SPIRITUAL AND ADVENTURE TREK 12 TH TO 25 TH OCTOBER 2016

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1 SPIRITUAL AND ADVENTURE TREK 12 TH TO 25 TH OCTOBER 2016 NEPAL JOURNEY INFORMATION PACK P a g e 1

2 WELCOME TO YOUR NEW ADVENTURE Ask-Buddha.net is extremely pleased to announce a new series of sacred journeys to lands with authentic Buddhist traditions! The first of which is a truly unique and exclusive expedition which takes us to Nepal and the ancient city of Kathmandu where we will be fully engaged for 14 days studying Buddhism from an authentic Buddhist lineage, experiencing Buddhist monastic ceremonies (pujas), sacred Thangka art, and undertake a breathtaking Trek in the Kathmandu Valley area. This brand new project blends authentic and peaceful retreat with adventure trekking, and a sacred pilgrimage and would be suited to anybody looking to be immersed in Buddhism in the land of the Buddha s birth and with a long Buddhist heritage dating back millennia. This journey would also interest anyone who wishes to 'get out into the wild,' to find deeply rewarding adventures abroad with volunteering opportunities *. This project offers a perfect opportunity to practice the two primary tenets of Buddhism: compassion and wisdom. First one must change. I first watch myself, check myself, then expect changes from others His Holiness 14 th Dalai Lama * The main programme has elements of volunteering but if you have more free time and wish to participate in longer volunteering activities post completion of the main journey then this can also be organised to suit. See Appendix I for further details. P a g e 2

3 THE BUDDHA S HEART ESSENCE COURSE The core of this journey is the Buddha s Heart Essence course, which provides a mixture of authentic Buddhist meditation and wisdom. We are privileged that the teachings will be given by the Venerable Narayan Prasad Rijal. Venerable. Narayan Prasad Rijal is the Assistant Holder of the Dharma of the Byoma Kusuma Buddhadharma Centre, in Bishalnagar where the teachings will take place. He is also a scholar of the ancient Sanskrit language. He has been practicing under the guidance of the Vidyadhara Acharya Mahayogi Sridhar Rana Rinpoche for over 25 years and is responsible for disseminating dharma teachings, and guiding new and old students in their meditation practices. The Buddha s Heart Essence course will cover the major aspects of the Buddha s teachings: Who was the Buddha; How he became the Buddha; What did he teach; The four noble truths; Interdependent origination; Karma and its result; Three vehicles and their basics principles; Mahayana and Vajrayana; The six perfections; Meditation and its varieties in Buddhism; Buddhahood and the qualities of a Buddha; Practical ways to apply Buddhist teachings to our lives. The teachings are totally interactive and you will have plenty opportunities to ask questions! P a g e 3

4 Our meditation and teaching sessions will be held at Byoma Kusuma Buddhadharma Centre in Bishalnagar, Kathmandu. Byoma Kusuma means Sky Flower in Sanskrit. Sky represents space, emptiness, and the flower represents the manifestation of emptiness. A beautiful flower is drawn in the sky and as delightfully as it appeared it disappears into emptiness. It is a moving symbol that calls to mind the insubstantiality and fleeting nature of phenomena. undertake a multitude of activities like: Our typical schedule here will be: 10 am 11 am: Meditation 11 am to 11:30 am: Break 11:30 am to 1:30 pm: Teachings 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm: Lunch Break 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm: Discussion and interaction session In our free time we will Thangka painting demonstrations; Attend early morning pujas (prayer ceremonies) in Buddhist monasteries; Volunteering opportunities. "The hungry are not satisfied by hearing about food; what they need is to eat. In the same way just to know about the Dharma is useless; It has to be practiced" Jetsun Milarepa P a g e 4

