Map of Bodhgaya in India
Bodhgaya in the Indian state of Bihar

Root Institute for Wisdom Culture is located near Bodhgaya in the north Indian state of Bihar.

More than 2,600 years ago a young Prince Siddhartha, full of questions about the suffering of life, left his father’s palace and journeyed across modern day Nepal and India, eventually ending in Bodhgaya. Finding a comfortable seat underneath a bodhi or pipal tree, Prince Siddhartha vowed not to break his meditation until he had overcome all maras or afflictions and attained Enlightenment. It was here that Buddhism began.

Root Institute is a 10-minute rickshaw ride from this bodhi tree, the Mecca for Buddhist pilgrims throughout the world. Many other sites where the Buddha meditated, taught, and resided are found throughout the local landscape, making Bodhgaya the most blessed place in the Buddhist world.

How the centre got its name

Root Institute received its name in 1984 from its founder Lama Thubten Yeshe, a highly qualified teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Lama Yeshe considered Bodhgaya to be the root from which the branches of Buddhism had spread to the rest of the world. Root Institute's logo (displayed on the first slide of our homepage slideshow) was inspired by this analogy.

Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the heart disciple of Lama Yeshe, and current Spiritual Director of Root Institute and the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), added the phrase 'for Wisdom Culture'. Root Institute currently has pending affiliation to FPMT, which comprises a network of over 170 meditation centres in over 30 countries, including nine in India.

Our mission

To fulfil the vision of our spiritual guides, there are three main components to our mission:

  1. to be part of the preservation of the ancient Nalanda tradition of India through providing the opportunity to engage in the study and practice of Buddhist meditation and philosophy thereby helping people's minds and hearts be transformed into their highest potential for the benefit of others

  2. to provide compassionate service especially to impoverished children, adolescents and adults in neighbouring areas; and

  3. to create a harmonious and compassionate spiritual environment in which to live and work together in.

Root Institute courtyard
Root Institute courtyard blessed by the presence of (L to R) our great prayer wheel and statues of Nagarjuna and Maitreya

Our activities

In addition to the dharma activities of the centre, Root Institute encompasses the socially engaged charitable projects located within or close by:

as well as new land nearby, being developed and blessed which will soon become another sanctuary for Dharma practice:

Through these projects Root Institute is working constantly to repay the kindness shown by the Indian people towards the Tibetan people and their culture.