As His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa says repeatedly, "Pilgrimages should be a great purifier and should involve some physical hardships."
We can be quite certain that the challenges we will be encountering during the forthcoming pilgrimage and prayer ceremonies in Nangchen, Eastern Tibet, will be great support for our spiritual path and our development of devotional attitude towards genuine masters and their lineages.
As Qinghai province is a mountainous region, there will definitely be times that some people may suffer from a certain degree of mountain sickness, especially in Nangchen and even in Yushu. You should consult your doctors before embarking on such a trip if you have health concerns.
For many people who have gone on a pilgrimage or traveled with His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa and/or or any great master of present age, it is not unusual to expect a sudden change in schedule, itinerary and programs. Sometimes these changes might not have seemed intentional, such as snowing, raining, flood, etc. all kinds of natural phenomena that might appear in an unlikely season or time according to scientific weather forecast. Therefore, as pilgrims on a spiritual path, it is best not to expect physical comfort and luxuries, even if the conditions seem quite possible to have all these within reach, because the least one expects, the better things seem to be turning out.
LIMITED FACILITIES IN NANGCHEN
Much unlike Kunming, Lhasa, Chengdu and many parts of Tibet, Nangchen is not a widely traveled region, therefore it has very limited facilities for visiting tourists. But for seasoned pilgrims and travelers, they should not worry too much, because before and after the journey to Nangchen, there are plenty of modern facilities to enjoy in Xining.
As much as the organizing members wish to provide the most luxurious camping facilities in Nangchen, unfortunately this is not possible due to the undulating landscape in the vicinities of the two monasteries where the tents will be pitched. Therefore, there is very little flat land for setting up tents, and not only that, some land should also be provided for many other local nomadic people who will also be joining us in this very rare and precious occasion.
Tents will be set up for the registered foreign pilgrims, in each two pilgrims will be accommodated (unless registered as single occupancy). Each pilgrim will be provided with a mattress and a sleeping bag all brand new.
In the entire Nangchen, there is no supply of electricity and no shower or bathing facilities. Please re-charge all your electrical gadgets and clean yourself nicely in Yushu before going to Nangchen for the few days of spiritual journey. Although there are a few natural streams, it is still best not to bathe oneself in them because the stream water is extremely cold.
Each bus will be provided with a qualified doctor and some nurses to help those who may suffer from high mountain syndromes.
Should there be any shortcoming with any part of the arrangement, please do not hesitate to reflect to the organizing members, and also give them the opportunity to resolve and improve the situation.
In every pilgrimage or spiritual gathering, there could be tested times where our tolerance and patience are challenged, when we least expect these to happen. But please remember that in all pilgrimages and holy occasions, we all need to be understanding and supportive towards one another so that the entire event will be beneficial for ourselves and those around us, especially for the longevity of our precious masters and for the sake of their lineage.
As we may travel in a large group, it is imperative that we move very quickly in a disciplined manner in order not to miss any sites or flights (or miss any one). For ease of administration and to ensure no one is left behind, you will be assigned to travel in different buses or jeeps (such as buses or jeeps 1, 2, 3, 4 and etc...) throughout the whole pilgrimage whenever we travel in the tour buses or jeeps.
We urge you all to kindly look out for your fellow pilgrims on the same jeep to help ensure that no one is missing. You will be advised which bus group you belong.
Throughout the pilgrimage, your luggage will follow you in the same jeep as you are assigned. You will be given color/number coded luggage tags, please tag them onto your luggage. This is to facilitate the porters to load the luggage onto the respective buses and make counting luggage easier. You will also be given corresponding color ribbons to be tied onto your luggage for easy identification.
Each registrant will be given an identity tag. Please wear it all the time because permission to enter into most of the main shrines of the various monasteries and into the cafeteria for having meals will require a show of the tag.
There are telephone roaming services in Xining, so your mobile will work well there. But there are no such services in Yushu and Nangchen. In case of emergency, we will provide you with a telephone number to contact when the time is closer to the pilgrimage. We apologize that information regarding local telephone numbers are not yet available.
- Your personal practice text
- The Rosary of Jewels (Third Edition):
THINGS TO BRING
- Passport/Chinese visa/international flight tickets. Please ensure your passport has at least 6-month validity.
- Waterproof layers (especially a top), in case of a change in weather conditions
- Heat resistant bowl and cup
- Local currency/extra cash for personal expenses
- Personal effects, i.e. toiletries (may also consider bathroom tissues and disinfectant)
- Medication as you require, for altitude sickness and other discomforts
- Comfortable walking shoes with tracks. Some distance of mountain walking may be expected (we actually do not know since this kind of program is mostly spontaneous)
- Some clothing to keep warm, especially for the few nights in Nangchen where we will be staying in tents, it can also be very windy
- Appropriate rainwear/umbrella as rain may also be possible. Please note that abnormal weather conditions can sometimes occur during a pilgrimage or a journey with accomplished spiritual masters
- Sun block and sunglasses and hat/cap
- Cushion as you may require
- Alarm clock and flash/torch light