Spiritual programme

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Nagarjuna's Sixty Stanzas on Reasoning – a Retreat by Venerable Tenzin Gache
From Saturday, 26. December 2020
To Sunday, 27. December 2020
Online via zoom and YouTube:
10am-12noon, 2-4pm Saturday, Dec. 26
11am-1pm, 2:30-4:30pm Sunday, Dec. 27
India time (GMT+5.5)
 
Teacher – Ven. Gache
Venerable Gache – the Teacher
 

The Sunday timing is updated because of His Holiness' teaching on that day.
 
Registration Required - https://www.rootinstitute.ngo/spiritual-programme-express-interest

 
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, “Sixty Stanzas on Reasoning.” Unlike the first four texts in this sixfold collection, “Sixty Stanzas” as well as “Precious Garland” take the focus away from objective emptiness itself, and instead focus on the nature of the mind meditating on emptiness. This focus thereby raises important questions: “What is enlightenment? Is it necessary to meditate emptiness to achieve enlightenment? Is emptiness something unique to Mahayana Buddhism, or something shared by other Buddhist schools (and by extension, other religions)? Was the teaching on emptiness implicit even in the earliest Buddhist sutras?” Nagarjuna shows convincingly that the Buddha’s teachings implying that a truly existent person must strive for a truly existent nirvana are merely provisional, an impetus to encourage beings attached to concrete reality to embark on endeavor that will ultimately lead them to recognize their own lack of substantiality and thereby discover a hidden potential for freedom.
 
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. We will look closely at other schools of Buddhism and even other religions, asking whether Nagarjuna’s proposal that only knowledge of emptiness can bring lasting peace is borne out empirically. 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 has lived, studied, and practised at Sera Je Monastery since 2006. Currently he has completed 13 years of the 19-year Geshe (Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy). Ven. Gache is the translator of Choden Rinpoche's book "Mastering Meditation: Instructions on Calm Abiding and Mahamudra," 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.