Fourth Day of His Holiness’s Teachings in Leh

August 7th 2012

Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India, 7 August 2012 - On the fourth day of his teachings in Leh, Ladakh, His Holiness began, “I am going to give the long life empowerment associated with White Tara today to make an auspicious end to this series of teachings. If you live long, but do no good in your life, there’s no benefit. As the Kadampa masters used to say ‘May the sinful live only a short time’. We have this precious human life, which affords the opportunity of attaining enlightenment in this very life if we make the effort. And even if we can’t do that, we can at least aim to embark on the path to enlightenment.”


The crowd in front of the old teaching pavilion grows in anticipation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's arrival for the fourth day of teachings in Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India, on August 7, 2012. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL
His Holiness advised that we should examine how destructive emotions harm us and others, even bringing us physical health problems. They cause discord in families and in society at large. Whether you are a national leader or a beggar on the street, destructive emotions disturb your peace of mind. Within ancient Indian thought, and especially the Buddha’s teachings, we find a rich array of methods to combat these destructive emotions; once you have fully overcome the destructive emotions and their imprints you become a Buddha.

His Holiness mentioned that 2600 years ago, the Buddha taught in India and we have in the Kangyur translations into Tibetan of what he taught. We also have what disciples like Kashyapa, his successors, and other great masters such as the 17 Pandits of Nalanda and adepts like Saraha and Indrabhuti taught in the Tengyur. In due course, the great Abbot Shantarakshita came to Tibet and ordained the first seven monks in the 8th century CE. There was a temporary lapse as a result of Langdarma’s persecution, followed by a revival, but in general, since that time, the monastics have been mainly responsible for upholding the Dharma.

“Now, when literacy is much more widespread, we should regard the 300 or so volumes of the Kangyur and Tengyur as text books we can read and study. We shouldn’t think of them only as objects to pay respect to. I read these texts myself, they are important and profound. I urge all of you to do the same, read them and study them. You don’t need to learn Sanskrit or any other language because we have excellent translations into Tibetan.

“Since we came into exile, I have asked the monasteries and nunneries to study not just pray. Consequently, we have now reached a point when there are nuns about to be awarded Geshe-ma degrees.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is greeted by Ganden Tri Rinpoche on the steps of the teaching pavilion at the start of the fourth day of teachings in Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India, on August 7, 2012. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL
His Holiness repeated the advice he often gives that we should each try to see other people as human beings like us. We are all born from a mother and nurtured under her care, what’s more, we all age and die in the same way. He asked, why we  should dwell on secondary differences between us. He also stressed the importance of religious harmony, saying that squabbling over denominational differences is really detrimental. He said just as the sun shines equally on everyone, we should regard followers of all religious traditions as equally valuable and deserving of respect. In exile in India the various Tibetan religious traditions have lived together in harmony, although some have a tendency to keep to themselves and avoid extending themselves out to other traditions or inviting the teachers of other traditions to come and talk to them. Such insularity is not a positive quality.

His Holiness recalled that in the 1960s a meeting of religious heads and leaders was convened in Dharamsala, attended by such eminent Lamas as Karmapa Rinpoche, Sakya Trizin and Dudjom Rinpoche. Afterwards, Dudjom Rinpoche told His Holiness that when he got back to Kalimpong where he lived, some of his disciples came to see him. They told him they had heard about the meeting and that plans had been made for all the traditions to merge together into one, so that effectively everyone would become a Gelugpa. They anxiously asked if it was true. Dudjom Rinpoche replied that he had been at the meeting, that there had been no such plans, but there had been open discussions about preserving the Dharma in general and upholding the vaious traditions.

His Holiness said,

“We all study the same classic texts, so we don’t need to make such a fuss about minor differences between us. When we look at the original sources in the Indian texts we don’t find any of these differences there. On the other hand, we do find that explanations Je Rinpoche gave in the earlier part of his life differ from the way he explained things in the later part of his life. This applies to his view of philosophical issues and the tantras, but we find similar differences in the works of the Karmapa Rinpoches and Mipham Rinpoche of the Nyingma too. What we need to do is understand why they emphasised one thing in the early part of their lives and another in the later part.”


Ganden Tri Rinpoche, Rizong Rinpoche, leads prayers for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the teachings in Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India, on August 7, 2012. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL
He spoke of meeting a Chilean physicist at a conference many years ago who impressed him with his statement that he was careful not to become attached to physics, otherwise his scientific view would become biased. His Holiness reflected that the same applied to becoming attached to Buddhism, to do so would make you biased. He remembered that Chandrakirti has said that if you are biased you will not be able to attain peace of mind, because you will not be able to see good qualities in others. If we do not take an unbiased, holistic view, we will not be able to see reality objectively, rather like the Chinese Communist leaders. With the freedom to use our eyes and ears we need to reach an objective assessment. We need to examine the truth of what others say.

Although it is good not to speak harshly, that doesn’t mean we have to speak only of good things. There are, after all, many unfortunate events taking place in the world, The situation in Tibet these days, for example, is particularly distressing. There are also reports of Tibetan lamas who misbehave in the West, which is a disgrace. His Holiness reported that this was discussed some years ago during a conference with Western Buddhist teachers, who told him about Tibetan and Zen teachers misbehaving. He advised them first to remonstrate with such people and, if that wasn’t effective in shaming them into changing their ways, to publicise their misdemeanours.

Regarding the White Tara long life empowerment he was about to give, His Holiness explained that disciples should only have eaten vegetarian food beforehand, pointing out that taking the lives of others is a cause to have a shorter life. He said that when he was in Tibet he observed that a great deal of meat was served at official functions and festivals and that he put a stop to it, beause it is a contradiction if the lives of others are taken as part of celebrations. With his encouragement the common kitchens in most of the monastic institutions now only serve vegetarian food.


Ladakhi women carry volumes of the Kangyur offered to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during prayers for his long life during the teachings in Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India, on August 7, 2012. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL
In conclusion His Holiness said, “This is the fourth day of teachings here in Leh. Despite bad weather you have come here with devotion and I in turn have had a responsibility to try to help you. Everything has gone well over these four days. Those who made the arrangements have done well, and those who came to listen have done well too; thank you. The Ganden Tri Rinpoche here is a Ladakhi master from whom I too have received teachings. I’d also like to thank him for coming. As he is also growing older I’d like to request him to live long and I will make prayers that he will. I’d like to thank the Ladakhi interpreter, you left some things out and changed the order of some others, but it doesn’t matter, you have done very well; thank you. I hope to see you all again; thank you.”

His Holiness then bestowed the White Tara long life empowerment and prayers were conducted in relation to White Tara for his long life. At one point in proceedings, after the sun had come out, he stopped to remark,

“The 13th Dalai Lama was once giving a teaching at Norbulingka on a very hot day and there are reports that you could tell who had attended them by their sunburnt faces. It looks like it’ll be the same today.”
 

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