What To Expect At Tushita Meditation Centre Introduction To Buddhism Course In India
Are you looking for a Buddhist Meditation Retreat in India? Maybe you’ve already booked yourself onto the Tushita Introduction To Buddhism course in Dharamshala and you’re looking for a review of Tushita? I have now been to Tushita Meditation Centre in Mcleod Ganj in Northern India twice now because it’s just so amazing. Here’s my review of what to expect at Tushita.
To me, India is probably the best country in the world to go to stop and recharge. Whether you just need some time out from your life, or you’re battling some stuff, then India is a country that seems to help with the healing process. And if you’re not battling any issues, then India at least opens your eyes and puts your life into perspective.
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Tushita Meditation Centre
Outside the gates of Tushita before the course started.
And we were lucky this time around! During our Tushita meditation course, we were invited over to the Dalai Lama’s residence for a teaching by the man himself.
Why did we go to Tushita Meditation Centre?
At the Dalai Lama’s temple before the course started.
We went back to Tushita because, well, I needed to emotionally ‘get over’ having a chronic disease called SIBO which I caught from food poisoning. It’s a condition that causes so much bacteria in the stomach which had caused me a lot of pain and discomfort for a long time. The emotional attachment to this was overwhelming and I needed to finally get out of the shock and upset it had caused me for the last three years.
Drone view from the balcony of our room at Trail House, McLeod Ganj
Before we started the Introduction To Buddhism Course at Tushita Meditation Centre, we stayed at Trail House for a few days which turned out to be a little gem with spectacular views.
We spent most of our time eating at Green Cafe and sorting out future plans to Nepal and Japan as well as visiting the Dalai Lama’s temple before the course started.
It is so beautiful in Mcleod Ganj in India, we’d watch the beautiful white butterflies fly past our room every morning as well as some monkeys out on our balcony.
Our Teacher At Tushita: Venerable Namgyel
Venerable Namgyel is an incredible teacher!
The course is usually run by a different teacher so this time around, our teacher was a British/Australian monk called Venerable Namgyel.
He’s the most caring and hilarious man I’ve met in a long time (I’ve honestly not laughed as much in ages!). His teachings were centred around compassion and how we could benefit from helping others.
It was truly incredible to see how his teachings really came from the heart and it instantly made me want to become a better person. Both Steve and I learnt a lot from him and he personally gave us both a lot of attention which I am forever grateful for.
He also teaches all around the world too, so check out his schedule because you’d be mad not to learn at least something that will make your life better.
How Much Does The Introduction To Buddhism Course Cost?
Before the course started, I managed to get a photo of everyone checking in (no phones were allowed during the course!)
The course is structured so you can choose whether you wanted a single room, or dormitory. I always prefer a dormitory when doing meditation courses as I like the comfort of being around others and it’s also the cheapest option – just $175 minimum donation required, which includes everything for the 10 days (teachings, accommodation, food etc).
What’s The Course Like At Tushita Meditation Centre?
The introduction before the course started. The views out to McLeod Ganj are mind blowing.
Did I mention the Introduction To Buddhism Course at Tushita is 10 day silent retreat as well? Most people always say, I could never do that, but in actual fact, it’s one of the best things, not having to talk to anyone, or make uncomfortable small chat.
How often do we actually get the time without having any distractions whatsoever? That’s no TV, no music, no iPhone, laptops. Try it sometime, it might actually help clear your mind.
We had the help of the local monkeys to keep us entertained. Although I’m quite scared of monkeys, they were quite entertaining, watching the mothers protect their babies, many jumping through the trees every day to being quite playful.
I got very much into the structure each day, meditation from 6:30am, followed by porridge for breakfast, teachings by Venerable in the morning, then a yoga class up on the roof before lunch (literally imagine white butterflies en masse surrounding you during the class everyday!!). After lunch I would always have a good 1 hour nap, then more teachings, dinner and then meditation before bed at 9pm. It was perfect.
The most interesting thing about this course is just before it starts, you get to chat to everyone, and apart from being in a small group for class discussion for an hour a day, there’s no talking involved (if you’re wondering, Steve and I were originally in the same group when we went there in 2011, that’s how we met!).
But, I started to notice that not only were other people starting to become kinder and more aware of their actions, (for example, letting others go first, opening doors for each other), but I was too.
It was just this amazing place that I wondered, is there anywhere on earth where people are genuinely this thoughtful and kind to each other? We were being taught to be compassionate towards others but to actually start seeing the benefits was just amazing.
When We Went To Visit The Dalai Lama
Our course at Dalai Lama’s residence (we’re towards the back on the left behind HHDL)
Towards the end of the course, we had some news… we were officially invited down to the Dalai Lama’s residence for a teaching by the man himself. It was the most amazing news, from being taught Buddhism to meeting the man himself, we couldn’t believe it.
When we arrived at Dalai Lama’s temple in Dharamshala, we were given a seat before he emerged from his house to come and have a photo with us before the teaching began. I was lucky to see him here during my last visit to Mcleod Ganj and Dharamshala. He’s the only person I have ever seen in my life who has the kind of energy that is so radiant, it’s overwhelming that he somehow makes you well up.
The experience was mind blowing but as the teaching ended, we had to make our way back up the hill back to the course again. It was weird seeing a slice of everyday life back in the chaotic town of Mcleod Ganj, and I realised I just didn’t want to leave the course.
What Did I Learn From Tushita Meditation Retreat?
On the grounds at Tushita Meditation Centre just before the course started.
By the end of the course, I had learnt a huge amount. Finally, I was seeing the light of change I needed for a long time. I finally felt able to let go of having SIBO, to understand that it’s not a huge deal, that I can live with it and won’t let it take over my life anymore.
To be able to separate the mind and body was my main achievement. I realised how powerful the mind really is and how I can live a much better life than being self focused on something that isn’t really manageable.
I felt like I had changed drastically for the better and that my purpose in life is to help others. That’s one of the reasons I write this blog… to share my experiences in the hope to help others by passing on the information I learnt.
I’ve also learnt to let go of the past and to live in the present, to take personal responsibility for my own happiness and to let go of negativity. We seem to exaggerate our emotions and I think SIBO made my emotions worse.
On one of the main streets in McLeod Ganj.
I honestly came out of the course feeling so calm and content with my life, I was ready for my next chapter to conquer the Everest Base Camp hike. And so on the final morning of the course, we had to leave early to catch a flight to Nepal to finish my healing journey with the 13 day trek to the camp itself.