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The Four Noble Truths – With Ven. Tenzin Gache
From Friday, 8. March 2019
To Monday, 11. March 2019
Location : Main gompa
Dharma chakra and two deer
Dharma chakra & two deer
Traditional adornment of monastery rooves signifies Lord Buddha's first teaching at Deer Park, Sarnath, on the Four Noble Truths

The Buddha began his teaching career with four provocative statements:

  • All existence as we know it is unsatisfactory, incapable of bringing any lasting happiness.

  • The cause of our incarnating into such an existence is our own actions over a long series of past lives, and ultimately traces back to the state of our minds.

  • It is possible to be free of all suffering permanently, forever, and to stop the process of uncontrolled rebirth.

  • The path leading to that freedom consists of ethical discipline, strong concentration, and insight into the depths of the mind and existence.

Rather than taking these statements as dogma, we will first try to pinpoint as clearly as possible what exactly the Buddha was saying. In the process we will examine what it means for something to be "true", and how we can know it to be so.

Next we will ask whether these ancient "truths" withstand scrutiny in the face of modern knowledge and scientific discoveries.

Doubts and even challenges are welcome as we are working together to seek deeper understanding.

Format of the course will incorporate:

  • Dharma teachings

  • group discussions, 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 program at Sera Je Monastery in Bylakuppe, India.


Fri 8 Mar  
4:00 pm Introduction to course by Spiritual Programme Coordinator (SPC)
6:00 pm Dinner
7:00 pm First Dharma teaching by Ven. Gache
Sat 9–Sun 10 Mar  
6:45 am Morning meditation
7:30 am Breakfast
9:00 am Teachings / session with Ven. Gache (with tea break)
noon Lunch
2:00 pm Discussion group
3:00 pm Break
3:30 pm Teachings / session with Ven. Gache (with tea break)
6:00 pm Dinner
7:00 pm Evening meditation
Mon 11 Mar  
6:45 am Morning meditation
7:30 am Breakfast
9:00 am Last session with Ven. Gache (with tea break)
11:30 am Feedback and wrap-up
noon Farewell lunch


Please note: This schedule is subject to change.

The Four Noble Truths – With Ven. Tenzin Gache
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.