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Introduction to Buddhism Courses
Tushita aims to provide a friendly and conducive environment for people of all nationalities to contact, learn and put into practice the teachings of the Buddha. We have gained an international reputation for our Introduction to Buddhism courses, which are equally appropriate for beginners and those with some background knowledge. These courses are residential and usually 10 days long.
To study about Buddhist Philosophy is to study about yourself. During our courses, experienced teachers explain Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and meditation from a modern perspective, giving instruction in order to help you apply this ancient wisdom to increase peace, happiness, and compassion in your daily life. Topics include:
- The Mind and Emotions
- Love and Compassion
- The Nature of Reality
The body of the course is composed of philosophy classes supported by meditation sessions, all within a silent retreat environment. 10-day courses end with two days of intensive meditation to give you the chance to familiarize yourself with and gain insight into the topics that were covered in the teachings.
All teachings and meditation instructions are given in English.
To see a full list of scheduled upcoming Introduction to Buddhism courses,
Click here, or see our Calendar of Events
Our 10-day courses begin at 1pm on Day One, and end at 1pm on Day Ten. The days in between begin with a wake-up gong at 6am and the last session of the day ends around 9pm, with teaching and meditation sessions throughout the day. There are breaks for 3 meals, possible stretching session and a one hour “discussion group”.
Adjusting to the Retreat Environment
A course of spiritual study and meditation takes energy, commitment, and discipline. It’s a space in which to shut out the distractions of everyday life and come face-to-face with yourself. That isn’t always easy, especially for beginners.
Body and mind are not used to these very different circumstances and may react with discomfort, restlessness, boredom, doubt, criticism, fatigue or sudden, unfounded concerns. Preparing yourself by anticipating these reactions, and committing to stick to the discipline of retreat even if they arise can be transformatory. Therefore, we have to adjust ourselves to the retreat settings:
- We have to adjust to keeping silence. Silence is kept throughout the course, however during teaching sessions questions are welcomed and there will be a one hour discussion group on most days.
- We may experience a lot of ups and downs during the course. Therefore, please be gentle in your behaviour and sensitive to fellow course participants and staff.
- We have to keep an open mind. Many of the ideas presented may be new and different from one’s own beliefs, and we should be prepared to analyse and contemplate not only the teachings, but also our own beliefs.
- We have to adjust to the schedule: all participants must attend all sessions of the course, come to sessions on time and not leave Tushita property for the duration of the course.
Please follow this link for more information about The Retreat Environment.
We’d like to stress that meditation involves observing the mind with greater focus than in everyday life, and our Introduction to Buddhism courses present psychological ideas which people may find challenging. Our courses provide tools to help students to process these challenges themselves, but we are not psychologists/counselors, and we have large courses so cannot provide individual counselling. This course / practicing meditation is not a substitute for professional counselling.
- Most accommodation is dormitory style. Simple, clean and comfortable. Please note that accommodation cannot be booked in advance. For more information about our accommodation, please click here.
- We serve three vegetarian meals a day. We cannot cater for special dietary needs (such as vegan diet, lactose or wheat allergies). For more information about our meals, please click here.
- Due to water shortages in this area we ask course participants not to do their own laundry. We have an inexpensive and good quality laundry service available, for more information about our Laundry Service, please click here.
- A photocopy of your passport and current Indian visa for check-in (non-Indian citizens only).
- Warm clothing, which can be worn in layers, and a good sleeping bag. Due to monastic and local customs, the body should be completely covered from the shoulders to below the knees, including the upper arms. No tight or revealing clothing please.
- Personal toiletries, towel, torch/flashlight, watch/clock (you cannot use your mobile phone for this, or as an alarm), refillable water bottle.
- Extra money (usually 1000 rupees is enough) to have with you for library deposit for book loans (600 rupees per book), and for some purchases (toiletries, biscuits etc.) which can be made during the course at our small shop in the office.
- It’s not required, but you might find it helpful to take a look at our Introduction to Buddhism course materials, recommended reading list or multi-language Dharma glossaries.
For a more extensive list of What to Bring, please click here.
Guidelines for Behaviour
Since Tushita is a semi-monastic meditation centre and not a guesthouse, we ask all of our retreatants and visitors to observe the following rules of discipline in order to maintain an atmosphere conducive to inner reflection and meditation:
- 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. This is easy when observing silence!
