His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Bloomington, IN - May 13, 2010

May 13th 2010

Bloomington, IN, USA, May 13th 2010 - This morning His Holiness first met with some scholars and students from China.  Thereafter, he left for the teaching venue where he finished his explanation of the Heart Sutra. At the beginning of the program, the Heart Sutra was recited in Japanese, Korean and Mongolian.  His Holiness commented that this was the first time he was hearing the Heart Sutra in Mongolian.  He then recalled his first trip to Mongolia, which happened in 1979.  His Holiness said that was a very touching trip.

His Holiness teaching at the Indiana University Auditorium. Photo courtesy/Richard E. Farkas/TMBCC

At the conclusion of the teaching, His Holiness explained the generation of Bodhicitta ritual and suggested that people recite it. While doing so, he said those who are Buddhist could visualize accordingly, while those who are Christians or Muslim they could visualize Christ and Allah respectively.

Thereafter, Arjia Rinpoche, the Director of the Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhist Culture Center, made the mandala offering, and senior lamas and sponsors of the teachings offered scarves. 

Arjia Rinpoche then thanked His Holiness for taking the time to bestow the teaching.  He informed His Holiness that any net income from the teaching would be spent on the following four projects.

1. Setting up of a learning institute at the Center, as suggested by His Holiness the day before.
2. Donating to a cancer hospital in Mongolia.
3. Donating to earthquake relief work in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, and
4. Donating to the Interfaith Hunger Initiative based in Indiana. The Interfaith Hunger Initiative consists of two dozen faith communities in the Indianapolis area who are working together to help end child and family hunger.

Mr. Sudakara Koneru, the Treasurer of the Center, then gave the financial statement related to the organization of the teaching. He said the total income was $468,924 while the total expense was $335,035 with the net income being $133, 889.  

The teachings were translated into English, Chinese, Mongolian and Vietnamese.

Following lunch, His Holiness gave some private audiences and briefly appeared at a luncheon reception for benefactors of the teachings, before proceeding back to the Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhist Culture Center to meet the press.  In his introductory statement, His Holiness talked about his view on the role of the media in society.  Referring to his two commitments of promoting human values and the promotion of religious harmony, His Holiness said the media had the role of educating the public and the promotion of such a society. His Holiness said both the commitments are related to the promotion of compassion, which in turn was related to non-violence.  He said these were basic Indian values and thus he has been saying that he was a messenger of Indian values.

His Holiness then answered some questions.  When asked what he felt about the absence of Taktser Rinpoche this time and about his reincarnation, His Holiness said Taktser Rinpoche was a very dedicated and respected person.  He said Rinpoche passed away at an old age, “a normal way to go.” His Holiness said he is pleased that the Center is carrying on the vision outlined by Taktser Rinpoche. 

Regarding Taktser Rinpoche’s reincarnation, His Holiness said the process of investigation could begin next year as generally it was only after three to four years after the passing away of a lama that the investigation would start. His Holiness said at this stage it was uncertain as to the place of his rebirth. His Holiness joked that the investigation is “mysterious” and would involve meditation.

His Holiness responded to a question about his vision for the Center by saying that he always felt that Buddhist centers should be more of a learning center rather than merely being places of worship.  He talked about increasing number of scientists paying attention to Buddhist thoughts and referred to the engagement between Buddhist and modern scientists that was currently taking place.  He said the scientist-Buddhist dialogue initially began with a few scientists, including Francesco Varela, and has subsequently expanded. Today, he said the Universities of Wisconsin in Madison, Stanford and Emory had special programs on researching into these issues.

When asked about the issue of the future of the Dalai Lama institution and his successor, His Holiness responded that as early as 1969 he had made it clear that it was for the Tibetans to decide whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not. He said therefore he had no concern.  His Holiness said if in case he passed away in exile then it was up to the concerned people, the Tibetans, Mongols and the Himalayan Buddhists to decide whether the institution needs to continue or not.  He said then the issue of a successor will arise and said there were options.  He said it could either be done the traditional way or differently through choosing an individual from among the spiritual masters.  His Holiness said there were several healthy educated younger generation of Tibetan Buddhist masters from all the lineages. 

