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How to Transform Suffering into Happiness and Live a Life that Matters – With Ven. Gyalten Lekden
From Tuesday, 31. October 2023 -  05:30pm
To Sunday, 5. November 2023 - 02:00pm

gyalse thogme zangpo

All sentient beings are the same in seeking happiness and wishing to avoid suffering, yet it seems suffering is around every corner, opening the door for perpetual discontent. Instead of trying to eliminate suffering by ignoring it, or blindly chasing worldly delights to numb our experiences of suffering, the Buddhadharma teaches a method to face that suffering directly, understand it, and even transform it into a path of practice.

When Siddhartha Gautama renounced his royal station and became a renunciant, his actions were anything but safe and ordinary. Observing his life, he realized that nothing about it led to freedom from suffering and so he radically overturned all sense of what was expected of him. In many ways the same is expected of contemporary Buddhist practitioners.  Whether our worldly activities seem pleasurable or not, if we want to find true freedom from suffering we need to disrupt what we think we know and discover a capacity for true happiness and meaning that we never thought possible.

This course will explore this radical and transformative nature of the Buddhadharma, using Gyalsay Thogme Zangpo's text The Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva, a text widely taught and highly lauded by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as the basis for the discussion.


Ven. Gyalten Lekden was born and raised outside of Boston. He first started studying and practicing Buddhism during his undergraduate schooling, and after completing BAs in Theatre and Religious Studies he continued on to complete his Masters of Divinity in Buddhist Ministry at Harvard Divinity School. Ven. Lekden started leading Buddhist communities while an undergrad, and has studied, served, and taught at various Dharma centers since then. In 2012 he joined Sera Je Monastery in southern India, where he continues to study and practice. Ven. Lekden is a registered teacher in the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, and has given Dharma talks and meditation instruction in India and the USA.


Tue, Oct 31  
5:30 pm Welcome to the course by the Spiritual Programme Coordinator
6:00 pm Dinner/Supper
7:00 pm Evening Meditation
Wed, Nov 1 to Sat Nov 4  
6:45 am Morning meditation
7:30 am Breakfast 
9:00 am Teachings with with Ven. Lekden 
10:15 am Break
10:45 am Meditation session with Ven. Lekden 
12:00 noon Lunch
2:00 pm Meditation session with Ven. Lekden 
3:30 pm Break
4:00 pm Meditation session and Q&A with Ven. Lekden
6:00 pm Supper
7:00 pm Evening meditation 
Sun, Nov 5  
6:15 am  Morning meditation with Ven. Lekden at Mahabodhi Stupa
7:30 am Breakfast – takeaway picnic
8:30 am Final Teachings with Ven. Lekden at Mahabodhi Stupa
10:00 am Break
10:30 am Tour of Root Institute and introduction to the charitible projects – Maitreya School, Shakyamuni Buddha Clinic and the Stupa Garden
12:00 noon Big Lunch
2:00 pm Film screening on Lama Zopa Rinpoche


 Note: This schedule is subject to change.

 If you’re arriving before your check-in day or staying on after your check-out day, please book these in advance to secure them with our reception team: . If you arrive early or have a late departure, you are welcome to keep your luggage by the office

Course / retreat discipline

Students are most welcome to apply for individual or groups retreats here. To make the most of this special time, we would like to suggest the following:

  • It is good to settle all outside communication before you begin your retreat. Telling friends and family that you will be out of contact for the duration will significantly help to reduce distractions. Likewise, settling your travel arrangements, etc. before you come to Root Institute is highly advisable.

  • To maintain a healthy, calm, clear mind, observing silence will also bring you the mental space most conducive to retreat.

  • Practicing Dharma is a source of happiness, so rejoice in your efforts!

  • Thank you for thinking of Root Institute as your place for retreat. We will do our best to support you!

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 follow His Holiness the Dalai Lama's advice and support his work, we do not share our materials and facilities with those who knowingly continue to practice Shugden against his advice.

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