Machig Labdrön in Bhutan: Two Week Pilgrimage
With Lama Tsultrim Allione
October 22 - November 7, 2017
Join us for this rare opportunity to go on pilgrimage with Lama Tsultrim Allione to one of the last independent Vajrayana Buddhist countries in the world.
Letter from Lama Tsultrim
Dear Tara Mandala Community,
Several years ago I was contacted by a Bhutanese woman, a scholar with a PhD in Women’s Studies from Australia, she had had dreams about me and many auspicious signs. She told me about Druk Zangri Khamar, the seat of Machig’s lineage in Bhutan named after Machig’s seat in Tibet Zangri Khamar. Their lineage originated from the 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje and continues through the Karmapas and the great female master Shugsep Jetsun Rinpoche (1852–1953), revered as one of the last century’s best known woman teachers, who passed away at the age of 101 in Tibet. It was introduced to Bhutan and established at Druk Zangri Khagmar, in Rawabi village, Lhuentse, Eastern Bhutan by Trulshik Rigzin Lingpa Rinpoche and his heart student Togden Tsewang Choephel in the 1950s.
Many auspicious coincidences followed that led to Tara Mandala Board of Trustees President, MacAndrew Jack, professor at Naropa University, to visit the monastery and spend five amazing days there with his family. He returned with wonderful stories and photos as well as an invitation from the current abbot requesting me to visit.
Now it seems this auspicious connection will come to fruition and happens to occur around the time of my 70th birthday. After lots of planning we are excited to announce a Two Week Pilgrimage to Bhutan from October 22 – November 7, 2017. The primary focus of the pilgrimage is to visit and receive teachings at Druk Zangri Khamar. We will also visit Paro Taktsang, Machig Labdrön’s cave, the most sacred sites of Guru Rinpoche in Bhutan, as well as the sites connected to terton Pegyal Lingpa where we will meet his extraordinary reincarnation. This is an incredible opportunity to go on pilgrimage to one of the last independent Vajrayana Buddhist countries in the world that values Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product, and the first carbon negative country in the world.
I hope you can join me on this extraordinary journey.
All group members are requested to arrive at least a day ahead in Bangkok, Thailand.
Oct. 22: Group departs from Bangkok, Thailand to Paro, Bhutan. Stay in Paro.
Oct. 23: Visit Pegyal Lingpa’s monasteries
Oct. 24: Fly Paro to Bumthang. Stay in Bumthang.
Oct. 25: We will visit sacred sites including: Kurje Gompa, where Guru Rinpoche left a body print, and Membar Tso (Burning Lake), where Guru Rinpoche hid termas in a rushing river, Jambay Lhakang, one of the most ancient Bhutanese temples built in the 7th century by Tibetan dharma king Songtsan Gampo.
Oct. 26: We will visit Tharpa Ling, the mountain hermitage monastery founded by Lonchenpa. It was here where Lama Tsultrim saw the liberation through seeing thangka of the 1000 Armed Avalokitesvara that appeared when she was in a car that fell from a cliff in Bhutan.
Oct 27: Bumthang to Druk Zangri Khamar Rawabi, Lhuentse
Oct. 28 – Nov. 1: Druk Zangri Khamar
A monastery in Bhutan linked to the Chod lineage on a beautiful ridge with a view of Tibet. Their lineage originated from the 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje and continues through the Karmapas and the great female master Shugsep Jetsun Rinpoche (1852–1953), revered as one of the last century’s best known woman teachers, who passed away at the age of 101 in Tibet. It was introduced to Bhutan and established at Druk Zangri Khamar, in Rawabi village, Lhuentse, Eastern Bhutan by Trulshik Rigzin Lingpa Rinpoche and his heart student Togden Tsewang Choephel in the 1950s.
Here at our ‘sister center’ across the world, we will practice, receive empowerments, and teachings on Machig Labdrön’s lineage.
Nov. 2: Travel from Druk Zangri Khamar to Bumthang (overnight)
Nov. 3: Travel to Punakha. We will visit Trongsa Dzong, the largest fortress in Bhutan, on the way. Stay in Punakha.
Nov. 4: Travel to Thimpu. On the way we will visit Druk Wangyal Lhakhang with its 108 stupas on Dochula pass, the Lhundrup Chöling Nunnery and Chimi Lhakhang, also known as the Divine Madman’s Temple. Stay in Thimpu
Nov. 5: Travelling to Paro we will stop at Buddha Dordenma, with 169 ft. one of the largest statues of Buddha Shakyamuni in the world. Stay in Paro.
Nov. 6: Visit of Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest), the majestic temple complex built around the cave where Guru Rinpoche, Padmasambhava, meditated for three years.
Nov. 7: Group departs from Paro to Bangkok, Thailand.
We advice group members to leave from Bangkok earliest on Nov 8 and stay overnight in Bangkok.
Traditionally pilgrimage is considered to be an important way to gain merit, purify our karma, and deepen our practice due to the blessings of sacred places. Although we will do our best to make everyone comfortable during pilgrimage, there may be obstacles, discomforts, and changes that are unpredictable. A pilgrim needs to be aware we will be traveling in areas where the infrastructure is much more primitive than the west. We ask that you take out your own medical/travel insurance and consult your own doctor about immunizations.
Acceptance to the pilgrimage is by application and there are prerequisites for this pilgrimage:
- You must have been in either of Tara Mandala’s practice programs, Magyu or Gateway, (for at least a year) OR you must have done at least three retreats in person with Lama Tsultrim.
- You also must have learned the Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Chöd in retreat or online. Parchangma Chöd is recommended though not required. You can register for the online course on Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Chöd here. (webcast transmission coming this Winter or Spring.)
- You must be in good physical and mental health and be able to camp (albeit with a comfortable mat and pillow!).
Lama Tsultrim will review all applications. You will be informed about your acceptance in the shortest delays.
Cost: $5,980 per person (double-occupancy)
Cost includes all lodging, travel, and meals starting October 22nd when the group arrives in Paro until November 7th when the group departs Paro. The roundtrip flight from Bangkok to Paro is included. Participants have to cover the airfare to and from Bangkok as well as any costs for hotels or transportation in Bangkok.
• $5,980.00. The first payment of 50%, ($2990) is due with registration. $850.00 of this is non-refundable.
• The final payment is due by July 7, 2017.
- All lodging, travel and meals
- Roundtrip Bangkok to Paro
- All inland transport including the roundtrip flight from Bumthang to Paro
- Visa fee for Bhutan
- All entrance fees to the sites
- All guide fees
- Airfare to and from Bangkok
- Any accommodation, transportation or meals in Bangkok
- Insurance is the personal responsibility of tour members
- Dana at Druk Zangri Khamar or other monasteries (suggested $150 – $500)
- Any tips for drivers, waiters or guides
- Personal items such as laundry, bottled water, alcoholic and special drinks
- Any hotel fees and meals not included in itinerary
Lama Tsultrim Allione is founder and resident lama of Tara Mandala. She is author of Women of Wisdom and Feeding Your Demons. Born in New England to an academic/publishing family, she traveled to India in her late teens and was ordained as a Buddhist nun at the age of 22…
Learn more about Lama Tsultrim Allione