Spiritual programme

Festival of Lights & Merit

Festival of Lights & Merit

Those who offer one thousand lights will be reborn when Maitreya Buddha shows the deed of gaining Enlightenment and receive his first Dharma teaching.

Arya Maitreya Sutra

Four auspicious events celebrated each year

The four most important events of Shakyamuni Buddha's life according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition are honoured every year on dates in the Tibetan calendar:

  • 15 Days of Miracles culminating in Chotrul Duchen, the Day of Miracles
  • Saka Dawa
  • First Turning of the Dharma Wheel, and
  • Lord Buddha's Descent from the Deva Realm of the Thirty-Three.

Check below for our next festival dates according to the Western calendar.

 Features of every festival

  • Held principally at the Mahabodhi Stupa, though extensive light offerings are also made at Root Institute
  • This spiritual festival allows people from around the world to sponsor lights, pujas and prayer flags
  • Names and dedications of all sponsors are read aloud each evening during the festival.

Each Festival of Light & Merit includes

Hanging prayer flagsExtensive light offerings

Tens of thousands of electrical light offerings create the illusion of a starry sky surrounding the Stupa itself, a beautiful and inspiring sight. Together with the thousands of electrical lights at Root institute, these lights are offered and dedicated each evening by Root Institute on behalf of sponsors.

Three special pujas

Three specific pujas are specially arranged – Tara Puja, Protector Puja and Guru Puja – with monks from the Bodhgaya branch of Namgyal Monastery.

Hanging of blessed prayer flags

Traditional Tibetan Prayer Flags are blessed, raised beside the Mahabodhi Stupa and dedicated on behalf of sponsors. The blessings of which are spread across the Stupa grounds and inner Bodhgaya city.

Dedications

Additional dedications for all the offerings

  • The long lives of our holy gurus
  • The preservation and spread of the pure Dharma
  • The temporal and ultimate happiness of the sponsors and their loved ones
  • The quick enlightenment of all sentient beings
  • Peace and harmony around the world
  • The removal of all obstacles and quick success to FPMT projects.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche has advised Root Institute that each single recitation of the actual light offering prayer is equivalent to the number of lights offered. Therefore, on one night during the 15 Days of Miracles, if 100,000 lights are offered by 10 students, according to Rinpoche’s advice, one million lights would be offered on that night alone!

Sponsorship of FLAM also helps the Root Institute family

 

The next festival dates

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.

General information about the spiritual programme

Our spiritual programme now runs from beginning of September through to end of 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
  • Lama Ch'opa ts'og offering
  • Protector puja

Unless otherwise indicated, registration is required for all spiritual programme events except drop-in sessions, Festival of Lights & Merit, and Mahabodhi Stupa events.

To book your own individual or group retreat, please go to Blessings > Retreat – at Stupa Garden of Compassion, through which you can also book accommodation.