Pilgrimages

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6-Day Meditative Pilgrimage – March
From Saturday, 16. March 2019
To Thursday, 21. March 2019
Location : Main gompa

Holy sites to be visited

  • Mahabodhi Tree & Temple: where the Buddha manifested enlightenment

  • Vulture's Peak: where the Buddha taught the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras turning the 3rd wheel of Dharma 

  • Nalanda: it is said to be one of the earliest universities in the world, founded in the 5th century, where renowned Buddhist scholars such as Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti and Shantideva studied

  • Mahakala Cave: it is said the Buddha did ascetic practices here

  • Saptaparni Cave: where the first Buddhist Council took place

  • Gurupada Cave: where Mahakasiapa and other disciples of the Buddha meditated (very very beautiful place)

     

Making the most of our journey

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

 

Schedule

Sat 16 Mar – Mahabodhi Stupa
Main meditation topic: Qualities of Buddha, Dharma & Sangha
2:00 pm Welcome to Meditative Pilgrimage, explanation of visits.
2:45 pm Day Pilgrimage to Mahabodhi Stupa/Dharma talk about Pilgrimage versus being a tourist
6:00 pm Dinner 
7:00 pm Night Pilgrimage to Mahabodhi Stupa
   
Sun 17 Mar – Vultures Peak & Nalanda University
Main meditation topic: Heart Sutra, emptiness
6:30 am Pilgrimage to Vultures Peak (take away breakfast)
12:00 noon Lunch at Rajgir
1:30 pm Pilgrimage to Nalanda University
3:00 pm Return to Root Institute
6:00 pm Dinner 
   
Mon 18 Mar – Mahakala Cave
Main meditation topic: Renunciation, Death & Impermanence
7:30 am Breakfast
9:00 am Pilgrimage to Mahakala
12:00 noon Lunch at Mahakala (take away lunch)
2:30 pm Return to Root Institute
6:00 pm Dinner
   
Tue 19 Mar – Saptaparni Cave
Main meditation topic: Bodhichitta
7:30 am Breakfast
8:30 am Pilgrimage to Saptaparni
12.00 noon Lunch at Saptaparni (take away lunch)
3:00 pm Return to Root Institute
6:00 pm Dinner
   
Wed 20 Mar – Bodhgaya Temples Tour
Main meditation topic: 4 Noble Truths
7:30 am Breakfast
8:30 am Bhutanese Temple, Zen Buddhist Meditation Centre, Giant Buddha Statue, Nyingma Temple
12:00 noon Lunch at Root Institute
3:00 pm Metta Buddharam Temple (Silver Temple), Tergar Monastery
6:00 pm Dinner
   
Thu 21 Mar – Gurupada Cave
Main meditation topic: Precious Human Rebirth, Love & Rejoicing
6:30 am Pilgrimage to Gurupada (take away breakfast)
12:00 noon Lunch at Gurupada (take away lunch from Root)
2:00 pm Dedication prayers – end of pilgrimage
3:00 pm Return to Root Institute
6:00 pm Dinner

 

Note: This schedule is subject to change.

 

Express interest & find out more

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.