His Holiness the Dalai Lama Teaches the Three Principles of the Path and Gives White Tara Permission

November 11th 2013

Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India, 11 November 2013 - In response to the impromptu announcement that His Holiness the Dalai Lama would be giving a teaching requested by a group of Malaysians in public, residents of Dharamsala gathered early in the Tsuglagkhang this morning. His Holiness first conducted the preparatory rites for the White Tara Permission he intended to give before he began to teach.

“You won’t achieve your goals just by reciting mantras,” he said, “it’s only by revealing reality that the Buddhas indicate the way to liberation. We have 100 volumes of the Kangyur and 220 volumes of the Tengyur; these are texts to study. The aim of the teaching is that we transform ourselves within. This requires study and means we have to use our intelligence.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his teachings to a group from Malaysia at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, India on November 11, 2013. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
He then explained the verse that includes lines about taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and about generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta. The subject of these actions is ‘I’ and he said we have to think about who is the ‘I’ who becomes Buddha. Nagarjuna said: “The self is neither in the aggregates nor separate from them. The Tathagata does not possess the aggregates; what then is the Tathagata.”

Referring to the four schools of Buddhist thought, His Holiness remarked that selflessness is most thoroughly explained in the works of Nagarjuna. Concerning the coming of Buddhism to Tibet, he pointed out that Emperor Songtsen Gampo had married a Chinese and Nepalese princess, both of whom brought revered Buddhist images with them. Emperor Trisong Detsen’s father was Tibetan, but his mother was Chinese. Nevertheless, despite these existing relations with China, he chose to turn to India as a source of Buddhist teaching. He invited Shantarakshita and Padmasambhava to come to Tibet and the three of them together established Buddhism firmly in the Land of Snow.

“We follow the Nalanda tradition, which involves memorizing and thoroughly studying texts composed by Nalanda masters. This has given us a broad not blinkered view of the Buddhist path. Buddhism is not just an ancient tradition; it’s something relevant to today. It’s a teaching for us to study, learn and understand. These classic texts composed at Nalanda contain great wisdom.”

Members of the audience during His Holiness the Dalai Lama teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, India on November 11, 2013. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
His Holiness noted that there are traditionally three masters in Tibet recognised as emanations of Manjushri, Sakya Pandita, Longchen Rabjampa and Je Tsongkhapa. Of Je Rinpoche’s marvellous writings His Holiness proposed to explain the ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’, which he composed in response to a letter of request from one of his eight principal disciples, Tsako Ngawang Drakpa. Other works he also composed for this disciple include an account of the Ever-Weeping Bodhisattva Sadaparudita and the Sadhana of the 13 Deity Yamantaka.

His Holiness proceeded to give a concise explanation of setting the determination to be free by cultivating renunciation of the attractions of this and future lives; cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta through the practice of exchanging self and others and generating the profound wisdom to overcome ignorance by coming to understand dependent origination. He ended with Je Rinpoche’s exhortation to Ngawang Drakpa,

“Depend on solitude and strong effort,
And quickly reach the final goal.”

The Permission of White Tara that His Holiness concluded with was taken from the ‘Secret Visions of the Fifth Dalai Lama’, which His Holiness said he received in Tibet from Tagdrag Rinpoche. He ended with a few words of final advice:

“The purpose of the teaching is practice. Practice is about analysis; this is what I have done. Listen and read, think about what you’ve learned and meditate on it. For those of you who are staying in Dharamsala, I shall be leaving the day after tomorrow for Delhi. Later, I’ll be going to South India to complete the Lam Rim teachings. I’ll be away for two months. We’ll see each other again when I get back.”

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