Sydney, Australia, 1 December 2009 (ATC) - Today His Holiness began his two-day teaching on 'Awakening the Mind' in Sydney. Nearly 5,000 people are attending the teaching.
The morning session began with a traditional indigenous 'welcome to country' from the Cadigal people of the Eora aboriginal nation, the traditional owners of the Sydney area.
Flanked by Buddhists from Thailand, Vietnam, Tibet and many other countries, His Holiness said he was very happy to be giving another teaching in Australia, and in particular to be explaining Nagarjuna's Commentary on Bodhichitta, which he said he considers a 'sacred, important and sophisticated text'.
In his opening remarks His Holiness spoke of the potential of all the world's great religions to bring inner peace, arguing that while differing in their philosophy, all religions carry the same message of tolerance and compassion. Beginning the teaching, His Holiness emphasized that for a happy life and a peaceful community we must train our mind and look more at our inner world, explaining that all worry and frustration come through ignorance of the nature of ultimate reality.
During the lunchbreak His Holiness held a meeting with Australia's Tibetan Community. Around five hundred Tibetans were present, with many travelling from interstate. Over one hundred members of the Mongolian community also joined the meeting. In a half hour address His Holiness focussed on the importance of education, encouraging more of Australia's Tibetans to try to go to university in order to learn skills and professions that will benefit and strengthen the community.
At the close of the afternoon session all those attending the teaching received a packet of seeds blessed by His Holiness. In recognition of the 20th anniversary of his Nobel Peace Prize on 10 December, His Holiness will be offering gifts of seeds to all those he connects with during his Australia visit. The seeds are of native Australian plants, selected in consultation with Greening Australia to help support resilient and sustainable native ecosystems in the local areas His Holiness will be visiting.
Tomorrow His Holiness will continue the teaching on 'Awakening the Mind' and hold meetings with Australia's Chinese and Vietnamese communities.
Reporting by Simon Bradshaw for Australia Tibet Council