Including a full day of dialogue, prayer and meditation with
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Fr. Laurence Freeman OSB
The pilgrimage will be the Community’s Way of Peace event for 2013. It also marks the fifteenth anniversary of the first WCCM pilgrimage to India, which initiated the Way of Peace programme. This is a memory and inspiration cherished by His Holiness the Dalai Lama who recently wrote: “In 1998 I joined as historic pilgrimage of practitioners of both the Christian and Buddhist traditions in prayers, meditation and dialogue in Bodhgaya … Each morning under the Bodhi tree, we all sat together and meditated, which I think was historic.”
The highlight of the 2013 pilgrimage will be a full day of dialogue, prayer and meditation to be led by His Holiness and Fr. Laurence Freeman, OSB, on Saturday January 12 in Sarnath where Lord Buddha gave his first teaching, thus setting the ‘dharma wheel’ in motion.
The itinerary will also include activities and events related to the WCCM’s Meditatio Programme – the Community’s outreach to the secular world. Departing from London, the pilgrimage will land in Kolkata (Calcutta), and go on the following day to Bodhgaya. At this most important of all Buddhist pilgrimage sites, we will sit under the Bodhi tree of the Buddha’s enlightenment, as we did in 1998 and 2007, and visit the nearby Mahakala cave, site of the Buddha’s pre-enlightenment asceticism.
Proceeding to Varanasi, the city of Lord Shiva on the banks of the sacred river Ganga, we prepare to meet His Holiness in nearby Sarnath. From Varanasi we fly to Kathmandu (a UNESCO world heritage site) in Nepal, to visit the sacred stupas of Swayambunath, and Boudhnath, before flying on to Mumbai (former Bombay). In Mumbai we visit the important caves of Elephanta, and engage with the work of India’s largest NGO, the Kripa foundation. There will be an optional extension to the main itinerary, with the opportunity to visit the Christian shrines of Goa, as well as to spend a day or two on the beach.