Dalai Lama https://www.dalailama.com/ en-us Wed, 04 Aug 2021 04:11:03 +0000 Wed, 04 Aug 2021 04:11:03 +0000 Creating a Happier World https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/creating-a-happier-world Tue, 27 Jul 2021 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/creating-a-happier-world Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - Lord Richard Layard, Professor at the London School of Economics and founder of ‘Action for Happiness’, welcomed His Holiness the Dalai Lama to a conversation this morning about ‘Creating a Happier World’. He told him that today marks the tenth anniversary of the start of ‘Action for Happiness’, an organization he said His Holiness had joined before it was formed. He reminded His Holiness that they had shared a platform in Zurich discussing secular ethics when he explained his plans for ‘Action for Happiness’ and His Holiness told him, “I want to join”.

Lord Richard Layard, Professor at the London School of Economics and founder of ‘Action for Happiness’, welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama to an online conversation on ‘Creating a Happier World’ on July 28, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Later, he said, in the Lyceum Theatre in London, His Holiness launched Action for Happiness’s course, ‘Exploring What Matters’. Trials have been held to assess what difference attending the course had made for participants, and positive results, an increase in basic happiness, have been significant. “I remember that as that event in London came to an end, a BBC correspondent backstage asked you what single thing would make people happier and you immediately replied, ‘Warm-heartedness’. It brought tears to my eyes.”

Layard opened the conversation by asking His Holiness how we can make our hearts warmer.

“We are well-equipped from birth to be warm-hearted and to take care of others,” he replied. “Our very survival depends on other members of our community. From the moment we are born we depend on our mother’s affection. Becoming familiar with being taken care of when we are young prepares us to look after others when are able to. Being warm-hearted and taking care of each other is a natural thing to do.

“The problem is that our existing education system is oriented towards materialistic goals, but doesn’t take account of our need to maintain a healthy mind as well as a healthy body. However, school-children recognise that they enjoy classes taught by teachers who smile happily more than those taught by teachers whose expression is stern and grim. Even animals respond if we are warm-hearted towards them. Dogs wag their tails and I’ve seen birds eat out of the hands of people who are warm and peaceful towards them.

“Warm-heartedness is the key factor in creating a joyful community and a happier world. It leads to a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. I’m determined to contribute to creating a community with a sense of the oneness of humanity, a community in which faith or colour are secondary to the fact that we are all the same as human beings.”

Layard remarked that some people seem to be cold-hearted as a result of experiences they’ve had. He asked His Holiness how he had retained his inner radiance and loving smile in the face of many difficulties.

“The whole of Tibetan culture is focussed on not doing harm,” he told him, “even towards insects. If a child catches a flying insect, someone else in the family will say, “Don’t kill it”. We are Buddhists, but we share with other religious people the idea of kindness to other creatures.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking during his conversation on ‘Creating a Happier World’ online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on July 28, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“My mother was very kind. I learned about compassion from her. I was chosen as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and taken to Lhasa where what I learned about compassion and Buddhist philosophy I found to be very useful.

“Later I came as a refugee to India, a free and democratic country where members of all the world’s great religions lived together in peace and harmony. I’m a guest of the Government of India, and as a result I’m safe and happy. And I consider it to be my responsibility to share what I’ve learned about inner peace with others.

“In recent decades, I’ve engaged in discussions with scientists who have come to appreciate the importance of finding peace of mind. They recognise, for example, the contribution peace of mind has to make to better physical health and well-being.

“I’ve met many different kinds of people, but meeting them doesn’t make me more conscious that I’m Tibetan or Buddhist, it makes me realize that we are all the same in being human.”

Lord Layard wanted to know the secret of making good relationships.

“I believe that all seven billion human beings alive today are essentially brothers and sisters,” His Holiness replied. “To think only of ‘my nation’, ‘my people’, ‘my group or community’ is out of date. This narrow thinking too easily leads to conflict. In our interdependent world we have to think instead of the oneness of humanity. We have to consider the wider community because we have to live together with each other. This is why we have to try to educate others to appreciate that humanity is one family.

“In addition to our interdependence, we face the serious challenges of climate change and global warming that we can only meet if we act together and help each other.

“We are social animals. If someone is angry with you, it’s important to remain warm-hearted towards them. Today’s enemy may become tomorrow’s friend. If they behave negatively towards you and you are hostile in return there’ll be no end to the trouble between you.”

Lord Layard recalled His Holiness telling him that founding an organization to promote greater happiness was not his job. However, he agreed to be the Patron of Action for Happiness. Layard asked if he had a message for the movement’s members. His Holiness laughed and told him:

“Your organization is based on cultivating a peaceful, warm-hearted attitude towards others. It’s wonderful and so practical. It shows there is hope for the future. We can create a happier world and a happier humanity. It’s wonderful. And I think your members have already discovered that we are much happier when we’re helping each other.”

Dr Mark Williamson, the Director of Action for Happiness, introducing the question and answer session with members of the virtual audience during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's online conversation on ‘Creating a Happier World’ from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on July 28, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Professor Layard handed over to Dr Mark Williamson, the Director of Action for Happiness, who was to co-ordinate questions for His Holiness from members of the organization. “It’s a pleasure to see you again,” Williamson began, “I have very happy memories of our time together in London in 2015.” He introduced the first questioner who asked what can be done for children who have become depressed due to the ramifications of the covid pandemic.

His Holiness acknowledged that the pandemic has been very serious across the world. Crucial medical research is going on. But as far as children are concerned, the most important thing is to reassure them with care and affection. That reassurance will bring them peace of mind and make it easier for them to be hopeful and optimistic.

He told a woman grieving over the death of her husband that although she’d lost him, she still had the support of the rest of the community and that maybe in time she’d find another husband.

His Holiness advised a young man concerned about how to remain compassionate and hopeful in the face of threats such as racism and climate change that it is human nature to be warm-hearted. However, besides warm-heartedness we also have to use our human intelligence. Recognising the brotherhood and sisterhood between us is the basis for maintaining a happy community.

“As we’ve seen recently in the floods in Germany, Belgium and other parts of Europe,” His Holiness remarked, “it’s wonderful that when things are difficult, people help each other. Acting on the basis of warm-heartedness and intelligence is the way to create a safer, happier world.

A woman in South Africa asked His Holiness how to cultivate friendships with others like his with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

“The key factor,” he replied, “is trust and mutual respect. We belong to different traditions, but we are both human beings who practice loving kindness and forgiveness. The differences between us are secondary. I really love Bishop Tutu. There was an occasion when he’d been singing my praises and he ended by saying with a smile, “Unfortunately this person is not a Christian.” The important thing is that we consider ourselves brothers because we’re both human.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from the virtual audience during his online conversation on ‘Creating a Happier World’ from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on July 28, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“I think of myself as just another human being and on that basis, I regard the many people I meet as trusted friends. Emphasizing that I’m Buddhist or Tibetan only serves to isolate me from other people. The crucial factor is that I’m just a human being. When I visit different places and meet people with different backgrounds I smile and they respond. This is a deep source of happiness. Warm-heartedness brings me benefit and I try to share that experience with others.

“We Tibetans have suffered in all sorts of ways, but we don’t regard the Chinese fundamentally as enemies because they are human beings just as we are.”

His Holiness was asked what can be done to help healthcare workers who are overstretched and exhausted. He acknowledged that people who dedicate themselves to the service of others can become tired and discouraged. They need to be realistic, he said. To really be of help to others they need to rest in order to be physically and mentally fresh. Looking after themselves contributes to their being able to be of help to those in their care.

A woman who recently lost her father to covid wanted advice about dealing with grief. His Holiness told her he understood her distress and mentioned the advice of an ancient Indian master who recommended thinking about the suffering you face and examining whether there is anything you can do to overcome it. If there is, that’s what to do. There’s no need to lament. On the other hand, if there’s nothing to be done, being sad won’t help.

“When my mother passed away,” His Holiness recalled, “I was sad, but instead of getting upset, I made prayers for her well-being. It would be good to think about what your father would have wished you to do and do that.”

Finally, with regard to how to lead a happier life His Holiness reiterated that in the past people had less understanding of the importance of peace of mind or how to achieve it. Now this knowledge is growing. The key factor for the future generation, those who are children today, to appreciate is the importance of warm-heartedness coupled with an awareness of the oneness of humanity. Narrow-minded thinking only of people like us is out of date. The whole of humanity has to learn to live and act as a single community.

Mark Williamson thanked those who had asked questions as well as thanking His Holiness for answering them.

“This has been an amazing event,” Lord Layard declared. “You have been our inspiration over the years. Thank you for being with us today. I’d like to thank the Office of Tibet in London for co-ordinating the occasion and members of the audience for being with us.

“We have a new motto—Happier, kinder, together. You’ve helped us with that. Thank you.”

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Offering Support for Relief and Rescue Efforts in Maharashtra https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/offering-support-for-relief-and-rescue-efforts-in-maharashtra Sat, 24 Jul 2021 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/offering-support-for-relief-and-rescue-efforts-in-maharashtra Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - Moved by reports in the news about the loss of life, damage to property and the suffering faced by so many people in Maharashtra as a result of devastating flooding over the last few days, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to the Chief Minister, Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray, to offer his prayers and condolences to the families who have lost loved ones.

“I understand that the State government and concerned authorities are making every effort to help those affected by severe monsoon rains,” he added. “As a gesture of our solidarity with the people of Maharashtra, I have asked the Dalai Lama Trust to make a donation towards relief and rescue efforts.”

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Expressing Concern Over Flooding in Europe https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/expressing-concern-over-flooding-in-europe Fri, 16 Jul 2021 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/expressing-concern-over-flooding-in-europe Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - Moved by the news of flooding in Europe, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, and Alexander De Croo, the Belgian Prime Minister, to express his concern.

“I am saddened to see reports of the unprecedented flooding that has wreaked havoc across western Europe, particularly affecting Belgium and Germany,” he wrote. “The loss of life, damage to property, and hardship that thousands of people are facing is most upsetting.

“I understand that every effort is being made to help those affected. I would like to express my condolences to the bereaved and my deep sympathy for those left devastated by this catastrophe. My thoughts are with everyone affected by this calamity.”

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Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment—Second Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/lamp-for-the-path-to-enlightenment-second-day Tue, 13 Jul 2021 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/lamp-for-the-path-to-enlightenment-second-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - This morning, at his residence, His Holiness the Dalai Lama entered the room, waved to the audience he could see on the screens before him, and sat down. Meanwhile, at Thiksé Monastery in Ladakh, Thiksé Rinpoché performed prostrations and made a mandala offering and other members of the audience gathered in the Leh Jokhang.

Thiksé Rinpoché making a mandala offering at Thiksé Monastery in Ladakh at the start of the second day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on July 14, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Today is the fourth day of the sixth month of the Tibetan lunar calendar,” His Holiness announced. “It’s an auspicious day on which we commemorate Buddha Shakyamuni’s first turning the wheel of dharma. First, we’ll go through the remaining part of the text we were reading yesterday and then I’ll conduct a ceremony for cultivating bodhichitta.

“As I said previously, when we’re concerned with a dharma discourse not only must the teacher have a pure motivation, those listening to him or her should also be inspired to attain enlightenment for the sake of others.

“These days, in our materially advanced world, where so much thinking is guided by science and there is so much material development, we may ask ourselves how religion is relevant. The answer is that no matter how much material development we may have, by itself it doesn’t bring us mental peace. Material development is necessary, but we also need peace of mind. Inner peace is not produced by machines, nor is it the result of an injection or other medical intervention. To achieve peace of mind we need to train the mind. We need to understand what disturbs our minds and how those disturbances can be countered.

“Among scientists I’ve met are those who have little interest in past and future lives but who regard meditation, compassion, a calmly abiding mind and insight as intriguing and useful.

“There are many religious traditions in the world and among their followers many seek peace of mind by praying to god. Another approach, fostered in ancient India, involves coming to understand the workings of our minds and emotions. It has grown along with the practices of ‘karuna’, compassion and ‘ahimsa’, doing no harm.

“Supported by different philosophical ideas, the Buddha taught a rational method to counter those factors that, rooted in our selfish attitude, disturb our peace of mind. The ancient Indian practices of compassion and doing no harm have to do with the mind. They are not limited to physical conduct. We harm others in other ways because our minds are undisciplined. In Buddhism we say, a disciplined mind is happiness and unhappiness is an undisciplined mind.

“All religions teach warm-heartedness, love and compassion, but Buddhism has the broadest, most profound instructions for achieving peace of mind. You Ladakhis are followers of the Buddha and maintain your faith in the dharma whatever political changes take place around you. In the past, monasteries were mostly concerned with performing rituals, but in more recent times, like the monks of Namgyal Monastery here in Dharamsala, you have taken my advice to study more rigorously.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on the second day of his online teachings from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on July 14, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“We talk about the lineages of extensive conduct, profound view and blessings from experience. In the Sanskrit tradition, as preserved in Tibet and the Himalayan Region, we have a rich literary heritage including 100 volumes of translations of what the Buddha taught, more than 200 translated volumes of teachings by subsequent masters in India and tens of thousands of commentaries by Tibetan masters. We have the richest collection of the Buddha’s teachings to be found anywhere. And in a world where the minds of so many people are disturbed, the teachings contained in these books remain extremely relevant.”

His Holiness took up the text of ‘Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment’ and noted that calm abiding, which enables the mind to focus single-pointedly on its object, also brings with it pliancy of body and mind. He remarked that since we currently have the opportunity to practise, we should do so. The text states: ‘While the conditions for calm abiding are incomplete, meditative stabilization will not be accomplished, even if you meditate strenuously for thousands of years.’

