Greeting Tibetans, Nepalese and Mongolians

June 21st 2012

London, England, 21 June 2012 - At the Friends House, London, this morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with the 600 strong Tibetan community living in England. He advised them,        

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the Tibetan community living in England at Friends House in London on June 21, 2012. Photo/Ian Cumming
“Wherever you find yourselves, you should always try to be honest. Tibetans are well-mannered by nature and custom, which is something to be proud of and to keep up.”

He praised the qualities of the Tibetan language, remarking that in today’s world people have developed a high regard for Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and what was translated mostly from Sanskrit and is now preserved in Tibetan is the richest, most thorough collection of Buddhist literature to be found anywhere. He said Buddhist teachings contain excellent means for training the mind. Recently, scientists have begun to appreciate the potential Buddhist contribution to creating a map of the mind.

“It is very important to be self-disciplined and to help others. Don’t just say you’re a Buddhist, do something about it. Take whatever chance you can to study. Drom tonpa said that the best Lama is the scriptures, but knowledge by itself isn’t a lot of use, you need to put it into effect.”

He explained that he has retired from his political responsibilities in order to strengthen Tibetan institutions, quoting a Tibetan saying to the effect that although the stupa has collapsed the core is still sound.

“Teach your children our language and study yourselves. But if you find it too difficult to read about Buddhism in Tibetan, read those books that are written in English. Merely reciting mantras is not enough.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arriving at the Aldershot football ground in Adlershot, England, on June 21, 2012. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL
From the Friends House, His Holiness travelled to Aldershot, the town in Southern England that is known as ‘home to the British army’. There, members of the Ghurkha regiments past and present and their families, as well as a number of Mongolians, assembled at the Aldershot football ground.

“Brothers and sisters, I am happy to be here able to spend a little time with you, especially since the Mayor of Rushmoor is here too. It’s good that you keep up your own religious traditions and culture, related as they are to Tibetan Buddhism. Indeed this closeness to Tibetan traditions can be seen in the way you dress, your manner of welcome, and your khapse, which I have tasted; delicious.”

His Holiness distinguishes between Buddhist religion and culture. Buddhist culture is a culture of compassion and non-violence that is useful for individuals, families and communities.

“What is Buddhism? It’s one of the world’s major religions, originating in India. The Buddha taught that all sentient beings have Buddha nature and therefore the potential to become Buddhas themselves and on this basis all beings are equal. The key to each of us becoming enlightened is whether we really make the effort. According to these great teachings from ancient India, if we help others and serve them, we derive benefit; if we harm others, by cheating, bullying or exploiting them, we hurt ourselves.”

His Holiness speaking at the Aldershot football ground in Adlershot, England, on June 21, 2012. Photo/Ian Cumming
He said that the essence of Buddhism, to help others, but at least not to harm them can also be found in other religious traditions. Therefore, we should hold to our own faith while at the same time respecting everyone else’s. Finally, he remarked that as we are now in the twenty-first century, we need to be twenty-first century Buddhists, which means we should not only say prayers and recite mantras, we should also study. The more than 300 volumes of the Kangyur and Tengyur contain instructions about the science of mind, philosophy and religious practice.

“I’ll give you the transmission of the mantras of the Buddha, Avalokiteshvara and Guru Rinpoche, repeat them after me. Try to recite these every day and while doing so try not to think about money, but instead think of bodhichitta and shunyata.”

His Holiness was escorted round the ground to greet the people gathered in the stands before being offered lunch, a largely vegetarian meal specially prepared for him. As he drove to the nearby airport, the roads were lined with joyful, waving children.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is greeted by well-wishers on his arrival in Edinburgh, Scotland, on June 21, 2012. Photo/Dylan Drummond
Arriving in rain swept Edinburgh, His Holiness was received by the Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh and several religious leaders, and welcomed by a crowd of well wishers.                       

Tomorrow, he will have a number of meetings in addition to a visit to the National Library of Scotland before giving a public talk at the Usher Hall and making a visit to the Scottish Parliament. In the afternoon, he is to give a talk in Dundee.           

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