The Basic Programme has been specifically designed by Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the Spiritual Director of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), to provide a balanced approach to the combined academic education and practice of meditation that characterizes the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. This makes the study and understanding of the philosophical subjects of immediate and practical benefit. The Basic Programme has been structured around a schedule of teachings, review classes, meditations and discussion groups alternated with meditation retreats, so as to encourage the integration of the teachings into one's practice with a view to gaining a personal experience of them.
Basic Programme Coordinator – Ven. Thubten Khadro, 2013 graduate of Master's in Wisdom online programme at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa (Italy)
Translator – Anastasia Stoliarova, 2014 graduate of the Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translators Program. (Ana will only be with us till end-of-term in April, unfortunately, but we have engaged a new translator for next season.)
Teaching Assistant – Shahar Tene, 2014 graduate of Basic Program at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa (Italy) and registered FPMT teacher. (Sadly for us, Shahar will soon be going to join the Masters Program at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, so we are seeking a new teaching assistant for next season.)
Subjects of study
Mind and Cognition: The way the mind knows phenomena and the mental factors that constitute the basis of our daily experience
Tenets: The philosophical systems or tenets of the four main schools of ancient Buddhist thought
Heart Sutra: Emptiness and the phenomena qualified by it
Stages of the Path: The stages of the path to enlightenment of beings of low, middling and great capacity
Mahayana Mind Training (The Wheel of Sharp Weapons): The law of actions and results, or karma, and the states of mind that shape our future experiences
Engaging in Bodhisattva Deeds: The six perfections – generosity, morality, patience, joyous effort, concentration and wisdom – and how to practice them in everyday life.
Sublime Continuum: The buddha- or tathagata-essence that exists within every sentient being
Ornament for Clear Realization, Fourth Chapter: Outlining the bodhisattva's meditation on the aspects of the three exalted knowers by way of a union of calm abiding and special insight for the purpose of attaining enlightenment
Grounds and Paths of Secret Mantra: The four classes of tantra with emphasis on the generation and completion stages of the highest yoga tantra.
Classes will be conducted from September to April – eight months per year
The complete program will be offered over a time period of five years, including review and final exam, and three months of lam‐rim retreat – see tentative five-year schedule – PDF (please note: updated as of 29 December, 2016)
The following is required of all students who wish to have their Basic Programme completion card signed off for subject completion:
A minimum of 80% attendance at teachings by Geshe‐la, four times a week: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays from 7–9 pm.
A minimum of 80% attendance at discussion groups – led by the Basic Programme teaching assistant, four times a week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays from 3.30–5 pm.
A minimum of 80% of attendance at all meditations and retreats offered as part of the program – this will include morning lam rim meditations (Monday to Saturday)
Karma yoga: five hours per week in any one of the three projects at Root Institute and/or at Root institute General
Completion of all assessments and tests set by the teaching assistant as part of the program
Fulfilling the Basic Programme behaviour requirement.
Students who wish to qualify for the Basic Programme completion certificate need to:
Have successfully completed the nine core curriculum Basic Programme subjects with the 80% attendance rate for each element – teachings, discussion groups, meditations and retreats
Participate in the three-month review period at the completion of the programme
Successfully complete the Basic Programme final exam
Fulfil the three-month lam-rim retreat requirement by participating in the one-month lam-rim retreats offered as part of the programme.
Students keep their own attendance records, which will be turned in on a weekly basis. Use of the self-evaluation card is optional.
Target student population: We are hoping for a combination of Indian national and international students, lay and Sangha.
Casual visitors are welcome to the teachings and meditations on the basis of quiet attendance, leaving active participation to the actual BP students.
If you are interested in enrolling in the Basic Programme at Root Institute:
please complete the student application form – PDF – including the section on the required obligations you will have to follow as a residential student at Root Institute (unless you clearly indicate that you are planning on staying outside Root Institute campus)
provide a letter explaining your motivation to join the programme
1 professional reference
1 personal reference from a spiritual friend, mentor or guide
and have a shype interview with the Centre's Director and the Basic Programme Coordinator
please send all this to the Basic Programme & Spiritual Programme Coordinator (SPC), Ven. Thubten Khadro:
We hope that offering a complete, residential Basic Programme, over a five-year period, eight months each year, will make Root Institute for Wisdom Culture an attractive place for beginning and more advanced students and practitioners alike.
