Dalai Lama https://www.dalailama.com/ en-us Wed, 19 Jun 2019 06:22:19 +0000 Wed, 19 Jun 2019 06:22:19 +0000 Celebrating Diversity in the Muslim World https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/celebrating-diversity-in-the-muslim-world Fri, 14 Jun 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/celebrating-diversity-in-the-muslim-world New Delhi, India - Upwards of 350 people filled the auditorium at the India International Centre today to attend a conference focussed on the theme, ‘Celebrating Diversity in the Muslim World’. Inspired and encouraged by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the event was organized by the Muslims of Ladakh.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arriving at the India International Centre to participate in the conference on "Celebrating Diversity in the Muslim World" in New Delhi, India on June 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

On arrival, His Holiness was welcomed by Dr Abdul Qayoom of the Anjuman Moin-ul-Islam and Ashraf Ali Barcha of the Anjuman Imamia Leh. In the auditorium he personally greeted the numerous Muslim clerics present, before taking his seat on the stage.

In his preliminary remarks he mentioned that Ladakhi Muslims came to Lhasa during the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama, who gave them a piece of land on which to construct a mosque. Subsequently, representatives of their community we always invited to Tibetan government functions.

Despite having heard no reports of disputes between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in India, elsewhere members of these different denominations are killing each other. His Holiness expressed dismay that this could happen between people of the same faith, who worship the same God, read the same Holy Scripture and follow the same pattern of praying five times a day.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the conference on "Celebrating Diversity in the Muslim World" at the India International Centre in New Delhi, India on June 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I felt that Indian Muslims should be more active in promoting religious harmony,” he explained. “I thought that a meeting of Indian Muslims here in Delhi could be helpful and I really appreciate your having arranged it. I’m also happy to know that brothers and sisters from Iran are joining us here. We have to make clear to the eyes of the world how important it is to maintain religious harmony.”

Siddiq Wahid welcomed the guests and participants, explaining that the Guest of Honour, former Vice President Hamid Ansari had been unavoidably delayed, but would come later. He alluded to the longstanding interaction between Muslims and Tibet that dates back to the 8th century. He also noted that the Tibetan language is employed in four SAARC countries—India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bhutan. He requested Hafiz Ghulam Mohammad to recite the Tilawaat e Quran Sharief, the gist of which was to say—”Do not become divided; Allah brings you together; you are brothers.”

Siddiq Wahid welcoming guests and participants to the conference on "Celebrating Diversity in the Muslim World" at the India International Centre in New Delhi, India on June 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

A. Qayum Giri declared that the intent of the conference was to celebrate diversity in the Muslim world. Although the Muslims of Ladakh are few in number, they were providing this opportunity in anticipation that such meetings will continue and grow in the future. “We want to make the world aware of the harmony we maintain on the ‘roof of the world’ and ask how this can be applied elsewhere in this country and further afield. We intend to learn, to take home what we learn and spread it in the Muslim world.”

Ashraf A. Barcha observed that Ladakh is a remote region and Muslims are in a minority there, but are stable, calm and peaceful. He hoped that speakers would identify steps to avert any future problems that might arise and stimulate constructive dialogue.

Ashraf Ali Barcha of the Anjuman Imamia Leh addressing the conference on "Celebrating Diversity in the Muslim World" at the India International Centre in New Delhi, India on June 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

In his address His Holiness noted that of seven billion human beings alive today, one billion have no interest in religion, leaving six billion who follow one of several different religious traditions. He noted that the Indian practice for cultivating a calmly abiding mind, shamatha, gave rise to the traditions of non-violence and compassion (ahimsa and karuna). He suggested that, compared to the ancient civilizations of China and Egypt, that of the Indus Valley had resulted in particularly sophisticated philosophical developments.

“Today, everyone wants to live a happy life. No one wants to suffer. Indeed, happiness is part of the basis of our survival. Scientists have concluded that basic human nature is compassionate. This is linked to individuals’ survival being dependent on the rest of the community. Those who grow up in a more compassionate atmosphere tend to be happier and more successful. On the other hand, scientists suggest that living with constant anger or fear undermines our immune system. Interdependence means that all seven billion human beings belong to one human community.

“In today’s world, despite material development, many problems we face are of our own creation. They are provoked by our tendency to see others in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Children don’t make such distinctions. They don’t care what religion, race or nation their playmates belong to so long as they smile and play happily. We need to remember the oneness of humanity, that in being human we are all the same, and I am committed to letting people know this.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the conference on "Celebrating Diversity in the Muslim World" at the India International Centre in New Delhi, India on June 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“All our religious traditions convey a message of love. In Buddhist terms we talk about feeling that all sentient beings are as dear to us as our own mother. Muslims in Tibet were very peaceable. In Turtuk, the northernmost village in India, an Imam told me that a Muslim should love every member of Allah’s creation. Elsewhere another elder told me that someone who causes bloodshed is no longer a proper Muslim.

“We are peaceful here and now, but among our neighbours in Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen children are suffering deeply. Why is that? We have to make an effort to create a more peaceful world, by cultivating inner peace within ourselves. Of course, we follow different traditions, we have different philosophical points of view, but the underlying message is one of love.

