Second Day of Teachings in Klagenfurt

May 19th 2012

Klagenfurt, Austria, 19 May 2012 - Under bright blue skies, His Holiness left early for the teaching hall, where he first undertook the preparatory rituals for the Medicine Buddha empowerment he was going to give. Those done, he said he would first complete his explanation of the Heart Sutra. The session opened with a recitation of that text in German by members of the Tibet Center, Hüttenberg, who were the organizers of the present series of teachings.

HIs Holiness the Dalai Lama during teachings in Klagenfurt, Austria, on May 19, 2012. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Quoting Nagarjuna, His Holiness explained that the reason we seek to understand emptiness is to understand reality and to eliminate wrong views and distorted ways of thinking. Wrong view here relates to the second of the Four Noble Truths, the origin of suffering. Once we begin to understand wisdom and eliminate wrong view we may glimpse that achieving liberation is actually possible. It is often said that those with especially sharp faculties realise emptiness first and then generate the awakening mind of Bodhichitta, whereas those who are less sharp first generate the awakening mind and then work to understand emptiness. His Holiness reminded his listeners that understanding of emptiness comes about by listening to or reading explanations of it, thinking about what you have heard or read and then meditating on what you have understood.

Before granting the Medicine Buddha empowerment, His Holiness teased the audience saying that some people think that once they have received it they will no longer fall ill. It is not like that, he said, citing the fact that he has been reciting the Medicine Buddha mantra daily since he first received it at the age of 13 and has eaten a great deal of Tibetan medicine and yet, three years ago, he had to have his gall bladder removed. On the other hand, he said that he has found the practice has some special features, so there is benefit in receiving the empowerment.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama congratulates graduates of the Tibet Center study programmes during a ceremony in Klagenfurt, Austria, on May 19, 2012. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
After lunch, His Holiness, accompanied by Gerhard Doerfler, the Governor of Carinthia, attended a ceremony to award diplomas to 73 graduates of the Tibet Center study programmes in Buddhist Philosophy and Tibetan Medicine. In his speech congratulating the graduates His Holiness recalled the international medical conference convened by the Tibetan emperor in the eighth century CE attended by delegates from Tibet, China, India, Persia and Arabia. Nowadays too research in collaboration with modern scientists is going on, paying particular attention to one of Tibetan Medicine's special features: pulse diagnosis. His Holiness would like to encourage further collaboration and to that end has suggested that the 300 or so volumes of the Kangyur and Tengyur, the scriptures originally translated into Tibetan, mostly from Sanskrit, should be categorized under three headings: Buddhist science, Buddhist view and Buddhist religion. The first two categories would be of interest to scientists and other researchers, whereas the third is only the concern of Buddhists.

Back in the teaching hall for the afternoon session several questions were put to His Holiness. Among them was one asking how Buddhist teachings help him deal with feelings of helplessness or anger when confronted by what Chinese authorities are doing in Tibet. His answer was, “When things occur that have the potential to disturb your mind, that's the time to apply the teachings.” He recounted the story of a senior monk of Namgyal Monastery who spent 20 years in a Chinese prison. After his arrival in India His Holiness was chatting to him one day when he remarked that during his imprisonment he had faced danger several times. His Holiness asked what kind of danger, and he replied, “The danger of losing my compassion for the Chinese.” His Holiness declared this to be the conduct of a real practitioner, someone who kept up his practice even under duress.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings in Klagenfurt, Austria, on May 19, 2012. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Turning to Atisha's  Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment His Holiness explained how the Ngari King invited him to Tibet and asked him to compose a text for Tibetans to follow. The great Indian master complied by writing this concise Lamp for the Path intended to capture the essence of the Buddha's teachings. This seminal work, encompassing the entire Buddhist path to enlightenment, subsequently inspired commentaries in all four Tibetan Buddhist traditions, including Je Tsongkhapa's three volumes of the Stages of the Path. Finally, His Holiness gave an incisive exposition of the Seventh Dalai Lama's Song of the Four Mindfulnesses. Derived from a lineage passed from Je Tsongkhapa to Je Sherab Sengge and on to Gendun Drup, the first Dalai Lama, it reminds the practitioner to remember his or her teacher, the awakening mind, his or her body as a divine body and the view of emptiness.

In his words of thanks at the end, His Holiness expressed his gratitude to Carinthia Governor, Gerhard Doerfler, for his steadfast interest and support, and to Geshe Tenzin Dhargye for overseeing the entire event. He also thanked the Tibet Centre organizers, the translators and all the students who had come to listen. The organizers announced that, of the approximately €97,000 remaining from contributions and ticket sales for the five teaching events they have arranged during His Holiness's current tour, 30% will go to the organizers, 30% for charitable purposes in the locality and 40% to the Dalai Lama Trust.

His Holiness folded his hands and smiled as he left the crowd with his final remark: “The source of happiness is the mind itself. Good night.”

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