Bill MacMillen of the Tampa Sangha has signed up for a tour of India, "In the Steps of the Buddha - Saal Pilgrimage," November 9-22, 2019, and is advising FCM members and colleagues in the event a group might be formed. Please email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
The tour will visit Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment; Deer Park at Sarnath, where he gave his first teachings; his favorite meditation places such as Vulture Peak in Rajgir and the Jeta Grove at Sravasti (where he spent 24 rainy season retreats), and Kushinagar, where he passed away.
Also, it will visit Lumbini, where he was born, and the palace at Kapilavastu, where he spent his childhood, as well as monasteries, temples and shrines. The trip includes visits to homes of locals in cities and villages, and a walk to the Dungasiri Mountain (Mahakala Cave) where the Buddha practiced his austerities.
At each site, 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. There will be time for daily sitting and walking meditation, regular discussions and contemplative time. The creation of a traveling sangha will be an important aspect of this trip, giving the journey a greater cohesiveness and building support for those seeking to deepen their practice.
The tour maximum is 35 participants, and the cost is $5,950, without air fare. The website (http://www.buddhapath.com/Saal.html) has detailed information.
Shantum, an ordained dharma teacher in the Zen Buddhist lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh, is the foremost expert on sites associated with the Buddha and has been leading pilgrimages since 1988. 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.