About Root Institute
Root Institute for Wisdom Culture is located in the holy land of Bodhgaya, where Gautama Buddha attained Enlightenment more than 2,500 years ago. It received its name in 1984 from its founder Lama Thubten Yeshe, a highly qualified teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Since Bodhgaya is where the Buddha became enlightened, Lama Yeshe considered this place to be the Root from which the branches emerged to the rest of the world as depicted in our logo above. 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 term "Wisdom Culture". Root Institute currently has pending affiliation to FPMT, which comprises a network of about 150 meditation centres in over 30 countries.
The primary mission of Root Institute is 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. Providing compassionate service is considered to be another integral part of our mission. It was the aspiration of Lama Yeshe, that the institute 'return the historic kindness of the Indian people'. As part of this ideal, the institute runs various social welfare projects which gives immediate benefit to those who are impoverished.
Each winter, October to April, we offer a series of courses and retreats on Tibetan Buddhist meditation and philosophy in English. These courses cover a wide range of Buddhist topics and are designed to complement each other. Taught by experienced Western teachers and visiting Tibetan lamas, all of our courses and retreats emphasise practical application of the Buddha’s teachings in order to increase wisdom, compassion, peace and happiness in daily life. Courses taught in Hindi for our Indian students are offered year round. For a complete listing of our current spiritual programmes please check here.
We offer comfortable, clean and affordable accommodation, a well-stocked library, delicious vegetarian meals, regular pujas (group practicies) including Guru Puja, Tara Puja, Medicine Buddha Puja, light offerings, offering robes to the Mahabodhi Buddha statue, sutra recitations and fully serviced private retreat facilities.
Root Institute is a 15 minute walk from the Great Mahabodhi Stupa of Buddha's Enlightenment, the holiest of holy sites in the Buddhist tradition. You can reach Root Institute by flying into Gaya or Patna, Bihar from major cities around the world and then taking a taxi or by an overnight train from the capital cities of New Delhi and Calcutta in India. See Location and Getting There.
Root Institute is a registered non-profit, charitable trust, under the laws of India, and is managed together with its social welfare projects, by volunteers.
Root Institute General is the mothership of all our projects and is responsible for implementing our spiritual programme, and the maintenance of our beautiful grounds. It supports our local Indian staff, the animal welfare programme and our sangha. Root Institute General along with our four main social projects are completely dependent on the kind generosity of sponsors and donors.