Root Institute offers pilgrimages in and around Bodhgaya throughout the season, where you can enjoy the company and support of warm-hearted, like-minded people. Led by Root Institiute's co-SPC and veteran pilgrimage leader, Annie McGhee, our pilgrimages are designed to facilitate an "inner spiritual journey" – with opportunities to practice, connect, and revive one's inspiration from places in the outer environment blessed over millenia by the realisations of spiritually accomplished beings.
Pilgrimages are available for both people staying at Root Institute, and also staying at outside.
Mahabodhi Tree, Temple and Muchalinda Lake: where the Buddha meditated and manifested enlightenment
Vulture's Peak: where the Buddha taught the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras (Prajñāpāramitā), turning the 2nd wheel of Dharma
Nalanda ruins: it is said to be one of the earliest universities in the world, founded in the 5th century, where renowned Buddhist scholars such as Candrakīrti, Shantideva and Atiśa studied
Venu Vana: the Bamboo Grove gifted by king Bimbisara to the Buddha and where the Buddha used to meditative and interact with his disciples
Mahakala Cave: it is said the Buddha did ascetic practices here
Sujata: where the Buddha received food from a local girl reviving his strength
Local temples: Thai temple, Tergar monastery, Tara Devi temple, Japanese Zen temple and Burmese vihara.
At each site the group will be given important information about the site and led into different meditations and practices relevant to the place. During the first day of the course there will be a Dharma talk: Being a pilgrim versus being a tourist.
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
Please note: This schedule is subject to change.
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.