He clarified that ‘shamatha’, calm abiding, and ‘vipashyana’, insight, are not differentiated by the object on which they focus. Both can be employed in the development of the awakening mind and the wisdom realizing emptiness. Nevertheless, although you may have cultivated compassion and bodhichitta, what actually counters grasping at true existence is the wisdom understanding emptiness.

As the text says: ‘To eliminate all obstructions to liberation and omniscience, the practitioner should continually cultivate the perfection of wisdom with skilful means’. If understanding of emptiness is linked only to the wish to attain liberation, it will lead to arhatship. But if it is coupled with the awakening mind, it will lead to omniscience. It is when wisdom is backed by bodhichitta that it can overcome the obstructions to knowledge. Therefore, the text counsels linking wisdom with the other perfections—generosity, ethics, patience, effort and concentration.

Whoever, under the influence of familiarity
With skilful means, cultivates wisdom
Will quickly attain enlightenment --
Not just by meditating on selflessness. 46

His Holiness mentioned that his own practice has been based for many years on cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta and an understanding of emptiness. Because of this he says he draws great inspiration from three powerful verses at the end of chapter six of Chandrakirti’s ‘Entering into the Middle Way’.

Thus, illuminated by the rays of wisdom's light,
the bodhisattva sees as clearly as a gooseberry on his open palm
that the three realms in their entirety are unborn from their very start,
and through the force of conventional truth, he journeys to cessation. 6.224

Though his mind may rest continuously in cessation,
he also generates compassion for beings bereft of protection.
Advancing further, he will also outshine through his wisdom
all those born from the Buddha's speech and the middle buddhas. 6.225

And like a king of swans soaring ahead of other accomplished swans,
with white wings of conventional and ultimate truths spread wide,
propelled by the powerful winds of virtue, the bodhisattva would cruise
to the excellent far shore, the oceanic qualities of the conquerors. 6.226

He went on to discuss three further verses, 34, 35 and 36, also from chapter six of same text, which he reflects on daily. (A summary of the discussion is taken here from ‘Illuminating the Intent’).

If the intrinsic characteristics of things were to arise dependently,
things would come to be destroyed by denying it;
emptiness would then be a cause for the destruction of things.
But this is illogical, so no real entities exist. 6.34

If the inherent characteristic of a thing such as form or feelings were to arise in dependence upon causes and conditions, through its own essence, this would imply that a yogi directly perceiving the emptiness of inherent existence of all phenomena would realize emptiness by denying such a nature of things. Meditative equipoise does not actually perceive form and so on, but if they were to exist through their inherent characteristics, then meditative equipoise would necessarily perceive them. It does not. And if this were so, these things would then become non-existent. If they do become non-existent, it would then be the case that what was existent prior to the meditative equipoise would subsequently come to be destroyed or ceased. The meditative equipoise would become the cause for their destruction. So just as hammers and the like are causes for the destruction of vases and the like, seeing emptiness too would then be a cause for the destruction of the nature of things, thus denigrating them. But this is illogical, so no real entities exist—that is, say, by virtue of their inherent characteristics—and we must never uphold such a notion of inherent arising.

Thus, when such phenomena are analysed,
nothing is found as their nature apart from suchness.
So, the conventional truth of the everyday world
should not be subjected to thorough analysis. 6.35

When such phenomena as form, feelings, and so on are analysed thoroughly, in terms such as "Does it arise from itself or does it arise from other?" beyond the fact they do not arise or cease on the ultimate level—that is, apart from suchness as their nature—nothing else is found, no other or extra dimension such as arising and so on. So, the conventional truth of the everyday world should not be subjected to thorough analysis in terms such as "from itself, from other," and so on. We should just accept the facts of worldly perception, captured in statements such as "If this exists, that follows." We should do this on the basis of participating in the conventions that are dependent on others—those of the world.

In the context of suchness, certain reasoning disallows arising
from self or from something other, and that same reasoning
disallows them on the conventional level too.
So, by what means then is your arising established? 6.36

In the context of an analysis into suchness or the ultimate truth, certain reasoning presented above disallows the arising of phenomena such as form from self or from something other. Likewise, on the conventional level too, that same reasoning disallows them—the arising of form and so on through inherent characteristics. So, by what means of valid cognition then is your inherent arising established? It is not.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama explaining Atisha's 'Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment' on the second day of his online teachings from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on July 14, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Things will continue to appear to have objective existence,” His Holiness continued, “but experience will confirm that they do not exist in that way. They are like illusions. As your experience of emptiness increases, your experience of the illusion-like nature of things will also grow. It is an error to say that not existing inherently by way of its own entity is equivalent to not existing at all.”

Citing a verse from the text: ‘Just as wisdom does not see an inherent nature in phenomena, having analysed wisdom itself by reasoning, meditate on that non-conceptually,’ His Holiness encouraged his listeners to integrate what they learn from the teaching into their own practice.

He mentioned that among Buddhist schools of thought, the Particularists - Vaibhasikas and Sutra Followers - Sautrantikas teach selflessness. The Mind Only School - Chittamatra assert that there is no external existence, but that the mind has some existence from its own side. Only the Middle Way Consequentialists - Prasangikas assert that things have no objective existence at all.

His Holiness recalled reporting his experience of emptiness to Ling Rinpoché, who was his principal philosophy teacher. He responded that His Holiness had gained the proper insight and before long would become a ‘space-yogi’. His Holiness observed that change doesn’t come about in a matter of days, but can be seen over a period of years.

The final verses of ‘Lamp for the Path’ deal with the practice of tantra, which His Holiness reiterated is based on experience of bodhichitta and the wisdom understanding emptiness. When it comes to Highest Yoga Tantra, not only do you need to depend on calm abiding and insight, but you need to employ inner energies through practices such as the nine-round breathing. Highest Yoga Tantra involves using the channels, winds and energies. Consequentially, once the 80 conceptions have dissolved, 33 related to the whitish appearance, 40 connected with reddish increase and seven involved with black near attainment, you’ll manifest the clear light mind.

Atisha states that celibate monks should not take the secret and wisdom initiations. Monks do not take a mudra or consort who is a human being, but they do follow the practice of using the vital energy, bringing it down to the tip of the secret place and back up again to the crown chakra so developing spontaneous bliss.

Having completed his reading and explanation of ‘Lamp for the Path’, His Holiness announced that he would conduct a ceremony for cultivating bodhichitta. He instructed his listeners to visualize the Buddha in the space in front of them flanked on the right by Manjushri, who can help dispel the darkness of ignorance and on the left by Arya Tara, who can provide solace and protection from sickness during the time of this pandemic. He described other figures to include in the visualization and led the congregation in reciting the verses for cultivating bodhichitta, followed by verses of celebration.

Finally, His Holiness answered questions from the audience. Asked how to address the extremism and polarization that seem so widespread in the world today he first touched on religion. He affirmed that all religious traditions teach the virtues of altruism. To serve others requires compassion and love. The important point, if you choose to be religious, he said, is to take the tradition seriously. It’s not enough to just pay lip service to a set of customs.

A member of the audience gathered at Thiksé Monastery in Ladakh asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question on the second day of his online teachings from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on July 14, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

He touched on the prevalence of democracy, the system that enables us to choose and elect our leaders, as well as holding them accountable. The more altruistic those leaders are, the greater the benefit they will bring. When they are merely cunning and selfish, they do little good for the community. He concluded, “You are one, others are many; serve the many”.

His Holiness clarified that within the great vehicle of the Sanskrit tradition, the beings of three capacities, lesser, middling and great, are not different people. They refer to stages on the path.

Invited to comment on people’s turning to drink and drugs for support, His Holiness declared that if you turn to drink it has the result of limiting your ability to employ your natural intelligence. Drink and drugs may give some short-term gratification, but in the long run, they not only don’t help, they cause damage. If you are unhappy, a more effective solution is to reflect on the drawbacks of self-cherishing and the advantage of concern for others.

Concerning conventional existence His Holiness cited Choné Lama Rinpoché as saying, "Dependence does not deny suchness; arising does not deny worldly convention." The Buddha taught dependent arising and the two truths. Things appear to exist, which is conventional reality. Ultimate reality is how they exist.

When a young woman confessed that anger comes easily to her and that she wanted to know how to deal with it, His Holiness responded that anger is a strong emotion, but it is not founded on reason. He recommended that she ask herself, ‘How does anger help?’ We become angry out of frustration. However, we don’t have to give in to it. We live in societies on whom we depend. If we become angry with our neighbours, we’ll be the losers. Look at things from a broader perspective, he suggested, and cultivate patience. He encouraged the questioner to read chapters six and eight in particular of Shantideva’s ‘Entering into the Bodhisattva’s Way’ and ended by telling her anger never helps.

A young Muslim woman wanted to know how His Holiness accounts for his popularity with followers of religions other than Buddhism.

“Perhaps it’s because I talk about the importance of cultivating a good heart,” he told her, “which is a theme common to all religious traditions. Every religion teaches about the faults of giving in to anger and the advantages of love, and these are things I talk about too. I stress the importance of working to foster religious harmony. But perhaps most significant of all, I smile and I laugh. You don’t see me with a stern look on my face. I think of other human beings as my brothers and sisters, and I pay special attention to the oneness of humanity.”

As the teaching session came to an end, Thiksey Rinpoché offered His Holiness thanks.

“You have most graciously given us an explanation of the Great Jowo Atisha's 'Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment' online. On behalf of the entire people of Ladakh, we would like to thank you for your immense kindness to us.

We would like to request Your Holiness to visit us in Ladakh next year.

“There is also an increasing interest in the Dharma, logic and reasoning, and so forth. This, Your Holiness, has come about solely due to your kindness.

“I have completed the construction of the Sherab Kyetsal Ling Education Centre and Library where we are now giving free education to 300 students from different schools in Ladakh. They attend our 45-day teaching on secular ethics. We have also prepared a curriculum for the schools to include in their teaching. We offer all of them free of cost.

“Finally, I pray that Your Holiness will live a steadfast and healthy life without the slightest obstacle. Tashi Delek.”

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Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment—First Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/lamp-for-the-path-to-enlightenment-first-day Mon, 12 Jul 2021 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/lamp-for-the-path-to-enlightenment-first-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - After His Holiness the Dalai Lama had arrived this morning and taken his seat in the room at his residence from which he webcasts, Thupstan Chhewang, President of Ladakh Buddhist Association offered prostrations and gave a short introduction to the occasion.

Thupstan Chhewang, President of Ladakh Buddhist Association, at the Jokhang Temple in Leh, Ladakh, India, introducing the first day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's online teachings on July 13, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

He declared that for two years, 2019 and 2020, His Holiness has been unable to visit Ladakh, and devotees, Buddhist and Non-buddhist, have missed him. Therefore, they requested His Holiness to visit this year, but again it has not been possible because of the widespread coronavirus pandemic and its associated restrictions.

Therefore, Thiksey Rinpoché, the Ladakh Buddhist Association and the Ladakh Gonpa Association requested His Holiness to give a discourse over the internet.

“So today,” His Holiness responded, “I’ve happily agreed to teach ‘Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment’ to the faithful laypeople and monastics of Ladakh. In Tibet we distinguished between the earlier and later disseminations of the Buddha’s teaching. At certain point, after Lang Darma’s opposition, Buddhism fell into decline. Consequently, a king in western Tibet was inspired to take steps to revive and preserve the teaching. He invited Atisha to visit Tibet from India and requested him to compose a short text for Tibetans. Atisha was pleased by the request and wrote this text at Thöling, as the first verse states, ‘Urged by the good disciple Jangchup Wö’.

“Eventually, ‘Lamp for the Path’ would influence the Sakyas’ ‘Path and Fruit’ tradition. It was also the source for Tsongkhapa’s ‘Stages of the Path to Enlightenment’ texts, as well as the inspiration for Gampopa’s ‘Jewel Ornament of Liberation’.

“Since tomorrow is the day on which we commemorate the Buddha’s first turning of the wheel of dharma, an occasion honoured by both the Pali and Sanskrit traditions, I will lead a ceremony for generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on the first day of his two day online teaching from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on July 13, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“I’ve received explanations of ‘Lamp for the Path’ from Tagdag Rinpoché, Ling Rinpoché, Trijang Rinpoché and Khunu Lama Rinpoché, Tenzin Gyaltsen. The Stages of the Path and Mind Training inform my daily practice. In addition, I practise Guhyasamaja, Chakrasamvara and Vajrabhairava, which belong to our tradition, as well as Hevajra and Vajrayogini that belong to the Sakyas. In this way I maintain the lineages of extensive conduct, the profound view of emptiness and the blessings of practice—all of which have their origin in India.

“The title of the text, ‘Bodhipathapradipam’—'Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment’, is given in Sanskrit to leave an imprint on students’ minds and as a mark of gratitude to India. Homage is paid to Manjushri, the embodiment of knowledge and wisdom. I was born in the vicinity of Kumbum Monastery and when I was a small child I was aware of people making prostrations and reciting Manjushri’s mantra, Om ara patsa nadhi. After coming to Lhasa, I followed the practice myself and I’m confident that it helps dispel the darkness of ignorance.”

His Holiness noted that the text is intended for beginners who will practise systematically. It mentions three kinds of persons, practitioners of least, middling and supreme capacity. Those who aspire to help others according to their disposition aspire to attain enlightenment and are said to be of supreme capacity. Atisha writes, ‘For those excellent living beings, who desire supreme enlightenment, I shall explain the perfect methods taught by the spiritual teachers.’

