The Bhutan Buddhist retreat

By Sonam Pelden, Kuensel Online, October 15, 2007

Tourism with a spiritual flavour - this could sound like music to dharma bums

Timphu, Bhutan -- Buddhist teachers like Sogyal Rinpoche, Julia Jus, Gangteng Tulku Kunzang Pema Namgyal and Minling Khenchen Rinpoche will be delivering free teachings, all under one roof, in Paro from December 2 to March 16, 2008.

The Bhutan Buddhist retreat is being organised by Hotel Zhiwaling at Paro. During the retreat, participants will practice meditation and meditative walks with prayer beads, have talks on mandalas, indigenous medicine and ceremonies to hoist prayer flags and light butter lamps.

The teachings will be given in different languages, such as French, English and German, with translation.

Zhiwaling’s special projects marketing executive, Tshewang Rinchen, said that the programme has been created to allow additional activities during the winter and off-tourist seasons.

“The retreat harnesses some of the greatest assets of Bhutan, the most developed forms of Buddhist culture, peace and tranquility, that’s often missed around the world,” he said.

Under the auspices of six or more different masters, the week-long teachings will be conducted at basic, intermediary and advanced levels.

They expect to have at least about 25 foreign participants, who will be the main sponsors for the event, and some 150-200 Bhutanese free sign-ups for each programme. Zhiwaling officals say about 50 Bhutanese have contacted the program office and shown interest.

Viewed as a programme to benefit the community, Tshewang Rinchen said, “We hope to provide a very mutually beneficial platform for otherwise not available teachings.”

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