I had an opportunity to give a talk on the Buddhacārikā (Sublime Wandering of the Buddha) to the Venerable Saṇgha of Shechen Tennyi Dargyeling Monastery (more commonly called Shechen Institute/Monastery), Kathmandu. The idea behind the PowerPoint presentation was to share the present understanding of the Sublime wanderings of the Buddha with the Venerable Saṇgha of Shechen Temple.
The present-day in the footsteps of the Buddha Pilgrimage is limited to the Eight Great Places namely; Lumbīnī (the birthplace of the Buddha), Bodhgayā (The place of Enlightenment of the Buddha), Sārnātha (Where the Buddha gave his first sermon), Rājgir, Vaiśālī, Shrāvasti, Sankisa (the places where the Buddha performed miracle) and Kushināgar (The place of the final demise of the Buddha). In ancient times, the ‘In the footsteps of the Buddha’ pilgrimage was not limited to just the ‘Eight Great Places’ there were many more Buddhacārikā places in the Gangetic plain where monk pilgrims like Faxian (Fa Hien, 337-422 CE) and Xuanzang (Hsüan-Tsang, 602-664 CE) visited and offered prayers.
I am currently undertaking a foot journey through northern India to retrace the footsteps of Bodhisattva Xuanzang. The ‘Retracing Bodhisattva Xuanzang (RBX)’ foot journey project was set into motion in February 2020. So far I have completed 2500 kms of my foot journey touching very important Buddhacārikā sites like Sugh, Atranji Kherā, Sankissa, Shrāvasti, Tilaurākot, Lumbīnī, Vālimikinagar, Rāmpurwā, Vaiśālī, Bodhgayā, Rājgir, Nālandā and many more. My objectives for the walk: (1) To create awareness about the neglected state of sacred sites where Buddha walked and the need to transform the sites into Living Heritage; (2) To create awareness about the contribution of Xuanzang to the Buddhist pilgrimage legacy.
Xuanzang was a Chinese Buddhist monk-scholar who visited the Indian Subcontinent in the 7th CE. Xuanzang’s account of his 16 years of travels in the Indian Subcontinent played a pivotal role in the resurrection of the Buddhist geography of India in 19th CE. I believe that without the accounts left by Xuanzang, we would have never known in such detail about the footsteps of the Buddha. Therefore, this walk is my personal tribute to the world citizen, Xuanzang.
The PowerPoint presentation I made to the Venerable Saṇgha of Shechen Monastery/Institute on 1st September was based on the on-site documentation done under the RBX foot journey project. Readers who are interested in learning more about the Retracing Bodhisattva Xuanzang project and documentation stories from the foot journey may visit the blog Nālandā - Insatiable in Offering There are more than 45 first-hand stories from the most sacred Buddhacārikā sites published on the blog.
I want to thank Most Venerable Khen Rinpoche Gyurme Tsultrim, monk-in-charge of the Shechen Monastery for the honours and opportunity. I also thank Venerable Khenpo Nyima Senge for making arrangements for the PowerPoint presentation. I appreciate the Venerable Saṇgha for so patiently listening to my presentation and for the wonderful interaction that followed the presentation.
My 3-day stay in the Shechen monastery was very fruitful, especially the insightful conversations I had with the senior Khenpos of Shechen Institute. Last but not least, I want to thank Venerable Khenpo Nawang Tenzin, monk-in-charge of Shechen Temple, Bodhgayā for facilitating my visit.
|'Buddhacārikā a Living Heritage' banner.|
|The auditorium getting ready.|
Thanks to Venerable Khenpo Nawang Tenzin for giving an amazing introduction to the presentation.
Venerable Khenpo Nawang Tenzin made an introduction to the presentation.
|Myself making the presentation. Also, Venerable Khenpos in the audience.|
|Venerable Sangha in Audience.|
|Question and Answer session.|
|Thanks to Venerable Khen Rinpoche Gyurme Tsultrim for the Honours.|
|I offer my gratitude to Shechen Institute for the opportunity.|
|With Khen Rinpoche Gyurme Tsultrim and Khenpo Nawang Tenzin.|
|Myself at the Charumati Stupa shrine, Kathmandu.|