A Glimpse into Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism:
The Nyingma tradition is the oldest of the four major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. This is reflected in the name Nyingma which literally means “Old Order”. Nyingma primarily relies on the old translations, particularly of tantric texts, and its Tibetan origins are traced to Buddhist pioneers of the time of King Trisong Detsen. Because of this, it called the “Old Translation Order” (Ngagyur).
The Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism traces its origins back to the Buddha Samantabhadra, Vajrasattva, and Garab Dorje of Uddiyana. The most important source of the Nyingma order is the Indian Guru, Padmasambhava, the founder of the Nyingma Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, who came to Tibet in the eighth century C.E. invitation by King Trisong Detsan (742-797) of Tibet in order to subdue the evil forces and establish the genuine teachings of the Buddha. Among Tibetans, he is most well known as “Guru Rinpoche,” or the “precious guru.” He overcame obstacles and evils, transforming them into a positive field of energy that became the fundamental basis for the spread of Buddhism in the Land Of Snow, Tibet.
The great Bodhisattva Abbot Shantarakshita, Guru Padmasambhava, and the King together completed the building of Samye monastery, probably around 779 C.E.
Samye became the principal Buddhist center of learning and also the place where many of the Indian Buddhist texts were first translated into Tibetan, the beginning of the creation of a vast Buddhist literature in Tibet.
For many years, Abbot Shantirakshita and Guru Rinpoche taught sutra and tantra extensively in Tibet. Guru Rinpoche taught the highest classes of the tantras to his twenty-five principal disciples. These disciples became the first wave of Tibetan yogis to attain realization; their supreme spiritual accomplishments benefited countless sentient beings.
Guru Padmasambhava hid hundreds of teachings and instructions as treasures, in the forms of scriptures, images, and ritual articles, to be revealed at an appropriate time in the future. He saw that though the time was not ripe for him to teach them at that time, many of the teachings would benefit future generations. Since that time, more than one hundred tantric masters have revealed these treasures and taught them, as instructed by Padmasambhava, to their students. In this way, the Terma (revelation) lineage emerged.
Thematic Tour Overview:
Your key focus of this authentic private group tour programme aims to trace back in time and visit some of the must-see sights of Tibetan Nyingma monasteries, temples and hermitage caves with a primary objective to explore and learn the mythic and inspirational stories of the great Nyingmapa masters.
You will begin this 9-day tour starting from Kongpo (Nyangtri Bayi prefecture). The arrangement made mainly because your furthest tour site destination is going to be Kongpo and if you land Kongpo on your arrival can save both time and costs. Other than this, the land is situated in the lower reach of the Yarlung Tsangpo River. The climate is uniquely mild and wet at an altitude of 3,000 meters, an ideal place for acclimatization for high altitude sicknesses.
“Following the footsteps of the Nyingma Masters”, the tour mainly covers the following sacred seats where they hold a rich history in teachings from past and present of Nyingma masters of Buddhism in Tibet.
- Samye monastery the first Buddhist monastic in Tibet.
- Chimphu hermitage caves, one of the most sacred meditation retreat site of Padmasambhava.
- Mindroling monastery one of the six major monasteries of the Nyingma school in Tibet funded by Rigzin terdak Lingpa in 1676
- Dorje Drak monastery, good maintaining of Terma tradition of the Nyingma School known as the Northern Treasures which drives from Rigdzin I Godemchen Ngodrub Gyeltsen (1337-1409).
- Lamaling temple, the main seat of the late Dudjom Rinpoche (1904-87) head of the Nyingma School
- Drak Yerpa Hermitage one of the holiest cave hermitage sites.
- The gorgeous sight of highland Basum Tso Lake in Kongpo. Notably, a holy lake of Nyingma tradition in Tibetan Buddhism. Most noteworthy, a small temple with the 1500 year’s history is seated at the center of the lake on an islet where Padmasambhava has been worshiped for centuries.
During your stay in Lhasa, you will be exploring some of the major best-loved sights of religious and historic significance in the city. It includes the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple. Get an ample chance to visit and observe the traditional life of the indigenous Tibetan rural communities. Furthermore to visit handicraft center to see and learn the extraordinary array of authentic Tibetan traditional handicraft. Also visit and learn contemporary works of crafts and arts.