These methods include making the seven-part offering and taking refuge in the Three Jewels, the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Next, acolytes are encouraged to consider the sufferings of sentient beings and, since they want to free them from those, they are urged to arouse the resolve to attain enlightenment.

His Holiness remarked that Aryadeva wrote in his 400 Verses:

As the tactile sense [pervades] the body
Confusion is present in them all.
By overcoming confusion, you will also
Overcome all disturbing emotions.

All disturbing emotions arise in us because of our misconception that things exist inherently. However, when they are examined and analysed, no trace of inherent existence can be found, because they are dependent on other factors. Although afflictive emotions may be overcome, they leave imprints that act as obstructions to knowledge. Without removing them we cannot know everything as it is.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama explaining Atisha's 'Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment" on the first day of his two day online teaching from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on July 13, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

The qualities of developing an aspiration to enlightenment are fully explained in the ‘Array of Trunks Sutra’. And the merit of doing so is made clear in the ‘Sutra Requested by Viradatta’.

Any of the seven kinds of individual liberation vow are prerequisites for taking the bodhisattva vow. The text refers to taking the bodhisattva vow from a good and well qualified spiritual teacher. However, in case you try but cannot find such a spiritual teacher, you can invoke the presence of the protectors. His Holiness remarked that because that tradition had declined he restored it by taking the vow again before the statue of the Buddha in Bodhgaya.

Citing the experience of Manjushri as recorded in the ‘Ornament of Manjushri's Buddha Land Sutra’, Atisha writes about maintaining pure conduct, giving up wrong-doing and cultivating the three forms of discipline so that they grow. He then discusses the need for higher perception, the ability to intuit the mental dispositions of other being in order to work for their good. He writes, ‘Those who want swiftly to complete the collections for full enlightenment, will accomplish higher perception through effort, not through laziness’.

His Holiness stopped there for the day saying that he will resume and complete reading the text tomorrow from where it explains the attainment of calm abiding. He invited questions, all of which were posed by young Ladakhi students.

The first concerned whether it is necessary to believe in past and future lives to engage in the seven-fold cause and effect approach to cultivating the awakening mind. His Holiness agreed that the first of the seven steps involves recollecting the kindness of other sentient beings when they have been our mothers. He suggested that one ploy would be to examine the reason and logic supporting the notion of past and future lives.

An alternative would be to engage in the powerful method Shantideva advocates of equalizing and exchanging self with others. His Holiness remarked, “The more you help others the calmer your mind will be. You will be able to overcome misdeeds committed in relation to others. Familiarizing your mind with kindness and compassion yields peace of mind, which makes you happier and even improves your physical health.”

A member of the audience at the Jokhang Temple in Leh, Ladakh, India, asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question on the first day of online teachings from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on July 13, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Asked why sutra is presented before tantra, His Holiness replied that it is a realistic order. To begin with you develop the awakening mind and an understanding of emptiness by following the sutra path. Without them it is not be possible to practise tantra. The Buddha taught the four noble truths first. Later, he expounded the perfection of wisdom and in the third round of his teachings he explained the subjective mind of clear light on the basis of which he led disciples into tantra.

Following his enlightenment, the Buddha is reported as having thought:

Profound and peaceful, free from complexity, uncompounded luminosity—
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.

‘Uncompounded luminosity’ can be understood as referring to the subjective mind of clear light. His Holiness added that after the 80 different conceptual states of mind have dissolved, at the time of death, there are the three stages of whitish appearance, reddish increase and black near attainment, after which the mind of clear light manifests. The first line of the verse above can be understood to indicate a systematic path to enlightenment.

His Holiness observed that followers of Tibetan Buddhism participate in a tradition that encompasses the entire teaching of the Buddha. At the time of King Songtsen Gampo Chinese Buddhists came to Tibet, but they did not engage in analysis. Later, King Trisong Detsen felt it was important to use human intelligence to the full and so invited the erudite philosopher and logician Shantarakshita to establish Buddhism in Tibet. He demonstrated the importance of logic and epistemology, as well as the Middle Way (Madhyamaka) view and encouraged study, reflection and meditation.

Another questioner asked why one text states, ‘I shall not be eager to reach enlightenment in the quickest way, but shall stay behind till the very end for the sake of a single being’, while another says, ‘I shall attain the state of Buddhahood as quickly as possible for the sake of all sentient beings’. His Holiness replied that it is the interest of others that is paramount. The intention is to attain enlightenment for the sake of other sentient beings not for ourselves. He went on to say that clairvoyance, or higher perception, is crucial to being able to judge others’ character and disposition in order to help them to the full.

For example, there are those who misapprehend the meaning of emptiness and interpret it as nothingness. Unfamiliar with the ground, path and result, when they hear about emptiness, that form is empty and emptiness is form, they conclude that it is nihilistic. The Buddha didn’t teach about emptiness immediately, but in his presentation of the four noble truths he declared that suffering must be known and its origin overcome. He then elaborated that although suffering must be known, there is nothing to be known.

A view of the offerings displayed behind His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his online teaching from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on July 13, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

He did not teach emptiness explicitly when he introduced the four noble truths because as he said, ‘if I were to teach it, no-one would understand’. However, later, when disciples were more mature and prepared to accept it, he laid out emptiness during the perfection of wisdom teachings on Vulture’s Peak. Subsequently, at Vaishali, in the ‘Tathagatagarbha Sutra’ he revealed Buddha-nature, the mind of clear light.

His Holiness declined to say whether all the good qualities of the world’s various religious traditions could be merged into one spiritual tradition. He acknowledged that some traditions believe in a creator god while others do not. However, despite these philosophical differences, they all teach the importance of kindness. Not only do they have warm-heartedness, love and compassion in common, they all teach their followers not to harm others, but to help them. As far as Buddhism is concerned, compassion is the wish to free others from suffering.

There was some discussion of how the vow of individual liberation mentioned in verse 20 of the text is the basis for taking the bodhisattva vow. His Holiness noted that the individual liberation vow is received from a master, while the bodhisattva vow can be taken before a visualized assembly of Buddhas and bodhisattvas.

As the session came to an end, a verse of dedication was chanted in Ladakh. His Holiness smiled and told his virtual audience, “See you tomorrow”.

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Condolences on the Passing Away of Shri Virbhadra Singh https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/condolences-on-the-passing-away-of-shri-virbhadra-singh Wed, 07 Jul 2021 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/condolences-on-the-passing-away-of-shri-virbhadra-singh Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - On receiving the news this morning that former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Shri Virbhadra Singh, had passed away, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote to his widow, Smt Pratibha Singh, to offer his condolences.

“Dedicating himself to the service of others,” His Holiness wrote, “Virbhadra Singh led a long and meaningful life. I admired the way he listened to people’s needs with deep affection and compassion. I am personally grateful for the warm friendship he showed me over the many years we knew each other.

“Historically there have long been close ties between the people of the erstwhile princely state of Bushahr, to which ‘Raja Sahib’ belonged, and their neighbours in western Tibet.

“Here in Himachal Pradesh, Shri Virbhadra Singh, our longest serving Chief Minister, will be sorely missed.”

His Holiness concluded his letter, “With my prayers.”

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Compassion in Healthcare https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/compassion-in-healthcare Tue, 06 Jul 2021 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/compassion-in-healthcare Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - This morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was invited to speak about Compassion in Healthcare by Dr Reddy’s Foundation, a not-for-profit organization established by Dr K Anji Reddy. GV Prasad, Co-Chairman and Managing Director of Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd opened the occasion by giving a short introduction to His Holiness. He ended by congratulating His Holiness on celebrating his 86th birthday yesterday.

GV Prasad, Co-Chairman and Managing Director of Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd opening the program with His Holiness the Dalai Lama online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on July 7, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Namasté, Tashi Delek, good morning,” His Holiness greeted the audience. “I really appreciate your giving me this opportunity. I was born in Tibet, but I have spent the major part of my life in this pleasant and peaceful country. Here there is religious harmony and freedom of the press. I am able to express my thoughts freely and they can reach out to different parts of the world. I’m happy to be here.

“As far as my birthday, yesterday, is concerned, many old friends and well-wishers sent me their good wishes. Among them were the Indian Prime Minister, Ministers of the Union Cabinet and Chief Ministers. From abroad too I heard from friends including the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. Her support has extended beyond kind words. She has actually visited Tibet, spoken to Tibetan and Chinese leaders, as well as coming here to Dharamsala. I want to thank all of them for their generous thoughts.

“Signs in my dreams and other indications have suggested that I may live to be 110 or even 113 years old. I felt the friendly messages I received yesterday were sincere and whole-hearted, not just diplomatic gestures. They encourage me to live as long as I can.

“My daily practice, which includes several hours of meditation, derives from the Nalanda Tradition. In the 8th century, the Tibetan King invited a great scholar, Shantarakshita, to Tibet. He introduced the Nalanda Tradition that is the source of all my knowledge. I consider myself a student, perhaps a scholar, of that tradition, although a local DSP referred to me jokingly as the Nalanda Chancellor. Everything I learned in my training came from India and it is all based on reasoning.

“In recent decades I’ve met with several modern scientists and we’ve been able to enter easily into discussions because they and I take a reasoned approach. Modern scientists mostly concern themselves with the brain and physical health, with little regard for inner peace. However, many of them today appreciate what we have to say about tackling our disturbing emotions and achieving peace of mind.

“My main practices involve karuna (compassion) and ahimsa (non-violence). These are qualities we need more than ever today. Many of the problems we face are of our own creation. They come about because of a lack of compassion. That’s why I’m dedicated to promoting both compassion and non-violence in a secular context grounded in reason.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on Compassion in Healthcare online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on July 7, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Compassion is the core message of all religions, which is why, despite philosophical differences, it’s possible to respect them all.

“My latest commitment is to reviving ancient Indian thought on a secular basis. Modern education is useful in many ways, but for it to be more complete we must combine it with ancient Indian knowledge, karuna and ahimsa, and also with an understanding of the workings of the mind derived from ‘shamatha’ and ‘vipashyana’—a calmly abiding mind and insight.

“In the last century, Mahatma Gandhi demonstrated non-violence through his own example. He inspired followers in Africa and America like Archbishop Tutu and Martin Luther King Jr. Today, in a world where bullying and killing still take place, we need compassion and non-violence. And I’m committed to finding ways to combine these ideals with modern education. When restrictions related to the covid pandemic allow, I’m looking forward to discussing with educationists how this can be done.

“As for the role of compassion in healthcare, naturally, when our mind is disturbed it has a negative effect on our physical health. Our blood pressure rises and we find ourselves unable to sleep. I think it’s because I have peace of mind that I’m able to sleep soundly for nine hours, no matter what’s going on around me.

“Everyone wants to take care of their health, but we need to acknowledge the effect peace of mind can have on our physical well-being. Meditating on karuna and ahimsa can contribute constructively to this, which is why I’m interested in introducing these qualities and combining them with modern education.”

In answering questions from the virtual audience His Holiness advised that even under pressure of time, doctors should think of their work as something sacred, as akin to spiritual service. He mentioned that in his own experience a smiling doctor puts you at ease, whereas a stern-faced physician is a source of anxiety.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama taking questions from health care professionals audience during his talk on Compassion in Healthcare online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on July 7, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Even when doctors and nurses know the patient in their care is unlikely to survive, it’s important to be kind and compassionate towards them. Here in India we believe we live life after life and that at the time of death it’s important to be at peace not angry or fearful. At the start of our lives we encounter compassion in our mother’s affection, and as our lives come to an end we need compassion again.

As for controlling our negative emotions, attachment and anger are part of our lives, but there are also antidotes to them. We need to reflect not only on the damage anger and fear can bring, but also on the benefits to be found in cultivating karuna and ahimsa and find a balance between them. One of the masters of ancient India, Shantideva, has written exhaustively about the drawbacks of anger and hatred and the advantages inherent in compassion and forgiveness.

A question was raised about the universal message to be drawn from among the diversity of faiths. His Holiness responded that India is unique in that all the world’s major religions flourish here and live together in mutual respect. He mentioned that although there is sometimes discord between followers of the Sunni and Shia traditions elsewhere, he’s not heard of any such conflict in India. His Holiness emphasized that whatever the faith, the common message is compassion for others. And it’s on such a basis that religious harmony thrives.

His Holiness was asked how, at a time when medical treatment has become allied with business, it can continue to be practised with empathy and compassion. He answered that every human activity should be infused with affection. Today, he said, all seven billion human beings have to live together, so a sense of the oneness of humanity is more necessary than ever before. When people are motivated by compassion, honesty and truthfulness naturally come about. The work of doctors and nurses is to help others, so compassion is certainly relevant.

He clarified, however, that generosity must also be tempered with intelligence. If you offer money to someone who drinks too much or is addicted to drugs you help them do themselves and their families harm. This is an example of needing to be discerning and realistic, as well as open-handed.

In a world facing challenges of a global dimension, a narrow national approach is inappropriate. Human beings are social animals who have to live together. We are dependent on each other. During this covid pandemic peoples and nations have a common responsibility to tackle the problems that have arisen. We have to consider the welfare of all human beings. India, where an array of people with different cultures and different languages live together as Indians sets an example of unity within diversity.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from the virtual audience during his talk on Compassion in Healthcare online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on July 7, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness recommended that in order to avoid mistakes in diagnosis or treatment of serious cases, doctors should discuss patients’ needs as a team. He added that it is important to encourage patients to feel that a hospital and its staff are there to help and protect them. At the same time, it is important that doctors and nurses feel proud of the work they do for it is of real and practical service to others.

He went on to say that on those sad occasions when medical personnel lose their own lives in the care of others, their family and friends should feel proud of them. Observing that it is right and proper to admire such sacrifice, but also to pray for the welfare of those who have died, His Holiness remarked that he prays for those medical professionals who have given their lives in the course of their work.