5 THE FULL ITINERARY: 12 TH OCTOBER TO 25 TH OCTOBER 2016 Arrival and Orientation 12 th October: Arrival at the airport with Nepali welcome and transfer to guest house in Boudhanath, which is home to the famous Stupa (see front cover photo) and is the heart of Kathmandu s Buddhist community. 13 th October: Today is the day for sightseeing around the Kathmandu Valley. We will visit the following places: Pashupatinath Temple; Swoyambhunath (Monkey Temple); Durbar Square; Thamel. Buddha s Heart Essence Meditation and Teachings 14 th to 20 th October: We attend the Buddha s Heart Essence Course with Venerable Narayan Rijal in Bishalnagar during this period. Kathmandu Valley Mandala Adventure Trek 21 st October: Drive to Sundarijal. After Sundarijal we will walk about 2.5 hours. After lunch we will walk for another 2 hours to reach Chisapani where we will stay overnight. 22 nd October: We will continue our journey to Nagarkot, which is about 6 hours walk, stopping for lunch on the way. We will stay in Nagarkot overnight. 23 rd October: Our trek continues from Nagarkot to Dhulikhel, which is a very beautiful and scenic place with a panoramic view of the mountains. This will be about 5 hours of walk, stopping for lunch on the way. Overnight stay at Dhulikhel. 24 th October: From Dhulikhel we will walk about 2.5 hours to Namo Buddha. From here we will drive to Panauti, an old and ancient Newari town. In the evening we will drive back to our accommodation in Boudhanath. 25 th October: Free day at Kathmandu and Thamel for shopping/departure to your destination / Stay in Nepal for longer volunteering opportunities. P a g e 5

6 YOU ARE IN SAFE HANDS This journey will be led by founders Nibal Sulaiman and Shraddha Tandan. Nibal and Shraddha have worked closely with Shambhala Trekking to bring you this unique spiritual adventure that is not available anywhere else. Shambhala Trekking, established by a group of professionals with more than 35 years of experience in the field, is unequalled in its quality service. Its valued clients are unanimous in their expression of appreciation for Shambhala Trekking's priorities of client safety and comfort. Shambhala is run by the pioneer trekking and mountaineering expert Mr. Padam Ghale, whose vast successes have drawn acclamations from countless persons, including well-known mountaineers and legendary international trekkers ~ for more than two decades! Shambhala Trekking is recognised by the Government of Nepal and is authorised to conduct international business in tourism related activities. They are registered with the Nepal Government with a license number: / 067, issued by the Ministry of Tourism, Tourism Industry Division. Their PAN Number is: and their Nepal Government Company Registration No. is: / 055. Shambhala Trekking is authorized by the Nepal Rastra Bank (the Central Bank of Nepal) to deal in foreign currency and recognised by the Tourism Board of Nepal, Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal and Mountaineering Association of Nepal. It is also associated with the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA). Shambhala Trekking is proudly associated with the following trekking safety organisations: P a g e 6

7 THE NEXT STEPS This amazing and sacred journey has been specifically designed and organised for Ask Buddha by Shambhala Trekking Company of Kathmandu. IT IS NOT AVAILABLE ANYWHERE ELSE! To get the most out of this journey we recommend that you attend the entire programme. However, we can tailor the journey to your availability. For further information contact us on: The secret of happiness lies in the mind's release from worldly ties The Buddha P a g e 7

8 APPENDIX I: MORE FREE TIME? WHY NOT VOLUNTEER! This form of selfless giving is the main motivation behind Bodhisattva activities taught in Buddhism Byoma Kusuma is assisting many rural communities near Kathmandu that were affected by the devastating earthquake of April Whatever your skill sets are you will have the opportunity to make a real difference to people affected by this natural disaster. For those who have more time to spend in this wonderful country, there will be many opportunities to undertake volunteer work. You will get an opportunity to actually make a real difference to people s lives Volunteering and giving your time, energy, and skills can be one of the most rewarding things you can do when done with the right motivation and with an open heart. Contact us on to discuss tailored volunteering activities to suit your skills and time scales. Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive His Holiness 14 th Dalai Lama P a g e 8

9 APPENDIX II: NEPAL OVERVIEW & OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION What is Nepal like? Nepal, home to Mount Everest, is reputed as the world's most imposing country with 80 percent of its territory is occupied by the dramatic peaks of the Himalayas. Nepal is a multi-cultural, multilinguistic and multi-religious country. It has a population of more than 20 million, who belong to dozens of different ethnic groups. Religion is not just a set of beliefs and accompanying rituals handed down from generation to generation; rather it is a complex intermingling of traditions, festivals, faiths and doctrines that have permeated every strata of Nepalese Society in such a way as to become the very heartbeat of the nation. It is an intricate and beautiful tapestry formed by the interweaving of Hinduism, Buddhism and other beliefs. Religious tolerance and harmony such as is found in Nepal, is perhaps a unique example to the world. The Hindu religion is the first religion of Nepal, and Buddhism is second. There are other religions as well such as Shamanic based ones and Islam amongst others. People of all religions have been living in harmony and with mutual respect for a very long time. The majority of inhabitants make a living from subsistence agriculture, and the capital Kathmandu is the largest city, the political, cultural and economic centre of the country. What languages are spoken in Nepal? Nepal is an incredibly diverse country with respect to culture and language. There are 125 different documented languages spoken in Nepal. P a g e 9

