How to Achieve Calm Abiding

Root Institute for Wisdom Culture is a beautiful oasis of tranquillity located in the holy land of Bodhgaya, where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment more than 2,500 years ago. We offer courses and retreats on Tibetan Buddhist meditation and philosophy in English, and pilgrimages steeped in the history and culture of Buddhism. Our courses are taught by experienced Western and Tibetan teachers and emphasize the practical application of the Buddha’s teachings to increase wisdom, compassion, peace, and happiness in one’s daily life.

Additionally, our social service projects – school, clinic, and welfare – bring immediate benefit to our rural community.

How to Achieve Calm Abiding

Calm abiding (Sanskrit: Shamatha; Tibetan: Zhine) is a state of extraordinarily stable, one-pointed concentration. It is cultivated on the bodhisattva’s path because, even if one’s mind has insight born of the wisdom teachings of the Buddha, without this laser-like focus it will not have sufficient power to overcome one’s deep-seated, innate ignorance and fundamentally transform one’s mind on the path to enlightenment.

It is said that the deepest cause of the development of calm abiding is the practice of pure ethics.

On that basis, a solitary retreat is called for, in a very quiet place with excellent conditions for practice.

Another vital preparation is to clearly understand the nine stages of development of calm abiding, each with its own obstacles to concentration and specific antidotes, with instructions on how and when to apply them. The aim of this course is to give students such a clear basis of understanding.

This course will be taught by our resident geshe, Geshe Ngawang Rabga, in Tibetan and translated by our experienced English translator.

Format of the course will incorporate:

  • Dharma teachings and
  • guided meditations.

17-23 Nov 2019

The next edition to be announced soon.

This course is offered via a suggested donation. Please note that we will not turn away anybody for lack of funds. Do let us know how we can make your visit to Root Institute possible.

This course is suitable for beginners and anyone open to learning more about the practical application of Buddha’s teachings to increase wisdom, compassion, peace and happiness in one’s daily life.

This course is offered offline / in person at the Root Institute for Wisdom Culture in the holy land of Bodhgaya.

Sitting on over two acres, Root Institute offers a tranquil and spiritual environment for individuals or groups wishing to attend one of our courses, undertake meditation retreat, or simply wanting a peaceful place to stay during a visit to Bodhgaya.

Flights to and from Gaya Airport are available between September and June. Domestic flights are from Delhi, Varanasi and Kolkata, and international from Bangkok, Colombo and Yangon. We are 10 km or 20 minutes from Gaya Airport.

Gaya Railway Station is 16 km or 40 minutes away. Gaya is on the main train line with Delhi, Kolkata, and Varanasi. By train, Gaya is ∼4–5 hours from Varanasi, ∼12–15 hours from Delhi, and ∼5–6 hours from Kolkata. Direct trains to Gaya are also available from many other cities including Mumbai, Chennai, Dehradun, and Haridwar (for travel to/from Rishikesh).


Geshe Ngawang Rabga, a Lharampa geshe from Lhowa Khamtsen at Sera Je Monastery, took up his position as our first resident geshe in March 2016, after having completed his tantric exams at Gyuto Monastery, and then studying English in Dharamsala. This is his first time teaching at an FPMT center.

Geshe-la was born in 1973 in Kham, one of the three main provinces of Tibet, in the area called Parkham Karshu, into a nomad farmer’s family.

Geshe-la’s favorite topics in Buddhist philosophy are the Perfection of Wisdom and the Middle Way. It took about a decade to accomplish his studies on them in great detail.

Geshe-la’s main teacher is the late Chöden Rinpoche, who taught him for all these years from the time when Geshe-la studied Collected Topics in the beginning until Madhyamika (Middle Way) class. Other teachers of Geshe Rabga-la are former abbot of Sera Je monastic college, Khensur Lobsang Tsering-la, and Gen Gendun Choephel-la (who is also a major student of Chöden Rinpoche as well as Ösel Hita’s former tutor).


Our translator – Matt Whiston

Root Institute is very happy to welcome our new translator, Matt Whiston, who studied for some years at the Buddhist Institute of Dialectics in Dharamsala and at Rime Shedra in Kathmandu, before becoming a translator for Geshe Tashi Tsering at Chenrezig Institute in Australia in 2007.

After a two-year stint there, he worked at the Dhargey Buddhist center in Whangarei, New Zealand, which included some tours with Geshe Sonam Rinchen. In June 2012 he became a translator for the resident geshe at Hayagriva Centre, Perth, Australia. Since then, he has interpreted for retreats at various centers in New Zealand.

Matt did some volunteer work with Maitreya Project School back in 2002, so he is also very familiar with Root Institute and very happy to be working again in the holy place of Bodhgaya.