Spiritual programme

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Green Tara Retreat – With Jimi Neal
From Friday, 17. February 2017
To Sunday, 26. February 2017
Location : Main gompa

The Buddha Avalokitshevara wept with compassion as he looked out onto the world and observed the depth of suffering experienced by all sentient beings. It was from a single tear that Tara, female Buddha of enlightened activity, was born. Tara, whose name means "she who ferries across", can be seen stepping out in immediate readiness to assist any sentient being who is suffering.

Every year, students are inspired to join our experienced retreat leader, Jimi Neal, for a ten-day retreat which combines the powerful practice of Green Tara with Tong-len ("taking and giving" practice) and Mahamudra (meditation on the clear light).

Tara represents the wisdom and compassion of all the enlightened beings in a female form.

Meditating on Tara is a very powerful way to identify and connect with our own inner potential for wisdom and compassion. It also helps to eliminate obstacles to the spiritual path and to being able to work for others.

 

About the Retreat

This is a Sadhana based on the Guru Yoga of Cittamani Tara written by Lama yeshe and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche.

During the retreat we will do six sessions per day. Four of the Tara Sadhana which includes:

Praises with prostrations to the 21 Taras with commentary describing the meaning, color and aspect of each of the 21 Taras before we prostrate to them. At the end of each session with the dissolution of the Tam we meditate on the clear light mind seeing all that appears as empty: merely a reflection in our mind.

One session we meditate on the lam rim as presented in the Lama Chopa puja. From which we bring lo-jong TONG-LEN meditation into our retreat. Lama Zopa Rinpoche said that he was happy at the inclusion of lo jong in the yidam retreats.

One session is an introduction to Tantra, the Sadhana, with explanations of the practice offered with question and answer.

A few days into the retreat we will take the Eight Mahayana precepts each morning.

The sadhana (or method of accomplishment) consists of taking refuge, generating bodhicitta, and making requests to the Green Tara lineage lamas to receive inspiration. Although accumulating mantra is not the main focus of the retreat, for those who are able, we will try to accumulate 10,000 mantras.

At the end of the retreat, we will offer extensive dedication for the long lives of our teachers and for world peace. It is possible that the retreat will include an all night Tara Puja on the last night, this will be confirmed during the retreat.

 

Requirements to join the Retreat

Root Institute's group tantric retreats are most suitable for those who are Buddhist (having formally taken Refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha), have taken the Bodhisattva Vows and have received a Green Tara Initiation. However, our Green Tara retreat is also suitable for those who might not be ready to make these commitments usually involved with a tantric retreat. The very basic requirements are:

  • You must be familiar with the Lam Rim (the Graduated Path to Enlightenment) and have attended at least one introductory course in Tibetan Buddhism (at Tushita, Kopan, Root Institute or an equivalent Lam Rim course).
  • Know about Green Tara practice and have a deep wish and/or commitment to doing this practice, which includes Guru Yoga and many prayers and practices.

 

Students on all our our Tantric Retreats are also required to follow our general discipline guidelines, which you see at the bottom of this page.

Retreat Schedule

Day 1

 

4:00pm

Welcome talk

4:30pm

Introduction to the retreat

6:00pm

Supper

7:00pm

Introduction to the practice

Day 2–9

 

6:00am

Wake up

6:30am

1st Session Green Tara

7:30am

Breakfast

9:00am

2nd Session Green Tara

10:15am

Break

10:45am

3rd Session Lam Rim/ Tong Len

12 noon

Lunch

2:00pm

Group yoga/gentle stretching 

3:00pm

Break

3:30pm

4th Session - Q & A

5:00pm

5th Session Green Tara

6:00pm

Supper

7:30pm

6th Session Green Tara

Day 10

 

6:00am

Wake up

6:30am

1st Session Green Tara

7:30am

Breakfast

9:00am

Final Session

10:15am

Break

10:45am

Pack up gompa - karma yoga

12 noon

Group lunch

 

Please be aware silence will be kept at all times. Prior to Day 1, this schedule may have slight alterations.

Guidelines of behaviour in a Dharma environment

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 note that those in service or teaching in FPMT centers and projects do not engage in the practice of Shugden.

* Also, 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.

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.

If you are interested in doing intensive individual practice at Root Institute, please go to Blessings > Personal retreat.