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Introduction to Guru Devotion – with Kabir Saxena
From Saturday, 2. December 2023 -  04:00pm
To Friday, 8. December 2023 - 12:00pm

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The relationship with the teacher, guru, (lama in Tibetan), is potentially one of the most fraught with misunderstanding and pitfalls. So much so that when Mahayana Buddhist teachings are given to modern people the topic of proper reliance on the guru, “The Root of the Path" is virtually never given at the beginning as it was traditionally. 

Due to a combination of many factors such as for example, the presence of many charlatans nowadays posturing as realised teachers, the decline of faith in general, the rise of Individualism and (some would maintain, the decline of our good collective karma in these matters), many perceive the guru-disciple relationship, (guru-shishya parampara in sanskrit), as out of date.

In this course we will hope to illuminate all these factors, as well as listen, reflect and meditate together on what the teachings on the Stages of the Path of Mahayana Buddhism can tell us. We must do this, because if we look at the greatest practitioners from the last 2,600 years ago, right up to and including our present teachers, we can see that they all had gurus and regarded them with the utmost respect and devotion, understanding them to be indispensable to authentic spiritual realisation. Perhaps we too in the 21st century can elicit some of that devotion by clearly seeing and then practising its causes.

Participants should be prepared to engage in sessions of chanting, prostrations and meditation, in addition to lectures and discussion periods. On some of these days, we will take the Eight Mahayana Precepts.


Kabir Saxena was born to an English mother and an Indian father and raised in both Delhi and London, attending Oxford University where he studied History.

He met his main teachers Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche in 1979 and has been living and working in FPMT Centres almost ever since, including helping to establish Root Institute in Bodh Gaya and serving as its Director for many years. He is currently the Spiritual Programme Coordinator of Tushita Delhi.

Kabir ji has been teaching Buddhism to Westerners and Indians in India and Nepal since 1988 and presents the Dharma in an appropriately humorous and meaningful way for modern students.


Sat Dec 2  
5:30 pm Welcome to the course by the Spiritual Programme Coordinator
6:00 pm Dinner/Supper
7:00 pm Orientation session with Kabir ji
Sun Dec 3 – Thu Dec 7  
6:45 am Morning meditation
7:30 am Breakfast 
9:00 am Teachings with with Kabir ji
10:15 am Break
10:45 am Teachings with Kabir ji
12:00 noon Lunch
2:00 pm Teachings with Kabir ji
3:30 pm Break
4:00 pm Discussion and Q&A with Kabir ji
6:00 pm Supper
7:00 pm Evening meditation 
Fri Dec 8  
6:15 am  Morning meditation with Kabir ji at Mahabodhi Stupa
7:30 am Breakfast – takeaway picnic
8:30 am Final Teachings with Kabir ji at Mahabodhi Stupa
10:00 am Break
10:30 am Visit to Maitri Charitable Trust
12:00 noon Big Lunch
1:00 pm Tour of Root Institute and introduction to the charitible projects – Maitreya School, Shakyamuni Buddha Clinic and the Stupa Garden 
3:00 pm  Film screening on Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche


Note: This schedule is subject to change.

Please note: Participants are expected maintain silence between supper and lunch


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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