Spiritual programme

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Prostrations Retreat
From Thursday, 9. November 2017
To Wednesday, 31. January 2018
Location : Stupa Garden of Compassion

This retreat has the aim to offer Dharma practitioners the opportunity to complete individually their 100,000 ngongro prostrations commitment. Retreatants wanting to engage in the prostrations practice without completing 100,000 prostrations are welcome to participate as well.

This retreat will actually start on the very auspicious and multiplying day of the Buddha's descent from the God Realm of the Thirty-three: 10th Nov 2017.

To enhance a focused and contemplative atmosphere, this retreat will be held at our nearby retreat place – Stupa Garden of Compassion – which can accommodate 12, offering a peaceful environment to ensure participants the possibility to "retreat" in Bodhgaya. Participants must stay at the retreat place to ensure a supportive environment for the group. Outside accommodation options for this retreat are not a possibility.

The Stupa Garden of Compassion offers a small gompa and a shaded veranda from where the Mahabodhi Stupa can be seen. Prostrations will be done on the veranda facing the stupa. We will provide wooden prostrations boards and suggest participants to bring their own hand pads to slide comfortable on them. Sessions at the Mahabodhi Temple will be available too. Lama Zopa Rinpoche says that doing practices at Bodhgaya – holy land where the Buddha manifested enlightenment – are multiplied seven fold. 

This presents an incomparably special opportunity to engage in a deep purification practice supported by devoted practitioners at the holiest place for Buddhists.

The retreat will be based on the Thirty-five Buddhas of confession practice, which entails a strong purification of body, speech and mind. Here you can read about the benefits of:

We highly recommend retreatants first familiarise themselves with this practice, ideally by memorising the names in English of the 35 Buddhas and 8 Medicine Buddhas. You can order a copy of the text:

When making prostrations by reciting the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas, even only one prostration to all the Buddhas, Dharma, and Sangha becomes a cause for achieving enlightenment. Prostrations to statues, scriptures, and stupas create many causes for liberation from samsara and achieving success in this life. But prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas become a cause for enlightenment, which is a big difference.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche


There will be a "retreat group caretaker" doing the retreat as well, who will assist the retreat structure and take care of the group's needs. Participants need to be in good mental and physical health and be prepared for a physically demanding time.

Proposed course schedule – which if necessarily will be adjusted on site to accommodate retreatants needs.

Thu 9 Nov Welcome to Root Institute
4.00pm Introduction to retreat by Spiritual Programme Coordinator (SPC)
6.00pm Dinner
Fri 10 Nov to Tue 30 Jan  
5.30am 1 – Prostration Session 
7.30am Breakfast
8.30am 2 – Prostration Session 
10.30am Break
11.00am 3 – Prostration Session 
12.00pm Lunch
3.00pm 4 – Prostration Session (with small breaks)
6:00pm Dinner
7.00pm 5- Prostration Session 
Wed 31 Jan  
5.30am 1 – Prostration Session 
7.30am Breakfast
8.30am 2 – Prostration Session 
10.30am Break
11.00am 3 – Prostration Session 
12:00pm Lunch
2:00pm Group feedback, dedication prayers at Mahabodhi Stupa

Please note: this schedule is subject to change.

Guidelines of behaviour in a Dharma environment

Root Institute is a delightful, semi-monastic meditation centre.

To maintain a conducive, spiritually harmonious atmosphere for inner reflection and meditation, we kindly ask all our students, guests and visitors to observe the following guidelines:

  • 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 romantic 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, you 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 meditation hall (gompa) and 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.

  • Couples: can stay in the same room for two weeks or less under the celibacy policy.

Please be aware:

  • * The Bihar state government has passed laws totally prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcohol in the state, with very severe penalties! Please ensure that 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.

General information about the spiritual programme

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:

  • Tara puja
  • Medicine Buddha puja
  • Lama Ch'opa ts'og offering
  • Protector puja

Unless otherwise indicated, registration is required for all spiritual programme events except drop-in sessions, Festival of Lights & Merit, and Mahabodhi Stupa events.

To book your own individual or group retreat, please go to Blessings > Retreat – at Stupa Garden of Compassion, through which you can also book accommodation.