- Be celibate: no sexual activity. This also includes no 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, one can smoke at a designated place at the centre boundary).
- Be considerate of others’ silence: keep silence in the appropriate areas and at all times during residential courses, especially in the Gompa and the dormitories. No singing or playing music and in general, maintain a quiet demeanor 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).
- Please settle all outside communication before the course begins. Telling friends and family that you will be out of contact for the duration of the course and sticking by that decision significantly reduces distraction from investigation into the workings of your own mind! Likewise, please settle your travel arrangements etc before you come to Tushita!
- You are expected to observe silence (no talking at all) from the evening of the first day until the end of the course.
- Do not leave Tushita property for the entire course.
- Participants must attend all sessions of the course and come to sessions on time.
- Please put all communication / entertainment devices (laptop / mobile phones /cameras / MP3/CD players) etc into our safe at check-in.
- Please be gentle in your behaviour and sensitive to fellow group members.
- Do not point your feet towards the teachers, the altar or any holy object.
- Do not put Dharma materials – prayer books, texts, Dharma books or notebooks with Dharma in them – on the floor, or sit or step over them.
- Do not lie down or do any yoga exercises in the Gompa at any time.
- No idle chit-chat in the Gompa (ie. You can ask the teacher questions during class, but do not talk with other students).
This course is not something “just for fun” or to tick off on a travel itinerary. It is a serious course. However, if done properly it can be a challenging, but fulfilling and highly enjoyable experience.
Many people are not sure what to expect and that is all right. However, please only register and attend this course if you intend to participate fully in a serious and committed manner. We understand that following all these rules, and especially keeping the silence, can be difficult, but it is an essential part of the course experience and the staff are here to help and support you in keeping to the rules, in order to aid and maintain the retreat environment.
- To register for an Introduction to Buddhism course, please read ALL of the above and below information about the course.
- Then complete the online registration form in the Registration section of this website.
- Please don’t email just to ask about availability on the course; there will be enough space (unless indicated on our homepage that this course is full and has a waiting list) and you’ll save both yourself and Tushita volunteers time and effort by just completing the form.
- For more information about the waiting list please check here.
- For our student’s convenience and to make the Dharma teachings as accessible as possible we keep this registration process very simple and don’t ask for deposits etc.
Unfortunately up to 50% of the people who register don’t show up for courses! This results in long waiting list and a lot of uncertainty.
Therefore please only register if you are at least very confident that you want to, and WILL BE ABLE TO join us at 1pm on the first day of the course.
- If after registering you realize you cannot attend this course please let us know asap about your cancellation, so we can give your spot to somebody else.
- Check-in time is 1pm on the first day of the course. If you arrive after 2pm, you may lose your place to people on the waiting list.
- Most of our accommodation is dormitory-style and rooms can NOT be booked in advance. We have a very small number of single rooms, and a very high demand for them. Please let us know if you are of a mature age (i.e. over 50) or have a physical condition which would prioritise you for a single room; although we can’t guarantee any particular kind of room, we will do what we can to make you comfortable given our limited resources. See this link for more information about how our room allocation system works. For other queries please visit Frequently Asked Questions.
- Guided Meditation on February 20, 2017 9:30 am
- Movie Day on February 20, 2017 2:00 pm
- Losar on February 27, 2017
- Sutra of Golden Light Reading on February 27, 2017
- Introduction to Buddhism on March 2, 2017
- Guru Puja on March 7, 2017 6:30 pm
- Chotrul Duchen on March 12, 2017
- Medicine Buddha Puja on March 12, 2017
- Introduction to Buddhism on March 20, 2017
- Introduction to Buddhism on April 6, 2017
Tushita is a centre for the study and practice of Buddhism from the Tibetan Mahayana tradition. We're located in Northern India, in the forested hills above the town of McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala - the seat in exile of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
Tushita aims to provide a friendly and conducive environment for people of all nationalities and backgrounds to learn about and put into practice the teachings of the Buddha. With this in mind we offer regular drop-in events and courses on introductory Buddhist philosophy and meditation, as well as intermediate level courses and group retreats for more experienced students.
February to November
Monday - Saturday
9:30 - 11:30am
a break for lunch and then...
12:30 - 4:00pm