Spiritual programme

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Meditative Pilgrimage – Late December
From Friday, 25. December 2020
To Tuesday, 29. December 2020
Location : Main Gompa for introduction, then various pilgrimage sites

Holy sites to be visited

Ruins of the majestic Nalanda University, Rajgir
Ruins of the majestic Nalanda University, Rajgir
  • Mahabodhi Tree & Stupa: where the Buddha manifested enlightenment.

  • Gurupada Cave: renowned as the site of Asanga's 12-year retreat which led to his vision of Maitreya Buddha.

  • Vulture's Peak: where Buddha taught the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras turning the 2rd wheel of Dharma.

  • Nalanda: one of the earliest universities in the world, founded in the 5th century, where renowned Buddhist scholars such as Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti and Shantideva studied.

  • Mahakala Cave: said to be a place where Lord Buddha did ascetic practices.

  • Sujata: where Lord Buddha also did ascetic practices & was offered food before attaining enlightenment.

Making the most of our journey

At each site the group will be given important information about the site and led into meditations and practices relevant to the place. The course begins with a Dharma talk clarifying being a pilgrim versus being a tourist.

Pilgrimage needs faith. More faith, more happiness. Otherwise, we are just like tourists looking at ruins. Pilgrimage is not just going to holy places and taking pictures. We go to holy places for blessing, so it's good to do practices at the different holy places.

Bodhgaya is not only the place where the Buddha showed the holy deed of achieving enlightenment under the bodhi tree but also where all the great pandits such as Nagarjuna and Asanga practiced and made so many prayers. Also many great enlightened beings and yogis from Tibet, China, Nepal and other countries came here and made many prayers to benefit us sentient beings so there would be unbelievable, unbelievable benefit for us to purify negative karma and accumulate merit as quickly as possible.

I think you are very fortunate to be able to come to Bodhgaya, where a thousand buddhas will descend, place their holy feet, display holy deeds, and achieve enlightenment. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is the fourth of the thousand buddhas. The rest of the buddhas will descend here and will also display the twelve deeds, and the holy deed, achieving enlightenment.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche



Fri 25 Dec  Introduction
2:00 pm Welcome from Spiritual Programme Coordinator (SPC)
3:30 pm Pilgrimage to Mahabodhi Stupa – for prayers & meditation
6:00 pm Dinner at Root Institute
Sat 26 Dec Gurupada Cave
5:30 am Pilgrimage to Gurupada (with take away breakfast)
8:30 am Prayers and practices
2:00 pm Lunch at Root Institute
Sun 27 Dec Vultures Peak & Nalanda
5:30 am Depart to Vultures Peak (with take away breakfast)
11:45 am Lunch at restaurant near Nalanda
12:30 pm Visit Nalanda Museum
1:30 pm Pilgrimage to Nalanda – with prayers & practices
6:00 pm Dinner at Root Institute
Mon 28 Dec Mahakala Cave & Sujata
7:30 am Breakfast at Root Institute
8:00 am Depart
8:30 am Pilgrimage to Mahakala Cave & Sujata
12:30 pm Lunch at Root Institute
6:00 pm Dinner at Root Institute
Tue 29 Dec Bodhgaya Temples Tour
7:30 am Breakfast
8:30 am Visit to inspiring local Buddhist temples
12:30 noon Lunch at Root Institute
2:00 pm Tour of Root Institute social service projects
6:00 pm Dinner at Root Institute


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 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.