To get best possible experience using our website we recommend that you upgrade to a newer version or other web browser. Buddhist monks pray during the inaugural ceremony of the International Conference on World Peace and Buddhism in Mumbai, India.
A Buddhist lama says a new confederation will seek to bridge the gap between the world's Buddhists and be a voice for the religion at major international events.
In an interview with VOA Wednesday, Lama Lobzang said it was the first time in history that a consensus has been reached among the worldwide Buddhist entities to form a unified body to represent their faith. Earlier this month, Buddhists from 33 countries attended the first International Buddhist Conference in New Delhi and formally launched their umbrella organization, which will arrange pilgrimages to ancient Buddhist sites in India. The organization will be run by the Ashoka Mission, a Buddhist non-governmental organization based in New Delhi. Amnesty International says almost a dozen children, including babies, have died this year in squalid conditions at a military detention center used to hold suspected Boko Haram militants.
When roads are blocked by floods, landslides or hostile checkpoints, often the only way to get vital medicine and supplies to remote areas is by air. Nigeria has pledged to crack down on armed nomadic herders accused of a series of brutal raids against communities across the country. Donald Trump — the presumptive Republican presidential nominee — has some tough talk for U.S. Discarded plastic bottles are piling up around the world despite recycling efforts, and people are coming up with new and creative ways of using them.
A year ago, Turkey's biggest city in the predominately Kurdish region, Diyarbakir, was hoping to cash in on a wave of tourists attracted to its rich history and legacy of multiculturalism.
Rescue workers in Nairobi continue to dig through the rubble of a building that collapsed more than a week ago. China Travel Company offers escorted tour to China, Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu, Yunnan, Tibet and Guilin Tours. Experience travel on the Silk RoadTravelling the Silk Road is an adventure of a life time and a trip that will take you back in time to when Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire were connected to China by a network of roads and trade routes.
The Silk Road was also a network of overland trade routes extending over 6500 kilometers that connected China to the Mediterranean over 2000 years ago. Not all of the exchanges on the Silk road were positive and the Silk Road was responsible for the spread of the bubonic or black plague that wiped out up to 60% of Europe’s population.
Trade on the Silk Road was not continuous and goods and ideas exchanged hands many times through a series of oasis town market places and bazaars in many different countries before reaching their final destination. The Silk Road began around 329 BCE when Alexander the Great conquered all of the known world, built the City of Alexandria Eschate and promoted trade to the east. After the Roman empire conquered Egypt in 30BCE, trade between China and Europe along the silk road boomed. Xian's Bell TowerTrade and the influence of the Silk Road grew after the collapse of the Roman Empire and peaked around the 12th century.
Silk Road Revival – Modern trade on the Silk Road started again when China and Kazakhstan connected their railway systems in 1990 you can now travel from Urumqi in Xinjiang to Almaty and Astana in Kazakhstan. Lanzhou – Is the capital of Gansu Province, is on the Yellow River and a major Silk Road travel hub.
Jiayuguan Pass – Jiayuguan is a fortress on the Western end of the Great Wall of China guarding the strategic Shanhai Pass which is a critical Silk Road pass.
Urumqi – Located in the foot of the Tianshan Mountains in far north west China, Urumqi is the capital of Xinjiang and famous for being a major city furthest from any ocean. Urumqi is regarded as a beautiful city and it also has famous tourist attractions such as the gorgeous Heavenly Lake on a mountain peak east of the city (not to be confused with Heavenly Lake in Jilin Province) and Southern Pastures, a famous resort cum pastures to the south. Apart from colourful and fascinating culture and environment, Kashgir also has a number of attractive sights such as the Id Kah Mosque which is the largest Mosque in China and the Sunday Bazaar which is an enormous market typical of Silk Road bazaars.
Kashgar embodies the spirit, culture and environment of the original silk road and is a must see for anyone travelling on the Silk Road. Ideally you’d want to start in Xian, finish in Kashgar and see every spot on the Silk Road. Kashgar – This city embodies the history, spirit, terrain and cross cultural nature of the Silk Road. Jiayuguan Pass – This is most western end of the Great Wall and an incredible fortress.
Urumqi – This city provides an incredible contrast to the rest of China and will give you a unique look and at ethnic heart of western China.
Turpan – A multitude of ethnic groups, great food and desert location make Turpan a unique and compelling site. From Dunhuang you can either fly to the international airport you’ll use to leave China or fly to another city such as Hanzhou where you can continue your travels in China.