G.V. Prasad brought the event to a close, telling His Holiness how happy members of the audience had been to listen to him and how proud they feel that he refers to himself as a ‘son of India’. “Thank you and namasté,” he concluded. His Holiness responded, “Thank you, see you again.”

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Congratulating the Mongolian President-Elect https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/congratulating-the-mongolian-president-elect Fri, 11 Jun 2021 12:17:35 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/congratulating-the-mongolian-president-elect Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to His Excellency Uknaa Kurelsukh to congratulate him on his election as the President of Mongolia.

“I have warm memories of your country,” he wrote, “which I first visited in 1979. I have been encouraged by the interest and enthusiasm shown by Mongolians both young and old in my efforts to promote human values, as well as the need to combine traditional Buddhist knowledge with modern education.

“Historically, the people of Mongolia and we Tibetans have been like twin brothers and sisters. The Dalai Lamas have enjoyed a unique and close relationship with your people since the time of the Third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso.

“As I have mentioned during my visits to Mongolia, although there are other faiths in the country, it is Buddhism that has historically shaped the identity, culture and spiritual life of your people. Since the Buddha’s teachings emphasize such fundamental human values as compassion and non-violence, they have the potential to be of benefit, without contradicting an individual’s personal beliefs. I trust that you and your government will continue to preserve and uphold these values.

“In recent years, Mongolia has made impressive material progress, which is commendable. I am sure it will improve the lives of ordinary Mongolians.”

His Holiness ended his letter by wishing the President-Elect every success in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the people of Mongolia.

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Dialogue for a Better World - Remembering Francisco Varela https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/dialogue-for-a-better-world-remembering-francisco-varela Tue, 08 Jun 2021 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/dialogue-for-a-better-world-remembering-francisco-varela Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - When His Holiness the Dalai Lama entered the room in his residence from where he takes part in online virtual meetings this morning, he brought with him, and held up for all to see, the photograph of Francisco Varela that he keeps at home. Gábor Karsai, Managing Director, Mind & Life Europe welcomed him to a ‘Dialogue for a Better World - Remembering Francisco Varela’, the first event in a series called 'Francisco & Friends: an Embodiment of Relationship'. The series commemorates Varela, one of the key founders of Mind & Life, who passed away just over twenty years ago. Karsai invited everyone to view a number of photographs from early Mind & Life meetings featuring Varela.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama holding a photograph of Francisco Varela that he keeps at home at the start of the ‘Dialogue for a Better World - Remembering Francisco Varela’ on June 9, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Dr Pier Luigi Luisi, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at ETH, Zurich, opened the conversation. He recalled being present at an event in Alpbach, Austria, in 1983, when His Holiness and Francisco Varela first met. It was an occasion that took place in an atmosphere of love and friendship. Luisi asked what made friendship with Varela special for His Holiness.

“Since I was very young,” His Holiness replied, “I’ve had an interest in mechanical things. I had a movie projector that had belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama and my curiosity about how the small battery produced the power to drive and illuminate the projector stimulated an interest in electricity. At the same time, from my childhood I was engaged in studying Buddhist philosophy.

“When I met Varela, I met someone who was a scientist, but who was also deeply interested in Buddhism. When he spoke from a Buddhist point of view he would say, “I’m saying this wearing my Buddhist hat” and later when he was offering a scientific opinion, “Now I’m wearing my scientist’s hat.” I realized that I needed someone like him who understood Buddhism but who was also professionally a scientist. He impressed me and I will always remember him. Even today I keep his picture in my room.

“Later, I was able to meet many more scientists. Science seems most recently to have developed in the West where Christianity, Judaism and to some extent Islam are followed. But there wasn’t much talk about the mind and emotions among scientists or religious people. And yet the mind is sophisticated. It enables us to think, to meditate and to change.

“To tackle our emotions, we need a better understanding of the way the system of mind and emotions works. Francisco Varela showed by example that science and Buddhism can work together side by side.

“He and I believe we live life after life and I’m quite sure that Varela will have found his next life among my close friends. Whether we recognise each other or not, we will have strong feelings for each other as a result of our experience in his former life. When I was very young some people who had been close to the 13th Dalai Lama came to my house and I recognized who they were.

“Varela and I developed a strong connection and I’m sure that if I live another 10-20 years, I’ll meet a child who has something special to say about him. Now I’m happy and proud to talk about my old friend and I’m glad to see his wife is with us too.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama responding to a question from Dr Pier Luigi Luisi, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at ETH, Zurich, during the ‘Dialogue for a Better World - Remembering Francisco Varela’ online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 9, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“This topic, ‘Dialogue for a Better World’ is important. In today’s world with its extensive material development, that includes the manufacture of weapons, there is too much emphasis on my nation, my people. Leaders have only a narrow focus. When another group of people adopt a different point of view, we too easily regard them as hostile and refer to them as our enemies. However, by and large scientists are more concerned with the whole of humanity rather than with this or that group.

“Today, there is too strong a sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’. There’s too much sense of ‘my friends’ or ‘my enemy’. But we can change that. I’m committed to the idea of the oneness of humanity. As human beings we are all the same. What’s more we all have to live together on this planet. We have a global economy. We depend on each other. Therefore, we must think of the welfare of all seven billion human beings now alive.

“The past was spoiled by too much violence. But look at what the European Union (EU) has achieved. Longstanding enemies France and Germany were able to overcome their historical hostility and build the EU. Since then, no fighting or killing has taken place among the member states. Why can’t the whole world adopt such a point of view? Instead of only thinking of my nation, think of the whole world in terms of us. This is something I’m committed to encouraging.

“However, I’m just a refugee living in India, a country with which we have long connections. India is our neighbour, but it is also the source of all our knowledge. It’s like our ancient home.

“Cultivating an appreciation of the oneness of humanity makes me feel comfortable because it helps me feel that wherever I go, whoever I meet is another human being like me. As human beings we are all brothers and sisters. Thinking of the oneness of all the human beings on this planet brings peace of mind because there is no place for fear or mistrust.

“I’m committed to sharing this idea of the oneness of humanity and a recognition of the value of all religious traditions, because all teach the importance of loving kindness. I’m also committed to ecology. Older generations in Tibet told me that there used to be more snow than there is now. This is crucial because Tibet is the source of the major rivers that supply water to large parts of Asia. Consequently, we have to protect the environment.”

Amy Cohen Varela, Chair, Mind & Life Europe, asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during the ‘Dialogue for a Better World - Remembering Francisco Varela’ online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 9, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Amy Cohen Varela, Chair, Mind & Life Europe, asked His Holiness why he has given so much time to engaging in dialogue with scientists. He answered in Tibetan, which was translated into Tibetan by Thupten Jinpa, that as a Buddhist he asks himself daily what he can do to help all sentient beings. He reflects on a key verse from Shantideva’s ‘Entering into the Way of Bodhisattva’:

As long as space endures,
And as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then, may I too remain
To help dispel the misery of the world. 10/55

He also ponders a stanza from Nagarjuna’s ‘Precious Garland’:

May I always be an object of enjoyment
For all sentient beings according to their wish
And without interference, as are the earth,
Water, fire, wind, herbs, and wild forests. 483

“Whatever help I can bring to this world,” he added, “I devote my life to that.

“In my own daily practice I emphasize cultivating the vast practice of the awakening mind, as well as the profound view of emptiness propounded by Nagarjuna. As far as the awakening mind is concerned, I put into effect a practice called equalizing and exchanging self and others. Shantideva had this to say by way of encouragement.

For one who fails to exchange his own happiness for the suffering of others, Buddhahood is certainly impossible-how could there even be happiness in cyclic existence? 8/131

All those who suffer in the world do so because of their desire for their own happiness. All those happy in the world are so because of their desire for the happiness of others. 8/129

“The problems we face are rooted in the idea we have of ‘I’ and ‘me’, ‘us’ and ‘them’. Let’s set aside the thought of all sentient beings and think of at least trying to help all human beings. On the basis of such an affinity we’ll be able to change the way we think and behave so that we avoid doing others harm.”

Elena Antonova, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Brunel University, London, asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during the ‘Dialogue for a Better World - Remembering Francisco Varela’ online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 9, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Elena Antonova, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Brunel University, London, asked His Holiness what effect conversations with scientists had had on his own thinking. He repeated that he’d been interested in science since he was a child, but once he reached India, he’d been able to meet practising scientists and learned that their understanding of the mind and emotions was inadequate. Where Buddhism describes 51 mental factors and subgroups among them, the English language has only one word—emotion.

This, he said, is significant because some of our emotions create problems for us. We need to learn techniques to tackle them. We need to discover the antidotes and ways to cultivate them if we are to deal with our most troublesome emotions. We’ll make progress as our understanding grows. From this point of view the Buddhist approach is similar to that of science.

“Science provides us with knowledge of the human body and the physical world in which we live. But we all want to find peace and joy and that means we have to take care of our minds. Emotions present a problem, but again the solution lies in the mind. Although anger is very disturbing, we can’t just wish it away. We can only deal with it by coming to recognise what triggers it, what consequences it can bring and how loving-kindness is an antidote to it. We need to take a first-person approach and learn to understand our own minds. Varela recognized the need to combine scientific and spiritual approaches and I thought, ‘It’s true’.

“I’m not that interested in promoting spiritual teachings as such, but I do believe we can employ knowledge spiritual teachings contain in a secular context. Children can train their brains to remember information, but in the ancient Indian traditions there was an emphasis on training the mind. This included developing different kinds of intelligence, swift, penetrating and vast intelligence which enable a much more comprehensive understanding. This can involve a universal approach to education while having nothing to do with religion.

“We have natural skills and capacities that can be enhanced with training. One thing I am looking forward to when the restrictions associated with the pandemic are lifted is spending time in Delhi tapping into ancient Indian knowledge of the mind and learning to apply the mental training it describes.”

His Holiness told Luisi that modern science is still heavily orientated towards a materialistic vision of the world. Even human experience is viewed in terms of the brain rather than in relation to consciousness. If the brain is the sole focus of attention and the subjectivity of consciousness is not taken into account it won’t provide a full picture of human experience. It will leave out the unique characteristic of consciousness or mind which is the felt, subjective dimension.

He observed that we all want to feel joy, but it comes down to our state of mind and whether we’ve found peace within. His Holiness expressed a hope that science will be able to demonstrate and explain to schoolchildren as part of their education how to cultivate peace of mind, kindness and compassion, qualities that are so important for human life.

“Scientists are also human beings like the rest of us,” His Holiness noted. “They also face emotional problems and seek peace of mind. But learning to cultivate peace of mind requires a sound understanding of how the mind works. Following an analytical and contemplative approach can help to bring this about. Over the years, as our dialogues have gone on, more and more scientists have been paying attention to their own mental well-being.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking during the ‘Dialogue for a Better World - Remembering Francisco Varela’ organized by Mind & Life Europe, online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 9, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“They’ve analysed how anger disturbs their peace of mind. They’ve examined what triggers it and how it arises. Shantideva uses a shift of perspective. He points out that from the point of view of someone cultivating patience, a hostile, irritating person becomes the best teacher. This kind of approach opens up a different way of seeing things such that real change can take place.

“Another aspect of this kind of enquiry related to emptiness involves being prepared to question who or what is this ‘I’ or ‘me’? What does it refer to? Anger and attachment are premised on basis that there is a real ‘me’ involved. There is a verse in Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’ that examines the identity of the Tathagata or Buddha. We can reframe it in reference to ourselves and the relationship we have with our constituent parts.

“Reflecting on this verse we can recognise that ‘I’ am neither one with the mind-body constituents, nor different from them. The mind-body constituents are not (dependent) on ‘me’, nor am ‘I’ (dependent) on them. ‘I’ don't possess the mind-body constituents. Who, then, am ‘I’? We find there is no real, solid self that we can point out.

“We need to take a two-pronged approach, examining the emotions and antidotes to them, but also questioning whether a real, solid ‘I’ or ‘me’ exists objectively as it appears. This will have some impact.

“Imagine,” His Holiness suggested, “that your strong emotions are personified as your opponents in debate. Challenge anger and attachment to say where is this ‘self’ they defend. Eventually they will concede there is no such self. We can really call into question many of the assumptions that lie behind our misconceptions. It’s not that we don’t exist, but we exist as a function of dependent arising. Objective reality is a false projection that has a powerful effect on our emotions.”

His Holiness alluded to verses in Chandrakirti’s ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ that refer to soaring to enlightenment and liberation on the two wings of conventional and ultimate truth.

With regard to promoting a sense of our common humanity, His Holiness observed that he sees this in practical terms. We share this one planet and our world really is interdependent. When there is too much division in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’, it’s mutually destructive. Nobody wins. If, on the other hand, we strengthen our sense of the oneness of humanity and embrace those who are different from us, we can all learn to live more peacefully and more happily together. He said, this is a simple matter of survival.

His Holiness remarked that followers of theistic religious traditions have faith in a creator God, who they view as God the father. And as children of one God, they say we are all brothers and sisters. If we fight and kill each other, how will it make God the father feel? This, he declared, is a reason why we have to learn to live happily and harmoniously together.

Gábor Karsai noted that the meeting could not have ended on a better note. He thanked His Holiness for his wisdom and friendship, which, he said, has given rise to a whole new field of study — contemplative science.

