The Buddhist way of life of peace, loving kindness and wisdom is just as relevant today as it was in the past. Buddha explained that all our problems and suffering arise from confused and negative states of mind, and that all our happiness and good fortune arise from peaceful and positive states of mind. He taught methods for gradually overcoming our negative minds such as anger, jealousy and ignorance, and developing our positive minds such as love, compassion and wisdom. Through this we learn to experience lasting peace and happiness.
The purpose of Buddhist prayer is to awaken our inherent inner capacities of strength, compassion and wisdom rather than to petition external forces based on fear, idolizing, and worldly and/or heavenly gain. Buddhist prayer is a form of meditation; it is a practice of inner reconditioning. Buddhist prayer replaces the negative with the virtuous and points us to the blessings of Life.
For Buddhists, prayer expresses an aspiration to pull something into one’s life, like some new energy or purifying influence and share it with all beings. Likewise, prayer inspires our hearts towards wisdom and compassion for others and ourselves. It allows us to turn our hearts and minds to the beneficial, rousing our thoughts and actions towards Awakening. If we believe in something enough, it will take hold of us. In other words, believing in it, we will become what we believe. Our ability to be touched like this is evidence of the working of Great Compassion within us.
Meditation is at the heart of the Buddhist way of life. It is basically a method for understanding and working on our own mind. We first learn to identify our different negative mental states known as ‘delusions’, and learn how to develop peaceful and positive mental states or ‘virtuous minds’. Then in meditation we overcome our delusions by becoming familiar with virtuous minds. Out of meditation we try to maintain the virtuous minds we have developed and use our wisdom to solve the problems of daily life. As our mind becomes more positive our actions become more constructive, and our experience of life becomes more satisfying and beneficial to others. Anyone can learn basic meditation techniques and experience great benefits, but to progress beyond basic meditation requires faith in the Three Jewels – Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Usually people find this develops naturally as they experience the benefits of their meditation practice.
TAILOR-MADE SAMPLE TOUR ITINERARY
Arrival Paro Airport(Bhutan). You will be received at the airport by our company representative and transferred to your hotel. Afternoon at leisure.
Paro valley cultural sightseeing – Morning hike or horse ride (optional) to the Legendary Paro Taktsang (the Tiger`s Nest Monastery) perched on a cliff 800 meters above Paro valley. Lunch will be served at Taktsang Cafeteria. Later after the hike visit the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong (Dzong refers to ancient castle fortress). Drukgyel Dzong was built to commemorate the victory of Bhutanese soldier over the invading Tibetan soldiers in the ancient past. It was burned down by a tragic fire accident in 1951 and today stands in ruins. Then visit the 7th century Paro Kyichu Lhakhang which was built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in spread of Buddhism. Finally visit a typical Bhutanese farm house where you will be served traditional Bhutanese churned salt butter tea, traditional snacks made from maize/rice and locally brewed liquor. Evening at leisure. o/n hotel
Morning visit the Paro National Museum which houses collection of art and art facts from all over Bhutan. The Museum is housed in the ancient watch tower of the Paro Dzong. Then visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. A silent session of prayer could be arranged in the Dzong. After lunch drive to Thimphu. Evening session of prayer could be arranged. A high Buddhist priest can be invited to join the group for prayer and exchange program. o/n hotel
Thimphu cultural sightseeing – visit the Memorial Stupa which was built in memory of the late third king of Bhutan. Then visit the 12th century Changankha Monastery, Takins (national animal of Bhutan) zoo, Thimphu view point. From the view point take a pleasant hike to Wangdi-tse Monastery. Later visit the Zilukha Nunnery (a monastery for female monks), National Library, Folk & Heritage Museum, Traditional School for Art and Crafts, Textile Museum and the Handicraft Emporium. o/n hotel
Morning visit the traditional medicine hospital and drive to Punakha/Wangdi valley. The drive will take you via the Dochula pass (3150 meters altitude). A wide range of the east Himalayan ranges are visible from the pass on a clear day. On the pass, you will also see the 108 Druk Wangyel Stupas and the Druk Wangyel Monastery which was built by one of the queens of Bhutan.
In Punakha take a short hike to Chimi Lhakhang (a special Monastery for sterile women). Later visit the Punakha Dzong which is known for it`s rich traditional Bhutanese art and architecture. Punakha was the old winter capital of Bhutan and still today the winter residence of the Spiritual Leader of Bhutan, His Holiness the Je Khenpo. Finally visit the 13th century Wangdi Dzong. o/n hotel
Morning drive to Paro via Thimphu. In Thimphu visit the Hand-made paper factory. Also visit the Thimphu week-end market (if the day of the tour falls between Friday & Sunday). A retreat (meditation) session will be arranged on this day in Thimphu. o/n hotel
Morning departure from Paro airport.