On the bright side most travel agencies and hotels will hire cars and minivans with drivers at reasonable rates and buses between the larger cities are easy to catch.
Western China has seen a lot of development and improvements in transport infrastructure so travelling by road is now practical, easy and reasonably safe. If you are making a long train trip from east to west such as Beijing to Urumqi, make sure you take enough food and drink to last the trip because food and drink available on the train is often sold out after the first day, poor quality or very limited. Best Time to Go – Around May and October are the best months to go because summers are scorchers and winters are freezing. Things to Bring – Even around May and October temperatures can vary a lot so bring clothes for summer and for a mild winter. No McDonalds – Western food will be available in the larger cities such asUrumqi Kashgar but most places, especially in the rural areas will only have local food. Avoid politics – Many Xinjiang people from ethnic minorities are not too fond of the central government so politics is a very sensitive subject. Also, looking for a hotel in Beijing on the subway line for 3 people, no hostel, but we can do a Chinese style.
I did the Silk Road trip with Intrepid travel which took 21 days to travel from Beijing to Kashgar in a small group (12 people). Hi Lily, I recently went for a tour on the Silk Road that stretched from Urumqi to the mountains west of Kashgar then south to Hetian. I’ll slowly making posts of different parts of that tour and will do a post on the actual tour itself later. Hi Meadhbh, You can do the entire Silk Road trip independently but you wil use a LOT of time and energy, many things can go wrong and you would be missing a lot because many of the attractions that are worth seeing need a car. The seminar looked to provide participants with an experience of traditional monastic practice whilst being accompanied by guidance and explanation.
15 participants from 7 European countries attended and they were generously supported by Kanshoji practitioners.
He was invited in the capacity of Jokeshi, the official senior priest necessary to accompany the abbot at Kessei ceremonies.

The International Liaison Conference was held at Sotoshu Shumucho (Soto Zen Administrative Head Quarters) in Tokyo Japan on Thursday 9th January. On the 1st December 2013, Shingetsuji, the Zen center of Barcelona Spain , celebrated their long awaited inauguration ceremony.
To apply, please fill in the a€?Entry Sheet Kanshoji Seminara€? file along with a photocopy of your Priest Registration Certificate and send it to our office by the 25th Jan.
Sokanbu annual seminar was held at La Gendronniere in France from Saturday 19th to Sunday 20th October. The General Assembly and Annual Conference of the Association a€?Centre Europeen du Bouddhisme Soto Zena€? for this year was held at La Gendronniere in France Saturday 18th to Sunday 19th May. Twenty-five members of the association gathered from around Europe to discuss about the topics based on the discussion result over the committee for the future development of Soto Zen in Europe on March. Kokusai Fukyoshi refers to the missionary priests outside of Japan, officially appointed by Institution of Soto Zen Japan. The office will be closed from December 23rd until the 11th January but we will check and answer e-mails where necessary. Rev.Sekiguchi Dojun returned to Japan at the end of September 2015 having resigned from his post as Sokan due to health concerns.
The annual Sokanbu seminar was held at La GendronniA?re between the 13th and 15th November 2015. Participants numbered around 150 and Rev Taigen Dan Leightona€™s seminar was clearly much appreciated. This year’s seminar will be held at La Gendronniere between the 13th and 15th of November. Memorial ceremonies to commemorate the 650th anniversary of Gassan Joseki Zenji will be held at Sojiji in Japan from the 7th until 20th Oct 2015. There is also a Sotoshu Pilgrimage organised from the 21st through 25th Oct where visits are planned to Sojiji, Sojiji Soin, Daijoji and Eiheiji. The Conference of Soto Zen priests in North America was held at Sokoji temple in San Fransisco on the 12th June. Before the conference members had been divided into 8 sub-groups and asked to reflect on possible methods of study that could be used to form a standard of education of Soto Zen priests. From 1st April 2015 the newly appointed director or Sokan of the European Office, Rev Sekiguchi Dojun assumed his responsibilities.
It's the latest in a series of accusations made by the human rights group against the Nigerian military. More than 20 percent of the plants known to science are facing extinction because more and more of their habitat is being used for agriculture and urbanization. As the cost of living continues to rise and the economy slows, some are considering returning home to look for work.
Almost everything and anything that is made in China can be found and purchased in the city.
But the collapse of a cease-fire last July between Kurdish rebels and the government led to violence, dashing hopes for the city's economic revival.
