THE 18th VAJRA VIDYA INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR
with Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche
VAJRA VIDYA INSTITUTE
SARNATH, VARANASI, INDIA
March 5 - 16, 2018
We are able return to the regular time of year that we have the seminar due to the Kagyu Monlam schedule being earlier.
TEACHING SUBJECT: TO BE ANNOUNCED
TAPES OF THE TEACHINGS: will be available only in Kathmandu during the time of the Namo Buddha Seminar. You can tape yourself during the teaching or order later from Namo Buddha Publications.
SEMINAR FEE: $100 US or rupee equivalent
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND REGISTRATION FOR VVI ACCOMODATION CONTACT:DAILY SCHEDULE
Gloria Jones, Seminar coordinator: Email
Breakfast 7:00 am Sadhana Practice 8:00 – 8:45 am (usually Medicine Buddha) Meditation period 9:00 – 9:50 am Teachings 10:00 – 11:30 am (approx.) Lunch 12:30 – 1:30 pm Teaching Review 2:30 – 3:30 pm Tea 3:30 pm Tibetan Language, Text Study Classes 4:00 – 5:00 pm Khenpo’s teachings 5:15 – 6:15 pm Dinner 6:30 pm Sadhana Practice 7:30 – 8:30 pm (Chenrezig)
Participants are welcome to practice in the guesthouse shrineroom.
ACCOMODATION AT THE VAJRA VIDYA INSTITUTE
VAJRA VIDYA HOUSE - As of March 2018, the room prices have been adjusted.
THE VVI GUESTHOUSE
DURING THE VVI SEMINAR, the rooms mostly need to be double occupancy. All the rooms are large with attached bathrooms, desk and sitting area. The guesthouse has a shrineroom for practice, a dining room and a garden with a stupa (The Kagyu Dharmachakra Stupa). The cost during teachings is $25 a day per person including meals, tea and coffee. Meals are vegetarian. If a single room is available the cost is $30 per day.
IN THE MONASTERY
There are some basic rooms also available in the Institute for those wishing to stay alone or in case of the guesthouse being full. The cost is $25 per day for attached bathroom (if available) $20 a day per person for shared . The price for both types of rooms includes meals.
Note: at this time (July 23, 2017), the monastery rooms with attached bathroom are already reserved.
MEALS during teachings - are at VV House and are vegetarian with fruit served daily. Tea and coffee are served. People staying elsewhere are welcome to pay for meals at the VVI.
To reserve room during the seminar, contact Gloria Jones: EmailOTHER ACCOMODATIONS IN SARNATHJAIN GUESTHOUSEContact: Mr. JainMob 09936251407,Home phone 0542-2595621email email@example.comIt is near the park and a walk to the VVI. About 400 rps. a night. Shared bathrooms.SARNATH CAFEwhich is adjacent to the Tibetan University, hence about 1-2 km from VV Institute. It has new and clean rooms at 1,500 per night. Attached bathrooms.Contact Sukhdev SainiPh 0542-2588565 Mob 09335418653There's The Golden Buddhaand Raj Shanti Guesthouse (check their website)
For information about other accommodation in Sarnath: Google: "hotels and guesthouses", "Sarnath", "Varanasi, "India"
ABOUT SARNATH & VARANASI
SARNATH is a major Buddhist pilgrimage site (also known as Deer Park) and is located 10-km northeast of Varanasi. This site is where the Buddha gave the first teachings known as the Four Noble Truths and is known as the place where The Buddha turned the First Wheel of Dharma. The Vajra Vidya Institute is located just behind Deer Park. The Park is a large and beautiful area with trees, flowers, lawns and a small zoo. The ancient 34 meters high Dhamekh Stupa is located in the park along with the ruins of the ancient monasteries. Adjacent to or near the park are monasteries and temples of different schools of Buddhism from Japan, China, Thailand, Burma and others. The Indian Buddhist society called Mahaboudhi Society maintains the park. The Mahaboudhi Temple within the park has a tooth relic of the Buddha. The area of Sarnath is peaceful with few cars on the roads. It is very easy to get around Sarnath on foot or by bicycle rickshaw. The Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies, a university for Higher Buddhist studies of all four lineages of Tibetan Buddhism is also located in Sarnath.
VARANASI, known as the Holy City, is a major pilgrimage place for Hindus. The Ganges River, which flows through Varanasi, is sacred to Buddhist and Hindus alike. On the Ganges, the many temples and burning ghats for cremations make it is a very interesting place to visit. Varanasi is very crowded with air pollution. It is reputed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Varanasi is very famous for silk and is where traditional Tibetan silk brocade is being made. The city is also well-known for it’s traditional music and dance schools. The famous Benares Hindu University and Sanskrit University have students from all over the world. However, Varanasi, while being interesting, is not peaceful like Sarnath.
HOW TO GET THERE
Varanasi can be reached by air, train or bus from major cities in India. Most people fly first to Delhi or Mumbai and then get a connecting flight to Varanasi. The Varanasi airport is about 1-hour’s drive from Sarnath. There are several airlines flying between Varanasi to Delhi. Airlines flying every day are Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and some others. Thai Airways operates a direct flight from Bangkok to Varanasi and Gaya. Train from Delhi takes around 18 hours and is often delayed. Sarnath is approx. 20-30 minutes by car from Varanasi.
There’s no flights between Kathmandu and Delhi. One has to go through Delhi. One can also fly directly to Kathmandu to and from Mumbai and Calcutta.
