Embark on a transformative journey!

The Four Noble Truths Seminar and Pilgrimage

January 23, 2025 — February 6, 2025

Join us for an immersive cultural pilgrimage in Northern India. You’ll delve into the Tibetan monastic tradition and explore the foundational Buddhist teachings at the very places where they were originally delivered 2,500 years ago, including Sarnath, where the Buddha first taught The Four Noble Truths, Vulture Peak, Nalanda, and Bodhgaya.

Experience traditional Dharma teachings and engaging discussions in English with SINI’s Khenpos and instructors. SINI fosters an inclusive and inquisitive learning environment, helping you connect deeply with these profound teachings and gain new perspectives on your own experiences.

Registration Deadline
November 1, 2024

Questions?

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

Highlights

The pilgrimage starts with a five-day seminar at SINI. It’s in Sarnath where the Buddha first taught The Four Noble Truths. This journey takes you to some of the most sacred sites in the Buddhist world, including Sarnath’s Dhamek Stupa, Vulture Peak, Nalanda University, and Bodhgaya, where the Buddha achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.

Teaching Emphasis

The program offers traditional Dharma teachings on the Four Noble Truths. These teachings that have remained the centerpiece of all Buddhist teaching, are brought into a contemporary context through reflective inquiry into one’s own experiences, hearts, and minds, aimed at understanding the root causes of suffering. Additionally, the program provides SINI’s English language students, who are all Khenpos and teachers in their own right, with valuable opportunities to deliver Dharma talks and engage in discussions in English.

Community Interaction

You are welcomed into our community of Tibetan Buddhist monastics from India, Nepal, and Bhutan. SINI offers a unique learning environment with opportunities that extend beyond the classroom. Meals become moments of personal connection and conversation for participants and monks, providing good chances for meaningful exchange.

Immersive Experience

Practice along with monks, nuns, and laypeople from across the Himalayas and experience the devotional atmosphere and energy of the event.

This is an especially precious opportunity during  the Nyingma Monlam Chenmo in Bodhgaya, where thousands of Buddhists from around the world connect in genuine and wholehearted practice.

Transformation & Full-Hearted Participation

Be welcomed into the World Peace Ceremony at the Mahabodhi Temple, engaging actively in prayers and practice. Embracing this opportunity, the immersion allows for curiosity to evolve into wholehearted participation in this profound ceremony.

Embrace New Horizons

Join SINI’s Four Noble Truths Seminar & Pilgrimage and discover an incredible diversity of religions, traditions, and ways of life. Experience the sacred sites, daily rituals, vibrant atmosphere, and a depth of energy that can be quite surprising. India has a lot to teach!

SINI takes utmost care to help you safely navigate through this cultural and spiritual journey, incorporating all that the pilgrimage encompasses.

Registration & Fees

Standard Rate

$2250 USD

This rate represents the fair market value needed to cover the essential costs of running the program. It ensures that all necessary expenses are met without compromising on the core aspects of the pilgrimage, maintaining our high standards of the pilgrimage experience.

We offer a limited number of scholarships to help those with financial constraints benefit from this once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage. Please contact us for details.

Sponsor Rate

$5250 USD*

This rate covers the same full service as the Standard Rate. Additionally, it supports a monk for one year in the English for Dharma Purposes Program. By choosing this option, you help empower monastics to preserve, teach, and translate the Dharma, making it accessible to all.

If you are able to sponsor this pilgrimage, please consider doing so to make a meaningful impact.

The Sarnath International Nyingma Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the USA.

*If you choose the Sponsor Rate, $3000 is tax-deductible.

Registration Deadline
November 1, 2024

Payment schedule

  • Non-refundable deposit: $500 due at registration
  • Pending amount will be due 6 weeks prior to the beginning of the pilgrimage
  • Individual payment plans available (please contact us for details)

Ways to pay

Credit Card | PayPal | Check (US only)

What's included

  • 5 day seminar led by traditionally trained monastic teachers, in English
  • Airport pick up in Varanasi and drop-off in Gaya
  • Local transportation and site fees
  • Boat ride on the Ganges and guided city tour in Varanasi
  • All accommodations and meals
  • Experienced Pilgrimage guides
  • Participation in the 36th Nyingma World Peace Ceremony in Bodhgaya
  • Participation in the Manjushri Namasangiti Sanskrit Chanting Ceremony

What's not included

  • International travel to India, travel to Sarnath and departing travel from Bodhgaya
  • Visa Fee
  • Travel Insurance
  • Single room supplement
  • Gifts

Download Brochure

Download SINI’s Four Noble Truths Seminar & Pilgrimage brochure in PDF format.