If you travel on the Silk Road you will see fortresses thousands of years old guarding ancient strategic passes, ride camels across sweeping deserts and experience China’s most unique ethnic cultures. The route started in the ancient Chinese capital of Xian, crossed mountain ranges, deserts, steppes and oasis’s and finished in Levant, an ancient region now covered by Lebanon, Syria and Israel. The monopolization of trade by the Muslim Caliphate empires, the disintegration of the Mongol Empire and the establishment of shipping routes all led to the end of the Silk Road in the 15th century. The establishment of a freight rail link in 2011 between Chingqing and Duisberg in German was a much needed boost in Silk Road trade. Xian, formerly known as Changan was the capital of China during great dynasties such as the Tang Dynasty.
Near Lanzhou are classic attractions such as the Thousand Buddha Caves that are over 2’000 years old and the Labrang Monastry. Turpan is a gourmet’s delight with dishes such as kebabs, Nang and roast lamb available on the street. The two main ethnic groups in Urumqi are the Uyghur who are native to the area and Han who are migrants. Urumqi is not one of the key spots on the Silk Road but it does provide a fascinating insight into the ethnic make up of China. This gives Kashgar a look and feel different from any other Chinese city and different from the rest of Xinjiang. The continuous sand dunes in the desert are around a 100 meters high and can go to over 300 meters in height. Most of us can’t do this so I have listed recommendations below for getting the most out of your Silk Road trip. This is the way I’d travel the Silk Road because you have the freedom of travelling independently and choose where you stay and for how long without the hassle and danger doing every thing yourself. The three day bus trip from Urumqi to Kashgar provides spectacular views and a must do for independent travellers.
It is cheap, convenient, very comfortable with hard or soft sleepers, you get to see and mingle with the locals and see the landscape as you roll through the country. Much of the Silk Road is at a high elevation where UV light is a problem so bring sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen. You need to adapt to local cuisine which is includes a lot of fruit, beef, mutton, noodles and bread.
Can you suggest the most reliable agent in China that do a tour based on your suggested route.
I just came back from a 10 day trip from Urumqi to the mountains west of Kashgar then south east to Hetian.
I want to travel the silk route but am a 24-yr-old irish female and will be alone, But I am also very independant and like doing things my own way in my own time and also like adventures like hikes, treks etc. Part of the tour was organized by the Xinjiang tourism department and part of it was organized by a travel company called China Culture Tour who I am doing a bit of work with. Travel between the main cities by bus or train is easy once you reach your destination,  travel gets much harder.
YA«shA? Sasaki spoke of learning the a€?Zen Waya€? by the approach (attitude) and actualization (practice) of monastic forms and rituals.
Takuzan Igarashi, the abbot of Zenpoji monastery in Yamagata prefecture Japan, visited Europe from 20th February for 12 days. In his presence Kessei ceremonies were held at Kanshoji France on the 22nd and 23rd February and at Fudenji Italy on the 1st and 2nd March., On the 3rd March he also attended the 30th anniversary of Fudenji.
This is an annual conference to discuss and report on the international missionary activities between the staff members of the 4 Sokanbu offices (Hawaii, North America, South America and Europe) and the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center with the International department of Shumucho. In this seminar participants will be able to experience some of the traditional monastic practice of the Japanese Soto School.

If we receive more than twenty applications, a selection will be made and it will be announced by the beginning of February. We invited as lecturer Professor Kiyozumi (Seijun) Ishii from Komazawa University in Tokyo, who specializing in the study of Zen Buddhism and Dogena€™s teachings. We will invite Professor Seijun Ishii, President of Komazawa University who will lecture on studying Dogen Zenjia€™ texts such as a€?Shobogenzoa€? and a€?Eihei Koroku.a€? Seminar is open to everyone who is interested in the topic.
Dosho Saikawa, the director of Soto Zen Buddhism South America Office, visited Europe from 22nd June for 1 week. His own long experience and engagement with Buddhism gave depth and vitality to the lectures. It will be presented by the author, scholar and translator Taigen Dan Leighton who is a Soto Zen priest in Rev. On the 21st there will be an international gathering at Sojiji and the 22nd a ceremony officiated by priests associated with foreign missions. Terumoto visited the States from 11th to 15th June to attend the Conference of Soto Zen priests in North America and the inauguration of the initial construction (JA?tA?-shiki) of the Sodo for the Tenpyozan project in California. The main point of discussion was the Tenpyozan project and there was a united will to see the project through. Kenji Nakamura who is the present Director of education and dissemination of Shumucho and by Rev.
