Spiritual programme

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Introduction to the Bodhisattva Path – With Ven. Tenzin Gache
From Saturday, 28. December 2019
To Wednesday, 1. January 2020
Location : Small Gompa
Dharma chakra and two deer
Great scholar & author, Gyalsey Thokmey Sangpo
(courtesy of Rigawiki under CC BY-NC 3.0 license)

This course is intended as an introduction to the topics His Holiness will cover in his public teachings. The course will be suitable for beginners, but also will likely offer many new points of consideration for older students.

What is the most meaningful way to live your life, to be of benefit to yourself and others?

The Buddhist tradition considers that only through discovering and manifesting your innate potential for extraordinary qualities of wisdom, compassion and skilful means can you truly make the most of this precious opportunity of a human life.

A bodhisattva is somebody who aspires to realize these qualities to the highest degree. Just as it might ultimately be more beneficial to spend years studying medicine than to hastily rush out to aid the sick and impoverished, likewise those following a spiritual path must educate and train themselves to be of the most benefit in the long term.

In this course, we will consider such topics as:

  • The true nature and potential of the mind, and the questions of reincarnation and enlightenment

  • Is there a distinction between Hinayana and Mahayana practice? If so, what does that mean for us as practitioners?

  • How to generate and enhance love, compassion and altruism, including scientific perspectives on the beneficial effects of these qualities

  • How the fundamental Buddhist practices of ethical discipline, concentration and wisdom are expressed on the Mahayana path

  • What is tantra, and how does this practice fit into the Mahayana?

The course will roughly follow the outlines in Gyalsey Thokmey Sangpo's classic text 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas, since His Holiness will teach from this text. We will also discuss the meaning of the tantric empowerments His Holiness will confer.

Format of the course will incorporate:

  • Dharma teachings, and
  • guided meditations.

Venerable Tenzin Gache, who will lead the course, is an American monk undertaking the 19-year Geshe (Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy) study programme at Sera Je Monastery in Bylakuppe, India.


Sat 28 Dec  
4:00 pm Introduction to course by Spiritual Programme Coordinator (SPC)
6:00 pm Dinner
Sun 29–Tue 31 Dec  
6:45 am Morning meditation
7:30 am Breakfast
9:00–11:30 am Teaching from Ven. Gache with short tea break
12:00 noon Lunch
2:30 pm–5:00 pm Teaching from Ven. Gache with short tea break
6:00 pm Dinner
Wed 1 Jan 2020  
6:45 am Morning meditation
7:30 am Breakfast
9:00–11:30 am Teaching from Ven. Gache with short tea break
12:00–12:50 pm Lunch
1:00 pm Social projects tour with the Generosity Officer
2:30 pm–5:00 pm Final teaching from Ven. Gache with short tea break


Please note: This schedule is subject to change.

General information about the spiritual programme

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:

  • Tara Puja
  • Medicine Buddha Puja
  • Guru Puja with Tsog
  • Protector Puja.

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:

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.