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.
Chokhor Duchen 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.
The high point of our three-day festival is the merit-multiplying day which in 2019 will be on 4 August.
Our spiritual programme now runs from mid-September to mid-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:
Unless otherwise indicated, registration is required for all events except:
If you wish to do a self-directed individual or group retreat separate from our spritual programme:
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 and, due to our commitment to following His Holiness the Dalai Lama's advice and supporting his work, we do not share our materials and facilities with those who knowingly continue to practice Shugden against his advice.