Spiritual programme

Download as iCal file
Nagarjuna's text "70 Stanzas on Emptiness" – With Venerable Tenzin Gache
From Saturday, 28. November 2020
To Sunday, 29. November 2020
ONLINE ONLY 10am-12pm and 2-4pm each day IST

Registration required. This retreat is presented via Zoom.

28 – 29 November, 10am-12pm and 2-4pm each day IST


Nagarjuna's text "70 Stanzas on Emptiness"


Nagarjuna, who lived around the 2nd century CE, is the most revered teacher in Buddhist history after the Buddha himself. In his “sixfold collection of reasoning,” he presented his philosophy of emptiness that came to be known as the “Middle Way School” (Madhyamaka). His texts have been used as a primary source of understanding continuously to this day, mainly in India, Tibet and China.

This course will focus on one of these six main texts, “Seventy Stanzas on Emptiness,” which is especially noted for its clear and concise explanation of how cause and effect can function despite all things being empty of inherent existence—and indeed, because they are empty.

Students with a background in Buddhist philosophy and practice will be sure to discover novel ways of understanding these key topics, but even beginners with no previous exposure to Buddhism will find the presentation accessible. We will focus not only on the meaning of emptiness within Nagarjuna’s system, but more importantly, on why and how this philosophy is meaningful. Philosophically, Nagarjuna’s system offers a paradigm for understanding the relationship between mind and body that is just as relevant today as it was two thousand years ago.

We will relate his paradigm to modern findings in psychology and neuroscience and see how it can help resolve ongoing questions in these fields. Practically, Nagarjuna’s approach gives us tools to deal with our own mental afflictions and to enhance our meditation. Nagarjuna was not merely a speculative philosopher but also a great accomplished practitioner.

About the Teacher:

Venerable Tenzin Gache grew up in the Boston area. After graduating college, he travelled to India, and received ordination from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2006. Later that year he travelled south to Sera Jey Monastery, near Mysore, India, joining the house group of his teacher, Choden Rinpoche.

Since then he has lived, studied, and practised at Sera. Currently he has completed 13 years of the 19-year Geshe (Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy) study program at Sera Je Monastery in Bylakuppe, India. For the last three years he has been studying Middle Way philosophy in-depth.

Ven. Gache is the translator of Choden Rinpoche's book "Mastering
Meditation: Instructions on Calm Abiding and Mahamudra," which was
released this year by Wisdom Publications.

Having grown up in a Western context, he is especially interested in understanding how ancient Buddhist wisdom can be made accessible to educated, thoughtful people in the modern world without diluting the profundity of the Buddha's message.  

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.