I have just returned from India after a successful pilgrimage during which we visited many holy places, namely:
Sankasia (place of Buddha's descent from heaven),
Sravasti (where Buddha spent 22 rains residence in Jetavana monastery),
Lumbini (birthplace of the Buddha),
Kushinagar (site of the Buddha's Mahaparinibbana),
Pava (where the Buddha had his last meal),
Vaishali (where a band of monkeys offered honey to the Buddha),
Hajipur (where Ven. Ananda's ashes are buried),
Nalanda (where ruins of Nalanda Mahavihara are located),
Rajagaha (where the Buddha tamed the drunken elephant & site of 1st Buddhist Council),
Buddhagaya (place of Supreme Enlightenment),
Gayasisa (where Buddha taught the Fire Sermon to 1000 ascetics who then became Arahants),
Sarnath (where Buddha preached the First Sermon to the Five Ascetics).
Along the way, we offered robes, requisites and Nava Kamma to 18 temples/organizations We visited the Nava Nalanda University campus and donated Nava Kamma to 146 monk-students from Myanmar and Bangladesh. At Buddhagaya, we invited 70 monk-students to a lunch dana at the Great Holy LandMonastery near Sujata Hotel and donated Nava Kamma to them. At Varanasi, we took the opportunity to visit Sampurnanand Sanskrit University Hostel where 74 monk-students live in very spartan conditions and donated Nava Kamma to relieve their difficulties.
Having performed this merits, I just want to let your know that you are in my list of transference of merits of providing physical support to the deserving. By these actions, may we be free from suffering and may all beings be well, happy and peaceful!
The trip was indeed a tough one for me.. having just completed my heart procedures few months ago. The endless walking up and down the mountains, the long journey on the vibrating bus, the dust from the road, the food that never tasted normal, the never ending stream of beggars and children wanting a piece of me, the street seller who sell junks at extortion prices , etc., added on to the wonderful memories of my trip to India.
I would like to express my deepest sincere gratitude for the opportunity to go for this pilgrimage. What wonderful karma it is...
This pilgrimage will be a life long memory for me, and in years to come in my practice, I will forever have the learning of impermanence and non attachment.