Dalai Lama https://www.dalailama.com/ en-us Sat, 19 Jan 2019 07:27:45 +0000 Sat, 19 Jan 2019 07:27:45 +0000 His Holiness the Dalai Lama Congratulates the U.S. Speaker https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-congratulates-the-u-s-speaker Thu, 03 Jan 2019 23:06:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-congratulates-the-u-s-speaker New Delhi, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama congratulated Hon. Nancy Pelosi on her re-election as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. He reiterated his belief that the United States is the leading nation of the free world and his confidence that in her role as the Speaker, she would help to lead during these difficult times.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting his friend then House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi as she arrives at his residence leading a bipartisan US Congressional Delegation on a visit to the Tibetan community in Dharamsala HP, India on May 9, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness also thanked Speaker Pelosi for her personal friendship and for her loyal and unwavering support in the past decades to the just cause of the Tibetan people.

"Your friendship, support and solidarity during this most difficult period in Tibet’s long history have been a source of hope, inspiration and strength in our enduring and challenging quest for justice and freedom".

"Consequently, notwithstanding the uncertainty and upheaval we are presently witnessing in different parts of the world, including the continuing plight of my compatriots in Tibet, I remain hopeful and optimistic that ultimately truth, justice and human reasoning and decency will prevail".

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Long-Life Offering Ceremony https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/long-life-offering-ceremony Mon, 31 Dec 2018 14:12:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/long-life-offering-ceremony Bodhgaya, Bihar, India - The concluding event of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Bodhgaya was an elaborate Long-life Ceremony offered to him this morning. There were three major sponsors—the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), Namgyal Monastery and the Shelkar Ngashap. Escorting him from the monastery to the Kalachakra Ground were the Sikyong, Dr Lobsang Sangyé, leader of the CTA, Ven Tenzin Thapkay, Vajra Master of Gaden Phelgyeling, on behalf of Namgyal Monastery, and Ven Chusang Rinpoché, representing the Shelkar Ngashap. Namgyal monks preceded them playing ‘gyaling’—Indian horns—and swinging censers, while another followed His Holiness carrying a bright yellow ornamental umbrella.

Namgyal Monastery monks playing traditional instruments announce His Holiness the Dalai Lama's arrival at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 31, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

Leading the ceremony, seated directly in front of and facing His Holiness’s throne, were the Ganden Tri Rinpoché, Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin, Ven Thamthog Rinpoché, Abbot of Namgyal Monastery and the Sikyong. To the side, and behind the six Abbots of Ganden, Drepung and Sera Monasteries, the Lama Umzé and musicians of Namgyal Monastery led the chanting. Tri Rinpoché began the ceremony by offering His Holiness a mandala and representations of the body, speech and mind of enlightenment. His Holiness addressed the crowd:

“On this occasion the oracles of Tibetan protectors like Nechung and Nyenchen Thangla will take part in trance. We, people and deities, all have a responsibility to work for the cause of Tibet.

“I sometimes tease Indian friends that their god Shiva’s permanent residence on Mount Kailash is located in Tibet, so he’s one of us, and the River Ganges, so holy to Indians, rises in Tibet. At the same time, Tibetans follow Buddha Shakyamuni, the Great Sage, who was an Indian. What this indicates is the longstanding special connection between Indians and Tibetans.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the crowd during the Long Life Ceremony in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 31, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“The Dalai Lamas’ special relationship with Nechung Dorje Drakden began with the Second, Gendun Gyatso. The Twelve Tenma protective goddesses have abiding links to Tibet. So this Long Life Ceremony will be offered by humans and gods on behalf not only of Tibetans in exile but also of the millions in Tibet who refer to me as Gyalwa Rinpoché. I feel clear in my mind that I have done some service for the cause of Tibet. I’ll pray that I live long and you, including the many here from the Himalayan region, can pray too.”

Shortly afterwards, the oracle of Tsering Ché-nga appeared in trance. She danced up to the throne and made her obeisances to His Holiness. Turning to the eminent Lamas seated around the throne she invited Ganden Tri Rinpoché, Trisur Rinpoché, Jangling Rinpoché, Sharpa Chojé, Samdhong Rinpoché, Tsawa Özer Rinpoché and the Sikyong to join her before the throne in prayers for His Holiness’s long life.

Members of the crowd watching the proceedings during the Long Life Ceremony for His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 31, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

The next oracle to appear was that of Kharak Khyung Tsün, one of the Twelve Tenma. She danced with arms raised, paid her respects to His Holiness, and left the stage.

She was followed by Nechung Dorje Drakden who approached the throne at a run, making his characteristic hiss and flourishing a bow and arrow. He spoke to His Holiness before also inviting Lamas to join him in prayers before the throne. They included Sakya Trizin, Ganden Tri Rinpoché, Jangling Rinpoché, Tatsak Rinpoché, Wöser Dorjé Rinpoché and the Sikyong. The Lamas returned to their seats and while Nechung was still in trance, the oracle of Nyenchen Thangla appeared and paid extensive respects to His Holiness. Meanwhile, the oracle of Dorje Yamakyong appeared, danced around the stage and offered silk scarves to Lamas including Ling Rinpoché.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Nechung Dorje Drakden with the oracle of Nyenchen Thangla behind during the Long Life Ceremony at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 31, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

The Long Life ceremony focussed on White Tara proceeded in the meantime. Representatives of the various sponsors made extensive processions of offerings past the foot of the stage. At a point at which Ganden Tri Rinpoché offered freshly empowered long life pills to His Holiness, he took one, ate it and then took another that he gave it to Tri Rinpoché. While offering His Holiness symbols of longevity, Tri Rinpoché made extensive prayers to him to live long.

Ganden Tri Rinpoché, the Abbot of Namgyal Monastery and the Sikyong each offered a mandala and the three representations of enlightenment followed by Sakya Trizin, Pema Jungney, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Ngawang Rabgyel and other members of the CTA, several elderly monks of Namgyal Monastery, and Zopa Rinpoché who offered a silver Dharmachakra.

Namgyal Monastery monks in the offering procession passing before His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the Long Life Ceremony at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 31, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

Finally, the team of translators who have worked hard in recent days to translate His Holiness’s teachings into Hindi, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Spanish, Japanese, French, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Dzongkar, Mongolian and English, each offered His Holiness a silk scarf.

To bring the proceedings to a proper conclusion, Jamphel Lhundrup, Secretary of the Dalai Lama Trust, which has been a leading member of Teachings Organizing Committee read out a clear financial statement in Tibetan and English. He announced that the surplus funds from this year, about 3 million rupees, would be carried over to next year’s teachings. On behalf of everyone present he offered His Holiness thanks.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama waving to the crowd as he leaves the stage at the conclusion of the Long Life Ceremony at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 31, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

As he left the stage, His Holiness took time to interact with smiling members of the crowd, exchanging a few words here, shaking a hand or patting a cheek there. Then he drove back to Gaden Phelgyeling Monastery. The day after tomorrow, 2nd January, he will leave Bodhgaya for Delhi and Dharamsala.

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Long-life Empowerment Based on White Heruka https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/long-life-empowerment-based-on-white-heruka Sun, 30 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/long-life-empowerment-based-on-white-heruka Bodhgaya, Bihar, India - As is customary, this morning, as His Holiness the Dalai Lama left Gaden Phelgyeling Monastery for the teaching ground, three Lamas led the way. Representing his host, Namgyal Monastery in Bodhgaya, was the Disciplinarian of the Monastery and representing the requesting sponsors of the teaching, were the Abbots of Ganden Shartse and Jangtse Monasteries. They wore their yellow Dharma robes and carried incense in their hands. Each wore the elaborate yellow hat topped by a long crest of upstanding threads that oral tradition explains represent the one thousand Buddhas of this fortunate aeon. The overall yellow colour denotes ethical purity, while the white and yellow fabric inside, as well as the red piping along the edge, are said to denote the protectors of the three families—Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri and Vajrapani.

A group of monastics and lay people reciting the Heart Sutra in Russian at the start of the Long Life Empowerment given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 30, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness stopped several times as he walked to wave to the crowd and occasionally greet individuals. He paid his respects to the images of enlightenment in the Kalachakra Pavilion and took his seat on the throne.

Today, Burmese monks recited the Mangala Sutta in Pali. There followed recitations of the Heart Sutra in Mongolian, Russian, Japanese and English.

To begin with His Holiness explained that he had been feeling bilious and a little unwell yesterday. However, with rest and the positive wishes of the general public, by afternoon he felt better. He told the crowd that has grown to more than 16,000 that this morning he would give a Long-life Empowerment based on White Heruka that comes from the Manjushri Cycle of Teachings in the lineage of Lama Umapa.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the crowd of more than 16,000 at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 30, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“I took the empowerment long ago. I do the recitation and meditate on the winds in connection with this every day. It’s said that this is a practice that is especially beneficial in these degenerate times. It will serve as an auspicious conclusion to this year’s teachings in Bodhgaya.

“You need to check your motivation—think, ‘Since I’ve found this fortunate human rebirth and have met with the Buddha’s teachings, may I be of benefit to other beings.’ You have to work hard.

“Bodhichitta is the supreme means to cure beings of their ailments. It’s the remedy for disturbing emotions. It’s the one medicine that helps self and others. You have to train the mind to develop qualities like compassion to make it less stiff and more pliable.”

Some of the more than 16,000 people attending the Long-life Empowerment given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 30, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness guided the audience through the visualizations of the longevity empowerment. At appropriate points monks passed through the crowd distributing long-life pills to eat and nectar to sip. At the end, he declared:

“I hope we’ll have the opportunity to complete this cycle of initiations another time. I expect to meet many of you here again in a year and it will be good if you can give an account of the progress you’ve made in your practice. I remember presenting what I’d understood to my teacher, who remarked, ‘It seems you’ll soon be something of a space-yogi’.

Long-life pills waiting to be distributed to the crowd during the Long-life Empowerment given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 30, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“You have to make an effort. It’s a bit of a shame if you receive a lot of teachings, but there’s no change in your understanding or in the warmth of your heart. You have to rely on the wisdoms of listening, reflection and meditation. I’ve been meditating on emptiness for almost 70 years, helped by my mentor Ngödrup Tsognyi. As far as bodhichitta is concerned, to start with I thought it was too difficult, but I studied the ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ and ‘Precious Garland’ and kept up my efforts. If you can do that too, change will come. You have to work to incorporate whatever you hear or read into your practice—that’s the purpose of seeking to live long.

“Tomorrow, there’ll be a Long-life Ceremony based on White Tara that the Central Tibetan Administration, Namgyal Monastery and Shelkhar Ngashap are performing on my behalf.”

And with that, His Holiness came down from the throne, smiling and waving as he left the stage and returned to the monastery.

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Permissions of the Manjushri Cycle of Teachings https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/permissions-of-the-manjushri-cycle-of-teachings Fri, 28 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/permissions-of-the-manjushri-cycle-of-teachings Bodhgaya, Bihar, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama left Gaden Phelgyeling Monastery under a cloudless sky this morning for the short walk to the Kalachakra Ground. As usual he waved to the crowd, saluted the images of enlightenment and greeted the Lamas gathered around the throne before taking his seat on it.

Students from the Maitreya School chanted the Heart Sutra in Sanskrit at the start of the first day of the  Manjushri Cycle of Teachings in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 28, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

After a group of Laotian monks had chanted the Mangala Sutta in Pali, students from the Maitreya School chanted the Heart Sutra in Sanskrit, followed by a group who gave a strident recitation of it in Chinese. His Holiness advised that, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 10th Panchen Lama’s death, the gathering could recite the Samantabhadra Prayer while he undertook the preparatory practices for the first Manjushri permission he was going to give.