To a question on what the United States could learn from Buddhism, His Holiness said if the question is whether the West needed Buddhism he said the answer was no.  However, he recalled a discussion he had with scientists at a meeting in Zurich during which they had talked about the relevance of Buddhism to modern economy.  One scientist had mentioned that the Buddhist concept of altruism was very much relevant.  His Holiness said that generally he divided Buddhism into three categories: Buddhist science, Buddhist philosophy and Buddhist religion.  In terms of religion, His Holiness said the West is a Judeo-Christian society and it was best left as it is.  But Buddhist science and philosophy had universal relevance going beyond mere religion and therefore useful to learn by both Buddhists and non-Buddhists.

When a young boy who had come with his journalist mother, asked, "How long do you think before China pulls out of Tibet, and what do you think it will take to achieve that?" His Holiness merely responded, “Oh, ho, that's a difficult question."  However, after the press meet His Holiness explained the political situation to the boy saying that with the changes now going on in China, some progress for the Tibetan people could come in the boy's lifetime.

Thereafter, His Holiness met a group of Japanese supporters of the Center following which he gave an audience to the Tibetan community (joined by Mongolians).  Tibetans had gathered from Indiana, Arizona, New York, Illinois, Minnesota, California, as well as from Canada, many of them attending the two day teaching. The venue had to be shifted from the outdoor spot to inside the temple on account of a sudden rain.

His Holiness meeting with Tibetans and Mongolians at TMBCC. Photo courtesy/Richard E. Farkas/TMBCC

His Holiness first addressed the group outside but since the rain continued to drench the people, he decided to wait for the group to enter the Assembly hall (which had to be cleared first because of a prior separate meeting there) to escape from the rain.

In his remarks, His Holiness stressed on the importance of education, specifically attaining knowledge about one’s own religion and culture, saying Buddhism was not mere recitation of prayers.  He narrated anecdotes during his visit to Sikkim as well as stories heard from Tibetans in Tibet to criticize views prevalent in a section of the community that negated the importance of study while upholding ritual aspect of Buddhism. He said that era has ended.

His Holiness said that today Buddhists needed to be 21st century Buddhists. If one can have good knowledge of Buddhism then modern material and scientific development will enable one to see the increasing value of the religion.

His Holiness said it was encouraging to see that increasingly young Tibetans and Himalayan Buddhists in the Indian subcontinent were showing new interest in the study of Buddhism.  He said he had reports from Tibet, too, that his constant appeal at study was having an impact and that monastic institutes, not just Gelug, but Nyingma, Sakya and Kagyu, were taking steps to promote deep study of Buddhism.  He said if one did not have faith in Buddhism then it did not matter whether one studied it or not, but calling oneself Buddhist while not knowing anything was not proper.  His Holiness said it was also wrong and backward thinking to believe that Buddhist study was the responsibility of the monasteries alone. His Holiness talked about his categorization of Buddhism into Buddhist science, Buddhist philosophy and Buddhist religion and how the first two had universal value.  He said even if one did not believe in Buddhism it was beneficial to study Buddhist science and philosophy.

In his remarks, which were being translated in Mongolian, His Holiness talked about the shared Buddhist heritage of the two communities and said the study of Buddhism was also linked to the complete knowledge of one’s identity. If people aspired to study Buddhism then it was obvious that knowledge of Tibetan was important.  Looking at the several boys and girls who were sitting in the front, His Holiness said that if initially they find difficult to study the religion in Tibetan they could do so in English. He said at the same time they could study Tibetan and said he applauded the interest that young Tibetans were paying in learning the language.  His Holiness said if young Tibetans in the free world did not pay attention to our language and religion then it would be a source of discouragement for our brethren in Tibet who despite all the challenges are making efforts to educate themselves in our culture and language.

His Holiness said in the past there were several Mongol scholars. He said we both follow the Nalanda tradition of Buddhist school. Currently, several Mongolians are studying in Tibetan monastic institutes in India and advised the Mongolians to likewise pay interest in Buddhism.

His Holiness asked the Tibetans not to forget their Tibetan identity and the responsibility they shoulder on behalf of the Tibetans in Tibet.  He said if one had good knowledge of one’s religion and be educated in one’s language and culture then one could become complete Tibetan. His Holiness said it was the common language, religion and culture that are the basis of the common identity of Tibetans.

His Holiness then asked the Tibetans from Chicago to perform a song that they had prepared before concluding the audience.

On May 14, His Holiness will be traveling to Indianapolis, the capital of the state of Indiana, to give a public talk.

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