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6-Day Meditative Pilgrimage – March
From Saturday, 16. March 2019
To Thursday, 21. March 2019
Location : Various holy sites
Mahabodhi Tree & Stupa
Mahabhodhi Stupa, Bodhgaya

Holy sites to be visited

  • Mahabodhi Tree & Stupa: where the Buddha manifested enlightenment

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

  • Saptaparni Cave: where the first Buddhist Council took place

  • 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

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

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

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



Sat 16 Mar – Mahabodhi Stupa
Main meditation topic: Qualities of Buddha, Dharma & Sangha
2:00 pm SPC (Spiritual Programme Coordinator) Welcome to Meditative Pilgrimage /
Dharma talk about pilgrimage versus being a tourist
3:30 pm Day pilgrimage to Mahabodhi Stupa
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 to be eaten on the way)
12:00 noon Lunch at Nalanda
1:30 pm Pilgrimage to Nalanda University
3:00 pm Return to Root Institute
6:00 pm Dinner
Mon 18 Mar – Saptaparni Cave
Main meditation topic: Bodhichitta
7:30 am Breakfast
9:00 am Pilgrimage to Saptaparni Cave
12.00 noon Lunch at Saptaparni Cave (take away lunch)
2:30 pm Return to Root Institute
6:00 pm Dinner
Tue 19 Mar – Bodhgaya Temples Tour
Main meditation topic: Four Noble Truths
7:30 am Breakfast
8:30 am Visit to Bhutanese Temple, Zen Buddhist Meditation Centre, Giant Buddha Statue, Nyingma Temple
12:00 noon Lunch at Root Institute
3:00 pm Visit to Metta Buddharam Temple (Silver Temple), Tergar Monastery
6:00 pm Dinner
Wed 20 Mar – Gurupada Cave
Main meditation topic: Precious Human Rebirth, Love & Compassion
6:30 am Pilgrimage to Gurupada (take away breakfast from Root)
12:00 noon Lunch at Gurupada (take away lunch from Root)
3:00 pm Return to Root Institute
6:00 pm Dinner
Thu 21 Mar – Mahakala Cave
Main meditation topic: Renunciation, Death & Impermanence
7:30 am Breakfast
9:00 am Pilgrimage to Mahakala Cave
12:00 noon Lunch at Mahakala Cave (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

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.