“This ‘Manjushri Cycle of Teachings’ derives from the close lineage of Lama Umapa, Pawo Dorje,” His Holiness explained. “Even when he was a young boy herding sheep he had visions of Manjushri, particularly of an aspect black in colour. Later, he had visions of Manjushri daily. The  ‘Manjushri Cycle of Teachings’ is unique to the Geluk lineage and includes guru yoga, the Solitary Hero Manjushri sadhana, blessings and so forth. Lama Umapa gave it to Je Tsongkhapa, from whom it was passed down to Jampel Gyatso, Kedrub Geleg Palzang, Baso Chökyi Gyaltsen, Chökyi Dorjé, Lobsang Dondrub, Kedrub Sanggyé Yeshé, Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen, Konchog Gyaltsen, Panchen Lobzang Yeshe, Lobzang Zopa, Lobzang Palden Yeshe, Lobzang Jampal and so forth.

“I received it from Tagdrak Rinpoché when I was a child. There are different ways to prepare to give cycles of teachings like this. You can do preparatory rites for all the permissions at one time and then give the permissions one after another, or you can prepare for each permission separately before giving it. I’m going to follow the latter procedure and I’ve asked Jado Rinpoché to assist me by following and reading out the relevant meditation instructions because they are not always presented consecutively in the text.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on the first day of the  Manjushri Cycle of Teachings in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 28, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness reminded his listeners that when the subtle mind of clear light and the subtle energy which is its mount are thoroughly purified they transform into a Buddha. He remarked that the text begins with powerful verses for taking refuge and generating bodhichitta:

In order to liberate others you must be free from the swamp
Therefore, in order to achieve Buddhahood
For the sake of others---
I seek refuge in the Sugatas.

The remedy, in the form of the path taught by the Founder,
Is to integrate the Sutra and Tantra teachings Within your mind-stream for the benefit of others--- So, I seek refuge in the sacred Dharma.

In order to beseech the Sangha who uphold the Dharma,
Who are those who actively follow the Dharma,
To assist me on the path—
I seek refuge also in the Supreme Community.

He proceeded to guide the disciples through the necessary visualizations, such as those for developing discursive, clear, quick, profound and creative wisdoms, as he gave the permission of the Solitary Hero Manjushri. Next, after performing the preparatory meditations, he gave the permission of the Manjushri Body Mandala, which he followed, after the preparatory procedures, with the permission of Secret Manjushri. As he concluded today’s session he mentioned recitative commitments of receiving this cycle of teachings, but added that what is most important is to meditate on the awakening mind of bodhichitta and emptiness.

Members of the crowd of more than 15,000 following His Holiness guidance as he gives Permissions of the Manjushri Cycle of Teachings in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 28, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness will continue to bestow the Manjushri Cycle of Teachings tomorrow.

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Solitary Hero Vajrabhairava Empowerment https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/solitary-hero-vajrabhairava-empowerment-1 Wed, 26 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/solitary-hero-vajrabhairava-empowerment-1 Bodhgaya, Bihar, India - The sun shone low over the Mahabodhi Temple this morning as His Holiness the Dalai Lama left early to walk to the Kalachakra Ground. He smiled and waved to the few people waiting to see him on the road and inside the ground. On the stage he sat on a chair facing the mandala pavilion with a thangka of Vajrabhairava hanging behind it to perform the self-generation rite in preparation for giving the Solitary Hero Vajrabhairava Empowerment. As he went through his procedures, the stage and ground beyond gradually filled with people.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama performing the self-generation rite in preparation for giving the Solitary Hero Vajrabhairava Empowerment in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 26, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

After His Holiness had taken his seat on the throne, Theravada monks once again chanted the Mangala Sutta in Pali. They were followed by about a dozen Westerners who, for the first time in His Holiness’s presence here in Bodhgaya, sang the ‘Heart Sutra’ in English to a musical setting reminiscent of plainsong. The performance attracted applause at the end.

“Today, I’m going to give the empowerment of Vajrabhairava,” His Holiness confirmed, “which belongs to the practice of tantra or mantrayana. Tantra involves such practices as the cultivation of inner heat, recitation of mantras and the use of energies, channels and drops. Such practices are also found in non-Buddhist traditions. I’ve met Sadhus who engage in practices for projecting consciousness out of the body.

Westerners singing the ‘Heart Sutra’ in English at the start of the Solitary Hero Vajrabhairava Empowerment given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 26, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“In the past, there were people who asserted that the Mahayana was not the teaching of the Buddha. Nalanda masters like Nagarjuna, Bhavaviveka and Shantideva answered such challenges. Others suggested that tantrayana was not taught by the Buddha. They declared that what the Buddha taught was dependent arising and cultivating concern for suffering sentient beings, whose kindness is likened to that of a mother.

“Dependent arising and altruism are part of the general structure of the Buddha’s teaching. Secret mantra, which was not taught openly or in public, was a specialized teaching intended for specific disciples. The writings of the Nalanda masters are part of the general structure, whereas tantras taught by the Buddha who had arisen in the form of a deity were specialized teachings. The distinction was drawn by Nyengön Sungrab a Geluk Lama who studied with Tertön Sögyal, Lerab Lingpa. Tantra, as a specialized teaching, is to be practised in secret.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the crowd attending the Solitary Hero Vajrabhairava Empowerment in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 26, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“Mantra defends its practitioners from clinging to ordinary appearances, preventing the mind from being carried away by them. Visualization of yourself as a deity, for even a short time, defends you against seeing yourself as ordinary. Vajra refers to the indivisibility of clarity and awareness. To be effective it requires meditation on emptiness. Tantric rituals commonly begin with the mantra ‘Om svabhava sarvadharma ...’ everything dissolves into emptiness and from emptiness arises in the body of a deity.

“Impure objects are a result of karma and disturbing emotions; the emptiness of the mind is a pure object. On the basis of the mind of clear light, subtle mind and energy, you can transform yourself into a deity and mandala. Impure objects do not go to Buddhahood, pure objects do. Because it leads to enlightenment, it’s called a vehicle.

Namgyal Monastery monks opening the curtains of the mandala pavilion during the Solitary Hero Vajrabhairava Empowerment given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 26, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“The Nyingma tradition speaks of nine vehicles—the shravakayana, pratyekabuddhayana and bodhisattvayana, which are the outer vehicles of sutrayana; kriya, charya and yoga tantra, which are the three outer tantras; maha, anu and ati yoga, which are the inner tantras. Mahayoga corresponds to the generation stage, anuyoga to the completion stage, while atiyoga actualises the mind of clear light by taking pristine awareness into the path. Yamantaka, along with the eight classes of Heruka, arises within Mahayoga.

“It is said that enlightenment is not given by anybody. It does not come from outside us. It is not possessed by anybody, why? Because the fundamental practice that gives rise to the three bodies is within us. The innermost mind of clear light and the subtle wind energy that is its mount are transformed into the three bodies of a Buddha.

Wearing ritual blindfolds, the more than 15,000 attending the Solitary Hero Vajrabhairava Empowerment listen to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 26, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“Dzogchen states that when an experienced master has a devoted disciple he can introduce him to the gross and subtle states of mind that arise from pristine awareness. The 7th Dalai Lama said that when your mind can ascertain emptiness, all other appearances diminish and are absorbed into emptiness.

“The mind of clear light manifests at the time of death. It is not contingent on adventitious causes. The innate mind of clear light has no beginning and no end.”

As he began to give the empowerment, His Holiness clarified that Solitary Hero Vajrabhairava was the first empowerment he received as a child and he received it from Tagdrak Rinpoché. Subsequently, he received it many times from Ling Rinpoché, the last occasion being in the main stupa here in Bodhgaya. Solitary Hero Vajrabhairava was also the principal practice of the 13th Dalai Lama.

The day after tomorrow, His Holiness will begin to give the cycle of empowerments known as the ‘Wheel of Teachings in Relation to Manjushri’ over a period of three days.

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‘The 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas' & 'Commentary on Valid Cognition' - Second Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/the-37-practices-of-bodhisattvas-commentary-on-valid-cognition-second-day Tue, 25 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/the-37-practices-of-bodhisattvas-commentary-on-valid-cognition-second-day Bodhgaya, Bihar, India - There was a chill in the air yet the sky was bright as His Holiness the Dalai Lama walked from Gaden Phelgyeling Monastery to the Kalachakra Ground this morning. He waved to people who had gathered to see him on the road outside and inside the ground. He shook hands with people kneeling on the edge of the stage and walked to the northern side to wave to people from abroad. He saluted the images of enlightenment at the back of the Kalachakra pavilion and took his seat on the throne.

People gathered by the side of the road waiting to catch a glimpse of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he walks from Gaden Phelgyeling Monastery to the Kalachakra Ground on the second day of his teachings in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 25, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

Among the eminent Lamas sitting to the left before the throne are the Ganden Tri Rinpoché, Ganden Trisur Rinpoché, Jangling Tulku from Bhutan, the Sharpa and Jangtsé Chöjés and to the right the 42nd Sakya Trizin, Ratna Vajra Rinpoché, and his brother Gyana Vajra Rinpoché. Also seated near to the throne are scholars, Abbots and Tulkus.

Theravada monks from South and South-east Asian countries first recited the Mangala Sutta in Pali. Next a Korean group chanted the ‘Heart Sutra’ in Korean to the steady beat of a wooden fish gong, a 'moktak' that symbolises alertness. A group of Vietnamese followed, chanting the ‘Heart Sutra’ again in their language, to the rhythm of a smaller, higher pitched wooden fish gong.

A group from Vietnam chanting the 'Heart Sutra' in Vietnamese at the start of the second day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 25, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness opened his remarks with a quotation from Tsongkhapa, “At the end of the ‘Great Exposition of the Stages of the Path’ he writes, ‘May I light the lamp of compassion to illuminate the Dharma in lands where it has not appeared, and in others where it has spread and declined’. In some countries that have a common tradition of reciting the ‘Heart Sutra’, but did not take up the Nalanda Tradition of rigorous study, we can hope to revive the Dharma. Countries in the West are places to which Buddhism had not spread, but where there is now a great deal of interest in what the Buddha taught. I am cautious about teaching Buddhism in places that belong to a Judeo-Christian culture, but am more comfortable teaching the Dharma to people from Asia where Buddhism is an established tradition.

“On the other hand, I think we Buddhists could learn from the example of our Christian brothers and sisters who have helped so many people in need with health and education facilities. I mentioned this once to the Sangharaja of Thailand, but he told me that as far as he was concerned, as monks we should remain in the seclusion of our monasteries.“

His Holiness resumed his reading of the ‘37 Practices of Bodhisattvas' with verse 7 which mentions taking refuge in the Three Jewels. He explained that the actual refuge is true cessation and the true path. We need someone to show us that, so the Buddha is for us a teacher. What we have to do is practise what he taught. When we come across difficulties, members of the Sangha set an example and give us support.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama reading from ‘37 Practices of Bodhisattvas' on the second day of his teachings in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 25, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

The next verse refers to suffering. His Holiness outlined the three kinds—suffering of suffering, suffering of change and suffering of pervasive conditioning. Suffering, he said, is the direct result of karma and disturbing emotions, but is ultimately rooted in ignorance. Verse 9 notes that all the pleasures of cyclic existence are transient and impermanent like dew on the tip of a blade of grass. Liberation, however, is unchanging and is attained by overcoming ignorance.

Verse 10 and 11, focussing on developing an altruistic intention and exchanging your happiness for the suffering of others, express the gist of the whole text. His Holiness remarked that Bodhisattvas not only have the courage to help others free themselves from suffering, but merely seeing others suffer is unbearable for them. They are impelled to intervene. It is possible for all beings to be freed from suffering. Bodhisattvas seek to bring all beings to liberation. As the ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ says:

Whatever joy there is in this world
All comes from desiring others to be happy,
And whatever suffering there is in this world
All comes from desiring myself to be happy.