Day 1: Arrive in Kongpo (Nyangtri Bayi prefecture) Elevation 2800 meters
- Arrive in Nyangtri – collection from Bayi airport and drive a short distance and visit Lamaling temple. It is the main seat of the late Dudjom Rinpoche (1904-87) head of the Nyingma School
- Drive back to Nyangtri Bayi prefecture and rest (prefecture-level city in southeast of the TAR)
Day 2: Kongpo – Basum Tso Lake – Lhasa Distance 390Kms Elevation 3950 meters
- Depart Nyangtri early in the morning, all day overland drive
- Turn-off and visit Basum Tso Lake, a notable highland holy lake of Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism
- Crossover Kongpo Bala pass (5150m)
- Arrive Lhasa and rest, the capital city of Tibet
Day 3: Visit Traditional Tibetan Farmer’s Village or Nomad Tent (Optional choice)
- To visit either to a traditional Tibetan Farmer’s Village or Green Grasslands Nomad Tent. In addition, the visit to experience first-hand the lifestyle of indigenous Tibetan rural communities. Moreover, gaining experiences by joining them herding yaks and sheep, making cheeses, yogurt and butter. Taste locally made snacks
- Drive back to Lhasa and rest
Day 4: Explorations around Lhasa
- Take a walk up and visit the Potala Palace, the fascinating landmark building in Lhasa. Most noteworthy, the winter residence of every Dalai Lama from the fifth to the current 14th
- Explore the Jokhang temple, the “spiritual heart” of Lhasa city
- Stroll around Barkhor street and the surrounding old quarters of the town
Day 5: Lhasa – Drak Yerpa Hermitage site Distance 18kms Elevation 4885 meters
- Visit Drak Yerpa monastery 18 kilometers northeast of Lhasa. A short drive from Lhasa and it is one of the holiest cave hermitage sites
- Visit Shol Dhenpa Handicraft center. The purpose is to see and learn the extraordinary array of authentic Tibetan traditional Handicraft. Moreover, to see and learn contemporary works of crafts and arts. These are Tibetan pottery wares, Thangka painting, sewing work and Buddhist statue fabrications
- Return to Lhasa and rest
Day 6: Lhasa – Tsetang – Samye – Chimphu Distance 205kms Elevation 3576 meters
- Drive to Tsedang, the capital seat of Yarlung valley (otherwise known as Lhoka region)
- Then, drive on to Samye monastery -the first monastery in Tibet. And explore around the monastery renowned for its architecture and the rich murals
- Depart Chimphu nunnery and hike Chimphu hermitage caves, one of the most sacred meditation retreat site of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava)
- Overnight stay in local guesthouse in Samye
Day 7: Samye – Drak Yangzom Meditation Cave Distance 80Kms Elevation 4800m
- Depart for Drak Yangzom early in the morning and hike Drak Yangzom meditation cave where Guru Rinpoche. Moreover, some other great Buddhist yogi masters had meditated
- Drive back to Tsetang prefecture and rest
Day 8: Samye – Dhoje Drak – Mindroling monastery Distance 170kms Elevation 3576m
- Set off and visit Mindroling monastery one of the six major monasteries of the Nyingma school in Tibet
- After visiting Mindroling monastery head to and explore Dhoje Drak monastery
- Drive back to Lhasa and rest
Day 9: Depart Lhasa
- Transfer to the Lhasa airport or train station
- Depart Tibet
Tibet Universal Tours and Travel puts great importance on the promotion of responsible and sustainable tourism practices. It incorporated into our day to day base tour service performances. So, we always strive to ensure that our tour service delivery will have a maximum quality. Furthermore, we also strive to the minimum level of negative social, economic, environmental and cultural impacts. Following outlined points are some of our representative measures undertaking in our routine job performances. In addition, these thoughts to be essential for a sustainable touristic development in Tibet.
Whenever and wherever possible, we extend charitable support to disadvantaged groups in remote Tibetan villages. For instance, utilizing the certain percentage of our annual company income we engage in social works. Therefore, we purchase and distribute warm winter clothes for children from rural Tibetan primary schools. As a result, they can keep them warm and happy during cold winter.
Moreover, we believe that every person deserves access to quality healthcare. So, we extend our help on medical expenses to those serious patients who are from remote and rural Tibetan villages. Because they cannot afford to pay their medical treatment when the treatment costs go beyond the local medical insurance coverage.
In support of contributing to the local economy and we give the local population a central role in the touristic economic development of their own territory. Therefore, we always strive to ensure that the economic benefits of tourism should go for local communities. So, poverty alleviation by generating financial benefits for both local people and private industries. For instance, we always use locally owned ground transportation and accommodation (i.e. hotels, lodges, and guesthouses). Furthermore, we also recommend local eateries, restaurants, and stores to our guests.
In addition, we are an indigenous local Tibetan travel agency based in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. 100% of our travel company employees are staffed and escorted by professional local Tibetans including local tour guides and drivers. So, this has created employment and job security opportunities for many educated and inspired Tibetans.
Tibetan Buddhist reality is profoundly ecological, and Buddhism itself is an ecological religion. It powerfully expresses human identification with nature. Buddhists believe that all things, including humans, exist by their interrelationship with all other parts of nature. Therefore, thinking of one's self as isolated from the rest of nature is being unrealistic.
Respect for life and the natural world
Giving the facts that Tibetans love and respect for life and the natural world. Therefore, to minimize the environmental impact created by tourists, we follow environment-friendly policies. So, we maintain the size of tour groups to have minimal impact on flora and fauna in an area. The necessary carbon emissions that we generate by our footprints of travel to the tour destinations cannot be overlooked. Therefore, we regularly actively participate in carbon reduction or offset activities such as tree planting. Our tour guides, drivers, and logistics staff are aware of waste management. Moreover, we advised them to dispose of all rubbish generated by themselves responsibly and recycle wherever feasible.
Safegurds for the Environment friendly tourism
Make the best use of the winter tourist low season, we deliver training workshops on environmental protection. Moreover, the training also includes the preservation and first aid training. So, we arrange it for all our company management staff, tour guides, and drivers in order to increase their knowledge. As a result, they can understand the importance of environmental protection and ecotourism.
Request to Visitors:
- Be considerate of the communities and environment you visit.
- Don’t litter, try to carry your own shopping bag to avoid plastic garbage problem. Many Tibetan local villages do not have environmentally sound garbage disposal systems. Therefore, pack garbage out to a larger town where there is a facility.
- Try to avoid excessive use of plastic bottles. Travelers are requested to bring a reusable water bottle. In addition, we will arrange and supply your drinking water in a bigger container.
- Reduce energy consumption. Unplug your mobile phone charger, turn off the lights
Conserve water. Take shorter showers.
- Always ask before taking photographs. So, if someone says no, respect their wishes.
- Educate yourself about the place you are visiting and the people.
- Respect cultural differences. Moreover, learn from it! People in different places do things differently. So, don’t try to change them. And, enjoy them.
- Support the local economy. Therefore, buy locally made souvenirs, eat at local restaurants. Furthermore, enjoy the local culture.
- Support responsible tourism organizations. Because those travel operators who publicly are aiming to make tourism more responsible.