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Jé Tsongkhapa's 'Destiny Fulfilled' — Second Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/jé-tsongkhapas-destiny-fulfilled-second-day Tue, 01 Jun 2021 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/jé-tsongkhapas-destiny-fulfilled-second-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - “This is the second day of our teachings for young Tibetans,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama began this morning. “We’ll read the remaining part of ‘Destiny Fulfilled’. Then, although I usually conduct a ceremony for cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta at the end of these sessions, I thought today we could cultivate the all-encompassing yoga mind.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arriving for the second day of his online teachings for young Tibetans at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 2, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Vasubandhu explained a twofold division of the Buddha’s teachings—scripture and realization. He also stated that there are only two ways to preserve the teaching—study and practice. As followers of the Nalanda Tradition this is the approach introduced by Shantarakshita that we uphold. This is a tradition that has given rise to many great scholars and adepts — beings who studied and practised. And this is true of all schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

“The third section of ‘Destiny Fulfilled’ is entitled - How I practised day and night and dedicated the virtue for the teachings to flourish. Jé Rinpoché mentions two systems within the Mahayana or Universal Vehicle — the Perfection of Wisdom and Tantra. Common to these two systems are the cultivation of the awakening mind and the wisdom understanding emptiness. He also touches upon the generation and completion stages of Guhyasamaja.

“In his examination of the four classes of tantra, when it came to Highest Yoga Tantra, Jé Rinpoché paid closest attention to Guhyasamaja. He wrote about it and the essential parts of the completion stage in the ‘Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages’ and a summary text called a ‘Practical Guide to the Five Stages of Guhyasamaja Completion Stage in a Single Sitting’.

“In the ‘Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages’ he provides a unique explanation of the two truths in connection with the illusory body and clear light. In the past it was the custom for Gyutö monks to gather at Yerpa to undertake a retreat. On one occasion, when the abbot was Minyak Tseten, we debated whether the illusory body manifests within or outside the physical body. Minyak Tseten replied, ‘When I reach the stage of the illusory body I’ll find out from experience.

“After the dissolution of the three visions—whitish appearance, reddish increase and black near-attainment, you arise in an illusory body on the basis of the subtlest energy, the wind that is the mount of the clear light mind. That subtle wind energy becomes the substantial cause of the illusory body.

“Until the three visions have been purified, it is an impure illusory body. But with the help of the clear light mind, by purifying its impurities you reach the pure illusory body. In this way you reach the trainee level of the union of clear light and illusory body. Jé Rinpoché gained experience of all these stages and examined them closely. When he died, he evidently attained the clear light and arose in the illusory body rather than the body of the intermediate state. Therefore, it’s important to read ‘Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages’

“This concludes the third section of ‘Destiny Fulfilled’. The text shows how Jé Rinpoché pursued his studies, how he applied what he learned and how he gained experience of the teaching. And just by the way, I thought I’d mention that one of the reasons I feel close to him is because Jé Rinpoché and I come from the same place.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the virtual audience on the second day of his online teachings for young Tibetans at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 2, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Buddha Shakyamuni appeared as a Supreme Emanation Body and displayed all the enlightened deeds of a Buddha before passing into Mahaparinirvana. When Jé Rinpoché passed away he bequeathed us eighteen volumes of his writings. These included the ‘Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment’, the ‘Middle-Length Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment’, the ‘Commentary on the Graded Presentation’, the ‘Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages’, and so forth.

“Regarding emptiness Jé Rinpoché follows Nagarjuna’s tradition, so we should read his Six Collections of Reason and commentaries to them by Chandrakirti that are mentioned with admiration in ‘In Praise of the Buddha for His Teaching of Dependent Arising’.

“As I noted yesterday, towards the end of the sixth chapter of his ‘Entering into the Middle Way’, Chandrakirti speaks of cessation.

Thus illuminated by the rays of wisdom’s light,
the bodhisattva sees as clearly as a gooseberry on his open palm
that the three realms in their entirety are unborn from their very start,
and through the force of conventional truth, he journeys to cessation. 6/224

Though his mind may rest continuously in cessation,
he also generates compassion for beings bereft of protection. 6/225

“And I too hope to reach that stage.

“The purpose of spiritual practice is to help other sentient beings. We have to serve others, which is why I rely on the following prayer:

As long as space endures,
And as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then, may I too remain
To help dispel the misery of the world. 10/55

“Jé Rinpoché makes a prayer for the flourishing of the teaching at the end of his ‘Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment':

By skill in means inspired by strong loving-kindness,
May the vital points of the path that I precisely know
Clear away the mental darkness of beings.
May I then uphold the Conqueror's teachings for a long time.”

His Holiness observed that we don’t have to apply reason to know that all sentient beings want to be happy and don’t want to suffer. The difference between animals and human beings is that we humans have a brain and intelligence that allows us to see what brings us suffering and what makes us happy. The ancient Indian tradition of ‘ahimsa’ has existed for at least three thousand years. It is rooted in love and compassion and brings about peace and happiness.

Students and educators participating in His Holiness the Dalai Lama's online teachings for young Tibetans from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 2, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“The Buddha told his followers that he had shown the path to liberation, but whether they reached it was in their hands. Nagarjuna showed that the path entailed extensive conduct and profound view. The collections of the words of the Buddha, as well as the exegetical treatises by Indian masters like Nagarjuna, are available in our own language, Tibetan. We also have a wealth of commentaries by Tibetan masters.

“In the past there was some sectarian antagonism between such masters whose lineages differed because of the different meditational deities they cultivated. In addition, tantra includes fierce practices for subduing obstructive foes that were instead directed against followers of other traditions in a kind of sorcery. In fact, among sentient beings, there is no one we can seriously consider to be an enemy.”

His Holiness told his virtual audience that his own main practices are to cultivate the awakening mind of bodhichitta and the wisdom understanding emptiness. He said, “If you follow me, these will be important to you too.” He explained that to undertake the all-encompassing yoga first involves cultivating conventional bodhichitta and secondly, ultimate bodhichitta. He cited verses from Shantideva that highlight the qualities of serving others.

For one who fails to exchange his own happiness for the suffering of others, Buddhahood is certainly impossible—how could there even be happiness in cyclic existence? 8/131

All those who suffer in the world do so because of their desire for their own happiness. All those happy in the world are so because of their desire for the happiness of others. 8/129

Why say more? Observe this distinction: between the fool who longs for his own advantage and the sage who acts for the advantage of others. 8/130

Generating bodhichitta involves wishing that others be free from suffering and aspiring to attain enlightenment to be able to bring that about. It entails doing your best to make others happy and seeking to become a Buddha for their sake.

Turning to the profound view and the way things exist His Holiness reiterated that we have a sense of an ‘I’, but when we look for it, we can’t find it. He repeated a verse from Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom’ that he has reworked to be able to reflect on this.

I am neither one with the aggregates, nor different from the aggregates,
The aggregates are not (dependent) on me, nor am I (dependent) on the aggregates.
I don't possess the aggregates.
Who am I? 22/1

There is an ‘I’ here, but you can’t find it when you seek it. Neither you nor the aggregates exist inherently.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on the second day of his online teachings for young Tibetans at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 2, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness encouraged his listeners to reflect on the awakening mind and visualize this mind transformed into a radiant moon disc at their hearts. Next, he invited them to reflect on ultimate bodhichitta, emptiness, the absence of inherent existence, and imagine that transforming into a white five spoked vajra standing on the moon disc. Finally, he urged them to visualize a similar moon and vajra at the heart of the Lama from which a replica comes forth and dissolves into the moon and vajra at their own hearts.

In answering questions from young Tibetan students His Holiness suggested that when someone else does something wrong, it’s appropriate to view them with compassion. He also recalled Shantideva’s advice that those who cause us to suffer can be our best teachers.

With regard to karma, he observed that the pain and pleasure we experience now depend on our actions as human beings. Sometimes people shrug complacently and declare, “There’s nothing to be done. It’s just my karma.” “We Tibetans lost our country, but we didn’t say, ‘O, it was just our karma’ and give up. We’ve done our best to keep our identity and our culture alive.”

“When you are trying to deal with your own anger,” His Holiness advised, “it’s helpful to reflect on the faults of anger and hatred and the advantages of compassion and the awakening mind. Because of my own practice of love and compassion I feel at peace within. I think you can see this in my smile. If you let yourself be overcome by anger, you’ll not be able to help others or yourself.”

His Holiness told a young woman who asked about how to understand emptiness of inherent existence and dependent arising that the example of a reflection of a face in a mirror is a coarse expression of emptiness. He suggested she examine how things we relate to in the ordinary world appear to be inherently existent. He commented that within the different Buddhist philosophical schools emptiness is understood at different levels of subtlety.

The Consequentialist or Prasangika School assert that nothing whatever has any inherent existence. Things are merely designated by our own conceptual minds. He added that dependent arising is understood on different levels of subtlety too.

In his ‘Illuminating the Intent’ Tsongkhapa discusses three verses from chapter six of 'Entering into the Middle Way' (verses 34, 35 & 36) that mention the four logical absurdities that ensue if it is asserted that things and beings exist inherently. They are that a noble being's mind, totally absorbed in emptiness, would be a destroyer of entities; that conventional truth would withstand the analysis of a reasoning mind; that the absolute production of things could not be denied, and that the Buddha's statement 'phenomena lack self-existence' would not hold true.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering a question from a member of the virtual audience on the second day of his online teachings for young Tibetans at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 2, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness remarked that appearances dispel the extreme of existence, while emptiness counters the extreme of nihilism. He counselled that once you acknowledge dependent arising, you’ll be able to realize emptiness. However, to gain insight into the ultimate nature of things, you need to gather great stores of merit and wisdom.

Asked to compare great compassion with the awakening mind, His Holiness explained that to have great compassion is not only to wish that beings be free from suffering, but to be determined to help them achieve that goal. It’s when you realize you lack the ability to do this that you generate the awakening mind, the determination to attain Buddhahood to be of real help to other beings.

He noted two approaches for generating the awakening mind — the method of seven causes and one result and the method of equalizing and exchanging self and others. The latter approach is more effective and is presented in detail in Shantideva’s ‘Entering into the Way of the Bodhisattva’. Cultivating bodhichitta is the best way to fulfil the interests of others and yourself. The ‘Offering to the Spiritual Master’ (Lama Chöpa) says:

Since self-centredness is the doorway to all torment,
While caring for my mothers is the foundation for all that is good,
Inspire me to make the core of my practice
The yoga of exchanging myself for others
.

Shantideva observes:

Proceeding in this way from happiness to happiness, what thinking person would despair, after mounting the carriage, the awakening mind, which carries away all weariness and effort? 7/30

Responding to a question about depression His Holiness observed that when the mind is narrowly focussed on a single person’s needs it may be liable to become depressed. A good way to throw off such despondency is to open your heart to others and concern yourself with their welfare instead.

A member of the committee who organized these two days of teachings thanked His Holiness for these teachings and for all the teachings he has given over many decades. He prayed that His Holiness will live long and in the best of health.

“As I’ve already mentioned today,” His Holiness responded, “the best thing you can do is to study and practise. Engage in extensive learning and integrate what you’ve learned with your mind. Buddhism is not just about having faith; it’s about developing understanding. I’ve already suggested that you read Shantideva’s ‘Entering into the Way of a Bodhisattva’ and Chandrakirti’s ‘Entering into the Middle Way, but you can also help each other by discussing what you’ve read.

“Thank you.”

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Jé Tsongkhapa’s ‘Destiny Fulfilled’ — First Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/jé-tsongkhapas-destiny-fulfilled-first-day Mon, 31 May 2021 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/jé-tsongkhapas-destiny-fulfilled-first-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama began his teachings for young Tibetans this year by harking back to the origins of Buddhism in Tibet. He recalled that in the 7th century a Tibetan written script was created based on the Indian Devanagari alphabet. Subsequently, Indian Buddhist literature was translated into Tibetan. The result was a collection of about 100 volumes of translated sutras and another 220 volumes of mostly Indian treatises. This meant that Tibetans did not have to rely on any other language to study Buddhism. Many great scholars and adepts came about as a consequence.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the online audience during the first day of his teachings for Tibetan youth from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 1, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Studying the Buddha’s teachings in the light of logic and reason,” His Holiness remarked, “is now only preserved in the Tibetan tradition. Chinese Buddhism doesn’t take this approach. Followers of the Pali Tradition study what the scriptures say, but I tease them that lacking the tools of reason and logic means they are toothless when it comes to chewing over difficult points.

“Familiarity with reason and logic has enabled us to engage in discussions with scientists for many years now. And we enter into such discussions with confidence. Ancient Indian tradition had thorough knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions. Add to that a command of reason and logic and an understanding of reality as outlined in the Middle Way thought and we are well-prepared for discussion with scientists. Traditionally reason and logic and Middle Way thought are characterized as two lions yoked at the neck.

“In exile we requested the help of the Government of India headed by Pandit Nehru in setting up schools for Tibetan children. Religious and philosophical teachers were appointed. In those early days many great scholars who had escaped Tibet were working on road construction in the Chamba area. I remember visiting them once and engaging in debate with some of them by the side of the road. Things were really critical at that point, but in due course we were able to re-establish monastic centres of learning, mostly in South India. Today, these institutions are radiant stores of knowledge. We have augmented the traditional course of study with science.

“Today, for young Tibetans, I will explain Jé Tsongkhapa’s ‘Destiny Fulfilled’ in which he reveals the progress he made in study and practice.

“All of us, human beings and animals, want to be happy and not to suffer. But only we human beings have the kind of marvellous brain that enables us to make choices. In ancient India meditative practices for cultivating single-pointed concentration and special insight prevailed before the appearance of the Buddha.

“One of the things that made the Buddha unique was his encouraging his followers to carefully examine what he said. ‘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’. Such advice is unprecedented.