His Holiness read quickly through to verse 18 that speaks of taking on the pain of others. He noted that verse 21 ends the explanation of conventional bodhichitta and verse 22 begins to explain ultimate bodhichitta and how the mind is free from the start from fabricated extremes. He quoted from the Seventh Dalai Lama’s ‘Song of the Four Mindfulnesses’:

At the cross-roads of the varieties of appearances and the six consciousnesses
Is seen the confusion of the baseless phenomena of duality,
The illusory spectacles of a deceiving magician are there.
Not thinking they are true, look to their entity of emptiness,
Not letting your mind stray, place it within appearance and emptiness,
Making your attention unforgetful, maintain it within appearance and emptiness.

His Holiness added that even when we know, as a result of analysis, that things don’t exist as they appear, they still seem to have a solid, self-sufficient existence. Meanwhile, quantum physics says nothing has any objective existence.

Some of the more than 8,000 monks and nuns in attendance following the text during the second day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 25, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

The mind, which is free from fabricated extremes, exists as a continuum of moments of consciousness. This is what memory depends on.

The text counsels giving up attachment and regarding all forms of suffering as like a child’s death in a dream.

The next six verses, 24-30, deal with the six perfections. His Holiness commented on verse 31 that if you don’t check within yourself, you might have the appearance of a practitioner, while actually only being a hypocrite. He remarked that there is no separate chapter in the ‘Guide’ about ethics, but in order to observe ethics purely you need conscientiousness and introspection.

Reaching the end of the text, His Holiness read the concluding verses added to his Tibetan edition by Lhatsun Dorjechang.

Next, His Holiness explained that he was going to lead the ceremony for generating the awakening mind and taking the bodhisattva vows that he would have saved until the empowerment tomorrow. Prior to that, in order to contribute to the four-fold circle of Sangha consisting of monks, nuns and lay-men and women, he would give the lay-person’s precepts.

“Even if people don’t have genuine bodhichitta, nor even the simulation of an awakening mind, but at least have faith and confidence in it, they’ll have the most basic qualification for entering into the tantric path. I’m going to give this ceremony on the basis of Je Tsongkhapa’s ‘Basic Path of Bodhisattva Ethics’ that he modelled on Asanga’s ‘Grounds of Bodhisattvas’.

A view of the stage at the Kalachakara Ground on the second day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 25, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“Since that text was written by the pioneer of the Mind Only School and the lineage of the path of vast deeds, we also need to visualize the lineage of the profound view. And if you have these two lineages, the lineage of blessings through practice will arise of its own accord.”

Having completed the ceremony for generating the awakening mind and giving the bodhisattva vows His Holiness stated that there is no better way to create merit, purify misdeeds or bring benefit to others. He recited verses from Chapter 3 of the ‘Guide’.

Today my life has (borne) fruit;
(Having) well obtained this human existence,
I’ve been born in the family of Buddha
And now am one of Buddha’s Sons.

Thus whatever actions I do from now on
Must be in accord with the family.
Never shall I disgrace or pollute
This noble and unsullied race.

Just like a blindman
Discovering a jewel in a heap of rubbish,
Likewise by some coincidence
An awakening mind has been born within me.

It is the great sun that finally removes
The misty ignorance of the world,
It is the quintessential butter
From the churning of the milk of Dharma.

“The main point you should keep in mind after taking the bodhisattva vows,” His Holiness advised, “is henceforth to avoid a selfish motivation. You should also avoid carelessly revealing to others, who may not appreciate it, that you have taken these vows.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on the second day of his teachings in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 25, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“I’ve given this Bodhisattva Vow numerous times in Bodhgaya, Dharamsala and in the South. In doing so, I feel I have served the Nalanda Tradition and past masters of our Tibetan traditions. I’ve made something meaningful of my life.”

At the end of yesterday’s session, His Holiness read from a text that outlines the evolution of the study of logic in India. It includes biographical notes about Dignaga and Dharmakirti and describes the blaze of light perceived as Dharmakirti died that continued to be celebrated long after. Today, towards the end of the session he quoted from Tsongkhapa’s ‘Destiny Fulfilled’:

In this northern land, many speak out in unison,
Whether they have studied the logical texts or not,
"There is no stage of practice of the path to enlightenment
In the Pramanasamuccaya and the Seven Branch Treatises."
But one should take as authoritative the direct revelation
Granted by Manjushri to Dignaga, saying explicitly that
"This book will in the future become the eye for all beings!"

The point is that Dignaga was directly encouraged by Manjushri. After his celebrated victory in debate over the brahmin named Sudurjaya at Nalanda, his opponent through miraculous power released a blaze of fire from his mouth that singed Dignaga’s robes. Disheartened Dignaga threw a slate up in the air saying, “When it hits the ground I’ll give up my aspiration to enlightenment.” But the slate never landed and when he looked up he saw that Manjushri had caught it and gave him encouragement.

His Holiness read and discussed the opening apparatus of the book, the verse of salutation and the promise to compose. He repeated Khunu Lama Rinpoché’s interpretation: “Although I do not have a thought to benefit others, I wish to acquaint my mind with this...” His Holiness mentioned that he has received the transmission of several texts on logic and epistemology and hopes there will be time and opportunity for him to pass them on in Dharamsala.

Tomorrow, His Holiness will give the Solitary Hero Vajrabhairava preparatory rites and empowerment.

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‘The Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas’ and 'Commentary on Valid Cognition' https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/the-thirty-seven-practices-of-bodhisattvas-and-commentary-on-valid-cognition Mon, 24 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/the-thirty-seven-practices-of-bodhisattvas-and-commentary-on-valid-cognition Bodhgaya, Bihar, India - Leaving his quarters on top of Gaden Phelgyeling Monastery this morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited the Monastery Temple. He paid his respects before the existing images of enlightenment and consecrated more than 200 freshly prepared statues of the Buddha. Walking to the Kalachakra Pavilion from the Monastery he waved to well-wishers gathered on the road. Within the Kalachakra Ground he continued to greet friends crowding the barricades and waved to others in the distance as he made his way to the stage. Almost 15,000 people were congregated on the covered ground, including more than 7000 monks, 1250 nuns, 1555 Geshes and Abbots, 15 Geshemas, and 1665 visitors from 70 countries other than India.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama consecrating freshly prepared statues of the Buddha at Gaden Phelgyeling Monastery in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 24, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

Once His Holiness had taken his seat on the throne a group of Theravada monks recited the ‘Mangala Sutta’ in Pali. They were followed by a group of schoolgirls from the local Maitreya School, who chanted the ‘Heart Sutra’ in clear Sanskrit, then another group who chanted it again in Chinese.

“Here we are gathered at this extraordinary place of Bodhgaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment,” His Holiness told the audience, “but being here is not about saying prayers or engaging in ritual activities. The Buddhas don't wash unwholesome deeds away with water, nor do they remove the sufferings of beings with their hands, nor do they transplant their own realization into others. It is through teaching the truth of suchness that they help beings find freedom. This is a unique feature of the Buddha’s doctrine and it means we have to pay attention to what he taught.

“Other religious traditions teach about a creator, which makes for philosophical complications, but their message of love and compassion is good. Teaching from his own experience, the Buddha advised us to accumulate skilful means and wisdom.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting friends and waving to members of the audience as he arrives at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 24, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“The teachings recorded in the Pali Tradition represent the fundamental basis of the Buddha’s teachings. In the first turning of the wheel of Dharma he explained the Four Noble Truths. The second turning of the wheel, his exposition of the Perfection of Wisdom teachings, was not recorded by ordinary beings but by Bodhisattvas like Manjushri, Vajrapani and Samantabhadra.

“The first causal pair of the Four Noble Truths dealt with suffering and birth in cyclic existence and its cause. To answer whether that can be overcome, he taught the truth of cessation and the path to it. In elaborating on the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha explained their 16 characteristics.  The truth of suffering, for example, can be understood as being impermanent, in the nature of suffering, empty and selfless. The characteristics of the truth of the cause of suffering are causes, origin, strong production and conditions.

“The ultimate cause of suffering is ignorance. When its antidote, wisdom, is applied, mental afflictions are overcome and cessation, characterized as definite release, is achieved. This is what the path entails. It is also important to recognise the nature of the mind and that destructive emotions are not part of it. Suffering is rooted in an ignorance of reality—as such it has no sound basis and can be overcome. When you understand the true nature of the mind, that it is clarity and awareness, you can see that the mental afflictions are temporary.

A view of the almost 15,000 people attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 24, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“Having mentioned emptiness in the first turning of the wheel, the Buddha elaborated on it during the second turning when he explained the perfection of wisdom. Then, for those who could not comprehend that, he gave a third turning of the wheel, as recorded in the ‘Unravelling of Thought Sutra’. At the same time he revealed the clarity and awareness of the mind, the subjective clear light, while the perfection of wisdom deals with the objective clear light. The mind of subjective clear light is the basis for the practice of tantra.

“The Buddha Shakyamuni taught according to his own experience from when he was an ordinary being through his training on the path to becoming a bodhisattva. We too can transform our unruly minds to attain the state of a Buddha.”

His Holiness asked whether the material and technological development we see today guarantees a happy world. He suggested that even in highly developed countries people are miserable because they do not know how to control or discipline their minds. We have anger and hatred within us and religions teach about what counters them---compassion and loving kindness—but their followers don’t pay sufficient attention. Indian traditions also counsel ahimsa or non-violence.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on the first day of his teachings in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 24, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

Theistic traditions’ explanations of a creator God whose nature is infinite love allow their followers to see themselves and their fellow beings as children of such a God. Followers of non-theistic traditions relying on explanations of the law of causality, like some of the Samkhyas, the Jains and Buddhists, understand that when you do good to others it brings about happiness and when you do harm it gives rise to suffering. Whether we follow a religion or not, as human beings we all need compassion. Our mothers give us our start in life and our first experience of love and affection.

Love is defined as a wish that others be happy; compassion is the wish that they be free from suffering. If you cultivate love and compassion within yourself, His Holiness advised, it will ensure happiness, good health and peace of mind.

“The teaching today will be ‘The Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas’, which will serve as a preliminary to the Vajrabhairava empowerment and the cycle of teachings concerning Manjushri. The commitment for the Vajrabhairava empowerment is to cultivate the awakening mind of bodhichitta and the view of emptiness daily. That for the Manjushri cycle is to say one ‘mala’ round of ‘Mig-tse-mas’.

Some of the almost 15,000 people attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 24, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“The foundation of Buddhism is monastic discipline. Tibetans follow the Mulasarvastivadin tradition, as outlined in the ‘Pratimoksha Sutra’, the ‘Sutra of Individual Liberation’ recorded in Sanskrit. Monastics in Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia follow the Theravada Tradition, whose ‘Patimokkha Sutta’ is preserved in Pali. Differences in the rules they delineate are relatively minor.

“Although on occasion the Buddha referred to a self that was like the carrier of a load in relation to the psycho-physical aggregates, the mind-body combination, in the second turning of the wheel he made clear that nothing whatever has any independent existence. The Nalanda Tradition encourages analysis of the Buddha’s word, coming to grips with them through reason.

“In Tibet, in the 7th century, King Songtsen Gampo had close relations with China. He married a Chinese princess who brought an important statue of the Buddha to Tibet. Nevertheless, when he wanted to refine Tibet’s alphabet and writing he modelled them on the Indian Devanagari script. Similarly, in the following century, when Trisong Detsen wanted to know more about Buddhism, he invited the Nalanda master Shantarakshita from India to Tibet. He set about establishing the Buddha’s teachings but ran into obstacles. He recommended Guru Padmasambhava be invited to deal with them. Thus, Tibetans became the custodians of the Nalanda Tradition.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama reading from ‘The Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas’ on the first day of his teachings in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 24, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness explained that the text he was going to read, ‘The Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas’ he received from Khunu Lama Rinpoché, Tenzin Gyaltsen. He compared the line in the verse of homage that refers to seeing all phenomena as lacking coming and going to verses at the beginning of Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’.

