Wisdom of Emptiness

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.

Wisdom of Emptiness

Join us for these 10-day teachings on emptiness with Venerable Tenzin Namjong. The teachings will be based on the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras, especially the Heart Sutra and Vajra Cutter Sutra, and the writings of the Indian pandits, Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti, and the great Tibetan scholar-yogi and found of the Gelug Tradition, Lama Tsongkhapa.

This will be an experiential retreat where teachings will be supported by meditations to lead us step-by-step to a deeper understanding of emptiness and its relevance to our own development of happiness and compassion.

Ven. Namjong is an American-born monk currently living and studying in Sera Jey monastery in southern India, so he is able to make the topics relatable to our Western way of thinking. This course will include:

  • on the first day, robe offerings to the Buddha statue at the Mahabodhi Stupa
  • regular visits to the Mahabodhi Stupa, for teachings and practices
  • daily recitations of the Heart Sutra and Vajra Cutter Sutra, with teachings and explanations.

On 21 February, after this course ends, Ven. Namjong will lead a pilgrimage to Rajgir – to Vulture’s Peak, where the Buddha taught the Perfect of Wisdom Sutras – The Heart Sutra and Vajra Cutter Sutra – and also to the ruins of the great Nalanda University. The pilgrimage is optional, though highly recommended.

Format of the course will incorporate:

  • Dharma teachings
  • group discussions and

guided meditations.

12–19 February 2020

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.

For established students or adventurous beginners

Our intermediate courses are ideal for those who are looking to challenge themselves beyond foundational Buddhist philosophy. Having said that, each course or retreat is open to anyone who may wish to attend.

Beginners may find some concepts a little challenging to understand. If you are in this category, you may like to prepare by way of reading or listening to online teachings.

Our intermediate courses are typically taught by special teachers or high lamas who visit Root Institute.

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).


Venerable Tenzin Namjong

Born and raised in Hawaii, Venerable Tenzin Namjong studied and trained in Zen and Theravada traditions before embracing the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, due mainly to the kindness of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Princeton University and has been part of the 19-year Geshe (Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy) study program at Sera Je Monastery in Bylakuppe, India since 2007.

Venerable Namjong is a registered teacher of the FPMT and regularly teaches at Choe Khor Sum Ling Centre in Bangalore.