Many airlines fly to Delhi and Mumbai from Europe, USA and all over the world either directly or on connecting flights. Air Canada now has a direct flight from Vancouver to Delhi
GETTING TO THE VVI
When reaching the Varanasi Airport or the city of Varanasi , take a taxi to Sarnath. When you reach Sarnath, go to the backside of Deer Park. The area is known as Kajoohay. If the driver doesn’t know, then ask someone directions to Kajoohay or the “Big Tibetan Temple” or “Big Mandhir” (temple). It is, by far, the largest one in the area and is well known to the local people.
It’s advisable to change money at the airport bank on arrival in Delhi or Varanasi to get Indian rupees for taxis etc. and some funds to last for some time so you don’t need to go to the bank for awhile. It may be possible to get Indian currency from a bank in your country. The rate (May 2015) for the Indian Rupee is approx. 62-64 rupees to one US dollar. You can probably get Indian Rupees from banks in your country. There are banks with ATM machines in Sarnath and in Varanasi. There’s some banks that do credit card withdrawals. Most convertible currencies can be exchanged but U.S. dollars are best. Pound sterling, Canadian dollar, Euros can also be exchanged.
Traveler’s checks are very difficult these days. Better to use ATMs.
TOURIST VISA for India and Nepal
At present, you must get an Indian visa at an Indian Embassy in your own country before arrival in India. Generally these visas are now processed by an outsourcing company – VSF-. Canadians can now get a 10 year visa for India. USA citizens get a 10 year visa. Some countries such as the UK have been getting a longer visa such as a 5 year visa. Go to the Indian Embassy website in your country and click on the link visa to India and see what is available. There’s a 30 day visa for India that can be applied for online if you are in one of the countries it’s available for. The visa can be paid by credit card and you will be sent a receipt. When presenting that receipt in the special line at the airport of your arrival a visa for India is given. Whatever visa you apply for ask only for a tourist visa or visitor visa.
If you are travelling to Nepal, you can get a 15 day visa, one-month ($30) or three month multiple entry visa ($100) for Nepal at the airport that can be extended at the immigration office in Kathmandu. You will need a photo and cash
WEATHER & CLOTHING
March will be very warm to hot in the Varanasi area and Bodhagya. Mainly, you will need only very light, loose clothing and a hat. Do not wear shorts in the VVI. Have some warmer clothing with you if you plan to travel to Dharamsala, Darjeeling District, Sikkim or Nepal you will need light clothing plus some warmer clothing and a light jacket and umbrella. An umbrella is good to have anytime and anywhere in India for both rain and sun.
Currently there are no direct flights from Nepal to Varanasi. That may change later this year so check if you are flying to or from Kathmandu.
From Varanasi, Bodhgaya can be reached by train or by car in about six hours. Pilgrimage to Bodhgaya etc. can be arranged at the VVI. There will likely be other people attending the seminar who will want to go to some of these places if you want to organize a group to travel together.
To get to Dharamsala people generally travel from Delhi and go either by air (3 flights a week), train or bus. You can get to Sikkim by flying from Delhi to Bagdogara in the Darjeeling District or by train to Bagdogara and then bus to Gangtok, Sikkim. Kathmandu to Delhi is approx. $150-$175 one way. Several airlines fly daily between Varanasi and Delhi daily and are approx. $72 - $90 one way.
If you will be travelling in India I suggest that you buy “The Lonely Planet Guide to India” for travel and accommodation info etc.
There’s wifi in the VVI guesthouse in the lobby and some rooms. Nearby the monastery you can geta SIM card for your phone. If you have a smart phone, you can get 3G (internet) on your phone.
Medical care is not as good as Kathmandu but there are doctors of western and herbal medicine as well as homeopathic doctors. There’s an Apollo Hospital in Varanasi which is quite good.There are many well-stocked pharmacies with most types of ordinary medicines. Many pharmaceutical companies in Europe and America are in partnership with Indian companies. We have a small medical clinic at the VVI with medicines. There’s two monk health practitioners, a doctor from Varanasi who comes three times weekly and often visiting doctors from the west and usually a couple of doctors attending the seminar.
There is a laundry person who comes to on the VVI Guesthouse and picks up laundry. It’s delivered, washed and ironed the next day. When traveling, almost all hotels have laundry service.
WHAT TO BRING
• A small flashlight for power outages and walking at night (you can buy flashlights in India but they are not as good).
• mosquito repellent for evening
• medicines and vitamins that you take regularly
• tapes and tape recorder if you wish to tape the teachings. CD’s of the teaching will be available in Boudha.
• Our guest house has hangers but if staying elsewhere, a few hangers if you need them
• A few clothepins etc. if you will be doing small laundry yourself.
• A light umbrella
THE VAJRA VIDYA BOOK AND GIFT STORE SELLS MOST DHARMA ITEMS, THANKAS, STATUES, BOOKS AND TEXTS. THERE IS ALSO A COFFEE SHOP RUN BY THE MONK’S WELFARE ASSOCIATION (VERY POPULAR!)
Soap, toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper, mineral water, batteries, camera film, notebooks, pens, chocolate bars, cookies and snacks are available in VVI COFFEE SHOP. There’s also stores across the street from the VVI and in the nearby village of Sarnath. Fruit sellers are everywhere.
CONTACT NUMBERS FOR THE VAJRA VIDYA INSTITUTE
PHONE: 91-542-259-5744 (Office) FAX: 91-542-259-5746
Do not contact the Vajra Vidya Institute about the seminar or accommodations for the seminar period These numbers are only to give to your family etc. in case of emergency or to contact Gloria Jones.
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