The reference in the first verse to the rarity of finding a fully qualified human life prompted His Holiness to state that there are two goals: higher rebirth and liberation. He cited sixteen causes of higher rebirth listed in Nagarjuna’s ‘Precious Garland’. They consist of thirteen activities to be avoided, the ten unwholesome deeds: killing, stealing and adultery; false, divisive, harsh, and senseless speech; covetousness, harmful intent, and wrong views. Three additional activities to be restrained include drinking alcohol, wrong livelihood and doing harm. There are three further activities to be adopted—respectful giving, honouring the honourable, and love.

Aryadeva also advises:

First prevent the demeritorious,
Next prevent [conceptions of] self;
Later prevent views of all kinds.
Whoever knows of this is wise.

Realization of emptiness overcomes not only mental afflictions, but cognitive obscurations too. The consequence is liberation.

The Spanish interpreter, one of 13 languages being translated, working in her translation booth on the first day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 24, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness drew attention to the earlier and later disseminations of the Buddha’s teachings in Tibet. During the first, in the 8th century, Shantarakshita taught and encouraged the translation of Buddhist literature. His student Kamalashila came to Tibet and composed the three volume ‘Stages of Meditation’. After Lang Darma, the teaching declined. For 60 years monks were barely seen in Central Tibet, although their ordination lineage was later restored. In 11th century, as part of the later dissemination, Atisha came to Tibet and composed the ‘Lamp for the Path’ that presented progress on the path in terms of the three kinds of person.

The first verse concerning the thirty-seven practices highlights the special qualities of life as an intelligent human being that enable critical thinking. The reason for giving up your homeland, as mentioned in the second verse, is explained in the third in terms of cultivating solitude to be able to reflect and meditate. First becoming aware of the Two Truths—conventional and ultimate—then the Four Noble Truths yields understanding of what the Buddha taught, his role and that of the Sangha.

The fourth verse mentions impermanence in terms of consciousness, the guest, leaving the body. Consciousness is what goes on from life to life. His Holiness pointed out that scientists are beginning to acknowledge that consciousness is not simply dependent on the brain, but has an impact on it. He observed that as the particles of our physical beings can be traced back to particles at the time of the Big Bang, consciousness, preceded by a continuum of similar type—consciousness—continues from past to future lives.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama explaining verses of ‘The Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas’ on the first day of his teachings in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 24, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

The fifth verse recommends the shunning of bad friends, while the sixth advises cherishing the spiritual teacher. His Holiness spoke of scrutinising a teacher’s qualities and reflecting on the advantages of relying on such a person, as well as the shortcomings of not doing so. Once you have received his, or her, instruction, put it into practice. His Holiness remarked that the sixth verse completed the teaching related to a person of low capacity and announced that he would stop there for the day. He will resume his explanation tomorrow.

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Inauguration of International Seminar on Tipitaka / Tripitaka https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/inauguration-of-international-seminar-on-tipitaka-tripitaka Sat, 22 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/inauguration-of-international-seminar-on-tipitaka-tripitaka Bodhgaya, Bihar, India - The weather was bright and the crowds lining the street were cheerful as His Holiness the Dalai Lama drove the short distance to Watpa Buddhagaya, the Thai Temple complex behind the Mahabodhi Temple. He had been invited to the inauguration of an International Seminar on the Tipitaka / Tripitaka organized by the Buddhist Thai-Bharat Society, the Dalai Lama Trust and the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS), Sarnath.

Abbot Dr Phra Bhodhinandhamunee welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his arrival at Watpa Buddhagaya in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 22, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

He was welcomed on arrival by the Abbot Dr Phra Bhodhinandhamunee and General Secretary Dr Ratneshwar Chakma who escorted him into the ornately decorated Temple. He paid his respects and lit a lamp before the images of the Buddha. Once His Holiness was seated gifts were presented to him while the Mangala Sutta was recited in Pali. He led a brisk recitation of the ‘Heart Sutra’ in Tibetan.

Out in the sun again, His Holiness was requested to take part in the elaborate process of the laying of the foundation stone for a new museum. Inside the hall in which the Seminar was to take place, His Holiness was seated with the abbot and other monks facing an audience of about 500. They included saffron robed monks and lay-people dressed from head to toe in white.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama joining in the laying of the foundation stone for a new museum at Watpa Buddhagaya in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 22, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

In his welcome address, Watpa General Secretary Dr Ratneshwar Chakma wished everyone present, “Good morning.” He declared it was an honour to have a spiritual leader of His Holiness’s eminence with them, expressed delight at the presence of several Thai hierarchs and welcomed Prof Geshé Ngawang Samten. He greeted all who were attending the proceedings online and concluded, “May all be happy and well.”

In his introductory address, Prof Geshé Ngawang Samten, Vice-Chancellor of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, told the audience, “We are here for a two day seminar on the Tripitaka in this most sacred of places for Buddhists, Bodhgaya. It was here that the Buddha attained enlightenment. Shortly afterwards, in his first teaching at Sarnath, he explained the Four Noble Truths, two related to suffering and its origin, and two related to cessation and the path.

“True suffering he characterized as being impermanent, in the nature of suffering, selfless and empty. He went on to explain how important understanding impermanence, dependent arising and selflessness are in the attainment of liberation. Later, interactive discussion of such ideas between Buddhists and non-Buddhists stimulated deeper understanding.”

Prof Geshé Ngawang Samten, Vice-Chancellor of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, delivering his introductory address at the International Seminar on the Tipitaka / Tripitaka at Watpa Buddhagaya in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 22, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

Geshé Ngawang Samten expressed the view that this seminar focussing on the Vinaya, Sutta and Abhidhamma Pitakas, the Buddhist scriptures comprising the collections of Discipline, Discourses and Higher Knowledge, was important. He observed that at a time when there is growing interest in Buddhist studies across the world, it is significant that those who uphold its traditions should meet and interact with each other.

A message from the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand was read by Ven Phra Promwachirayan Prasit Suddhibandhu. He began by acknowledging the venerable monks and invoked blessings on the lay Buddhists participating. He described the seminar as a result of collaboration between the Buddhist Thai-Bharat Society, the Dalai Lama Trust and CIHTS. However, the inspiration for it he attributed to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who had suggested a meeting without distinguishing Theravada from Mahayana.

The Patriarch went on to praise the value of the Tipitaka with its explanation of ethics, concentration and wisdom, yielding understanding of impermanence, suffering and selflessness, the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Noble Path. He compared the Buddha to a physician and Dhamma to medicine that can bring hope, happiness and longevity. He asserted that we need to use the defence of Dhamma against weapons of destruction.

Ven Phra Promwachirayan Prasit Suddhibandhu reading a message from the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand at the opening session of the International Seminar on the Tipitaka / Tripitaka at Watpa Buddhagaya in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 22, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

Likening the Mahayana to a big boat transporting many beings across the sea and Theravada to a small boat transporting beings across a river or canal, he stressed the significance of their working together in mutual support. The goal of Mahayana may be a bodhisattva, while the goal of Theravada is nirvana, but what they have in common is the goal of helping beings, of guiding humanity to the end of suffering.

Such an International Seminar, he declared, is important for the preservation of Buddhism and for building faith, love and harmony. He invoked the blessings of the Triple Gem upon His Holiness for the fulfilment of his wishes and his long life. He dedicated the merit to the great kings of the past like Ashoka who supported Buddhism.

In his address, the Abbot Dr Phra Bhodhinandhamunee said, “We can all be peaceful and happy in reliance on the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. There is no need for fighting, although there seems to be fighting wherever we look. I don’t have anything to say. I pay homage to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I welcome everyone to this temple. 2600 years ago the Buddha appeared and revealed the Dhamma for the benefit of humanity. His Holiness does something similar today with his message of peace and non-violence.

Abbot Dr Phra Bhodhinandhamunee addressing the opening session of the International Seminar on the Tipitaka / Tripitaka at Watpa Buddhagaya in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 22, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“I have been practising in the forest tradition in Thailand for 40 years and feel it is something that should be preserved for the good of the world. On 26th January this year, His Holiness blessed this monastery and over lunch said to me that one way to spread peace and harmony would be to organize a seminar of monks from different traditions, as we are doing today. I pray for the Buddha’s blessing on this occasion.”

His Holiness opened his address with the observation that the Thai monks, who belong to the Pali Tradition, uphold the Theravada Vinaya. In China there is the Dharmagupta Vinaya, while Tibetans maintained the Mulasarvastivadin Vinaya established by the Great Abbot, Shantarakshita. The differences between these traditions are slight.

“After his enlightenment, the Buddha ordained monks, who he first told how to wear their robes. Much later, just before he passed away, he told the monks, after I’m gone you can rely on the Pratimoksha Sutra. The foundation of Buddhism is the Vinaya. The Buddhadharma is meant for attaining liberation, to achieve which we need to overcome our disturbing emotions. It entails the three trainings in ethics, concentration and wisdom, of which the most important is wisdom. To really develop wisdom you need concentration and to develop concentration you need ethics.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivering his inaugural address at the opening session of the International Seminar on the Tipitaka / Tripitaka at Watpa Buddhagaya in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 22, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“The Buddhas don't wash unwholesome deeds away with water, nor do they remove the sufferings of beings with their hands, neither do they transplant their own realization into others. It is through teaching the truth of suchness that they help beings find freedom. 2600 years ago, the Buddha placed responsibility for change on our shoulders. How did he help beings? By sharing his own experience.

“The Vinaya is the foundation of the Dharma and part of the general structure of the teachings. We also have specialized teachings, given to specific disciples, like the tantras. The Four Noble Truths are part of the general structure. Highest Yoga Tantra instructions for employing internal energies, chakras and drops were intended for certain specific disciples only.

“In Thailand, Laos and Cambodia there is an excellent observance of the Vinaya. We have this practice too, but ours came from the Sanskrit tradition. We study the commentaries of the Indian masters Gunaprabha and Shakyaprabha. The Theravada and Mulasarvastivadin traditions have different numbers of rules, but the difference in practice is small. For example, the Mulasarvastivadin tradition has seven rules about how to wear the robes; the Theravadin tradition has one. Such differences are minor; the spirit and intention are the same. It’s important that we discuss our shared practice of Vinaya, how to keep the rules and how to restore them if they are broken.

A view of the hall at Watpa Buddhagaya during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's inaugural address at the International Seminar on the Tipitaka / Tripitaka in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 22, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“The three trainings in ethics, concentration and wisdom we also have in common with non-Buddhist traditions. The difference is in how we approach wisdom. Non-Buddhist traditions in India assert an independently existent self. They also view the absorptions of the form and formless realms as more peaceful than the desire realm. Buddhism, however, teaches selflessness. Among its four schools of philosophy, the Mind Only and Middle Way Schools reject any kind of permanent, independent, single, autonomous self. This is despite it sometimes seeming that there is a self that is the ruler or controller of the five aggregates, the body-mind combination.

“The Mind Only and Middle Way Schools assert that things do not exist the way they appear. They teach selflessness not only of persons, but also of phenomena. The Mind Only School speaks of the non-duality of subject and object. They maintain that things have no external existence and arise only because of imprints on the mind. This corresponds to the quantum physics observation that nothing has any objective existence.

“The Middle Way School says nothing has any true existence, which helps combat our misconception that things exist independently. They assert that things are merely designated.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the opening session of the International Seminar on the Tipitaka / Tripitaka at Watpa Buddhagaya in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 22, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness observed that the Buddha advised his followers, "As the wise test gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, so, bhikshus, should you accept my words---after testing them, and not merely out of respect for me." The masters of Nalanda followed this approach. The Middle Way School says nothing has any essential identity in and of itself because things are dependently arisen. His Holiness quoted verses from Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’:

That which is a dependent arising
Is explained to be emptiness.
That, being a dependent arising,
Is itself the middle way.

There does not exist anything
That is not dependently arisen.
Therefore there does not exist anything
That is not empty.