“In India Nalanda University became a centre of learning where the thought of masters like Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti thrived. Nevertheless, towards the end of his ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ Chandrakirti suggested that Dignaga and Vasubandhu had failed to uphold Nagarjuna’s view.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivering his introductory remarks on the first day of his teachings for Tibetan youth online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 1, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Turning to the text, His Holiness indicated that the first verse expresses homage and the second extols the benefits of rejoicing. Tsongkhapa, His Holiness explained, studied extensively in those monasteries that existed in Central Tibet. Later, Manjushri told him in a vision that mere study was not enough, so he planned to go into retreat to meditate with eight close disciples. When he faced criticism for curtailing the teachings he’d been giving, Manjushri counselled him to be patient, telling him, ‘I know what’s best’.

In retreat Tsongkhapa dreamt of Nagarjuna and his five close disciples. In the dream one of them, who he guessed was Buddhapalita, stepped forward and touched a book to Jé Rinpoché’s head. The following day, reading Buddhapalita’s commentary to Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’, he gained insight that prompted him to compose ‘In Praise of Dependent Arising’.

In this text, ‘Destiny Fulfilled’, he recounts what he studied and how scripture dawned on him as spiritual instructions. He studied the great Indian treatises in the light of logic and reason. “You may be intelligent,” His Holiness remarked, “but unless you study like this, you’ll have no real confidence in the teaching.”

Verses 5-11 refer to Jé Rinpoché's examination of the various classes of tantra—action, performance, yoga and highest yoga tantra—and conclude the section about how he initially sought out extensive learning. The next section deals with how the scriptures, especially those dealing with the Perfection of Wisdom, dawned as spiritual instructions.

His Holiness clarified that the explicit content of the Perfection of Wisdom is emptiness. The implicit content includes generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta.

Verse 14 mentions that some people in Tibet observed that there was little in Dignaga’s ‘Compendium of Valid Cognition’ or Dharmakirti’s seven treatises on logic that dealt with the stages of the path to enlightenment. However, it is recorded that Manjushri gave his approval to the composition of these texts. Moreover, the lines of salutation from the ‘Compendium of Valid Cognition’ state that the Buddha is an authoritative guide who brings benefit to all beings.

The second section—showing how, in the middle, all the scriptures dawned as instructions—concludes with verses praising Guhyasamaja Tantra, the commentaries to it, as well as Samvara, Hevajra and Kalachakra.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama commenting on Tsongkhapa's "Destiny Fulfilled" on the first day of his teachings for Tibetan youth online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 1, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

What Tsongkhapa discloses is how he gained extensive learning, entered into the life of a hermit and acquired experience of the stages of the path, including the profound and extensive paths.

His Holiness noted that Tsongkhapa composed five texts on the Middle Way: 'Ocean of Reasoning' - an extensive commentary on Nagarjuna's 'Fundamental Wisdom'; 'Elucidation of the Thought' - an extensive commentary on 'Entering into the Middle Way'; the Special Insight Section of the 'Great Exposition of Special Insight''; the Special Insight Section of the 'Medium Exposition of Special Insight'' and 'Essence of Eloquence' - a treatise differentiating the provisional and definite meanings of the scriptures.

When he set about writing the ‘Golden Rosary’, his commentary to the ‘Ornament for Clear Realization’, he read all 21 existing Indian treatises about it first.

In those days there were many great masters belonging to the Sakya, Kagyu and Nyingma traditions. There were also Kadampa masters and Nyingma masters like Longchen Rabjam who wrote the ‘Seven Treasuries’.

“Jé Rinpoché travelled from his native Amdo to Central Tibet, a bag over his shoulder. He enrolled in the various centres of learning he came across. Eventually, he established his own Ganden Monastery and once he was gone, his disciple Gyaltsap succeeded to his throne.

“These days the excellent pattern of study Tsongkhapa laid out is upheld at the Three Great Seats of Learning. Scholars who complete their training there then proceed to one of the Tantric Colleges to study tantra. After that, they may rise through the ranks of scholarship to become head of the tradition, the Ganden Throneholder.

“Jé Gendun Drup, the first Dalai Lama, was Tsongkhapa’s disciple. He founded Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, where the study of logic was especially encouraged. In ‘Song of the Eastern Snow Mountains’ he laments the religious disharmony he observed at the time.

These days in our remote snow mountains
There are many men who would uphold their own lineages
While looking down upon other doctrine holders
Verily as their deepest enemies.
Watching how they think and act, my heart fills with sadness.

“Since Tibetan Buddhism represents the most complete tradition of Buddhism today, we should feel grateful to past masters like Jé Tsongkhapa and follow their example by sharing our knowledge with others.”

Geshé Lobsang Drakpa from Namgyal Monastery, who is also a leading teacher in Dharamsala’s Organisation to Introduce Buddhism, thanked His Holiness for his teaching and told him that twelve young Tibetan students had questions to ask.

The first concerned avoiding mental distress in relation to the Covid pandemic.

A member of the virtual audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question on the first day of the teachings for Tibetan Youth online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 1, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“If you are anxious and fearful, even if you are not ill” His Holiness advised, “as a Buddhist who believes that we live life after life, you can reflect, as is mentioned in the ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’, that we are born and reborn in boundless cyclic existence, ceaselessly tormented by the three miseries. We are afflicted by desire, anger and hatred, as well as ignorance. We can overcome these by generating a firm determination to attain enlightenment. We can see overcoming sickness and disease as part of our journey to enlightenment.

“We experience disease as a result of karma and mental afflictions. As Nagarjuna writes:

“Through the elimination of karma and mental afflictions there is liberation.
Karma and mental afflictions come from conceptual thoughts.
These come from mental fabrication.
Fabrication ceases through emptiness.

“The sufferings of birth, aging, sickness and death are part of life. By thinking ‘May I be free of karma and mental afflictions and the sicknesses they provoke,’ you can strengthen your determination to attain enlightenment. This involves transforming difficulties into the path as outlined in the Offering to the Spiritual Master (Lama Chöpa).

“Though the world and its beings be full of the fruits of misdeeds,
And unwished for sufferings pour upon me like rain,
Inspire me to see them as means to exhaust the results of negative actions,
And to take these miserable conditions as a path.”

With regard to purifying unwholesome actions, His Holiness noted that there is a practice of confession before the Three Jewels. However, since the main purpose is to purify and transform the mind, the best practice to adopt is the cultivation of the awakening mind of bodhichitta. If you can do that, you can purify defilements and accumulate merit and wisdom. His Holiness also remarked that practices such as prostration and circumambulation without the context of the three trainings of ethics, concentration and wisdom have little more than mundane value.

His Holiness clarified that if you commit unwholesome deeds such as killing insects in the course of your work, the key point is whether you did so intentionally. He added that such imprints can be purified by reciting Om mani padme hung.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering a question from a member of the virtual audience on the first day of the teachings for Tibetan Youth online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 1, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness declared that he doesn’t pray for the seven billion human beings alive today to become Buddhists, but he does work to create a peaceful world in which people cultivate love and compassion for one another.

“If you practise love and compassion,” he said, “harmful actions come to an end. We need peace of mind within us. If we’re full of anger and other negative emotions, not only will we have no peace of mind, but there will also be no peace in the world. As Shantideva wrote in his ‘Entering into the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’:

“For those who fail to exchange their own happiness for the suffering of others, Buddhahood is certainly impossible - how could there even be happiness in cyclic existence? 8/131

“All those who suffer in the world do so because of their desire for their own happiness. All those happy in the world are so because of their desire for the happiness of others. 8/129

“We are all the same in wanting happiness and not wanting suffering. We are social animals dependent on each other. Learning to tackle our disturbing emotions, we need to reduce anger and attachment and cultivate love and compassion.”

His Holiness supported the compilation of a handbook for creating a more amicable society. It would make clear how to achieve peace of mind in ways that ordinary people, monastic and lay, women and men, could implement. Its focus should not be religious, but concerned with tackling negative emotions.

Asked how to curtail a hankering after the pleasures of this life, His Holiness referred to verses seven and eight of Tsongkhapa’s ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’ that nominally describe how to develop bodhichitta. However, by applying them to yourself, you can use them to strengthen your sense of renunciation and determination to be free.

His Holiness reported that he sometimes reflects that since he is not caught in the iron net of self-centredness, and he is not completely enveloped by the darkness of ignorance, he has a real hope of reaching true cessation.

“Reflecting on my own condition, I feel my ignorance is becoming thinner and thinner. Not being ceaselessly tormented by the three miseries, I think of all beings, my mothers, who are in this condition and generate the awakening mind.

“The solution to not having a disciplined mind is to observe emotional hygiene as described in ancient Indian tradition. This involves learning to tackle disturbing emotions like attachment and anger. I don’t say become a Buddhist, but learn from Buddhism. Read chapter six of ‘Entering into the Bodhisattva's Way of Life' and learn about the shortcomings of anger. Read chapter eight and discover the drawbacks of a self-cherishing attitude and the advantages of learning to cherish others.

“Learn, reflect and gain conviction. Then meditate and integrate what you’ve understood within you. Such an approach over centuries has had the effect that Tibetans are, for example, resistant to taking life. Our culture is such that we believe it is possible to create a more peaceful world.

“See you tomorrow.”

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Teachings for Mongolians and Tibetans on Buddha Purnima https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/teachings-for-mongolians-and-tibetans-on-buddha-purnima Wed, 26 May 2021 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/teachings-for-mongolians-and-tibetans-on-buddha-purnima Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - This morning, the full-moon day of Saka Dawa, also known as Buddha Purnima, the day that commemorates the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and mahaparinirvana, Khamba Lama Gabju, leader of Mongolian Buddhists opened proceedings by offering a mandala in Gandantegchenlin Monastery, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on the occasion of the full moon day of Saka Dawa on May 26, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“With deep respect for Buddha Shakyamuni.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama began, “I’ll give a short talk to my Mongolian brothers and sisters. Mongolia and Tibet have a unique connection and most Mongolians are followers of Jé Tsongkhapa.

“The Buddha said, ‘You are your own master. The future is in your hands.’ Other religious traditions suggest that the future is in the hands of God, but the Buddha told us that if we do good, we’ll reap good fruit, but if we don’t, there’s nothing he can do about it. So, whether we experience happiness or suffering is up to us.

“Human beings are intelligent and can take their minds into account. If our minds are unruly, we tend to do harm and suffer the consequences. If we tame our minds, we’ll be happy. All spiritual traditions teach us to discipline our minds, but Buddhism recommends not prayer but working with the mind and thinking things through to do this.

“Because of their not knowing the empty, peaceful, unborn nature of things, beings wander in the cycle of existence. The Buddha, the one led by compassion, employs hundreds of different reasonings to lead wandering beings to freedom.

“Scientists observe that we are social animals. We depend on our communities, so love and compassion for others is important. Right at the start of our lives we are nurtured by our mothers with care and affection, but later we forget that we depend on others and seek to get the better of them. We lead our busy lives and pay less attention than we should to simple love and affection for others.

“From a Buddhist point of view the prime obstacle to showing others love and affection is our predisposition to be self-cherishing. This in turn is based on our strong inclination to view people and things as existing inherently from their own side.

“Quantum physics observes that things appear to exist objectively, which is actually not the case. On top of this we view some people as dear to us and others as hostile. We are attached to those who are dear and averse to the others. However, these labels and categories do not exist objectively as they appear to do.

His Holiness addressing members of Gandantegchenlin Monastery in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on the occasion of the full moon day of Saka Dawa on May 26, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“What I want to convey to my Mongolian friends is that we all want to create joy and happiness for ourselves and others—and to do that we need to cultivate peace of mind. Most of you are followers of Jé Tsongkhapa about whom it is said in the ‘Hundreds of Deities of the Joyous Land’:

In this degenerate time, you worked for broad learning and accomplishment
Abandoning the eight worldly concerns to realize the great value
Of freedom and fortune; sincerely, O Protector,
I rejoice at your great deeds.

“We too need to study and put what we read and hear into effect. By teaching that things are empty, peaceful and unborn, the Buddha led sentient beings to freedom.”

His Holiness quoted a verse from ‘Words of Truth: An Aspiration for the Spread of the Noble Gendenpa Tradition‘ by Gungthang Tenpé Drönmé:

Outwardly peaceful and subdued through the Shravakas' conduct;
While inwardly possessing the assurance of the two-stage yoga;
You perfectly reconciled the excellent paths of sutra and mantra—
May the victorious Lobsang Drakpa's teachings flourish and spread!

“We too should engage in study of the teachings,” he explained. “When I was in Mongolia, I encouraged you not only to do rituals, but to study and learn. Those of you who are currently training in our monastic Centres of Learning in South India should also encourage others to study when you return to Mongolia.

“Many of us have since childhood have learned about Collected Topics, Mind and Awareness as well as logic. In the Nalanda Tradition that we maintain, the use of logic is emphasized. In due course Chapa Chökyi Sengé formalized Tibetan methods of debate relying on syllogisms and logical consequences.

“In the past, many great Mongolian scholars studied in our monasteries. Among them was one of my own debate assistants Ngodup Tsognyi.

“Today, we need to become 21st century Buddhists, not only by studying philosophy, reason and logic, but also by being able to integrate what we learn within ourselves, rather than just following blind faith. The important point is that understanding the teaching of the Buddha doesn’t depend on blind faith, but on reason.”

His Holiness recalled that one of the first things Tibetans did when they arrived in exile was to set up schools so Tibetan children could study in their own language and be immersed in their own values. Later, His Holiness suggested adding debate skills to the curriculum. In the monastic Centres of Learning he’s also recommended training lay people to debate.

