Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India, 9 June 2016 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama apologised for arriving at the temple later than expected this morning, explaining that he had been meeting with members of the Parliamentary Committee on the Welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. He remarked:
“I have the greatest respect for India as the world’s most populous democratic country and a stronghold of ahimsa.”
|Members of the Nalanda Shiksha chanting at the start of His Holiness the Dala Lama's final day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 9, 2016. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL|
Members of the Nalanda Shiksha then chanted the ‘Praise to the 17 Masters of Nalanda’ in Hindi. When they finished His Holiness said:
“These great Indian masters were truly our teachers. I have strong, close feelings towards Nagarjuna, Aryadeva and so on. I think about them when I read their works. Our common view of things is unrealistic. Nagarjuna’s explanations help us see a deeper level of reality. We Tibetans tend to give acclaim to our Tibetan scholars, but these Nalanda masters were crucial to our tradition. An existing praise called the ‘Six Ornaments and the Two Excellent Ones’ didn’t mention such important masters as Chandrakirti, Buddhapalita, Shantideva and Vimuktasena. When I realised this I decided to compose this ‘Praise to the 17 Nalanda Masters’.
“Many years ago the great Indian physicist Raja Ramana told me that he read one of Nagarjuna’s works and was struck by how much it accorded with the modern view of quantum physics. As an Indian he told me how proud he felt that Nagarjuna had anticipated such modern developments with no instruments but his mind to help him.
“Some years ago, when I was teaching Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom’ at Amaravati, which is near to Nagarjunakonda, places associated with Nagarjuna’s life, I felt I had an unusually clear appreciation of his account of dependent arising. In the ‘60s in Varanasi I asked the Sanskrit scholar Jagannath Upadhyaya to recite Chandrakirti’s ‘Clear Words’ (Prasannapada) in Sanskrit, which I found very moving. Then, on another occasion, at Nalanda we recited the ‘Ornament for Clear Realization’ (Abhisamayalankara) in Tibetan and I clearly imagined how the same text would have been read there in Sanskrit centuries before.”
|Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the final day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 9, 2016.|
His Holiness went on to explain that while the Buddha is remembered for his having attained enlightenment, he likes to think of him also as a thinker, a philosopher and even a scientist. He mentioned people he has met in the West who describe Buddhism not so much as a religion, but more as a science of mind. He also remarked on the Buddha’s kindness in teaching according to the need and capacity of his listeners. This is why he seems to have taught one thing in one place and something different somewhere else. As His Holiness observed, we cannot say that one medicine will treat every patient. One remedy suits one patient, while a different one may be best for another.
Acknowledging the presence of a Thai Bhikkhu His Holiness stated that the Pali tradition has been well maintained in Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka and so on. Meanwhile, he said, the Sanskrit tradition that reached China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam survives, but he encouraged his Indian brothers and sisters to take up the responsibility of keeping the pure Nalanda tradition alive.
Opening the ‘Guide’ at Chapter Five - Guarding Alertness, His Holiness explained the importance of alertness; a corner of the mind keeping check on our conduct once we have generated the awakening mind. This is the faculty that reminds us not to overstep the boundaries of the Bodhisattva precepts. He mentioned as an example that even in his dreams he remembers that he is a monk.
In answering questions from the audience His Holiness drew attention to the importance of remembering that as human beings we all belong to one human family. Sadly, he said, too much of the time we tend instead to focus on the secondary differences between us—issues of nationality, faith, race, colour and so on. He stressed that problems like climate change that affect us all will only be effectively addressed when we think of ourselves as global citizens.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama with members of the audience from India at the conclusion of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 9, 2016.|
He suggested that although the 20th century generation is responsible for many of the problems facing the world today, it remains their responsibility to encourage those who belong to the 21st century to learn from the past and shape a different future. He recommended reading Chapter Six of ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ to learn how to deal with anger and Chapter Eight to learn how to deal with self-centredness. He said he reviews these himself whenever he can.
Turning back to Chapter Five, he said:
“We have to train our minds to develop good qualities. That requires learning and humility, but also being gentle and kind. Verse 108 summarizes what the chapter is about.
The defining characteristic of guarding alertness,
In brief, is only this:
To examine again and again
The condition of my body and mind.
“Keep the book with you and read it whenever you can.”
He warmly thanked the organizers for all their good work and acknowledged the effort that many in the audience had made in order to come.
Finally, calling on the audience to visualize the Buddha surrounded by the masters of India and Tibet, as well as bodhisattvas like Avalokiteshvara and Tara, he asked them to repeat a verse in Hindi as he led them through a brief ceremony to generate the awakening mind. He told them to think of this as an aspiration not just for a few weeks or even years, but for aeons, citing Shantideva’s famous verse:
For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world.