His Holiness remarked that the Nalanda Tradition’s rigorous used of reason and logic is something modern scientists admire. He quoted another verse of Nagarjuna’s, explaining that what is true of the Tathagata is also true of ourselves:

Neither the (psycho-physical) aggregates, nor different from the aggregates,
The aggregates are not in him, nor is he in the aggregates.
The Tathagata does not possess the aggregates.
What is the Tathagata?

His Holiness stressed that what is essential is overcoming destructive emotions that arise due to pervasive ignorance. Nagarjuna remarks on this too:

Through the elimination of karma and destructive emotions there is nirvana.
Karma and destructive emotions come from conceptual thoughts.
These come from mental fabrication.
Fabrication ceases through emptiness.

Speaking approvingly of the recently established Thai-Tibetan exchange, His Holiness declared how happy he was to have had the opportunity to contribute to this discussion.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama posing for a photograph with a group of monks after lunch on the opening day of the International Seminar on the Tipitaka / Tripitaka at Watpa Buddhagaya in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 22, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

The session was brought to an end with words of thanks, following which His Holiness was escorted to the Sangharaja’s residence where he ate lunch with invited members of the Sangha. Lunch over, he posed for photographs with various groups of monks, as well as lay well-wishers and supporters. He then returned to the main Tibetan monastery, Gaden Phelgyeling.

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Meeting with an Interfaith Forum https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/meeting-with-an-interfaith-forum Fri, 21 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/meeting-with-an-interfaith-forum Bodhgaya, Bihar, India - Members of an Inter Faith Forum from Gaya, comprising Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs and Brahmakumaris came to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Gaden Phelgyeling today. The Secretary, AK Khan speaking on behalf of the Forum welcomed His Holiness to this sacred place once more. He told him that the Inter Faith Forum was established in 2001. Among their activities members visit each others’ places of worship and join each other in celebrating their festivals, acknowledging their common message of love and compassion. They reject terrorism at any level and work to encourage respect for all major religions.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama meeting with members of an Inter Faith Forum from Gaya at Gaden Phelgyeling Monastery in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 21, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

“Spiritual brothers and sisters,” His Holiness said, addressing the group with a fond smile, “as I always say, we belong to the seven billion human beings. With two eyes, one nose and so on, we are the same; some of us just have more hair. Mentally we are the same, emotionally we are the same. Each one of us wants to live a happy, joyful life. In our childhood we learn that love and affection are a source of happiness as our mothers care for us.

“My mother was essentially kind. She would weep when she encountered people who were really poor, but always found something to give them. She was my first teacher of compassion. Now, scientists tell us, based on experiments I’ve seen, that basic human nature is compassionate. So, our education systems need to teach how to develop peace of mind, how to be a happy individual in a happy family and a happy community here and now.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with members of an Inter Faith Forum from Gaya after their meeting at Gaden Phelgyeling Monastery in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 21, 2018. Photo by ven Tenzin Jamphel

“I sometimes ask if religion is relevant today and since everyone needs love and affection, the answer seems to be “Yes”. However, it’s crucial that members of different religious traditions live in harmony with each other. If instead we quarrel and fight, people are entitled to ask, “What’s the use of religion?” Therefore, we need to be active in promoting religious harmony. In June next year, there will be an All-India Muslim Conference in Delhi focussed on encouraging Sunnis and Shias in the Middle East and elsewhere to befriend one another.”

His Holiness remarked that if we follow religion properly, all our various traditions have the potential to bring about peace of mind. He added that paying lip service to tradition is not enough, nor should religion be a vehicle of exploitation; he insisted that we have to be sincere in our practice. He observed that materialistic education has brought many problems from too much competition to dividing people into ‘us’ and ‘them’. To counter this, His Holiness suggested it should be possible in India to combine modern education with ancient Indian understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions.

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First Conference on Tsongkhapa's ‘Essence of True Eloquence’ https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/first-conference-of-scholars-of-different-traditions-on-essence-of-true-eloquence Wed, 19 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/first-conference-of-scholars-of-different-traditions-on-essence-of-true-eloquence Bodhgaya, Bihar, India - After rain yesterday left Bodhgaya’s streets wet and muddy, it was a bright morning today as His Holiness the Dalai Lama drove out of the village. He was headed to the First Conference of Scholars of Different Traditions on Jé Tsongkhapa’s ‘Essence of True Eloquence’. Many people lined the road to see him pass. On arrival at the venue, where a large tent had been put up to accommodate the meeting, His Holiness was welcomed by Kirti Rinpoché. Ganden Trisur, Ganden Tri Rinpoché, the Sharpa and Jangtse Chojés and Abbots of the great monasteries were also there to greet him.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama laying the foundation stone for the prospective Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Nalanda Academy in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 19, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness was invited to lay the foundation stone for the prospective Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Nalanda Academy. He added a block carved with a double vajra to an existing wall and recited prayers of auspiciousness.

Once inside the grand tent, Kirti Rinpoché offered His Holiness a mandala and representations of the body, speech and mind of enlightenment. ‘The Praise to the Buddha known as the Three Continuums’ and the ‘Praise to the Buddha for Teaching Dependent Arising’ were recited. Rinpoché introduced the occasion—the First Conference of Scholars of Different Traditions on Jé Tsongkhapa’s ‘Essence of True Eloquence’. He expressed gratitude to His Holiness for taking the time to attend the inauguration. He pointed out that the conference had a broad base with scholars from all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and Bön participating. Among them were Geshemas as well as Geshes.

Kirti Rinpoché explained that a similar conference, attracting scholars from all Tibetan Buddhist traditions and Bön, had been held at Taktsang Lhamo, his home monastery in Tibet, in 2016. On this occasion, 62 papers are to be presented, discussed and debated by Lharampa Geshes, 12 Geshemas and seven lay scholars. Altogether the conference has attracted more than 700 participants of whom 442 are scholars from the three Great Seats of Learning, Ganden, Sera and Drepung. Taking part in the debates will be representatives of the Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, Geluk, Jonang and Bön traditions.

Kirti Rinpoché opening the Conference on Tsongkhapa's ‘Essence of True Eloquence’ in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 19, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

The focus of the conference is Jé Tsongkhapa’s ‘Essence of True Eloquence’, which he wrote 610 years ago. Organizers have found 89 commentaries and annotated editions as well as 125 contemporary scholarly papers about it. Kirti Rinpoché observed that in the Ngaba region of Do-mé, Tibet, many monks carry the ‘Great Stages of the Path to Enlightenment’ and ‘Essence of True Eloquence’ with them wherever they go. Knowing this, it was common for lay-people to ask monks to place the books at the head of their beds as they died.

It was customary for monks at Kirti Monastery to try to memorize ‘Essence of True Eloquence’ and Rinpoché has the names of 200 monks who have accomplished this feat. He mentioned that on his journey from Amdo to Lhasa to join Drepung Loseling he memorized the Mind Only section and hoped to be examined on it. However, the upheavals in Lhasa put paid to that. Rinpoché remarked that it is said that without understanding ‘Essence of True Eloquence’ you can’t claim to have understood philosophy.

Ganden Tri Rinpoché noted how auspicious it was for Kirti Monastery to have organized such a conference in the presence of His Holiness. Jé Tsongkhapa was regarded in Tibet as trailblazer, he declared, with ‘Essence of True Eloquence’ singled out in relation to sutras and ‘Lamp for the Five Stages’ in relation to tantra. ‘Essence of True Eloquence’, he said, is based on the ‘Unravelling of Thought Sutra’ and the ‘Sutra of Akshyamati’, discussing both Mind Only and Madhyamaka points of view. To study it from beginning to end is equivalent to studying the essence of the great classic texts. Jé Rinpoché’s purpose in writing the book was to enable people to study and put what they learned into practice in order to reach the state of omniscience. Tri Rinpoché concluded with a prayer that all may attain the state of union.

Ganden Tri Rinpoché speaking at the Conference on Tsongkhapa's ‘Essence of True Eloquence’ in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 19, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness began his address by explaining that Kirti Rinpoché had earlier planned to convene the conference at his monastery in Dharamsala. “I suggested he hold it here in Bodhgaya. Rinpoché has dedicated his life to the benefit of beings and has created opportunities for people to really study. Sometimes we see impressive monasteries with imposing buildings, but nothing going on inside. They just represent hollow grandeur. It’s a bit like colossal statues that have their value, but will never speak.

“Understanding the Buddha’s teachings requires scriptural knowledge and realization. To achieve them we have to study, reflect and meditate. It’s not enough to just study the words, we have to reflect on what we’ve learned, analysing it through the fourfold reasoning. Once we have an understanding based on reflection, we need to generate experience of that understanding in meditation.

“Kyabje Ling Rinpoché used to tell me that ‘Essence of True Eloquence’ was likened to a steel bow, hard to draw but capable of shooting a powerful arrow. Most important is the second section dealing with the Madhyamaka view, in which Jé Rinpoché quotes profusely from Chandrakirti’s ‘Entering into the Middle Way’. He makes clear that Prasangikas state that things lack any ultimate existence, while maintaining conventional existence. He shows how Prasangikas’ denying any inherent existence whatsoever distinguishes them from the Svatantrika School.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the Conference on Tsongkhapa's ‘Essence of True Eloquence’ in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 19, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“If you read Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’ he uses a lot of negative expressions—not this, not that. In Chapter 24, however, Nagarjuna states:

“That which is a dependent arising
Is explained to be emptiness.
That, being a dependent arising,
Is itself the middle way.”

His Holiness spoke of recently meeting a Russian scientist who is interested in setting up a project to investigate ‘thukdam’, the phenomenon of a meditator remaining in meditative absorption for some days after clinical death. The professor reported that he had already visited the three Great Seats of Learning in South India. His Holiness told him that the Russian republics of Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva followed the same Buddhist traditions as Tibetan. They used to study at Drepung Gomang Monastery. Among them were excellent scholars like His Holiness’s debate partner, Ngodup Tsognyi.

Members of the audience taking notes during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's address at the Conference on Tsongkhapa's ‘Essence of True Eloquence’ in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 19, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“Buddhist literature can be classified into religion, philosophy and science,” His Holiness continued. “Religion can be a source of ‘peace of mind’, but where other religious traditions focus on prayer, the Nalanda Tradition is based on the use of reason. Mental afflictions are rooted in ignorance, the misconception that things exist the way they appear. Aryadeva states in his 400 Verses that mental afflictions are permeated by a misconception of reality.

“As the tactile sense [pervades] the body
Confusion is present in all [mental afflictions].
By overcoming confusion you will also
Overcome all mental afflictions.

“Many of the insights of ancient Indian philosophy and psychology can be usefully applied in an objective, secular context. The Buddha was a product of Indian traditions for cultivating a calmly abiding mind and insight (shamatha and vipashyana). Nevertheless, he discovered that unless you eliminate the view of an independent self, you won’t overcome suffering.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Conference on Tsongkhapa's ‘Essence of True Eloquence’ in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 19, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“Following his enlightenment, the Buddha is reported to have said:

"Profound and peaceful, free from elaboration, uncompounded clear light
I have found a nectar-like Dharma.
Yet if I were to teach it, no one would understand,
So I shall remain silent here in the forest.

"The first words of the first line 'profound and peaceful' refer to the true cessation that was the focus of the first turning of the wheel of dharma. ’Free from elaboration' alludes to what he eventually taught in the second turning of the wheel and 'uncompounded clear light' pertains to the third turning of the wheel.

“If we follow an intelligent approach to what the Buddha taught, employing study and understanding, Buddhism will endure. If we take a more stolid approach based on faith alone, who knows how long it will last? The Buddha’s advice to his followers: “As the wise test gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, so, bhikshus, should you accept my words---after testing them, and not merely out of respect for me,” bears this out.

Participating scholars listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the First Conference on Tsongkhapa's ‘Essence of True Eloquence’ in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 19, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“If we can explain philosophical views on the basis of reason and science, people today will pay attention. And in the monasteries, we now have laboratories where we can test theories through experiment.”

