Monk for a Month

Monk for a Month

Monk for a Month is a Buddhist spiritual experience program launched by Conscious journeys in partnership with the Mahabodi of Leh and soulful tours. The purpose of this experiential learning program is to promote cultural exchange, deep understanding of the Buddhist teachings and of the monastic life in “Buddhist” India and also exposure to the socio-economic conditions and the culture of Ladakh. Perched at an altitude of over 3,500 meters, Ladakh is an isolated plateau fringed with soaring snow-capped mountains and enormous sweeping valleys, and deep turquoise lakes dot this high-altitude desert. This raw and awe-inspiring ancient land is often referred to as Little Tibet and is home to one of the best-preserved Tantric Buddhist societies in existence.
Ladakh – once the center of the ancient Silk Road – is rightly described as a place where Buddhist spirituality and its ancient culture reign supreme, surrounded by unspoiled nature. It’s a desert and cold area in northern India, dotted with small villages scattered on the Himalayan next to Tibet. The climatic conditions are difficult and it can happen, if you are not careful, to suffer sunburn or freezing even in summer.
To live a spiritual experience of Himalayan Tibetan Buddhism and to take part in daily activities, Conscious Journeys wants to propose an experiential tour in Ladakh, dedicated to spiritual seekers or curious travelers, who want to deeply discover this ancient land, not just as tourists.
Joining this experience, you will have the opportunity to practice meditation in one of the most traditional centers of Ladakh.
If you are tired of the hustle and bustle of your daily and you need to experience a life time adventure in an extraordinary Himalayan landscape far away from the ordinary world, probably this itinerary is made for you!

Program Highlights:

  • live in a traditional monastery in Ladakh perched at an altitude of over 3,500 meters
  • learn Buddhist meditation together with native monks in an location that stimulates your awareness
  • first hand experience of a daily spiritual life of Ladakh

The program

15 days

The program schedule begins in the Leh in a beautiful Himalayan landscape . The heart of the program is the contemplative experience of living in a traditional Buddhist monastery high in the breath-taking mountains. During these 15 days in the monastery you will learn about Buddhism from the source while practising the path and having a living-experience of daily life of Buddhist Monks.
The selected meditation center is located in an amazing location, a stimulating oasis for peaceful contemplation, located in a secluded corner, surrounded by rocky mountains on one side and golden sand dunes, on the other. It is here that we have developed this unique yet engaging program to enable one to go deep into a space where entry is possible only for the initiated.
The monk for a month program is a journey that takes you into both the external as well as internal spaces that surround our physical, mental and spiritual grounds and gives you the opportunity to withdraw temporarily from all preconceived notions of religious, spiritual and mundane notions.

As the sage says “Your cup is full. How can I put anything in it till you empty it out first?”

The Journeys

Day 01: ARRIVAL IN LEH

Arrival at Leh airport and check into the meditation center of the Mahabodi Meditation center. This first day will be dedicated to absolute rest.
Overnight at the Mahabodi (B, L, D).

Day 02: INITIAL CEREMONY

After breakfast, before embarking on the meditation path, there will be the introductory ritual, the dressing ceremony, in preparation for the meditation retreat.
Overnight at the Mahabodi (B, L, D)

Day 03 – 04 – 05: MEDITATION RETREAT

The meditation courses of these first 3 days will be based on the essence of the Buddha’s teachings. The peaceful stay during the retreat will provide the necessary time for the body to adapt to the altitude and to have a direct experience of the spiritual practices of Buddhism. During these days, the following schedule will be observed:

  • 05.30 – wake up to the sound of the bell
  • 06.00 – 08-00 – first morning meditation session
  • 08.00 – 10.00 – breakfast and rest
  • 10.00 – 10.45 – seated group meditation
  • 10.45 – 11.15 – walking meditation
  • 11.20 – 12.00 – seated group meditation
  • 12.00 – 14.00 – lunch and rest
  • 14.00 – 14.45 – seated group meditation
  • 14.45 – 15.15 – walking meditation
  • 15.30 – 16.30 -Guided group meditation
  • 16.30 – 17.30 – Break for a tea
  • 17.30 – 18.30 – Yoga session
  • 18.30 – 19.00 – meditation at sunset
  • 19.00 – 20.00 – dinner
  • 20.00 – 20.45 – concluding Dhamma speech

Overnight at the Mahabodi (B, L, D)

