Hero’s Pilgrimage to Buddhist India
Welcome to the archive of our exquisite, once-in-a-lifetime Hero’s Pilgrimage to the sacred sites and power spots of Buddhist India. The tour was inspired and named after a combination of the Buddhist archetypal figure of the Bodhisattva or Altruistic Hero who strives for enlightenment in order to benefit all beings, and Joseph Campbell’s monomyth Hero’s Journey with its narrative arch of leaving home, slaying demons, finding treasure and returning with elixir for others. The journey was comprised of graduates of Nalanda Institute’s Four Year Program in Sustainable Happiness, along with group leader, Buddhist psychotherapist Dr. Miles Neale and two special guests, the young, dynamic Tibetan master Geshe Tenzin Zopa and the seasoned Tantraloka and Sanskrit scholar Dr. Mark Dyczkowski.
Our destinations included Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges, the oldest continually inhabited city in the world, Sarnath where the Buddha gave his first teaching on the Four Noble Truths, Bodhgaya where the Buddha gained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree, the Mahakala Caves where former-prince-turned-acetic Siddhartha realized the middle-way, and Vulture Peak in Rajgir where the Buddha first taught emptiness and non-dualism.
The major highlights of our pilgrimage included Dr. Mark-ji’s lecture on the History of Indian Thought at his home on Narad Ghat on the banks of the sacred Ganges in Varanasi, which was followed by his impassioned sitar recital. While in Varanasi and Bodhgaya Dr. Miles gave foundational lectures on the Gradual Path (Lam Rim), explanations on Buddhist refuge and Bodhisattva conduct as well lead morning prayers and guided visualizations.
At the Root Institute for Wisdom Culture in Bodhgaya Geshe Tenzin Zopa offered pilgrims the Refuge and Bodhisattva Vows in an unforgettable ceremony accompanied by three days of teachings on the Three Principal Paths of renunciation, compassion and correct view of emptiness. At Vulture Peak Geshe Tenzin Zopa gave oral transmissions of four sacred texts: the Heart Sutra, Confession of Downfalls to the 35 Buddhas, Three Principal Paths, and the King of Prayers.
We hope that providing access to these remarkable teachings you taste the inspiration and joy that we all experienced on our Hero’s Pilgrimage, and in turn they inspire you to live as a Bodhisattva for the benefit of others.
Check out the Photo Album from our Hero’s Pilgrimage here
Download the Buddhist Texts associated with our Hero’s Pilgrimage here
Download the Index for all the following Audio Files of our Hero’s Pilgrimage here
Day 1 - Varanasi. Foundation of All Good Qualities with Dr. Miles Neale
Day 2 morning - Varanasi. The Meaning of Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels with Dr. Miles Neale
Day 2 evening - Varanasi. Historical Survey of Pre-Buddhist Indian Thought with Dr. Mark Dyczkowski
Day 3 - Sarnath. Four Noble Truths with Dr. Miles Neale
Day 4 - Busride to Bodhgaya. Refuge and Bodhisattva Vows with Dr. Miles Neale
Day 5 morning - Root Institute, Bodhgaya. Prostrations and Refuge with Geshe Tenzin Zopa.
Day 5 afternoon. Refuge Continued and Ceremony with Geshe Tenzin Zopa. (Some low quality sound)
Day 6 morning - Root Institute, Bodhgaya. Renunciation and Bodhicitta with Geshe Tenzin Zopa
Day 6 mid morning - Root Institute, Bodhgaya. Renunciation and Bodhicitta Continued with Geshe Tenzin Zopa
Day 6 afternoon - Root Institute, Bodhgaya. Bodhisattva Vows and Q&A with Geshe Tenzin Zopa
Day 7 morning - Root Institute, Bodhgaya. Bodhichitta, Emptiness, 37 Practices of the Bodhisattva with Geshe Tenzin Zopa
Day 7 afternoon - Root Institute, Bodhgaya. Bodhisattva Conduct, Karma, 37 Practices of the Bodhisattva with Geshe Tenzin Zopa
Day 8 morning - Root Institute, Bodhgaya. Morning Meditation with Dr. Miles Neale
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Day 9 morning - Root Institute, Bodhgaya. Group Process + Q&A with Dr. Miles Neale (Private)
Sunday, October 16, 2016