Abbot of Ganden Shartse, Jangchub Sangye moderated the presentations. He explained that each presenter would have ten minutes to read his or her paper. That would be followed by 15 minutes during which scholars or members of the audience could raise questions that the presenter could answer.

Veteran scholar from the Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies, Geshe Yeshe Tapkay opened the presentations giving a broad overview of the text. He was followed by Ganden Shartse Geshe Gyaltsen Wangdu, who now teaches at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in Dharamsala. The final presentation before lunch was by Lobpon Rinzin Dorjee of the Dzongsar Institute.

Ganden Shartse Geshe Gyaltsen Wangdu delivering his presentation at the Conference on Tsongkhapa's ‘Essence of True Eloquence’ in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 19, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness ate lunch with invited Lamas and Abbots. At one o’clock the conference’s afternoon session began and His Holiness returned to Gaden Phelgyeling.

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Pilgrimage to the Mahabodhi Temple https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/pilgrimage-to-the-mahabodhi-temple Mon, 17 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/pilgrimage-to-the-mahabodhi-temple Bodhgaya, Bihar, India - On arrival in Bodhgaya yesterday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was given a brief formal welcome at the Main Tibetan Monastery, Gaden Phelgyeling. This morning he chose, as a priority, to make a pilgrimage to the Mahabodhi Temple. He also decided to walk, which he did at a brisk pace, greeting friends and well-wishers lining the street on the way.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting greeting friends and well-wisher as he walks to the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 17, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness was welcomed at the gate to the temple by Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee Secretary (BTMC) Nangzey Dorje, Divisional Commissioner, Magadh, Tenzin Nima Bindhyeshwari, Senior Superintendent of Police, Rajiv Mishra and District Magistrate, Abhishek Singh. They accompanied him into the complex. Once inside, His Holiness paused to salute the Vajra-asana, the Seat of Enlightenment, beneath the Bodhi Tree, with the Mahabodhi Temple behind it. Monks, nuns and lay devotees attending a Kagyu Monlam turned to greet him as he descended the stairs.

His Holiness walked the inner circumambulatory path, smiling and waving to people gathered beyond the stone railings that are reputed to have originally been erected by Nagarjuna to protect the Bodhi Tree from elephants. Reaching the temple entrance he paused to pay his respects. Within the inner sanctum, he lit a lamp before the celebrated statue of Buddha Shakyamuni prior to sitting down in front of it.

Indian monks belonging to the BTMC first recited the Mangala Sutta in Pali. His Holiness then joined the Abbot and Löbpön of Namgyal Monastery, Thamtog Rinpoché and Ngawang Topgyal, in reciting the Praise to the Buddha known as the ‘Three Continuums’, the ‘Heart Sutra’, Tsongkhapa’s ‘Praise to the Buddha for Teaching Dependent Arising’, the ‘Drumbeat of Truth’, the ‘Praise to the 17 Masters of Nalanda’, a ‘Prayer for the Ecumenical Spread of the Buddha’s Teachings’ and dedication prayers.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama joining in recitations of praises and prayers before the statue of Shakyamuni Buddha inside the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 17, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Members of the BTMC presented His Holiness with their calendar illustrated by images of the Buddha. Expressing his gratitude he told them that in addition to acknowledging the Buddha as the founder of Buddhism, he regards him as a scientist and great thinker. He is especially struck by the Buddha’s advice to his followers: “As the wise test gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, so, bhikshus, should you accept my words---after testing them, and not merely out of respect for me.”

As His Holiness left the Temple, members of the press were eager to question him. He gave them a succinct summary of what the Buddha taught—advising his followers to observe ‘ahimsa’ or non-violence in their conduct, ‘karuna’ or compassion as their motivation and dependent arising as their view of reality.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to members of the press at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 17, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness completed his circumambulation of the Temple, walked up the steps to the gate, where he climbed into a car to drive back to Gaden Phelgyeling. This monastery began as a temple constructed by a Ladakhi Lama named Ngawang Samten in 1938. Returning to Tibet, he offered it to the Tibetan Government. In 1951, Dhardo Rinpoché was appointed Abbot and under his supervision monastic quarters were constructed in 1952, at which time His Holiness gave the monastery the name Gaden Phelgyeling. In 1965, when he was appointed Gaden Tripa, Ling Rinpoché also became Abbot of this monastery. In 2002, the monastery was given into the care of Namgyal Monastery and eight or nine monks from there look after it throughout the year.

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Techfest IIT Bombay https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/techfest-iit-bombay Fri, 14 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/techfest-iit-bombay Mumbai, India - This morning, under sunny blue skies a steady breeze stirred the leaves on the trees as His Holiness the Dalai Lama drove to Powai in north-east Mumbai where he had been invited to IIT Bombay. Director, Devang Vipin Khakhar and Dean of Student Affairs, Prof Soumyo Mukherji were there to greet him as he arrived on campus. He was even offered the traditional Tibetan welcome, ‘chema changpu’.

Director Prof Devang Vipin Khakhar welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his arrival at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in Mumbai, India on December 14, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

He was escorted directly to the Convocation Hall, where the stage was embellished with a thangka of the Medicine Buddha and several portraits of His Holiness, while the front was festooned with Tibetan prayer flags. Hands folded in salutation, he bowed to the audience of 2000, mostly students, from the centre and both corners of the stage before taking his seat.

A young Tibetan woman, Tenzin Dhekyong, who is a member of project staff, introduced His Holiness. She referred to his birth in Amdo, north-east Tibet, followed by his recognition as the Dalai Lama. She mentioned that Tibetans speak of him as ‘Yishin Norbu’ or ‘Wishfulfilling Jewel’. She outlined his commitments to fostering peace and happiness among human beings, encouraging inter-religious harmony, preserving Tibetan language and culture, speaking up for the protection of Tibet’s natural environment and working to revive interest in ancient Indian knowledge.

Director of IIT Bombay, Prof Devang Khakhar declared that it was most auspicious to have His Holiness speak at the college during its 60th anniversary. He welcomed him and all participants to the opening day of this year’s Techfest, which is a platform to bring together enthusiastic students of science and technology. Prof Khakhar mentioned that IIT Bombay aims to provide excellence in education, offering a broad array of programs that extend beyond science and engineering to include Economics, English, Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology.

Director of IIT Bombay, Prof Devang Khakhar welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama and participants to the opening day of TechFest at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in Mumbai, India on December 14, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness greeted the audience:

“Good morning. I’m glad to see that you are mostly young people. When I’m among people like you, I feel younger too. My dear brothers and sisters, time is always moving on. Nothing can stop it. Some of us here, who are more than 30 years old, belong to the 20th century. Those of you who are not yet 30 years old belong to the generation of the 21st century. Whatever happened in the past can’t be changed, but the future is still in your hands. Those of you who belong to the 21st century, if you make the effort now, can create a better, happier world.

“People of my generation made a lot of trouble on this planet and it’s worth thinking about why. Everyone wants to lead a happy life and happiness is closely related to peace, but violence is always a source of suffering.

“Let me ask you, do you prefer to see someone smile or scowl?” The audience replied, “Smile.” “When people are smiling around you, don’t you feel happier and more secure? In 1954, I went to China and attended many official functions, all of which were held in a serious atmosphere. In 1956, here in India, meetings associated with the Buddha Jayanti were rather solemn too. I prefer it when people smile; it’s a reflection of friendship, which is in turn a reflection of trust and honesty.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in Mumbai, India on December 14, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“It’s good to remember that other human beings are like us. We are born the same way; we die the same way. While we’re alive it’s better to be able to trust each other as friends. We earn other people’s trust when we show a genuine concern for their well-being.

“When we look back on the 20th century, there was far too much violence. Even the period after the Second World War was spoiled by fear and apprehension of further violence during the ‘Cold War’. Some historians have estimated that during the last century 200 million human beings suffered violent death as a result of war. If it had led to a better world, it might have been justified, but that isn’t the case.

“Although many people today seek peace, killing and violence are still taking place. People are even being killed in the name of religion—unthinkable. This is an example of our problems being of our own making. Young children don’t care about nationality, faith or caste. Because these ideas prompt us to think in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’, they are divisive. They lead to violence, bullying and exploitation, and worst of all killing. The remedy is to look deeper and recognise that we human beings are physically, mentally and emotionally the same. We all have the potential to develop compassion.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in Mumbai, India on December 14, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“We first experience affection and compassion in infancy at the hands of our mother. Medical experts point out that while constant anger and fear undermine our physical health, cultivating a warm-hearted attitude restores it. Therefore, in addition to teaching about physical hygiene, we should encourage emotional hygiene, learning to tackle our destructive emotions and enhance those that are beneficial.

“Knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions has developed in India over the last 3000 years. Practices for cultivating a calmly abiding mind and insight, (shamatha and vipashyana), common to several spiritual traditions, contribute to the attainment of peace of mind.”

As to what mind or consciousness is or where it comes from, His Holiness distinguished between substantial and co-operative causes. He stated that consciousness does not arise from an arrangement of material particles. The substantial cause of consciousness is a previous moment of consciousness. This is why some people have memories of previous lives. The brain, meanwhile, is a co-operative condition for consciousness, much as the eye organ is a co-operative condition for eye consciousness.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the audience of 2000, mostly students, at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in Mumbai, India on December 14, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

At conception, the substantial cause of a child’s body comes from the parents, but the substantial cause of his or her mind is a previous consciousness. That is why Buddhism speaks in terms of life after life.

“Ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions in combination with modern education can contribute to the development of peace of mind. This is important because when the mind is overwhelmed by emotions like attachment or hatred it is difficult for it to be objective. A calm mind provides for that. Emotion is distracting and introduces bias, when what we need is to view things holistically.

“To study well we need a clear mind. When I was young I was reluctant to study, but later I came to appreciate that what I’d learned then was useful. It had the effect of opening up my intelligence. Those of you who have the opportunity today, please study well. Learn to combine your intelligence with warm-heartedness.”

Responding to spontaneous questions from the audience, His Holiness suggested that as people become fed up with violence, humanity is becoming more mature. Challenged to say whether a future Dalai Lama could be a woman he answered “Yes,” and pointed out that the Buddha had given his followers, women and men, equal opportunity in terms of ordination.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his talk at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in Mumbai, India on December 14, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness agreed that climate change is a serious challenge, reporting that he has observed a steady decline in snowfall in Tibet and later in Dharamsala where he lives now. He warned that this will undoubtedly have a serious impact on water supply. Asked what he expects of future developments in technology, His Holiness mentioned that while others have great hopes for the development of artificial intelligence, he tends to be sceptical. In his view, technological development is derived from the human ingenuity and there is still a long way to go before technology emulates human consciousness.

His Holiness concluded that in addition to scientific findings and analytical thought, we need to rely on common sense and common experience. He pointed out that it’s easy to see that if members of a well-off family don’t trust each other, they won’t be happy. On the other hand, when a family of beggars treat each other with affection, happiness comes easily. What we can learn from this, he said, is that never mind about future lives, we need compassion and warm-heartedness here and now in this life.

His Holiness left the stage as members of the audience crowded forward to catch his attention. The Director and Dean of Student Affairs walked him to his car and he drove back to his hotel. Tomorrow, he will return to Delhi before travelling on to Bodhgaya. 

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Speaking about Compassion at Guru Nanak College https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/speaking-about-compassion-at-guru-nanak-college Thu, 13 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/speaking-about-compassion-at-guru-nanak-college Mumbai, India - This morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was the guest of Guru Nanak College, which is situated in a neighbourhood of Sion known as Guru Tegh Bahadur Nagar, named after the ninth of the ten Sikh Gurus. The college aims to provide education for an inclusive society and had invited His Holiness to give a ‘Silver Lecture’ on compassion. He was warmly welcomed on arrival at the college by the Principal Dr Vijay Dabholka and members of the college management. They accompanied him through the corridors to the auditorium where an audience of one thousand students and faculty awaited them.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama joins in lighting a lamp to open the program at Guru Nanak College of Arts, Science & Commerce in Mumbai, India on December 13, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness took part in the lighting of a lamp and prayers to open the proceedings. The Principal began his address with the traditional Sikh salutation, “Wahe Guruji ka Khalsa, Wahe Guruji ki Fateh”. He declared it was an honour to be able to welcome His Holiness to the college and looked forward to hearing what he had to say about fostering compassion in a world that has witnessed such changes as the internet, space travel and globalisation.

