FGS Institute of Buddhist Studies in India was founded in 1999. In the early years, there was no fixed location. It traveled from one place to another, and yet still upholding the principle of “foster talents through education.” It persisted in running the school under the difficult circumstances. Finally, a piece of land was bought in 2004 to build a center at Bodhgaya, the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment. For convenience of supervising construction nearby, the Institute of Buddhist Studies was relocated in June 2005 from Calcutta to a rented house in Bodhgaya to continue teaching classes. By the end of the year, the Buddha’s Light Bodhgaya Nursing Home opened to provide education opportunities for children from dysfunctional families. In May, 2010, the Institute of Buddhist Studies and the Nursing Home moved into the Bodhgaya site until the construction was completed in December 2013.
In order to change the fate of poverty for the local people, the Institute of Buddhist Studies has upheld the concept of “provide relief for emergencies, not just rescue of poverty.” With education as a starting point, the “Under the Big Tree” classroom was established. Since June 2014, the Institute has gone into the villages every Sunday to promote the “Under the Big Tree” teaching program. Besides teaching children their native language and reading, the “Three Act of Goodness” is used as its core curriculum to cultivate “right view” from a young age. “Under the Big Tree” is a teaching program for children, in reality, under the tree is symbolic of the Bodhi tree and the teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha. On another level, it is symbolic of the Institute of Buddhist Studies’ heritage of faith from Fo Guang Shan in Tashu (Big Tree), Kaohsiung, Taiwan. It is the heritage of Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s philosophy, bringing Humanistic Buddhism back to India.