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Tara Mahamudra Retreat – With Jimi Neal
From Wednesday, 27. February 2019
To Friday, 8. March 2019
Location : Main gompa

Introduction to tantra based on the Chittamani Tara Guru Yoga sadhana, with lojong and tong-len

Green Tara
Guru Chittamani Tara  (courtesy of digital thangka)

With the exception of prayers and discussion / Q & A sessions, the retreat will be in full silence, with the practice entailing:

  • Chittamani Tara Guru Yoga

  • Mahamudra meditation on the clear light mind

  • Introduction to tantra based on Lama Yeshe's practice instructions

  • Lo-jong (thought transformation) and tong-len (taking others' suffering and giving away one's happiness)

Sessions based on the Chittamani Tara Guru Yoga

In doing the sadhana, those without initiation will visualise the deity on their crown, rather than themselves as the deity.

  • Generation of Tara as oneness with the guru

  • Refuge and bodhicitta

  • Reciting the seven-limb puja from Union of the Spiritual Master and Avalokeshvara, composed His Holiness the Dalai Lama at 19

  • Prostrations with Praises to the Twenty-one Taras, preceded by commentary on description, outer, inner, & secret meaning of each

  • Outer and inner mandala offerings

  • Taking the blessings of the four kayas

  • Recitation of the mantra with visualisation from the crown

  • Absorption of Guru Tara and recitation from the TAM at our heart

  • Transforming universe into Tara's pure land and all beings into Tara

  • As taught by Lama Yeshe: Absorbing the universe and all beings as Tara in stages up to meditation on the clear light – the mahamudra of seeing all that appears is a mere reflection in our mind

  • Dedication

Other sessions

  • One session will be a "glance meditation" on the Lama Chöpa Lam Rim prayer, and stories from Lama Yeshe's teachings.

  • The afternoon session will be Q & A on the sadhana, tong-len, and introduction to tantra according to the teachings of Lama Yeshe; starting with recitation of Heart Sutra as some understanding of its meaning is vital for deity yoga practice.

Practice between sessions

We will attempt to maintain as much as possible the view that all that appears is a mere reflection in our mind; nothing to grasp; nothing to push away; like an appearance in the mirror of our mind or the moon's reflection in a clear lake.


Lama Yeshe is the root of all of our centers and practices. Many never met him, so this is a chance to introduce Lama Yeshe with beautiful excepts from his teachings and stories.

At the tong-len (taking and giving) verse in the Lam Rim prayer, participants will begin to integrate the tong-len practice into the retreat. Lama Zopa Rinpoche told Jimi here at Root Institute that he was happy that lo-jong was included in the retreats. Jimi took this as a precept and includes tong-len in all deity retreats.

Participants are also required to follow Root Institute's course / retreat discipline and guidelines of behaviour, outlined below.


Wed 27 Feb  
4:00 pm Welcome talk
4:30 pm Introduction to the retreat
6:00 pm Supper
7:00 pm Introduction to the practice
Thu 28 Feb – Thu 7 Mar  
6:00 am Wake up
6:30 am 1st session – Green Tara
7:30 am Breakfast
9:00 am 2nd session – Green Tara
10:15 am Break
10:45 am 3rd session – Lam Rim / tong-len
noon Lunch
2:00 pm Group yoga / gentle stretching
3:00 pm Break
3:30 pm 4th session – Q & A
5:00 pm 5th session – Green Tara
6:00 pm Supper
7:30 pm 6th session – Green Tara
Fri 8 Mar  
6:00 am Wake up
6:30 am 1st Session Green Tara
7:30 am Breakfast
9:00 am Final Session
10:15 am Break
10:45 am Pack up gompa – karma yoga
noon Group lunch


Please be aware silence will be kept at all times. Prior to the start, this schedule may have slight alterations.

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!

General information about the spiritual programme

Our spiritual programme now runs from mid-September to mid-April.

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.