Sadar Manjit Singh on behalf of the College management added, “We welcome His Holiness to this temple of learning, confident that interaction with him will leave all of us richer. We value your message of peace and harmony.”

His Holiness was presented with an engraved silver plate, a bouquet and a shawl as a mark of affection. A brief introduction mentioned his birth in Tibet, that he trained in the Nalanda Tradition, is an admirer of Mahatma Gandhi and that his message of love, compassion and forgiveness prompted the Nobel Committee to acknowledge his kindness and respect towards all living beings.

Sadar Manjit Singh on behalf of the College management welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Guru Nanak College in Mumbai, India on December 13, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

Telling them how much he dislikes formality, His Holiness greeted the audience as “brothers and sisters”.

“In today’s world, it’s important that we recognise our 7 billion fellow human beings as brothers and sisters. As human beings we all have not only a desire, but also a right to be happy. However, we tend to be preoccupied by differences of nationality, religious faith and so forth that lead us to think in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’. We neglect the fact that at a deeper level we are all the same in being human and there is no justifying fighting and killing each other. When I meet other people, I think of myself as just another human being. If I think of myself as being a Tibetan, a Buddhist or the Dalai Lama, it just serves to set me apart from others.

“Today, we are functioning in a global economy and are faced by the threat of climate change, which experts tells us is serious and likely to get worse. These issues affect the whole of humanity and we have to help each other by working together to deal with them. This is why having a sense of the oneness of humanity is important.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on compassion at Guru Nanak College in Mumbai, India on December 13, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“Similarly, because all religious traditions involve and benefit human beings we can respect them all. We can even learn from each other. In this respect, India sets an example to the rest of the world. I admire Guru Nanak, who came from Hindu background, for making a pilgrimage to Mecca as an expression of respect. What a great gesture?

“I believe this kind of attitude arises out of India’s longstanding tradition of ‘ahimsa’. Non-violence or ‘ahimsa’ is the conduct, but the motivation is ‘karuna’ or compassion. One follows from the other in a way that couldn’t link anger to ‘ahimsa’. We need such qualities here and now in the 21st century because as human beings we are essentially the same and we all have to live together on this small planet.

“I sometimes ask if religion remains relevant today, because if it doesn’t we could just forget it. We live in a materialistic world where people assume that anger, greed and so forth are just a part of how we’re made. The message religions convey about love, tolerance and contentment provide a viewpoint to counter these destructive emotions. India is the one country that could combine modern education with the ancient knowledge of how to recognise and tackle our afflictive emotions.

Some of the 1,000 students and faculty listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Guru Nanak College in Mumbai, India on December 13, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“The practices of shamatha and vipashyana, practices for cultivating a calmly abiding mind and analytical insight, can help us tame our turbulent minds. We need material development, but we also need moral principles. Because people take hope and inspiration from religious practice it remains relevant today. What’s more, just as I am committed to encouraging harmony among religions, the idea of violence in the name of religion is contradictory and unthinkable. This is why I am also dedicated to promoting ways to develop peace of mind, which is the essential basis on which we can build lasting world peace.”

With regard to Tibet, His Holiness explained that he is committed to speaking up for the protection of its natural environment. He mentioned a Chinese ecologist’s observation that Tibet is as important to the balance of the global climate as the North and South Poles, so he referred to it as the Third Pole.

He added that he is dedicated to keeping Tibet’s knowledge of philosophy, psychology and logic alive, as well as the Tibetan language in which it is most accurately expressed. Of late, he has, in addition, been moved to revive ancient Indian knowledge amongst modern Indians with a view to showing how to develop peace of mind.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivering the Silver Lecture on compassion at Guru Nanak College in Mumbai, India on December 13, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

The first of several questions from the audience was about His Holiness’s hopes for Tibet. He answered that despite all the hardship Tibetans have faced, their spirit is unsubdued and remains strong. Chinese hardliners have failed to suppress Tibetan language and culture. These days, Chinese Buddhists are increasingly coming to appreciate the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He remarked that things are changing and that a totalitarian system has no future.

His Holiness explained to a woman who asked why there were no Bhikshunis, fully ordained nuns, in the Tibetan tradition that Shantarakshita established the Mulasarvastivadin monastic discipline in Tibet. According to that tradition, the ordination of Bhikshunis requires the presence of a Bhikshuni abbot and no such person came to Tibet. In recent years, however, some Tibetan nuns have taken the ordination in the Chinese tradition.

In the past, Tibetan nuns generally did not study extensively, but over the last 40 years His Holiness has encouraged them to do so. Consequently, there are now nuns who have been awarded the Geshe-ma degree indicating that they have training and knowledge equivalent to similarly qualified monks.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his talk at Guru Nanak College in Mumbai, India on December 13, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

Another questioner wanted to know about the practice of vipashyana. His Holiness explained that shamatha or cultivating a calmly abiding mind is a meditation practice for developing single-pointed concentration. This renders the mind more powerful. Vipashyana involves analytical meditation which leads to insight. Through analysis we can recognise how destructive emotions like anger destroy our peace of mind. Similarly, it reveals how compassion brings about trust, self-confidence and inner strength, qualities that enable us to live more honestly and truthfully.

Asked whether he ever gets angry, His Holiness conceded that occasionally he does but that it doesn’t last. Finally, asked to name the one thing that would bring deep and lasting benefit and he answered, “Developing warm-heartedness.”

A view of the stage during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's talk at Guru Nanak College in Mumbai, India on December 13, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

A vote of thanks was read in Hindi, following which the entire gathering stood for the national anthem.

After His Holiness left the stage, his hosts walked with him to his car. On the road outside the college gate Tibetans joined other well-wishers to see him off. He smiled and waved to them as he passed.

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Inaugurating a Conference on the Concept of ‘Maitri’ or ‘Metta’ in Buddhism https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/inaugurating-a-conference-on-the-concept-of-maitri-or-metta-in-buddhism Wed, 12 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/inaugurating-a-conference-on-the-concept-of-maitri-or-metta-in-buddhism Mumbai, India - There was warm sunshine and the skies overhead were blue as His Holiness the Dalai Lama drove to the University of Mumbai today. He had been invited to inaugurate an international conference on the concept of ‘maitri’ or ‘metta’, commonly translated as loving-kindness or friendliness. He was met on arrival at the Vidyanagari Campus, Kalina, by the Vice-Chancellor Prof Subhas Pednekar, Maharashtra Government Minister Rajkumarji Badole and Head of the Department of Philosophy, Dr Geeta Ramana. They accompanied His Holiness to the Green Technology Auditorium, where he was invited to join the audience of almost 300, students and faculty, taking a seat in the front row.

Students presenting a performance of yoga to open the Conference on the Concept of ‘Maitri’ or ‘Metta’ in Buddhism at the University of Mumbai in Mumbai, India on December 12, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

Dr Archana Malik-Goure welcomed the guests and everyone present. For the first few minutes, five students, one of whom was blind, presented a rigorous performance of yoga asanas while keeping a lighted candle steady on top of their heads. At the same time a series of questions and reflections on the concept of ‘maitri’ was projected onto a screen above them. Children presented nosegays to His Holiness and other guests.

Introducing the occasion, Dr Geeta Ramana declared that the University and the Dept of Philosophy in particular was blessed by His Holiness’s presence. She explained that a three day conference beginning today would consider the familiar concept of loving-kindness and friendliness from a philosophical standpoint. She invited the Vice-Chancellor to present His Holiness with a shawl, after which a large number of members of faculty processed onto the stage to offer their own greetings.

Dr Geeta Ramana introducing the inaugural session of the Conference on the Concept of ‘Maitri’ or ‘Metta’ in Buddhism at the University of Mumbai in Mumbai, India on December 12, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

The first guest of honour, Shri Rajkumarji Badole, who is himself a Buddhist, opened his remarks by reciting lines for taking refuge in Pali. He spoke first in Marathi and then in English stating that ‘maitri’ is a state of mind that fosters a happy family and happy community. He expressed himself privileged to share a platform with His Holiness.

Vice-Chancellor Prof Subhas Pednekar told the gathering how much he appreciated the initiative of the Department of Philosophy in convening this conference to explore and discuss ‘maitri’. He professed it an honour to listen to His Holiness, someone whose work for peace and harmony in the world is so well-known.

He stated that, having been founded in 1857, the University of Mumbai is one of the earliest state universities in India. With more than 500,000 students and more than 700 affiliated colleges it is also one of the largest. It is the only university to have produced five recipients of the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award. He concluded by requesting His Holiness to release the second issue of the first volume of the Dept of Philosophy’s journal and to give the inaugural address.

Vice-Chancellor Prof Subhas Pednekar addressing the Conference on the Concept of ‘Maitri’ or ‘Metta’ in Buddhism at the University of Mumbai in Mumbai, India on December 12, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“Respected sisters and brothers,” His Holiness began, “in today’s world, we need to make a special effort to promote loving-kindness. Women have a special role in this since they are generally more sensitive to others’ pain. In my own case, it was my mother who first taught me about kindness. She sowed the seed in my mind. It is our mother who gives most of us a living example of kindness right at the start of our lives.

“On the other hand, the warriors of the past were almost entirely men. They are celebrated as heroes and yet they were killers. Isn’t it the case that most butchers too are men? Therefore, it’s reasonable to salute our sisters first.

“I very much appreciate your convening this conference; we need this kind of discussion. In some ways loving-kindness is something we take for granted, yet it is something we need to make an effort to develop. Our level of education is highly developed, but look at the world around us. We’re at peace here, but elsewhere, at this very moment, people are being killed and innocent children are starving. Look at what’s happening in Syria and Yemen. We make too much of differences of nationality, faith, or race and neglect others’ suffering because they are ‘not like us’.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivering the Inaugural Address at the Conference on the Concept of ‘Maitri’ or ‘Metta’ in Buddhism at the University of Mumbai in Mumbai, India on December 12, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“In the 20th century, so much suffering took place due to violence and war, and yet we still tend to think that we can solve problems by resort to the use of force. This is not a healthy sign, but most of the people on this planet are fed up with violence. Look at how many demonstrated against the impending war in Iraq. Another example is the creation of the European Union by nations that had fought throughout history. After the horrors of the first and second world wars they concluded it was more important to protect the common interest rather than assert national sovereignty.

“Coexistence takes effort, but we should work to make this century an era of peace and non-violence. We need a human approach to solving problems between us. We need to talk instead of fighting, engaging in meaningful dialogue based on mutual respect. Anger is rooted in having a sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’. We need instead to respect others as members of humanity like us. We must also aim to create a demilitarized world. To achieve external disarmament, however, requires inner disarmament. That’s where ‘maitri’, loving-kindness, comes in.”

The global economy is contained by no national boundaries. The threat of climate change is not limited by national boundaries either—it affects us all. These features of our lives require that we work together. His Holiness explained that modern education is oriented towards material goals, but it also needs to focus on inner values. Alongside physical hygiene, we need emotional hygiene, learning to tackle our destructive emotions.

Some of the almost 300 students and faculty listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Conference on the Concept of ‘Maitri’ or ‘Metta’ in Buddhism at the University of Mumbai in Mumbai, India on December 12, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

Mothers gave birth to all 7 billion human beings alive today. They survived as a result of care and affection. As young children they did not care about nationality, faith or caste, but learned to distinguish such differences resulting in a sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’. This is how we create problems for ourselves, despite the fact that at a deeper level we are all the same in being human. ‘Maitri’ and ‘karuna’, friendliness and compassion are essential in day to day life. We find them described in religious texts, but we can observe and develop them in an objective, secular way.