He talked about his discussions with scientists. Although they’re not much interested in religious matters, they turned out to be interested in Buddhist psychology and ways to cultivate peace of mind.

“I have great hopes in what you can achieve,” His Holiness told his Mongolian audience. “And I believe that the teachings of the Buddha will thrive in the 21st century and into the future beyond. The world is changing—study the Dharma while you can.”

The cameras switched to the great monasteries in South India, where the Ganden Throne-holder could be seen and heard making a mandala offering.

“Today, is the auspicious full-moon day of Saka Dawa and the three great monasteries represented by the Geluk International Foundation, as well as the Drepung Loseling Tulku Association, have requested that I explain the ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’ and lead a ceremony for generating the awakening mind.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama watching online as the Ganden Throneholder offers a mandala offering during teachings from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on the occasion of the full moon day of Saka Dawa on May 26, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“The Three Principal Aspects of the Path represent the essence of the Stages of the Path—the determination to be free, the awakening mind of bodhichitta and the correct view of emptiness. Verses 7 and 8 show how to generate the awakening mind.

Swept by the current of the four powerful rivers,
Tied by strong bonds of actions, so hard to undo,
Caught in the iron net of self-centredness,
Completely enveloped by the darkness of ignorance,

Born and reborn in boundless cyclic existence,
Ceaselessly tormented by the three miseries
All beings, your mothers, are in this condition.
Think of them and generate the awakening mind.

“However, I also find it useful to apply these ideas to myself, to see that I am caught in the iron net of self-centredness and am ceaselessly tormented by the three miseries in order to generate a firm determination to be free.

“We are shrouded in a thick fog of ignorance in which things appear as if they exist inherently from their own side. So, what we have to understand is that things have no true or inherent existence.

“The Buddha first taught the four truths. Later, he explained the perfection of wisdom. In the ‘Heart Sutra’ we find the fourfold emptiness described. Nagarjuna clarified these ideas so sharply that Jé Tsongkhapa expresses his admiration in ‘Praise to Dependent Arising.

When, through the kindness of my lamas, I saw
this unsurpassed vehicle of yours, leaving behind extremes of existence and nonexistence, elucidated by the prophesied Nagarjuna,
his lotus grove illuminated by the moonlight of the glorious Chandrakirti's teachings, whose globe of stainless wisdom moved
freely through the sky of your words,
dispelling the darkness that holds to extremes, outshining the stars of false speakers—it was then that my mind found peace.

“Nagarjuna refers to our inappropriate misconceptions about the self in his ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way':

Through the elimination of karma and mental afflictions there is liberation.
Karma and mental afflictions come from conceptual thoughts.
These come from mental fabrication.
Fabrication ceases through emptiness.”

His Holiness alluded to four logical fallacies that, Chandrakirti explains in his 'Entering into the Middle Way', would ensue if things had objective existence. They are that:

1) An Arya being's mind is absorbed in emptiness following his own analysis of whether things have any intrinsic characteristics. If they had such characteristics, they would have been found by the Arya's mind. If things had any inherent existence, the Arya being's meditative equipoise on emptiness would be a destroyer of that entity— (which is logically absurd).

If the intrinsic characteristics of things were to arise dependently,
things would come to be destroyed by denying it;
emptiness would then be a cause for the destruction of things.
But this is illogical, so no real entities exist. 6.34

2) If things had an inherent identity, without dependence on other factors, conventional reality would have to withstand ultimate analysis— (which is logically absurd). If we could point out an identity, it would have to withstand ultimate analysis. However, the Yogi finds nothing, neither this nor that, to point to. Other schools say that an object of valid cognition must be something objective out there, but a valid cognition is a cognition according to which the object exists as perceived.

Thus, when such phenomena are analysed,
nothing is found as their nature apart from suchness.
So, the conventional truth of the everyday worldshould not be subjected to thorough analysis. 6.35

If things had any essential core in and of themselves, it would lead to the logical fallacy of conventional reality's withstanding ultimate analysis.

3) If things with an essential core arose from a cause, ultimate production could not be denied. 4) The Buddha's teaching that phenomena are empty of self-nature would not be true. When we say something is empty, the very thing we are analysing is said to be empty of inherent existence or self-nature.

In the context of suchness, certain reasoning disallows arising
from self or from something other, and that same reasoning
disallows them on the conventional level too.
So, by what means then is your arising established? 6.36

Empty things dependent on convergences,
such as reflections and so on, are not unknown. 6.37

“Ignorance that grasps at or misconceives true existence,” His Holiness went on, “is countered by understanding that things are actually merely designated. At the end of the sixth chapter of ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ Chandrakirti states:

Thus, illuminated by the rays of wisdom's light,
the bodhisattva sees as clearly as a gooseberry on his open palm
that the three realms in their entirety are unborn from their very start,
and through the force of conventional truth, he journeys to cessation. 6.224

Though his mind may rest continuously in cessation,
he also generates compassion for beings bereft of protection.
Advancing further, he will also outshine through his wisdom
all those born from the Buddha's speech and the middle buddhas. 6.225

And like a king of swans soaring ahead of other accomplished swans,
with white wings of conventional and ultimate truths spread wide,
propelled by the powerful winds of virtue, the bodhisattva would cruise
to the excellent far shore, the oceanic qualities of the conquerors. 6.226

Taking up the pages of the ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’ His Holiness remarked that Jé Tsongkhapa’s disciple Ngawang Drakpa had returned home to eastern Tibet. From there he wrote requesting a concise teaching. Jé Rinpoché replied:

O intelligent Ngawang Drakpa,
Follow my instructions
And practise as I have done throughout all your lives
In deed and prayer. Then, when I become enlightened,
I will share the nectar of (my teaching) first with you.

The reference to ‘my son’ in the last verse can equally apply to all of us if we study and practise as advised.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama reading from Tsongkhapa's "Three Principal Aspects of the Path" during his teachings online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 26, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

As he read the text His Holiness elucidated different points. He stated that the first line, ‘I bow down to the venerable Lamas’ not only acknowledges the importance of the teacher, but also indicates the three capacities of spiritual practitioners. Tsongkhapa’s words in the first verse, ‘I will explain as well as I am able’, are an expression of humility.

The next verses indicate the reasons for developing a determination to be free, how to develop such a determination, and the measure of having done so. Verse six points out that a mere determination to be free is not a cause for the omniscient state of a Buddha. Morality, concentration and wisdom may yield liberation, but to achieve Buddhahood we must cultivate the awakening mind. All sentient beings are the same in not wanting to suffer, but they cannot even imagine being free from suffering. The text counsels us to think of their plight and generate the awakening mind.

Tsongkhapa writes, ‘Though you practise the determination to be free and mind of enlightenment, without wisdom, the realization of emptiness, you cannot cut the root of cyclic existence, therefore, strive to understand dependent arising.’ Understanding dependent arising gives rise to an understanding of emptiness.

His Holiness discussed trying to identify and pinpoint the self. He described being unable to find it in the body, in the parts of the body, such as the hands and fingers, nor even in the mind. He mentioned the first verse of Chapter 22 of Nagarjuna’s 'Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way' which reveals that the Tathagata does not possess the aggregates, nor is he to be found in the aggregates. His Holiness likes to rework the argument to apply to himself.

I am neither one with the aggregates, nor different from the aggregates,
The aggregates are not (dependent) on me, nor am I (dependent) on the aggregates.
I don't possess the aggregates.
What else am I?

He remarked that in tantric practice there is an account of the three visions leading to the mind of clear light. But none of these is the self either. He mentioned that in Dzogchen emptiness and the clear light mind are taught together and that he reflects on this every day. He revealed that he received the Seven Treasuries of Longchen Rabjam from Trulshik Rinpoché and that Rinpoché gave him a commitment to read at least one verse of the ‘Treasury of Dharmadhatu’ every day.

As mentioned above Jé Rinpoché wrote 'strive to understand dependent arising.' Choné Lama Rinpoché, in his versified commentary to 'In Praise of Dependent Arising', noted 'Dependence does not deny suchness; arising does not deny worldly convention.' Similarly, Drom-tön-pa observed that fire and a hand have no inherent existence, but if you put your hand in the fire, it gets burnt. So, although there is no inherent existence, there is function.

Things are empty, since they cannot be found when their identity is analysed, because they are dependently arisen.

The text concludes: ‘O son, when you realize the keys of the three principal aspects of the path, depend on solitude and strong effort, and quickly reach the final goal.’ His Holiness stated that we can all feel included in this advice, adding that he has an additional reason for feeling close to Tsongkhapa because they both come from the same part of Tibet.

His Holiness read a final verse from the colophon.

I, who also aspire to liberation, shall put what Guru Manjunath (Tsongkhapa),
Whose kindness is greater than all the Victorious Ones, has taught into practice.May I, your son, be blessed to catch up with you (in experience
).

This conclusion is in accordance with the traditions of past holy beings.

His Holiness reiterated the importance of study in the Tibetan tradition, tracing this approach back to Shantarakshita’s introduction of the Nalanda Tradition in the eighth century. He quoted Jé Rinpoché’s statement in ‘Destiny Fulfilled’:

In the beginning, I sought much learning.
In the middle, all teachings dawned on me as spiritual instructions.
In the end, I practised night and day.
I dedicated all this virtue for the dharma to flourish.
Thinking this over now, how well my destiny was fulfilled!
Thank you, Noble Lord, Wisdom Treasure!

“Study and practice,” His Holiness stressed once more, “are the best way to commemorate the Buddha, the Seventeen Masters of Nalanda and so forth.”

Announcing that he would conduct a ceremony for generating the awakening mind His Holiness cited the salutation from ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ to illustrate the importance of great compassion.

Shravakas and middle-level buddhas arise from sovereign sages.
Buddhas are born from bodhisattvas.
The compassionate mind and nondual cognition
as well the awakening mind: these are causes of bodhisattvas. 1.1

As compassion alone is accepted to be
the seed of the perfect harvest of Buddhahood,
the water that nourishes it, and the fruit that is long a source of enjoyment,
I will praise compassion at the start of all. 1.2

His Holiness commented that Buddha Shakyamuni took birth as a prince of the Shakya clan in ancient India about 2600 years ago. The Pali and Sanskrit Traditions declare that he attained enlightenment at dawn of the full moon day that we call Buddha Purnima. He was not enlightened from the beginning, but through meeting the right conditions and striving for many aeons to accumulate the two stores of merit and wisdom, he became a Buddha. According to the Sanskrit Tradition, that entailed his manifesting the four bodies of a Buddha—the Natural Truth Body, the Wisdom Truth Body, the Complete Enjoyment Body and the Emanation Body.

A Buddha's complete absorption in meditation on emptiness is the Wisdom Truth Body, from which he manifests in different forms. The Complete Enjoyment Body appears to Arya Bodhisattvas, while the Emanation Body is visible to all. Buddha Shakyamuni was a Supreme Emanation Body, the source of a continuous flow of activities to benefit sentient beings.

His Holiness described how to visualize the Buddha surrounded by bodhisattvas and masters of the various traditions. He then led the virtual audience in repeating the verses for taking refuge and generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta.

Shakor Khentul Rinpoché offering thanks at the conclusion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's online teaching on the occasion of the full moon day of Saka Dawa on May 26, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Shakor Khentul Rinpoché offered thanks to His Holiness. “We requested you to teach,” he said, “and on behalf of everyone involved would like to thank you. We pray that you live a long life and that you will continue to teach us and take care of us in this and future lives.”

Referring to the covid pandemic that has become widespread in India, although the situation shows some signs of improving, His Holiness expressed concern for people in Mön, Ladakh and Nepal.

“In order to help pacify the effects of this pandemic,” he requested, “please recite Arya Tara’s ten syllable mantra. This will be beneficial for individuals who are patients as well as nations affected by this illness. I recite several hundred Tara mantras every day with this intention and I also say one round with the prayer that I don’t contract covid. You can all do this too.”

A thanksgiving mandala was offered in conclusion, along with a prayer for His Holiness’s long life.

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His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Message for Buddha Purnima / Vesak https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/his-holiness-the-dalai-lamas-message-for-buddha-poornima-vesak Tue, 25 May 2021 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/his-holiness-the-dalai-lamas-message-for-buddha-poornima-vesak On this auspicious occasion, when we commemorate the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and entering into Mahaparinirvana, I offer my greetings to fellow Buddhists all over the world.

Buddha Shakyamuni took birth as a prince of the Shakya clan in ancient India about 2600 years ago. The Pali and Sanskrit Traditions declare that the Buddha attained enlightenment at dawn of the full moon day that we call Buddha Purnima. Both the traditions agree that he was not enlightened from the beginning but became the Buddha through meeting the right conditions and striving to accumulate the two stores of merit and wisdom. According to the Sanskrit Tradition, he had to do that for many aeons and entailed his manifesting the four bodies of a Buddha—the Natural Truth Body, the Wisdom Truth Body, the Complete Enjoyment Body and the Emanation Body.

A Buddha’s complete absorption in meditation on emptiness is the Wisdom Truth Body, from which he manifests in different forms. The Complete Enjoyment Body appears to Arya Bodhisattvas, while the Emanation Body is visible to all. Buddha Shakyamuni was a Supreme Emanation Body, the source of a continuous flow of activities to benefit sentient beings.

The Buddha’s teaching is essentially practical. It is not just for one group of people or one country, but for all sentient beings. People can follow this path according to their ability and inclination. I, for instance, started my Buddhist education as a child and although I am now nearly 86 years old, I am still learning. Therefore, whenever I can, I encourage Buddhists I meet to be 21st century Buddhists, to discover what the teaching really means and to put it into effect. This entails listening and reading, thinking about what you have heard and read and making yourself deeply familiar with it.

