During four holy times each year, according to the Tibetan calendar, Root Institute organises a celebration of the most significant events in Lord Shakyamuni Buddha's life, which we call our Festival of Lights & Merit.
Chökhor Düchen commemorates the anniversary upon which Shakyamuni Buddha first began teaching the Dharma. For seven weeks after his enlightenment, the Buddha did not teach. After this period, Indra and Brahma offered a dharmachakra and a conch shell and requested Shakyamuni to teach. Accepting, Buddha Shakyamuni turned the Wheel of Dharma for the first time in Sarnath, India, by teaching on the Four Noble Truths.
It is auspicious to perform meritorious activities on this specific day when the effects of any action multiply 100 million times.
On Chökhor Düchen, we are offering butter lamps, flowers and prayer flags at the Mahabodhi Stupa, Bodhgaya and also sponsoring a puja at Tibetan Monastery, Bodhgaya.
You are welcome to join in these offerings in person and/or sponsor the offerings of lights, flowers, prayer flags and pujas for this day. Sponsors' names are read out in the evening at the Bodhi Tree.
The span of our spiritual programme is approximately six months – the last few months of one year and the early months of the next – during the cooler season in Bodhgaya.
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:
Unless otherwise indicated, registration is required for all events except: