Generating the Awakening Mind of Bodhichitta and Speaking to Students, Teachers and Parents

October 15th 2013

Mexico City, Mexico, 14 October 2013 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama began a final busy day of engagements in Mexico City, once again at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico, by giving an interview to Adela Micha of Televisa, Mexico’s largest television network. She began by telling her viewers that she was speaking in person to the Dalai Lama, a person many regard with great awe and asked him how he sees himself and he answered:

“As just another human being.”


Adela Micha interviewing His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Televisa, the biggest TV network in Mexico, in Mexico City, Mexico on October 14, 2013. Photo/Oscar Fernandez
She asked his view of the status of women in Buddhism and he told her that 2600 years ago in India there was some discrimination against women, but the Buddha gave equal rights to both men and women. The highest ordination was given to women and to men, although for cultural reasons the men were seated first in an assembly. But in the bodhisattva and tantra vehicles they were regarded as equal. He explained that as human history unfolded, when a need for leadership emerged, physical strength was the distinguishing factor so men became leaders. Now, however, education compensates for that inequality and we live at a time when warm-heartedness and concern for the needs of others, which women are naturally more attuned to, is required. His Holiness looks forward to women filling more leadership roles.

When asked if he regretted not meeting Mexico’s current President, he replied that his primary concern was to meet and talk to members of the public about happiness, human values and religious harmony. Pressed about whether he expects to see a settlement of the question of Tibet within his lifetime, he said that if he lives another 10-15 years there will be change. The interviewer asked how he felt when young Tibetans criticize his approach to the Tibetan issue. He acknowledged that some of them feel strongly about it, but lack experience and a holistic view of the issues involved.

“I took up political responsibility at the age of 16. In due course I had several meetings with Chairman Mao Zedong, I met Pandit Nehru several times and we applied to the UN several times. It was on the basis of this experience that with other members of the Tibetan leadership we decided in 1974 that we would at some time have to talk to the Chinese authorities, that when we did we would be unable to seek independence, but that we could work for the autonomy of all the areas where Tibetans live. Tibetans there should all have the opportunity to preserve their culture, language and so forth.”

He said that it is all very well to raise a hot-headed demand for independence, but that is not sufficient by itself, you also have to come up with a method by which it can be achieved.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama preparing to give the ceremony for Generating the Awakening Mind before the last day of his teachings in Mexico City, Mexico on October 14, 2013. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL
On entering the Arena where he was going to teach, he first sat quietly to prepare for the ceremony of generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta. He explained that he would usually ask for the Mangala Sutta to be recited in Pali, but today a Sanskrit recitation of the Heart Sutra, almost the shortest of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras, would suffice.

“All our problems arise because of attachment to what we find attractive,” he began. “But if attractiveness was intrinsic to the object, everyone should like it, but they don’t. In this book Shantideva explains that things do not have any inherent existence. Similarly, the self has no intrinsic reality. In Milarepa’s ‘Songs of Experience’ he says that in an ultimate sense even Buddhas do not exist, but in a conventional sense they do.”

He remarked that self is based on the continuity of consciousness. Following the chapter on enthusiasm he commented on the chapter on meditation in which the main topic is generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta. Prior to this is concentration, which is necessary if we want to develop special insight into reality. He mentioned that chapter nine teaches about emptiness, which he had already referred to.

Before beginning the ceremony for generating the awakening mind, His Holiness pointed out that when he conducts such a ceremony or gives vows rather than just giving a lecture a bond is formed between teacher and student. Therefore, he requested that anyone who propitiates Gyalpo Shugden, and wishes to continue to do so, should not remain. He explained that although he had done this practice himself in the past, once he found it to be faulty, confirmed by research, he gave it up and considered it his responsibility to encourage others to do likewise. The Fifth Dalai Lama, who knew the circumstances involved, described Shugden as a perfidious spirit, who brought only harm to the Dharma and sentient beings. Therefore, it is better not to be associated with it.


A view of the stage at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico during His Holiness the Dalai Lama teachings in Mexico City, Mexico on October 14, 2013. Photo/Oscar Fernandez
His Holiness then asked the assembled people to recite the appropriate verses from chapters two and three of the ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ and then led them in reciting the verses for generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta, the altruistic aspiration to achieve enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. He said:

“This is what the Buddhas of the past have done, but for Christians or members of other faiths in the audience it would be appropriate to make a promise not to harm other beings but to help them wherever you can.”

“Now, we have completed this Buddhist teaching. Some scholars have expressed the view that Buddhism is not so much a religion as science of mind. It’s a means by which we can use our intelligence to transform our minds. I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed or participated in this event.”

On behalf of Casa Tibet Mexico, the organizers of the occasion, Tony Karam thanked His Holiness and in the interests of transparency declared a financial statement. Of the surplus funds, after all expense have been met, some will be given to the Dalai Lama Trust, some will be donated to a charity that cares for impoverished Central American migrants and some to a national fund dedicated to helping in the case of natural disasters. A final third will be donated to the work of Casa Tibet Mexico.

During the break for lunch, His Holiness was interviewed by Fernanda Gonzalez Vilchis, Editor of the National Geographic Magazine (Latin America Edition). She told him that it is the magazine’s 125th anniversary and that there were pictures of Lhasa in the first edition. She offered His Holiness copies of photographs from the National Geographic archive, including views of the Potala Palace in 1946, a time when he was living there. He told her of his fondness for the magazine, that he had found and looked at copies that had belonged to his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama and that he had regularly received it when he was in Tibet. He answered her several questions positively, ending with a confirmation that he remains optimistic, something she said National Geographic was very happy to hear.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting the interfaith guests on his arrival for his talk in Mexico City, Mexico on October 14, 2013. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL
Returning to the Arena His Holiness met members of a number of different faiths who were seated with him on the stage. The Arena was filled to capacity, 12,000 people cheered and applauded him in welcome. Tickets for the event were free and had been distributed to students with options to invite their teachers, parents and friends to join them for His Holiness’s talk.

His Holiness began characteristically addressing his respected brothers and sisters and expressing his happiness and honour to be there. He noted that the young people in the audience belong to the twenty-first century. Remarking that the twentieth century was one of the most important in human history for its marvellous developments on the one hand, but also for the intensity of violence and bloodshed that had taken place. While the past cannot be changed, he said that the future is still open; it can be shaped in a different way. It will be the responsibility of the present younger generation to achieve this, to make the twenty-first century a time when disputes are settled by dialogue out of respect and compromise.

“The twenty-first century generation will need two things to make this a happier more peaceful century: vision, which you can develop if the education system takes a more holistic view, enabling you to be more realistic. The second thing you’ll need is determination and self-confidence. And I believe that the root of self-confidence is warm-heartedness towards others.”

After answering several questions from the audience, His Holiness left the Arena to friendly applause and many calls of affection. He drove across the city to the airport to board a flight that took him to Leon and on to the Hacienda San Cristobal, were former President Fox had invited him to visit and speak at the Fox Center. He was received on arrival by President Fox and his wife, Marta Sahgun, while eager local people lined the street and a children’s choir and orchestra played to celebrate his arrival.
 

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