Detailed Itinerary

January 23, 2025 — February 6, 2025

Dates Day(s) Location Itinerary
January 23 — 27 Day 1 — 5 Sarnath
  • Welcome to the Sarnath International Nyingma Institute (SINI)
  • Dharma talks on the Four Noble Truths by resident Khenpos at SINI
  • Review sessions, yoga, chanting, and meditation instruction
  • Boat tour on the Ganges and guided city walk in Varanasi
  • 6 nights at SINI
  • Connect with monastics at SINI
January 28 Day 6 Sarnath > Rajgir
  • Travel from Sarnath to Rajgir
  • 2 nights at a hotel in Rajgir
January 29 Day 7 Vulture Peak
  • Reading of the Heart Sutra, Chant, and Meditation
January 29 Day 7 Nalanda
  • Guided tour of the archeological site of Nalanda University
January 30 Day 8 Rajgir > Bodhgaya
  • Travel from Rajgir to Bodhgaya
  • Visit of the Mahakala Caves
January 31 — February 5 Day 8 — 14 Bodhgaya
February 6 Day 15 Bodhgaya
  • Departure from Gaya Airport

Registration Deadline
November 1, 2024

Questions?

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

“I felt so comfortable and at home in the SINI “sacred field.” There was so much deep, genuine connection with just a few words, and so many people with a positive vision. The journey itself—the walk on the stupa path, the Bodhi tree, resonates deeply with me and leaves me feeling profoundly nourished. I’m truly grateful for the experience and would love to return soon!”

Britta H.

Participant

“SINI’s atmosphere of quiet, communal mission, is something I had never experienced in decades of living around the world. Though the monks suffer exile from family and motherland, they are fun-loving and focused on learning English for daily life and to further the spread of Buddhism; they model what a human being can be.”

Katherine K.

Participant

Important Information

Accommodation
During the first part of the pilgrimage, we arrange shared accommodations (double occupancy) at SINI, featuring spacious, clean rooms with private showers and toilets. In Rajgir and Bodhgaya, we will stay in comfortable hotels. At the hotel in Bodhgaya, we will also have the opportunity to join the group of organizers and international volunteers of the Nyingma Monlam. If you prefer a single room (where available), there is an additional price supplement.

For those who wish to have extra days to recover from air travel before the pilgrimage begins, or for those who wish to extend their stay after the pilgrimage ends, we would be happy to assist with booking accommodations.
 

Transport
Upon your arrival at Varanasi airport, we will arrange pick-up, and we kindly request you to share your flight itinerary once confirmed. The ride to the Institute will take approximately 30 minutes.

Please arrange your departing flight for February 6 from Gaya Airport. We provide complimentary drop-off service, as well as shuttle service from the hotel to the sites we are visiting. For our journey from Sarnath to Rajgir and Bodhgaya, we will travel comfortably by car.
 

Cancellation policy
Before October 31, 2024: You will be refunded all payments made to date minus a non-refundable deposit for the pilgrimage.

Between November 1 – December 31, 2024: You will be refunded the program fee minus $1,000.


Cancellation after January 1, 2025: The entire cost of the pilgrimage will be non-refundable.
 

Health considerations
  • Ensure you consult your physician to review your Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Polio vaccinations.
  • We also recommend Hepatitis A and B vaccinations, and possibly Typhoid.
  • We stay at clean and safe places, and bottled water will be provided throughout the pilgrimage.
  • Vegetarian meals will be served, and we strongly advise against eating meat or street food. The rule for safe eating in India is to consume only hot and cooked food or items that can be peeled.
  • Please bring a face mask to shield against pollutants, and if you prefer, earplugs for added comfort.
  • There are currently no COVID-19 restrictions.

 

Weather and Attire
As the days become sunnier, mornings and evenings may still feel chilly. A light down jacket is recommended for these times, along with layers during the day.

Comfortable walking shoes and warm socks are advised.
 

It’s important to be comfortable and modestly dressed. For the World Peace Ceremony, please consider wearing long dresses, pants, and long-sleeve shirts that cover the hips out of respect for the occasion. Additionally, it is advisable to bring one special outfit for occasions such as offerings to high lamas.

Travel documents
You will need a valid passport with an expiry date not less than 6 months from date of entry into India. Please apply for a Tourist Visa. If you plan to visit Nepal or other countries before returning from Delhi, opt for a Tourist Visa with MULTIPLE ENTRY. Additionally, a SINGLE ENTRY Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is available. For the most accurate and updated information, you can visit the official Indian e-Visa website.
 

Questions?

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.