Celebrations during four holy times each year, according to the Tibetan calendar
Those who offer one thousand lights will be reborn when Maitreya Buddha shows the deed of gaining Enlightenment and receive his first Dharma teaching.
Arya Maitreya Sutra
The four most important events of Shakyamuni Buddha's life are honoured every year in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition:
15 Days of Miracles culminating in Chotrul Duchen, the Day of Miracles
First Turning of the Dharma Wheel, and
Lord Buddha's Descent from the Deva Realm of the Thirty-Three.
Our next festival will be 15 Days of Miracles – 17 Feb to 12 Mar 2017, the most holy day being the 12th
The Festival of Lights and Merit (FLAM) is held each time at the Mahabodhi Stupa. FLAM is a spiritual festival that allows people from around the world to sponsor lights, pujas and prayer flags. The names and dedications of all those who sponsor are read aloud each evening during the sponsored festival.
Each Festival of Light & Merit includes
Extensive light offerings
Tens of thousands of electrical light offerings create the illusion of a starry sky surrounding the Stupa itself, a beautiful and inspiring sight. Together with the thousands of electrical lights at Root institute, these lights are offered and dedicated each evening by Root Institute on behalf of sponsors.
Three special pujas
Three specific pujas are specially arranged – Tara Puja, Protector Puja and Guru Puja – with monks from the Bodhgaya branch of Namgyal Monastery.
Hanging of blessed prayer flags
Traditional Tibetan Prayer Flags are blessed, raised beside the Mahabodhi Stupa and dedicated on behalf of sponsors. The blessings of which are spread across the Stupa grounds and inner Bodhgaya city.
All of the offerings will also be dedicated for:
The long lives of our holy gurus
The preservation and spread of the pure Dharma
The temporal and ultimate happiness of the sponsors and their loved ones
The quick enlightenment of all sentient beings
Peace and harmony around the world
The removal of all obstacles and quick success to FPMT projects.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche has advised Root Institute that each single recitation of the actual light offering prayer is equivalent to the number of lights offered. Therefore, on one night during the 15 Days of Miracles, if 100,000 lights are offered by 10 students, according to Rinpoche’s advice, one million lights would be offered on that night alone!
Sponsorship of FLAM also helps the Root Institute family:
Root Institute is a meditation centre with resident nuns and monks and not a guesthouse, so couples, and men and women, must have separate accommodation.
If participating in courses or retreats, friends and family of the same gender will also be asked to stay in separate rooms to help support silence and their focus on the course / retreat.
We ask all our guests and visitors to observe the following rules of discipline in order to maintain an atmosphere conducive to inner reflection and meditation:
Respect all life: do not intentionally kill any living being, even small insects.
Respect others' property: do not steal or take anything not freely given.
Be honest and straightforward: do not lie or intentionally deceive others.
Be celibate: no sexual activity; this also includes no holding hands, hugging, massages and other physical displays of affection.
Be alert and mindful*: avoid intoxicants such as alcohol, drugs and cigarettes; we encourage you to stop smoking while here, but if this is impossible, one can smoke outside the gates.
Be considerate of others' silence: keep silence in the appropriate areas and at all times during residential courses, especially in the Gompa and the dormitories; no singing or playing music and, in general, maintain a quiet demeanour while on the property.
Be considerate of the monks and nuns: dress respectfully; please no shorts above the knee, tank-top shirts or tight and revealing clothing.
Please be aware:
In April 2016 the Bihar state government passed laws totally prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcohol in the state, with very severe penalties, up to capital punishment for those involved in manufacture! Please ensure you do not carry any alcohol with you in Bihar.
Also, please note that those in service or teaching in FPMT centers and projects do not engage in the practice of Shugden.
Our spiritual programme now runs from beginning of September through to end of April.
On the appropriate dates in the Tibetan calendar year-round, however, we observe the standard pujas of the Gelug tradition and these are drop-in sessions which anyone can attend. If you are in Bodhgaya and would like to come along, please feel welcome to join us for:
Medicine Buddha puja
Lama Ch'opa ts'og offering
Unless otherwise indicated, registration is required for all spiritual programme events except drop-in sessions, Festival of Lights & Merit, and Mahabodhi Stupa events.