Event : Pilgrimage to Bhutan with Tsewong Sitar Rinpoche
Date : April 9-15
Website : http://www.tibetanchod.com/events/bhutan
Sat., April 9 Thimpu
Drive to Thimpu (90 minutes) and settle in at the Pema hotel. Thimpu orientation.
We will go to the open air market to get supplies for the upcoming Tsok, and then go off set up of shrine and Tsok offering at Memorial Chorten. We will learn torma-making from the ultimate expert, Lama Pema!
Sun., April 10 Precious Rosary of Chöd
Memorial Chorten, in the heart of Thimpu, will be the site of this all day Chod practice. The Chorten is a very popular spot for cirucmambulation and mantra, visited by hundreds of Bhutanese each day. Many local lamas will be in attendance, and this will be an important local event.
Mon., April 11 Tashi Cho Dzong & Thimpu Sights
The main “fort” and monastic complex of Thimpu, this is a magnificent, multi-faceted group of buildings. We will have permission to practice in one of the many temples there, and explore further.
After this, we will visit other important Thimpu sights: the national Zoo, and School of (13 traditional) Arts and Crafts.
Tue., April 12 Tongten Gyalpo Lhakhang
In the morning we will complete our walking tour of Thimpu. Then we will head to the samll temple across the river to the Zilukha Nunnery and Lhakhang. This is an ancient TongTang Gyalpo site, with possibly the largest gold statue dedicated to this great master. Previously a favorite spot of Kalu Rinpoche, the nuns regularly practice Chöd. We will perform the Kagyu Lujin with them, as well as our own practices, such as the DenTok Chikma, MaChik yidam practice.
Wed., April 13 Docho La
This 9,000 foot pass has a beautiful view of the surrounding valleys, and like all moutnian passes, is the abode of many local spirits and land deities. This is an ideal place to perfome the prayers of Sang, Lungta and Yangguk. Lunch somewhere.
Thurs., April 14 Tango and Cheri
We travel 30 minutes outside Thimphu to this idyllic spot at a covered bridge over an incredibly beautiful tributary of the Thimphu river at the road head. We will lunch and meditate here. Another 30-45 minute walk up, we come to Cheri, the first monastery built in Bhutan by the Shabdrung and site of first 3 year retreat.
Fri., April 15 Protector Tower
On the edge of Thimpu, this is an extremely powerful site, where the Protectors of Bhutan entered into a rock dwelling. The tower is dark, one ascends through a steep ladder and the top floor houses the large statues of the three deities. We will do short protector practices here, and then longer practice in the adjacent lhakhang.
Trashi Cho Dzong. Takin zoo and view from telecom tower Weekend market
A long-time wish of Rinpoche is to have students come to his homeland of Bhtuan for special retreats and training. Due to the coming together of various fortunate coincidences, it looks like this can now happen, Details to follow, but for now, I can tell you that the main event will be a two or three-day Precious Rosary of Chod Feasts performed at the central stupa in Thimpu, Bhutan's capial city. This will be attending by hundreds of Bhutanese lamas, Rinpoches and lay people
Lama Tsewong Sitar Rinpoche is the head of the historic Sangye Teng Monastery in eastern Bhutan. He began his studies at the tender age of four, under the tutelage of his renowned father, learning Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan reading and writing. Having spent more than twenty years in meditative retreat in his Himalayan hermitage, he was recognized as a reincarnation of Nubchen Sangye Yeshe (heart disciple of Padmasambhava), by His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse. He is the main lineage-holder of Terton Pegyal Lingpa and is master of the Longchen Nyingtig. A dynamic and powerful teacher, he is particularly known for his profound teachings on Dzokchen. Rinpoche is also a qualified stupa builder, having created a number of these sacred power structures in the America and Asia. He embodies the ideal of a realized master, with immense compassion, humility and good nature. Rinpoche is also a householder and brings the essence of dharma into all aspects of daily living
Sitar Rinpoche mastery of Chod is profound and rare, as his knowledge spans an unusually broad spectrum of Chö practices. Indeed, his monastery specializes in the complete systems of Machik (Kagyu), the LongChen Nyingtig Chö of Jigmé Lingpa and the Troma practices of Dudjom Lingpa. He is also the lineage holder of the Pegyal Lingpa Chö, and other lesser know teachings and practices, such as that of Shugseb Ani Lochen. Rinpoche provides the empowerments and transmissions for all the texts and practices for the School of Healing Chö.
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I love Bhutan! I was there last year (on a pilgrimage, but not this particular pilgrimage) and I can't wait to get back. Anyone that has a chance to go will have some great memories!
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