The Nigerian government denies the allegations, and says it is succeeding in its fight against Boko Haram.
He already wants to force Mexico to pay for a border wall and is threatening to impose huge tariffs on Chinese imports to offset America's record $366 billion trade deficit with China. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports the installation aims to promote art, health and environmental protection.
As worries persist about the Chinese economy and the possibility it could see a hard landing, sellers in the mountainside city of commerce say they are feeling the pain, but also finding ways to weather the storm. In response to the tragedy, the government has begun demolishing other condemned buildings. Roman demand for Chinese silk was so strong that the balance of trade was in the red and Rome’s coffers were running dry. Freight between German and China by train on the Silk road takes 13 days compared to shipping that takes 36 days. When you travel to Xian, you can see the famous Terracotta Army, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Bell Tower and ride a bike in the city wall. Turpan also has well known attractions such as the Flaming Mountain (hottest place in China), Emin Minaret (very tall ancient Muslim tower) and the Aydingkol Lake which is the lowest point in China. Kashgar is also an oasis city with a population much less than half a million which is tiny by Chinese A Kashgar marketstandards. The desert is ringed by bustling oasis towns supplied by rainfall from the nearby mountains that were key stops for the Silk Road caravans. Trains go directly from all major cities to Xian and there are direct trains to Urumqi from Xian, Lanzhou, Beijing and many other cities.
Each of the major cities such as Xian and Kashgar can be can keep you busy for at least four days plus travel time.
So far what I’ve seen of China Culture Tour and their guides is very good so you can contact them and see what they can offer you. I do not usually like tours as I find them constricting, but I would also like to have a bit of comfort kin knowing that I am safe etc. We reported our activities of the preceding year and discussed the future of Sotoshu international missionary work. DA?sho Saikawa, the director ofA Soto Zen Buddhism South America Office and Shingetsujia€™s director Rev.
The seminar is for the registered Sotoshu monks and nuns who do not yet have a Kyoshi (Teachera€™s) license. Following the theme a€?Recent Trends and technological instruments in the study of the doctrinal foundation of SA?tA?zen teachingsa€?, he introduced the history and contents of Sotozen studies, and the practical study method. He was invited as Jokeshi, an advisor for the Abbot at the Kessei ceremonies at Ryumonji, France on June 23rd and Kosetsuji, Switzerland on June 24th.
It is billed to be the first a€?Senmon-sodoa€? (Officially registered Soto monastery) outside of Japan. Risai Furutani who is the present head of the international section of Shumucho, who both came from Japan for the conference.
He has been engaged in monastic education for a long time, and has been involved in several monasteries in Japan as a teacher and lecturer. Xian is Jiayuguan Pass Fortress and Great Wallan incredible city and one of the many places you must see in China even if you have no intention of travelling the Silk Road.
Two cross desert highways have been built that link the oasis towns of Aksu to Hetian and Korla to Minfeng. If possible, also choose a tour that has more emphasis on overland travel and less on plane travel.
For example I ahve an itinerary for a one week trip that includes Urumqi, Kashar and a couple of cities in between.
Ideally you would go through a travel company and have them organize hotels, car and driver at each city but that would not be cheap.  I was in Xinjiang in June on a trip that was part tour and part independent travel with 3 other people. We also read one of the Shobogenzo fascicles a€?kajA?a€? by using digital tool like The SAT Daizokyo Text Datebase , Digital Dictionary of Buddhism and so on. He teaches online at the Institute of Buddhist Studies, part of the Berkeley Graduate Theological Union and is the teacher at the Ancient Dragon Zen Gate centre in Chicago. However no decisive initiative was agreed upon and the discussion largely evolved into a larger consideration about the possibilities of a European Sodo and the presence and formation of Shike teachers.A  A detailed text of the narrative will be made available on this site including both Rev.
If you only have a couple of weeks, pick 2-3 key spots to see and make sure you spend a couple of days in the desert. A great trip but it would have been very hard to do solo and extremely hard without knowing Chinese or having Chinese companions.
Ikki Nambara (Assistant director of Soto Zen International Center) are invited as guest instructors. The ritual was performed under the imposing frame of the building which has yet to be graced with a roof or walls.
Is the route you descibed above ideal for finding places like that on my own or would it be too difficult and dangerous?

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