We have left Bodh Gaya after 38 years to offer a 10 day silent retreat in February 2013 in Shravasthi.
The Buddha spent 25 years living in the park in Shravasthi. He had numerous debates and discussions with gurus, Brahmin priests and seekers. Recorded in the discourses, his dialogues challenged directly the standpoints of various spiritual, religious and political authorities. The Buddha gave around 75 of the 150 suttas (discourses) recorded in the Middle Length Discourses in the park at Shravasthi. We offer our first retreat in February 2013 in the environment of the Jeta Grove, Shravasthi. We are still following in the footsteps of the Buddha.
Shravasthis is easier to get to from New Delhi, Lucknow and Varanasi than Bodh Gaya. It is quiet, peaceful, largely untouched, spacious and clean air – very different from Bodh Gaya.
I will offer our 10 day retreat alone in Shravasthi from evening of February 10 to noon of February-20, 2013. In 2013, our annual Dharma Gathering in Sarnath, near Varanasi, will be for 7 days from evening of February 21 to noon of February 28.
The monastery consists of around 12 acres (five hectares) with various temporary buildings in place. The Lord Abbot there is very supportive of our initiative. It seems likely that he will provide canvas marquis and tents for the meditation hall, kitchen, small groups, eating and sleeping.
Numerous flowers and trees have been planted in the Thai monastery, Shravasthi on the land that the Thai religious authorities acquired about five years ago. It is peaceful, spacious and with clear air. There are no nearby buildings that can be used for noisy weddings and pujas. The weather in mid February in Shravasthi is sublime with daytime temperatures generally between 20 to 30 degrees.
FLIGHTS: There are flights from New Delhi, Varanasi and elsewhere in India to Lucknow, three hours from Shravasthi. Taxi from Lucknow to Shravasthi is about 2500 rupees ($50).
TRAIN: To go by train to Shravasthi, there are three trains a day from New Delhi railway station to Gonda. The train journey takes around 10 hours with two or three tier sleeper accommodation. Two of the trains are overnight from Delhi leaving in the evening from New Delhi and arriving the next morning at Gonda. There are buses to Shravasthi from Gonda or a taxi for around 600 rupees ($12). The train journey is seven hours shorter than from Delhi to Gaya.
The train journey from Varanasi to Gonda is six hours. Overnight train journey from Hardwar to Gonda is 11 hours. Hardwar is a bus/taxi ride from Rishikesh,
Do come to our first retreat in Shravasti.