Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Khadro-la (Rangjung Neljorma Khandro Namsel Drönme) at Root Institute, Bodhgaya, India, January 2018. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche arrived at Root Institute in Bodhgaya, India, on January 3, traveling from Kopan Monastery in Nepal. The day after arriving, Rinpoche invited Khadro-la (Rangjung Neljorma Khandro Namsel Drönme) to Root Institute for lunch.

When Rinpoche meets his gurus, he always makes auspicious offerings, requesting for their long lives. Rinpoche did this for Khadro-la and also recited the Sixteen Arhat prayers.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche offering a khata to Khyongla Rato Rinpoche, Root Institute, Bodhgaya, India, January 4, 2018. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

After lunch, Khyongla Rato Rinpoche arrived at Root to visit Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and Rinpoche made offerings and requests for Khyongla Rato Rinpoche’s long life. They had tea together with Khadro-la.


Khyongla Rato Rinpoche, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Khadro-la, and Khen Rinpoche Nicholas Vreeland having tea at Root Institute, Bodhagya, India, January 4, 2018. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

Rinpoche traveled to Bodhgaya for the teachings with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, which began on January 5. More than 50,000 attended the first day of a three-day teaching intended especially for Indian Buddhists.

At the start of the first two days, students from Maitreya School, a project of Root Institute, recited the Heart Sutra from memory in Sanskrit for His Holiness and all in attendance.

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Students from Maitreya School with their principal, Pema Tsering, chanting the Heart Sutra for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Bodhgaya, India, January 5, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering, courtesy of

“The students recited it with their eyes closed and their hands in the mudra of prostration, like they’re meditating on it. It’s quite moving. A lot of the students are girls,” said Ven. Holly Ansett, who was at the teachings.

“It’s amazing to think about how far they’ve come; these little Bihari girls who would normally not have an education, and here they are representing their school and reciting in front of His Holiness. And His Holiness is so affectionate towards them, and so pleased when this happens. He spent time to offer a khata to everyone, shake their hands, and take a photo.”


His Holiness the Dalai Lama explaining the text on the first day of his teachings at the Kalachakra Maidan in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on January 5, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering, courtesy

After the Maitreya students’ recitation, His Holiness emphasized for all “that Buddhism originated in India, not in China or Tibet, and that masters of Nalanda like Nagarjuna were Indian too. Therefore, His Holiness said, it was propitious that the main disciples today were Indian. For more than 2000 years Buddhism has spread across Asia, so it would be appropriate if the Nalanda Tradition that has been kept alive in Tibet were to be re-established today in India,” reported.

On the third day of the teachings, the students recited “Praises to the Seventeen Masters of Nalanda” in Sanskrit. [See Mandala July-September 2012 for “The Seventeen Pandits of Nalanda Monastery”.]

“This prompted His Holiness to reflect what magnificent scholars [the Nalanda masters] were and how important it was that the Buddha established his teachings on the basis of reason and logic. How wonderful it is that these various masters’ writings are still available to us. We can read and study them, use them as our text books, and we can pass on what they had to say to others,” wrote.


Long life puja for Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Root Institute, Bodhgaya, India, January 11, 2018. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

On January 11, a special long life puja for Lama Zopa Rinpoche based on White Tara was offered by Khadro-la at Root Institute. The day before the puja, some of the Kopan monks who were in Bodhgaya worked with Ven. Thupten Khadro, Root’s spiritual program coordinator, Ven. Tsenla, and many others to fill the small gompa with beautiful flower offerings, intricate decorations, and tormas.


Khadro-la offering long life nectar during the long life puja for Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Root Institute, Bodhgaya, India, January 11, 2018. Photo by Ven. Lobsang Sherab.

The puja, which Khadro-la arranged and said should emphasize meditation and practice, was attended by many lamas, including Dagri Rinpoche, Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche, Kesang Rinpoche, Oser Rinpoche, and others.

During the puja, Khadro-la made many of the offerings, including making the first mandala offering. Ven. Roger Kunsang offered the second on behalf of the whole FPMT organization. The puja began at 6 a.m. and concluded nearly five hours later.

The long life puja was described as being very strong, powerful, and precious. Afterwards, Rinpoche offered a delicious lunch on the roof of Root Institute to those who attended.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation and community service.

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