Buddha Shakyamuni taught that the root cause of all suffering is our distorted perceptions of reality and the disturbing emotions that arise from them. In the Perfection of Wisdom sutras, the Buddha taught the nature of emptiness (Skt. shunyata), the ultimate nature of reality. Cultivating this wisdom is the only method that will enable us to be free from suffering. The Heart Sutra is renowned for its concise presentation of the entire subject matter of the Perfection of Wisdom and is used as a practice for daily recitation and meditation among the various Mahayana Buddhist traditions.
In this retreat, Ven Tenzin Namjong will give a commentary on the Heart Sutra based on traditional and contemporary commentaries and also draw from other texts to explain how to develop the correct understanding of emptiness. The retreat will include guided meditation sessions on emptiness as well as several trips to Mahabodhi, the enlightenment stupa at Bodhgaya as well as a pilgrimage to Rajgir, the holy site where the Heart Sutra was first taught.
Students of any experience level will have an amazing opportunity to learn and grow from this course, although it is recommended that people have at least some prior knowledge of Buddhism.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Venerable Tenzin Namjong studied and trained in Zen and Theravada traditions before embracing the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, due mainly to the kindness of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Princeton University and has been part of the 19-year Geshe study program at Sera Je Monastery in Bylakuppe, India since 2007. Venerable Namjong is a registered teacher of the FPMT and teaches regularly in FPMT centers in India and the rest of the world.
|Mon, Nov 6|
|1:15 pm onwards||Check-in|
|5:30 pm||Welcome to the course by the Spiritual Programme Coordinator|
|7:00 pm||Introductory teaching with Ven. Namjong|
|Tue, Nov 7 to Fri Nov 10|
|6:45 am||Morning meditation|
|9:00 am||Teachings/group practice with Ven. Namjong (Session at Mahabodhi stupa on Nov 7)|
|10:45 am||Teachings/group practice with Ven. Namjong|
|2:00 pm||Teachings/group practice with Ven. Namjong|
|4:00 pm||Teachings/group practice with Ven. Namjong|
|7:00 pm||Evening meditation|
|Sat, Nov 11||Pilgrimage to Vulture's Peak, Rajgir|
|Sun, Nov 12|
|6:15 am||Morning meditation with Ven. Namjong at Mahabodhi Stupa|
|7:30 am||Breakfast – takeaway picnic|
|8:30 am||Final Teachings with Ven. Namjong at Mahabodhi Stupa|
|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 (Optional)|
Note: This schedule is subject to change. More teachings/group practice at Mahabodhi Stupa will be announced by Ven. Namjong during the course
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
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!
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.