Although our world has changed substantially since the time of the Buddha, the essence of his teaching remains as relevant today as it was 2600 years ago. Both the Pali Tradition and Sanskrit Tradition possess methods for attaining liberation from ignorance and suffering. The Buddha’s advice, stated simply, was to avoid harming others and to help them whenever we can and in whatever way possible.

We can begin to do this by recognising that everyone else is just like us in that they want happiness and dislike suffering. Seeking joy and freedom from suffering is the birth-right of all beings. But personal happiness very much depends on how we relate to others. By developing a sense of respect for others and a concern for their welfare, we can reduce our own self centredness, which is the source of many of our own problems, and enhance our feelings of kindness, which are a natural source of joy.

On this auspicious day, Buddhists will be holding prayer services in holy places such as Bodhgaya, Lumbini and Kandy, as well as in other Buddhist lands. Let us all join together in doing whatever we can to overcome the global threats we face, including the Covid-19 pandemic that has brought such pain and hardship across the world.

With my prayers and good wishes,

Dalai Lama

26 May 2021

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Condolences on the Death of Sunderlal Bahuguna https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/condolences-on-the-death-of-sunderlal-bahuguna Fri, 21 May 2021 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/condolences-on-the-death-of-sunderlal-bahuguna Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - In a message issued by his office today, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has expressed his sadness on learning that his good friend, Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna had passed away at the age of 94.

“I offer my condolences to his family,” he wrote, “as well as his many admirers and friends, and I will offer prayers for him.

“I deeply admired the way he made ‘ahimsa’ the core of his tireless campaigns to protect the environment. Having grown up in the Garwhal in Uttarakhand he was not only acutely aware of the need to preserve the rivers, forests and hills of the Himalayan region, but felt it was his mission to draw other people’s attention to it too.

“On one occasion, Bahuguna asked me to spread the word about the importance of planting trees and caring for them whenever I can. I agreed to do so and when I visit places like Ladakh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and elsewhere I urge people to go out of their way to care for the environment, which has ramifications far beyond the regions where they live.

“Although he has left us, having led a long and meaningful life, Shri Bahuguna’s spirit will live on,” His Holiness’s message concludes. “The best tribute we can pay him will be to continue to support the movement he began to plant trees, take care of them, and protect our Earth.”

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Creating Hope — a Conversation with Pico Iyer https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/creating-hope-a-conversation-with-pico-iyer Tue, 18 May 2021 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2021/creating-hope-a-conversation-with-pico-iyer Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - This morning, after His Holiness the Dalai Lama had smiled, waved and taken his seat in front of the cameras, Celesta Billeci, Executive Director of Arts & Lectures, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), introduced the occasion. “We’re living in a moment that calls for optimism, resilience, courage and vision,” she said. “Who better to spark these qualities in us than the Dalai Lama?” Henry Yang,

Henry Yang, Chancellor of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), introducing the online conversation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Pico Iyer on May 19, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Chancellor of the University welcomed everyone and addressing His Holiness declared, “It’s an extraordinary honour to welcome you today.”

“I am delighted to share this message of hope from His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” he continued. “This is the fifth time we’ve had the privilege of welcoming him here. And it is now twenty years since we established the 14th Dalai Lama Chair of Tibetan Studies. The Dalai Lama is an incomparable Buddhist teacher and a champion of reconciliation. He radiates compassion and peace.”

With that, he called on Pico Iyer to open a conversation with His Holiness.

Pico Iyer: Welcome Your Holiness, it’s nice to see you again. We are turning our focus to hope. What does hope mean for Buddhists?

“To put it simply, our life is based on hope, a desire for things to turn out well. Even in the womb, their mother’s peace of mind affects the unborn child. Hope is concerned with the future. Although nothing about the future can be guaranteed, we remain hopeful, which is much better than being pessimistic. On a global level too, we have grounds for hope.

“We all come from our mother. We grow under her care. Appreciating her kindness, without which we would not have survived, is a basis on which to cultivate compassion. Experiencing our mother’s kindness gives us hope.

“If we investigate cases of children whose mothers pass away when they are young, I think we’ll find some emotional scars.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions posed by Pico Iyer during their conversation online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 19, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Our lives depend on hope. If you have hope, you’ll be able to overcome problems you face. But if you’re without hope, your difficulties will increase. Hope is linked to compassion and loving kindness. In my own experience. I’ve faced all sorts of difficulties in my life, but I never gave up hope. Also, being truthful and honest is a basis for hope and self-confidence. Being truthful and honest is a counter to false hope. Hope founded on truth and honesty is strong and powerful.”

Pico Iyer: Can we train ourselves to be more realistic in our hopes?

“Our human brain, our intelligence, enables us to take a long view, not thinking only of our immediate needs. We can adopt a broader perspective and consider what is in our long-term interest. In terms of Buddhist practice, for example, we talk about aeons and aeons and serving all sentient beings, which strengthens our self-confidence.

Pico Iyer: Is hope not connected with religion?

“Generally, religion is a question of faith, but when we bask in our mother’s affection, there’s no faith involved. Faith is something human beings have created. All the major religious traditions teach the importance of kindness and love. Some say there’s a God, others deny it. Some say we go on for life after life, others assert that we live only one life. These traditions propound different philosophical points of view, but they share the message of loving kindness.

“Theistic traditions like Christianity teach that we are all created by God, who, like a father, embodies infinite love. It’s a powerful idea that can help us recognise the importance of being kind.

“We are social creatures, dependent on our community. And as members of a community, even people with no faith or belief can keep their peace of mind by being considerate, truthful and honest. Being honest and compassionate are not necessarily religious qualities, but they contribute to our being able to lead a happy life. Being concerned about our own community lends to our own survival. The key factor is compassion. Anger is its opposite. Anger destroys happiness and harmony.

“We need a sense of the oneness of humanity. It’s because I cultivate this that wherever I go and whoever I meet I regard as just another human being; a brother or sister. We seven billion human beings are essentially the same. We do have differences of nationality, colour, faith and social status, but to focus only on them is to create problems for ourselves.

“Imagine you’ve escaped from some catastrophe and find yourself all alone. If you see someone in the distance coming towards, you won’t care about their nationality, race or faith, you’ll just be glad to meet another human being. Desperate situations encourage us to recognise the oneness of humanity.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama listening to a question asked by Pico Iyer during their online conversation from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 19, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“There’s been enough war and violence in the past. Nowadays, when we face serious problems as a result of the climate crisis, we have to help each other. We have to make an effort to live together happily while we can.”

Pico Iyer: You mention global warming. How can we remain hopeful in the face of such a challenge?

“Global warming is a good reason not to squabble with each other. We must learn to live together. We are all human beings and we are all living on this one planet. We can’t adopt an out-of-date stance thinking only of ‘my nation’, ‘my community’, we have to take account of the whole of humanity.”

Pico Iyer: Have you ever worried about losing hope?

“Only on 17th March 1959 as I was leaving Lhasa. I really wondered if I would live to see the following day. Then, the next morning, the sun rose and I thought, ‘I’ve survived’. One of the Chinese generals had asked to be informed where the Dalai Lama stayed in the Norbulingka so he could avoid shelling it. Whether he really wanted to protect me or target me, I don’t know. On that occasion I felt some anxiety.

“Next day, when we reached the Che-la pass, the man who was leading my horse told me that it was the last place from which we could see the Potala Palace and the city of Lhasa. He turned my horse so I was able to take a last look.

“Eventually we reached India, the source of all our knowledge and the Nalanda approach to learning. Since childhood I’d been steeped in this tradition of investigation with its application of reason and logic. Faith rooted in logic is sound. Otherwise, it’s fragile.

“Today, scientists are intrigued by our analytical approach, which provides a basis for our discussions. In addition, we cultivate ‘shamatha’ to achieve a calm and focussed mind as well as ‘vipashyana’ insight as a result of analysis. And besides these qualities we cultivate ‘ahimsa’ and ‘karuna’ — non-violence and compassion — on the basis of reason.”

Pico Iyer: So many have been affected by the Covid pandemic. How can we deal with death and loss?

“I really appreciate the efforts of all the doctors and nurses who have given and are giving help those who are sick.

“As a Buddhist, I see this body as something that predisposes us to falling ill. But maintaining peace of mind makes a difference. Anxiety just makes things worse. If you have a calm mind and you can accept that we fall ill as a result of our karma, it can help.”

Pico Iyer: Your Holiness you have great faith in young people. Are they the basis of your hope?

“Older people tend to look to the past, to the way things have been done before. Young people tend to be more open, to have more interest in the mind. Modern education has its origins in the West, but ancient India cultivated an extensive understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions. Ancient India outlined more than fifty types of emotion. I believe that India today can combine the materialistic thinking of modern education with an understanding of how to tackle destructive emotions.”

Pico Iyer: How can an ordinary person find peace of mind?

“Modern education in India was introduced by the British, but as I’ve already mentioned, I believe it can be usefully combined with the ancient Indian understanding of the workings of the mind and secular ways to achieve mental comfort. In addition, it can be combined with methods for tackling destructive emotions. When the pandemic is over, I’m looking forward to holding discussions with Indian educators about how this could be done.”

Pico Iyer: Is the world a better place than it was when you were born almost 86 years ago?

“People no longer take things for granted as they once did. Events like this pandemic and global warming present challenges that compel us to examine how we can deal with them. Difficulties can make us open our minds and employ our intelligence. The Indian Buddhist master Shantideva advised us to examine the problems before us to see if they can be solved. If they can, then that’s what we have to do. Worrying won’t help. Challenges can wake us up.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama in conversation with Pico Iyer as the keynote event of the University of California Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures' Creating Hope programming initiative online from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 19, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“The younger generation tend to be more open-minded, while older people stick to established patterns. It’s the younger people who will adopt a fresh approach to overcoming problems.”

Pico Iyer: Some people worry that there is increasing anger and violence in the world today. Do you agree or do you remain hopeful?

“Last century there was so much bloodshed. But after the second world war, former foes, Adenauer and de Gaulle founded the EU. Since then, there’s been no fighting amongst its member states. The entire world should adopt such an attitude of concern for the greater good of the whole of humanity. Conflicts and difficult situations tend to prompt us to turn to out of date ways of thinking — a resort to the use of force, for example — when we should adopt a fresh and more humane approach.

“I think that if I had remained in Lhasa, I’d think more narrowly than I do. Coming to India as a refugee has opened and broadened my mind and induced me to use my intelligence.”

Pico Iyer: How can we help Tibet and ensure the survival of Tibetan culture?

“Since 2001, I’ve retired from political involvement, but I still feel a responsibility to preserve Tibetan culture. In the eighth century, the Tibetan Emperor invited Shantarakshita, a great philosopher and correspondingly great logician to Tibet. He introduced the Nalanda Tradition, which has much in common with scientific thinking. It’s founded on taking a logical, investigative approach.

“At that time, there were Chinese Buddhist teachers in Tibet who asserted that the practice of meditation was more important than study. Shantarakshita’s disciple Kamalashila debated the merits of the Chinese and the Indian approaches before the Emperor. The Indian tradition prevailed and the Chinese meditators were invited to return to China. Since then, we have embraced logic. The key Indian treatises on reason, logic and epistemology were translated into Tibetan. This, the foundation of the Nalanda Tradition, is what we have kept alive.

“Nowadays, in remote parts of Tibet, despite the efforts of Chinese communist hardliners to oppose it, study of these traditions goes on. In India we have re-established our major centres of learning and more than 10,000 monastics are engaged in rigorous study.”

Pico Iyer: Can you explain emotional hygiene?

“It involves recognizing, for example, that the most effective destroyer of peace of mind is anger, but that anger can be countered by developing altruism and compassion for others. Ignorance, another mental affliction, also brings us problems, and it can be undermined by study. A great Tibetan scholar once remarked that even if I’m to die tomorrow, it’s still worth studying today.”

Pico Iyer: Is interest in Tibetan Buddhism growing in China?

“Yes, even among university teachers. We have published several volumes in a series entitled ‘Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics’ and Chinese translations have reached them. As a result, they have developed a greater appreciation of our tradition. Perhaps they see that Buddhist education is so much deeper than Marxist totalitarianism.”

Pico Iyer: Do you have any words of advice for the students of the University of California, Santa Barbara?

“This university is important. Our future must be founded on education. We need new knowledge. It’s important that professors can conduct research and pass on what they learn to their students. This university can make a significant contribution to our ability to create a better world. Thank you.”

Micheal Drake, President of the University of California thanking His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the conclusion of the online conversation with Pico Iyer from his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 19, 2021. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Michael Drake, who is President of the University of California thanked His Holiness for sharing his time. He observed that His Holiness has been associated with UCSB for forty years and that twenty years ago saw the founding of the 14th Dalai Lama Chair of Tibetan Studies. He thanked Pico Iyer for leading the conversation. He noted that compassion is important in the lives of all seven billion human beings alive today and ended with thanks to Chancellor Yang and Celesta Billeci for organizing the event.

His Holiness responded with his own thanks and the suggestion that from time to time it will be possible to hold further conversations like todays over the internet. “Any contribution I can make to the betterment of the world, it’s my duty to do. I may be getting older, but my brain is still ok. The purpose of our lives is to serve humanity.”

Celesta Billeci ended the session, thanking His Holiness, Pico Iyer and President Drake once more and expressing her optimism that the University’s initiative ‘Creating Hope’ will have benefited others. She concluded by quoting His Holiness:

“Be kind whenever possible; it is always possible.”

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