“It’s easy to be kind to our relatives and friends,” His Holiness continued, “but harder towards our enemies. An enemy may appear to be hostile, but is still a human being like you. Friendly loving-kindness to an enemy is genuine loving-kindness. Similarly, unbiased compassion towards an enemy is genuine compassion. That’s what we need to train to achieve.

“Because anger and hostility destroy our peace of mind, it is they that are our real enemy. Anger ruins our health; a compassionate attitude restores it. If basic human nature were angry, there’d be no hope, but since it’s compassionate, there is. This is why cultivating inner values should be part of education. It’s also why I’m trying to revive ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions. The Buddha was the product of Indian traditions like ‘ahimsa’ and ‘karuna’. We need to revive these qualities, combine them with modern education and share them with other countries in Asia.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the inaugural session of the Conference on the Concept of ‘Maitri’ or ‘Metta’ in Buddhism at the University of Mumbai in Mumbai, India on December 12, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“Since the 8th century, we Tibetans have upheld the Nalanda Tradition to which Shantarakshita introduced us. It involves study of difficult texts with an emphasis on reason and logic. My training, like that of other Tibetan monks and nuns, has involved such an immersion in the Nalanda Tradition that although I am physically Tibetan, I’m mentally Indian. Many of you may be physically Indian, but I suspect are more mentally inclined towards the West. Ancient Indian knowledge can help us cultivate peace of mind. Within that ‘maitri’ is a basic human value not just a Buddhist concept that we can come to understand objectively.”

In the course of answering questions from the audience His Holiness discussed the decline in attention to inner values that resulted from educational institutions’ ceasing to be influenced by religion after the industrial revolution. Now, there is an urgent need to develop a more balanced, secular education that takes inner values into account. If we do that, we may see what a waste of resources it is to pour money into, for example, nuclear weapons that no one dare use. The funds would be so much better spent on health and education.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question after his address at the Conference on the Concept of ‘Maitri’ or ‘Metta’ in Buddhism at the University of Mumbai in Mumbai, India on December 12, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness stressed that we will not achieve change by prayer alone; we need to take action. In the context of physical, verbal and mental action, it’s mental action, motivation that is most effective. It takes a positive motivation to do benefit. If we take a holistic approach, free from emotional bias, our action will be more realistic.

Dr Archana Malik-Goure brought the meeting to an end by thanking His Holiness for his presence, telling him it had been a privilege to listen to him. She also thanked everyone who had been involved with convening the conference—the Minister, Vice-Chancellor and Registrar, as well as the organizing committee.

A view of University of Mumbai's Green Technology Auditorium during the inaugural session of the Conference on the Concept of ‘Maitri’ or ‘Metta’ in Buddhism at the University of Mumbai in Mumbai, India on December 12, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“Almost ten years ago,” His Holiness observed, as he inscribed a copy of ‘Science and Philosophy in the Buddhist Classics—the Physical World’ for the Vice-Chancellor, “we began to think about the Buddhist literature that had been translated into Tibetan from Sanskrit and to some extent Pali. The content of these more than 300 volumes can be classified as dealing with religious or purely Buddhist topics, but also with Buddhist philosophy and science. We set about extracting material dealing with Buddhist philosophy and science, compiling and publishing it first in Tibetan. This collection has been translated into several languages and I want to give you this first volume published in English. I urge you not to preserve it untouched on a library shelf but to encourage people to read it again and again until it is worn out.”

His Holiness joined his hosts and invited guests for lunch in the nearby student hostel of the Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences before returning to his hotel.

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Addressing the India Leadership Council https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/addressing-the-india-leadership-council Mon, 10 Dec 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/addressing-the-india-leadership-council New Delhi, India - Today, Human Rights Day and the 29th anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, he started out by giving award-winning film and documentary maker Ramesh Sharma an interview. Sharma is making a documentary about Gandhi’s message of non-violence and the way he used it during India’s struggle for freedom. He began by asking what made Gandhi’s message so powerful.

Ramesh Sharma interviewing His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his documentary about Gandhi’s message of non-violence in New Delhi, India on December 10, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

“He turned to India’s thousands of years old traditions of ahimsa and karuna—non-violence and compassion,” His Holiness replied. “He led a freedom struggle founded entirely on non-violence, which, for him, was not a sign of weakness but of strength. It was based on truth and a thorough understanding of human emotions. Despite his education in the West and his training as a lawyer, when it came to the freedom struggle he dressed like an ordinary Indian, reflecting his heartfelt confidence in Indian traditions. Ahimsa is a matter of conduct, but it arises out of compassion, which is the motivation for it.”

Sharma asked how non-violence could be affective against the threat of the use of nuclear weapons. His Holiness pointed out that whereas in the past people lived in smaller isolated communities, today, we are all interdependent. Therefore, to harm others is ultimately to harm ourselves. He added that we are united in a global economy to which there are no boundaries, but also face together the perils of climate change. The days of warfare as a result of which one side would be victorious and the other defeated are gone. This is why, he said, the 21st century should open an era of peace.

Asked if we have forgotten Gandhi and what he stood for, His Holiness replied that he is great admirer of the spirit of the European Union which considers the common interest before narrower local concerns. He suggested that in the light of such a consideration Tibet could remain with the People’s Republic of China. Being materially poor, Tibet could benefit from the development China can provide. However, because Tibetans are spiritually rich, Chinese Buddhists could benefit from their sharing their knowledge of the Nalanda Tradition with them. He asserted that this is a realistic approach.

Award-winning film and documentary maker Ramesh Sharma and His Holiness the Dalai Lama after their interview in New Delhi, India on December 10, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

“Years ago, when a statue of Gandhi-ji was installed in front of parliament,” His Holiness replied in response to a request for a message to mark the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth next year, “I said I hoped it would remind people of Gandhi and what he stood for—the principle of non-violence. We need strength and confidence to extend education about non-violence. I consider this to be part of my commitment to reviving ancient Indian knowledge, particularly where it has a bearing on developing peace of mind.”

In the Maurya Sheraton Convention Hall, the Economic Times had convened an Indian Leadership Council which it invited His Holiness to address. The organizers received him warmly at the door and escorted him onto the stage in the hall. Deepak Lamba, President of Times Strategic Solutions, welcomed His Holiness and introduced him to the 100 or so business leaders waiting to listen to him. He also introduced film-maker and activist Mahesh Bhatt who was going to moderate the meeting, especially the question and answer session.

In his preamble, Mahesh Bhatt recalled meeting His Holiness at an award presentation associated with Mother Teresa. He had been struck by his saying, “Only he who wants enlightenment for everyone is enlightened.” He suggested that this is a time when the educators have to be educated. He wondered if there is a need for a new narrative, but asked from where should it come. He noted that the Buddha said, “Be a light unto yourself.” He turned to His Holiness and asked him to reignite hope.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting the audience on his arrival at the Maurya Sheraton Convention Hall to address the  India Leadership Council in New Delhi, India on December 10, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“My dear brothers and sisters,” His Holiness began, “I always open my talks this way because it is so important that we see each other as brothers and sisters. Basic human nature is compassionate, and yet we face numerous problems that are of our own making.

“We have so much in common. Our mother gave birth to us and nurtured us with love and affection. In day to day life, if I smile at you, you’ll probably smile back and when you respond in a friendly way, I feel happy.

“I was told a story of a group of people who went swimming and one of them got into difficulties. An Englishman stood unmoved on the bank and when asked why he hadn’t offered any help replied that he hadn’t been introduced. If, when we see a human face, we think of the other person as a brother or sister, we won’t need to be introduced. I’m a monk so I don’t possess any jewellery, but I see other people with costly rings on their fingers. None of these ornaments can provide solace the way another friendly human being can. This is why I always start my talk by greeting the audience as my brothers and sisters.”

Mahesh Bhatt asked His Holiness what will keep all 7 billion human beings together and he replied:

Some of the more than 100 business leaders listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama address the India Leadership Council in New Delhi, India on December 10, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“When we are born, we have no idea of nationality or religious faith. We are just human beings who want to be happy. We are social creatures who need to live together as friends. An affectionate response brings a smile, which leads to trust that can grow into friendship and so bring us together. Genuine friends are those who continue to support you when things are difficult. For example, I lost my own country but have spent almost 60 years among friends here in India. We Tibetans think of ourselves as students of ancient Indian masters and so have a strong affinity and respect for India.

“In the 8th century CE, the learned scholar Shantarakshita established the Nalanda Tradition of Buddhism to Tibet. He made clear that it didn’t just involve prayer, but the study of difficult texts with logic and reason for 20 or 30 years or more. This knowledge from ancient India is wonderful because it enables us to understand and come to terms with our emotions. It also, incidentally, prepared me well to engage in discussions with scientists.

“I am committed to trying to revive ancient Indian knowledge here in India. Not only does it tell us how to tackle our emotions, it shows us how we can develop real peace of mind. From this, ahimsa and karuna naturally arise. I believe that in India it would be possible to combine this understanding with modern education which could then be shared for the betterment of the world.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the gathering of 100 business leaders at the Maurya Sheraton Convention Hall in New Delhi, India on December 10, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Asked how to bring empathy into business, His Holiness acknowledged that business is necessary for the economy to grow, but in the world’s most populous democracy it is also necessary to cultivate concern for others. He noted that desire had been integral to human evolution, but plain desire is realistic in a way that greed is not. Contentment is useful, particularly when it comes to keeping a calm mind capable of analysis in the face of stress. He remarked that close-to a problem may seem insuperable, but from a broader perspective can appear more manageable.

His Holiness mentioned that viewing people in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’ and neglecting the yawning gap between rich and poor are both sources of conflict. Potential solutions here in Delhi and Mumbai could include helping street children gain access to education.

One questioner wanted to know if there would be a 15th Dalai Lama and His Holiness replied that in 1969 he made it clear that the question would be decided by the Tibetan people and others who may have an interest in the matter.

A view of the Maurya Sheraton Convention Hall during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's address to the India Leadership Council in New Delhi, India on December 10, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“It’s not as if the survival of the Buddhist tradition depends on it. There is, for example, no recognised reincarnation of the Buddha. Monks and nuns studying for 20 years and more can ensure the longevity of the teaching.

“I retired from political responsibility in 2001 when we first achieved an elected leadership. As far as democracy is concerned we’re ahead of China. As I said, the Tibetan people and people of the Himalayan Region will decide whether to recognise a 15th Dalai Lama. If we look back, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Dalai Lamas were wonderful. After the 4th, the 5th was great. He really developed the institution and established the custom of taking responsibility for temporal and spiritual affairs. The 6th was naughty, the 7th was humble, and the 8th was good, but the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th didn’t live very long. The 13th was very good.

“In the case of the 14th Dalai Lama, where the predecessors were visionary, he’s had no visions at all. Nevertheless, compared to them he’s much more widely known. And that is thanks to the Chinese invasion of Tibet. If that hadn’t taken place I’d have remained isolated on a throne in the Potala.”

Some of the more than 100 business leaders listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama answer questions from the audience during his address to the India Leadership Council in New Delhi, India on December 10, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness advised that if you feel that people are taking advantage of your love and compassion it’s acceptable to take appropriate measures. To do so is realistic. If you are too kind to children you spoil them. Therefore you have to employ compassion with wisdom and intelligence.

“India’s longstanding practices for developing a calmly abiding mind and insight (shamatha and vipashyana) are concerned with training the mind. This is what we need to do—train the mind—and in life after life the light of compassion is what survives.”

Deepak Lamba presented mementos to His Holiness and to Mahesh Bhatt as he thanked them for their participation. Members of the audience gathered on the steps to the stage to have photographs taken in groups with His Holiness, following which His Holiness left for his hotel. Tomorrow, he will travel to Mumbai.

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