Pilgrimage needs faith. More faith, more happiness. Otherwise, we are just like tourists looking at ruins. Pilgrimage is not just going to holy places and taking pictures. We go to holy places for blessing, so it's good to do practices at the different holy places.
Bodhgaya is not only the place where the Buddha showed the holy deed of achieving enlightenment under the bodhi tree but also where all the great pandits such as Nagarjuna and Asanga practiced and made so many prayers. Also many great enlightened beings and yogis from Tibet, China, Nepal and other countries came here and made many prayers to benefit us sentient beings so there would be unbelievable, unbelievable benefit for us to purify negative karma and accumulate merit as quickly as possible.
I think you are very fortunate to be able to come to Bodhgaya, where a thousand buddhas will descend, place their holy feet, display holy deeds, and achieve enlightenment. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is the fourth of the thousand buddhas. The rest of the buddhas will descend here and will also display the twelve deeds, and the holy deed, achieving enlightenment.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
We will deepen our journey to holy sites with an inner journey of morning and evening meditations.
Along the way, an experienced Buddhist guide will lead us in setting our morning motivation, taking inspiration from His Holiness Dalai Lama's motivation for life. The visualisation of Shakyamuni Buddha, and reflections on the qualities of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, while reciting Praise to Shakyamuni Buddha, will inspire and increase our faith and set our motivation for all that we see and do during the day, including meaningful discussions on such topics as emptiness and dependent arising.
In the evenings we will meditate on topics including refuge, loving kindness, natural purity of mind, death and impermanence, emptiness and dependent arising, bodhicitta and our potential to achieve enlightenment, as well as rejoicing in the many virtues of our pilgrimage and beyond. At the end of each day, heartfelt prayers will dedicate all positive potential for the sake of our temporal and ultimate positive goals.
This is our opportunity to travel safely from holy site to holy site, walking in the Buddha's footsteps, retracing the meaningful events gone by, including visiting three of the four sites which Buddha himself said his follows must visit – Bodhgaya, where Buddha became enlightened; Sarnath, where Buddha first turned the wheel of Dharma; and Kushinigar, where Buddha passed into paranirvana; also visiting the sites of Buddha's relics, all along the way planting seeds for future buddhahood in our own mindstreams while making our current contribution to a more peaceful and happy world.
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.