
Thus, in accordance with his aspiration, Guru Rinpoche took birth within a blossoming lotus, and began his enlightened activity in our world. He first came to Nepal in order to practice at Lhundrup Tsek, the ‘Spontaneous Mound’ charnel ground, an area that includes the modern-day pilgrimage sites of Boudhanath and Pashupatinath. Hundreds of years later he returned, this time with Mandarava, the princess of Zahor, and together they travelled to the caves at Maratika, where both attained immortality upon seeing the face of Amitayus. Again, many years later, Guru Rinpoche came to the self-arisen stupa of Svayambhunath, where he took the Newar princess Shakyadevi as his consort. He took her with him to the caves of Yangleshö in Pharping where, overcoming immense obstacles, they reached attainment through the practice of Vajrakilaya combined with Yangdak Heruka, concealing countless terma treasures and taming a host of haughty spirits in the process. Guru Rinpoche then continued his journey to Chumig Changchub, the ‘Spring of Enlightenment’, where he overpowered the local spirits and bound them under oath as protectors of the Dharma. Later, on his way to Tibet at the invitation of King Trisong Deutsen, Guru Rinpoche travelled through Nepal, teaching in person at E vihara in Patan and concealing countless further teachings as terma treasures wherever he went.
In this land of Nepal, Guru Rinpoche went on extensive retreat, gave countless teachings to disciples, hid terma treasures and blessed the hills and valleys. If we look at the unfolding of Guru Rinpoche’s life over time, then we could say that India was his place of training, Nepal his place of retreat, and Tibet his place of activity.
Beginning with the sites in the Kathmandu Valley, we will travel to these places, mentioned above, made sacred by the Guru’s blessings. We will learn their unique histories, connect with them through seeing, touching, and mingling our aspirations with those made by the Guru himself. As well as the sites connected with Guru Rinpoche’s life story, we will also engage with the sacred places of his consorts – the wisdom dakinis. Their activities alongside Guru Rinpoche led to a dynamic interplay of skilful means and wisdom so potent that, thanks to their coming together, the blessings of their combined realization have remained constant and vibrant, such that we can still sense and receive them today.
Following in the footsteps of our precious Guru of Uddiyana, then, we want to invite you to join this pilgrimage through Nepal. As we trace our own spiritual journey back to these pivotal moments, let us visit his sites of special blessing, and connect with their power. Together we will journey, we will offer, we will make aspirations, and we will deepen our practice through this pilgrimage experience, and we will dedicate the merit for the benefit of all.
Save the Dates:
Our pilgrimage will be divided into two parts. You may participate in either or in both.
The first part of our pilgrimage will begin on November 9th.
The second part of our pilgrimage will be a small retreat at the Maratika Caves, led by a senior monk. It will begin on November 27th.
We are delighted to share with you that Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche will attend the first three days of our pilgrimage, from the 10th to the 12th November.
Nov 9 Dinner in the evening with explanations about the sacred sites to be visited
10 Celebrating Lhabab Düchen: visiting Jarung Kahsor (Boudhanath), the
Lhundrup Tsek Charnel Ground & the Swayambhunath Stupa
11 Visiting the Sacred Sites of Patan
12 Visiting Yangleshö & Asura Cave
13 Celebrating Dakini Day at Asura Cave
15 Visiting Chumig Changchub
17 Beginning of the Fall Seminar
26 End of the Pharping Retreat with Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche
27 Travel to Maratika
28 Celebrating Guru Rinpoche Day
29–31 Retreat guided by a senior monk
Dec 1 Return to Kathmandu
If you are interested in learning more about this very special opportunity, please contact us at:
Wishing you well on your journey,
Your Pema Jungné team