Thursday, 24 August 2017

"Myanmar Pilgrimage" to Offer Dhamma Tours of the Golden Land


Myanmar Pilgrimage will begin offering Dhamma tours of the Golden Land from Winter 2017-18. As its co-founders and several of its lead guides come from the volunteer Shwe Lan Ga Lay ("The Golden Path") project, the pilgrimages will lead meditators to many off-the-beaten track monasteries, pagodas, caves, and other important Buddhist sites throughout the country, and feature comprehensive information and historical background about them. Their Facebook page can be found here.

One of the pilgrimages will explore the sites (14 different regions in total) related to the lineage of S.N. Goenka, and to increase the Dhamma atmosphere, all nights of this 17-day pilgrimage will be spent at Buddhist monasteries. The American monk Bhikkhu Obhasa will also be joining this trip as a special guest. (Another pilgrimage will follow the same schedule but stay mostly in hotels.)

Myanmar Pilgrimage warns potential travelers that a pilgrimage is not a touristy trip. In its own words:

"Prospective travelers should keep in mind that a pilgrimage is different than a tourist trip or backpacking. The intent is not merely to see exotic sites, take photographs, and buy souvenirs, but also to appreciate Burmese Buddhist culture and most importantly, to grow in the Dhamma, or the teachings of the Buddha. If more interested in a standard tourist package, we recommend going with a more conventional Myanmar tourist agency. For those wishing to grow spiritually and experience the way that Myanmar society follows the Buddha's teachings, we welcome you."

 Elsewhere, in describing its mission, Myanmar Pilgrimage writes:

"All tourists are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the tours we offer to ensure a right fit with their expectations and reasons for visiting Myanmar. Those interested in a more conventional tourist experience, with a greater focus on shopping or following the standard traveler route, may want to consider other providers."