Spiritual programme

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Engaging in the Bodhisattva Way of Life (Module 1: Chapters 1-5)
From Monday, 17. September 2018
To Friday, 16. November 2018
Location : Small gompa      Time : Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri 5:15pm–6:45pm

Root Text: Engaging in the Bodhisattva Way of Life

(Sanskrit: Bodhicaryavatara; Tibetan: bYang chub sems pa'i spyod pa la jug pa)
by Shantideva

Commentary: Commentary to (Shantideva’s) Engaging in the Bodhisattva Way of Life

(Tibetan: Spyod jug tik ka)
by Gyaltsab-je

Extraordinary classic text of the Mahayana

Comprising almost a thousand verses, Shantideva's Bodhicaryavatara combines devotional, practical and philosophical elements to skilfully elucidate the practices of a bodhisattva. The text is structured around the six perfections, and the difficult wisdom chapter presupposes a knowledge of Buddhist epistemology and tenets. Gyaltsab-je's text is a popular commentary, adding a practice oriented structure to the text by means of an extensive outline.

Of this text, His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself has said:

If I have any understanding of compassion and the bodhisattva path, it all comes from studying this text.

Module 1: Chapters 1–5

Chapter 1 – Benefits of Bodhicitta – explains the benefits of the mind of enlightenment, to inspire the wish to develop this mind.

Chapter 2 – Confession of Bad Deeds – teaches how to bring about the causes and conditions, accumulating merit and purifying negativities, in other words, preparing the ground and removing obstacles that prevent generation of the mind of enlightenment.

Chapter 3 – Adopting the Spirit of Enlightenment – sets out how to actually generate the bodhisattva aspiration and take the bodhisattva vows.

Chapter 4 – Conscientiousness, and Chapter 5 – Discriminating Awareness – these progress into the actual practice of bodhisattvas, teaching how to prevent decline of the bodhisattva aspiration by developing conscientiousness, mindfulness and introspection, needed to safeguard this most precious mind by practising its ethics.

Bodhicitta or the awakening mind is the wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings. This topic brings forth the excellence of bodhicitta, the benefits of cherishing others, which will also indirectly greatly benefit oneself as well. So, the first chapter consists of a celebration of the excellence of bodhicitta intended to fill the mind with enthusiasm and orientate it toward a new and wonderful goal, while the next two chapters provide the stimulus to develop this awakening mind.

This original resolve of bodhicitta needs consolidation and the following three chapters, (Chapter 4 and 5, on conscientiousness and discriminating awareness, and Chapter 6 under Module 2, on patience) provide instructions on how to prevent the precious bodhicitta attitude from being dissipated. Conscientiousness and discriminating awareness are also indispensable qualities to be developed in order to fully appreciate the great opportunity of a human life that one currently has, so that one will live one’s life fully and meaningfully.

Note: This schedule is subject to change.

Sitting-in short-term on courses within the FPMT Basic Programme is an option for our guests and volunteers.

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
  • Lama Ch'opa ts'og offering
  • Protector puja

Unless otherwise indicated, registration is required for all events except:

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

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.