10 The primary language is Nepali. However, many of the locals speak English to varying degrees of proficiency. What is Nepalese currency? The Nepalese Currency is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR; symbol Rs). Notes are in denominations of Rs 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Banks and cash points are numerous in Kathmandu and other main cities like Pokhara. However, these facilities disappear rapidly in remote areas and small villages. You are always advised to take cash in the local currency with you when and keep it safe in anti-theft bags. The Government of Nepal has banned the use, import or export of 1,000 Indian rupee and 500 Indian rupee notes so please do not attempt to bring this currency into Nepal. What is Nepalese climate like? The Nepal climate is moderate, which means the winters are dry and the summers are hot. But because of the huge range in altitude and landscape, Nepal climate differs considerably throughout the country. The Nepal climate in the lower plains is (sub)tropical. Summers are hot and humid and temperatures can soar to 40 C. It's the same heat that covers Northern India at this time of year and the months before the monsoon hits can be particularly hot and sticky (May and early June). Winters in the lower plains are mild and dry with temperatures averaging between 10 C - 17 C. The mountains and valleys in the Himalayan foothills have a moderate climate with warm summers and cool winters. As it lies at relatively southern latitude, the Nepal climate is even pleasant at altitude, and the tree line is quite high. Average temperatures vary from 10 C in January to 24 C in July. In winter, the Nepal climate is (as you might imagine), pretty chilly. Temperatures drop and nights can be very cold, although they rarely sink to below freezing. In Kathmandu, from April - September, temperatures can climb to 28 C with nights averaging around 20 C. P a g e 10

11 The high mountains of the Himalayas which run along the northern border, above 4000m, have an alpine Nepal climate. Temperatures remain below 0 C and the landscape is covered with snow and ice. Monsoon season is approximately from the end of June to the middle of September. About 80% of Nepal's annual rainfall is during that period, so the remainder of the year is pretty dry. Nepal Visa With the exception of Indian passport holders, all visitors to Nepal will require a tourist visa to enter the country. Visas can be obtained upon arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu where you will need some passport sized photos and some money to process the application. However, we recommend that you obtain your visa from your country of origin so you don t have to queue for too long especially after a long flight! Do I need any special vaccinations before I head to Nepal? It is recommended that you visit your GP (General Practitioner or Personal Physician) to obtain advice on immunization and general health requirements for the countries to which you are travelling. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have all the recommended vaccinations and take any prescribed or advised medication. A good internet based reference tool for vaccine recommendations that we would also recommend is: However, we do highly recommend that you consider getting the following vaccinations before you come to Nepal: Hepatitis A Typhoid P a g e 11

12 Do I Need to Bring Any Special Equipment? Due to the changeable nature of the weather conditions and the fact that we will be undertaking an adventure trek as part of this journey, we would recommend you bring the following clothing and equipment with you. This list mainly applies to the trekking Element though the correct equipment will be useful on all the elements of the journey. Recommended Clothing List Waterproof walking boot, ideally walked in for 2 weeks minimum; A rainproof jacket with hood or a poncho; Lightweight, waterproof trousers as jeans are unsuitable to wear on treks. Other Equipment and Accessories Duffle bag or kit bag to carry to gear while trekking; Sleeping bag with a seasonal comfort rating of -15 C minimum; Water bottle; Sunglasses; Lip balm and hand cream; Wallet and /or money belt with compartment for coins; Small headlamp and/ or torch with spare. What are the ages of the other people I will be journeying with? This sacred journey is aimed at anyone who is genuinely interested in Buddhism and spiritual journeys in general. As such, this journey is open to all ages. However, since there is a trekking element it is advisable that all participants to have a reasonable level of fitness. P a g e 12

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