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From Varanasi, a journey initiated under the essence of change

Travel is change.

It's well known.


And that's why we take you on a trip!

Tour operators are everywhere.

On our side, we organize trips so that you can understand the interest in welcoming change with open arms, whatever it may be.


Very often, our trips are punctuated by changes in order to follow unexpected teachings, or to attend a ceremony discovered along the way.


After consultation, we take the new direction and adapt to these changes that bring exceptional memories.


At the end of the year 2022, after the Covid had grounded us for a few years, we are back with a new form of travel since from now on there are 2 of us to supervise each trip.


This relaunch of the trips took place in the footsteps of the Buddha, from India to Nepal, then to Bodhgaya to join His Holiness the Dalai Lama.


The experience showed that whenever one comes to a place where the energy is very high, such as Mount Kailash or Bodhgaya for example, just the fact of arriving there can be a source of challenges.


In 2017, for a Kalachakra in Bodhgaya, I saw a couple arrive 2 days late, having made many extra stops, hampered by a consistent fog laying over northern India.


In 2018, it was only 2 participants who managed to organize and join me to do the Kora of Mount Kailash. But a few hours before landing in Lhasa, we still had to be patient to obtain the precious sesame allowing us to go there.


In this year 2022, everything started with the visas. We had all gone for e-visas, which is the logic, but at the last minute, a person from the Indian embassy told us "you can't come back from Nepal to India with an e-visa". Yet we would have a stamp on our passport when we arrived in Delhi a few days before going to Nepal, indicating that we are allowed to make several exits / entries... In short, in doubt, we send back our passports, and add a paper visa on passport... Passports which are returned to us 24 to 48 hours before the flights... oh oh! there we work our interior confidence... For the little story, some of us decide not to do it, to leave with their e-visas, and will thus prove that they were right and that the employee of the Indian embassy was wrong...


On the D-day, everybody arrived on time in Varanasi, all the flights were perfect. Superb!

However, an unfortunate event occurred on the evening of their arrival, leading to some adjustments.

Indeed, Geshe Urgyan Tsering who was to accompany us, had an epileptic seizure while we had just entered a monastery, and hurt himself by banging his head strongly on the ground. The moment is intense. At the beginning, he is lying down, inert, flat on the ground. I turn him over in pls, discovering the blood which flows from his nose, and his body which starts convulsions.

Quickly the monks intervene and move me away, while he is unconscious, they use their method, sit him down, this one automatically, while he is not mentally here, positions himself in crossed legs posture, instinctively. The minutes pass, his back is massaged, and after a good twenty minutes, he returns. Not completely, but he comes back. Phew.

Later in the night, Urgyen and I take him to a hospital. Too small. Just 4 to 5 beds. 1 doctor. He tells us everything is fine and sends us back to the hotel after charging us for some medication.

After another epileptic seizure, we leave in the night for another hospital. A bigger one. A dozen beds. A dozen people attend the consultation (the cab driver, the neighbor, the passer-by, etc...). We pay for the medicines and he is installed in a bed, under perfusion.


In the morning, I leave with the participants of the trip to visit Sarnath and to give the teaching that Geshela had to bring on the 1st of the four noble truths and then to continue with some exercises of breath and meditation.


During this time, Urgyen goes to look for him because the hospital does not wish to keep him, this one seeking anyway to leave the place, and brings him in another hospital to carry out a scanner. The scan shows that despite the fact that Geshe is still shaken in the sense that he is not completely there mentally, there is only a broken nose. Phew. We were very worried that there was a concussion. So that's a relief. However, the doctors ask that he rest.


We then learned that members of his family had just arrived in Bodhgaya to attend the teachings of His Holiness. Urgyen organizes a cab to bring them both to Bodhgaya. They leave at 4pm, arriving at the place around 11pm. As soon as they were dropped off, Urgyen took the road in the opposite direction, to reach the hotel at 5:30 am.


On my side I had presented to the participants several options:

  • it was planned to visit Sarnath in the morning, then Varanasi in the afternoon and in the evening, then day 2 road to Lucknow, day 3 road to Shravasti where we stop to visit then drive to Lumbini

  • we visit Sarnath and spend the afternoon quietly, day 2 in the late morning we reach Varanasi, day 3 we drive to Shravasti, visit it, then we drive to Lumbini

  • we visit Sarnath, day 2 we go to Lucknow, day 3 Shravasti and Lumbini, which means that we do not visit Varanasi anymore.


Everyone agreed on the 2nd solution. Harder on the 3rd day because we left at 5am, and arrived in the evening around 10pm, but it allowed us to enjoy Shravasti, without forgetting the wonderful discovery of Varanasi! Varanasi is a must! Many travel agencies decide to eliminate it from the tours but anyone interested in Buddhism must be aware of 2 points: suffering and death.

Sarnath is the place par excellence to bring the teaching on Suffering, in connection with the 1st noble truth.

Varanasi is the place par excellence to bring the teaching on death.


The journey then continued without any change in the agenda. From Lumbini on, we were again in line with the initial schedule.


This is to say that whatever happens, it is important not to get into a defeatist mindset, to live in the moment, and to do everything possible to make things happen.


This rule is very simple, logical, obvious you may say, yet how often we do not apply it in our lives.


What blocks us? Very often, we find "the attachment to what we had decided" and "the fear of entering an unknown temporal and organizational environment".

Fear, doubt, and attachment are our speed bumps. They prevent us from making the right decisions. They prevent us from putting action into motion. They prevent us from moving forward.


So I leave you to meditate on these aspects. Take back some moments of your lives, try to go into the why and how... Draw your lessons to apply the right methods in the future.


The main one is to "let go". Let go of the solidity of what has been said, planned, organized. This planned situation does not work? Ok, then I look at it right away, without apprehension and in full openness to other solutions and I move towards it by committing all my energy.


The more you do this, the easier life will be. You will be able to face the unexpected in a lighter way.

The world is undergoing great changes: financial balances between the different zones of the world, climate change, resources, migratory flows, ....

The more you let go, the more fluidly you will undulate through the changes that the world will offer us.


That's it for today!

And here are some pictures of Varanasi!

You just have to decide and join us!






Comments


--> Teacher training is given from 1 person upward. Kathy is in Lu Jong 1 teacher training ending in July. Aurore and Mickael are in training until January. It is possible to join or start a new training course from 1 person, Info here.
--> Johnathan returns to do the last course of Tog Chöd training in Chamonix at the end of June 2024. Venerable Oser is starting the Tog Chöd teacher training with the first face-to-face course in June in Chamonix and is already getting the hang of it with the theory through access to the online extranet. You can still join this training. The next training of Top Chod will perhaps start in June 2027 (or perhaps 2025 or 2026), to be continued...

--> A Tog ChOd discovery weekend is offered to everyone at the end of June! Info here

-->  We will be in Thailand in May and June and can offer discovery sessions or modules B of Lu Jong and Tog Chöd teacher training in French and English: in Chamonix from the end of June to the end of September, in Tenerife in October, in Nepal at the beginning of November 2024, in Thailand in November and December, and on Reunion Island in January 2025. And last minute... the Kora Kailash trip will take place in mid 2026 (the previous one was in 2018.. .), but will be reserved for former students or former participants of at least one trip with us! so if you would like to organize a retreat or training at these locations, contact us!

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