Day 06: VISIT TO THE ROYAL PALACE IN LEH

After the first meditation teachings, you will be ready to discover the essence of Ladakh with more awareness. After breakfast, transfer to Leh. You can discover the fascinating labyrinth of winding streets and quaint local bazaars. The main street is open and airy, with rows of shops on either side. You will visit the spectacular Royal Palace of Leh, an imposing eight floors building overlooking the city; built in the 16th century, around the same time as the Potala Palace in Lhasa in Tibet, which it actually resembles. In the afternoon, you will return at the Mahabody to practice individual meditation, and experience on your own what has been learned during the first three days of spiritual retreat.
Overnight at the Mahabodi (B, D)

Day 07: VISIT TO THE HEMIS MONASTERY

In the morning, visit the monasteries of Thiksey and Hemis. Perched on a rocky hill, Thikshey Monastery reminds the Potala Palace in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, famous for its distinctive architecture and location. Located at the top of the hill in the Indus valley, the 12 floors monastery has 10 temples, meeting room, rare and precious stupas, statues, thangkas, murals and swords. It housed a large statue of the Maitreya Buddha, whose purity of gaze invites reflection and silent meditation. Here we will participate in the morning prayer. Then visit the Hemis monastery, the most famous and the largest in Ladakh, belonging to the Drukpa order of Tibetan Buddhism. During the festival of the same name, which takes place every year in the monastery, you can see the Cham dance and the mystical mask dance. Monks wear flowing brocade costumes and brightly painted papier mache masks, depicting demons, and perform the chams or masked dance, representing the victory of good over evil.
Overnight at the Mahabodi (B, D)

Day 08 – 09 -10: MEDITATION RETREAT

Meditation clasess, which follows the previous schedule.
Overnight at the Mahabodhi (C, P, C)

Day 11: VISIT TO THE STOK PALACE

Transfer to Leh and visit the Stok palace, which houses a beautiful private museum. There is a superb collection of Thangkhas, which is said to be the best in the world. In the afternoon, I return to the Mahabody, for a little rest and to be able to meditate individually.
Overnight at the Mahabodi (C, C)

Day 12: CHOD RITUAL IN LAMAYURU

After breakfast, transfer to Lamayuru and visit the monastery. Dating back to the 11th century, it is not only the oldest and most picturesque, but it is said to have been the first place of learning in Ladakh of the Drikung Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Visit to the Lamayuru meditation center, which houses a small community of yogis, who still practice a sort of ancient Tibet tantric meditation, already practiced by great yogis such as Milarepa, Naropa. You will be able to meet the Yogis, interact with them and attend the Chod prayer ritual. The Chod ritual is an esoteric tantric practice that aims at separation from the ego and attachment to the body, visualizing mentally offering one’s “material” part to all sentient beings, especially the restless hungry creatures of the spirit world. Following, typical local lunch at the meditation center. If time permits, stop at Rizong Gompa, one of the few monasteries in Ladakh that hosts female monks called “Chomos”. The small Gompa is located deep in a narrow valley, also called “The paradise of meditation”. Return to the Mahabodi in the afternoon.
Overnight at the Mahabodi (C, C)

Day 13 – 14: MEDITATION RETREAT

Second three-day meditation retreat, which follows the previous schedule.
Overnight at the Mahabodhi (C, P, C)

Day 15: DEPARTURE FROM LEH AIRPORT

Transfer to Leh airport and departure with international flight.

As the sage says: “Your cup is full. How can I put anything in it till you empty it out first?”

THE JOURNEY:
Category: Buddhist Retreat
Duration: 15 Days
Mode of Travel: Jeep and Walking/Hiking
Accommodation: Monastery (Mahabodi)

WHAT IS INCLUDED:

  • Accomodation;
  • Meals as per program (B breakfast L lunch D dinner);
  • Transfers – From the airport pickup to the return to Leh;
  • Information material;
  • Transport, guiding and tickets for visits as per program;

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED:

  • Mineral water and drinks
  • Mance,
  • Insurance,
  • Unforseen expenses.

Departure dates:
20 August 2022
4 September 2022

  • Viaggi Bhutan Turismo responsabile e sostenibile
  • Viaggi Bhutan Turismo responsabile e sostenibile
  • Viaggi Bhutan Turismo responsabile e sostenibile

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    Conscious Journeys is a local DMC that directly organizes all ground services of the tour (transportation, guides, accommodation and activities), while it does NOT provide external services such as air flights and travel insurance. We can guide you to the flights you can buy on your own, or we can have them quoted by a travel agency we trust.

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