“Theistic faiths suggest we are all creatures of a merciful God, like children of a single father. We have to think about what unites us rather than what makes us different. All religions have the same potential to create a happy human being; they convey the same message of love. There are wonderful people belonging to all these traditions.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's address at the conference on "Celebrating Diversity in the Muslim World" at the India International Centre in New Delhi, India on June 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Meanwhile, killing among Muslims and Buddhists in Bangladesh, Burma or Sri Lanka, among Muslims and Christians in Egypt, in the name of religion is unthinkable. If we have peace of mind within ourselves, peace in the world will come about. But religious harmony is essential. If you ask—”Is religious harmony possible?” the answer is—look at India. Look at the example of Zoroastrians or Parsees who barely number 100,000, but who live among millions of Hindus and Muslims in Mumbai completely without fear.

“It seems to me that Shias and Sunnis are brothers and sisters and yet in our neighbour Pakistan they are killing each other. I feel that Indian Muslims should show the rest of the world, especially people in other Muslim countries, that religious harmony is possible, which something else I’m committed to sharing with others.”

His Holiness explained that as a Tibetan in whom Tibetans inside and outside Tibet place their trust, he has a responsibility to consider their well-being. He is also concerned to protect Tibet’s natural environment, the source of so many of Asia’s great rivers. He warned that there is a real danger of a reduction in the amount of water available due to the climate crisis. He added that he tries to educate people about Tibet’s cultural heritage and the advanced centre of learning at Nalanda from which it is derived. Allied to this is his commitment to trying to revive interest in ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the conference on "Celebrating Diversity in the Muslim World" at the India International Centre in New Delhi, India on June 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

After a short break for tea, His Holiness answered questions from the audience. He expressed great sympathy for the Rohingya refugees from Burma along with his conviction that the Buddha would have protected such people. He reported that Aung San Suu Kyi had told him that due to military involvement the situation was difficult to deal with.

When asked to explain how to cultivate inner peace, His Holiness suggested that believing in ‘God, the father’ can help. Otherwise, recognising that things do not exist as they appear, and cultivating altruism, can counter the destructive emotions that disturb us. He added that both ‘ahimsa’ and ‘karuna’ involved training the mind.

His Holiness told a questioner who wanted to know about nirvana that it was complicated. Nirvana, he said, is a state of mind purified through a deep understanding of reality. He clarified that since ignorance is not part of the nature of the mind it can be dispelled from it. However, to achieve that requires study, reflection and meditation.

A member of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering his question during the conference on "Celebrating Diversity in the Muslim World" at the India International Centre in New Delhi, India on June 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

A teacher wanted to know how teach schoolchildren about love and compassion. His Holiness suggested pointing out that genuine friendship is not based on money and power, but on trust, which in turn develops as a result of showing concern for other people’s well-being. In other words, explain to schoolchildren that friendship is founded on warm-heartedness. His Holiness acknowledged that we have a natural sense of self-interest, but made clear that there is a difference between pursuing it wisely and foolishly.

Invited to suggest how to reconcile differences between Shias and Sunnis, or between Iran and Saudi Arabia, His Holiness pointed out that politicians make assertions in the name of religion which tend to provoke an emotional response. He remarked that some people view Iran with suspicion, which he doesn’t, describing it as a democratic country that follows a Shia tradition. On the other hand, he remarked, Bin Laden came from the Sunni side. He declared that we can’t generalize about Shias as a whole, nor about Sunnis as a whole. It’s not possible to generalize about a whole community on the basis of the misbehaviour of a few individuals.

A member of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering her question during the conference on "Celebrating Diversity in the Muslim World" at the India International Centre in New Delhi, India on June 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Finally, His Holiness answered an enquiry about meditation by making clear that there is a difference between mental consciousness and sensory awareness. He pointed out that we have clearer access to mental consciousness when we dream because at that time our sensory consciousnesses are dormant. Training the mind, cultivating compassion and an understanding of reality, all involve mental consciousness. Success in developing a calmly abiding mind and analysis depend on how much effort you exert and how well you understand the workings of the mind and emotions.

There followed contributions from representative Muslim clerics. Maulana Abdul Qadir Noorudin from the Bohra tradition in Mumbai spoke of the diversity that is India, but also of the harmony that prevails here. He mentioned that the Holy Quran encourages the finding of shared values with others, which serve as confidence building measures. The people of India, he suggested, are bound by a shared life-style. Nevertheless, people of ill-intent try to promote division, whereas those of good heart foster friendship. He concluded that all human beings need tolerance and forgiveness.

Maulana Syed Kalbi Jawad Naqavi, a Shia teacher from Lucknow, speaking at the conference on "Celebrating Diversity in the Muslim World" at the India International Centre in New Delhi, India on June 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Maulana Syed Kalbi Jawad Naqavi, a Shia teacher from Lucknow, confessed that using English he learned 40 years ago left him short of words. Of the three points he made, the first was that most of us are not real Muslims; we are not actual but artificial Muslims, because real Muslims are expected to help others, to work to serve all human beings. A Muslim is one who helps other human beings, whatever faith they follow.

His second point was to ask the meaning of victory in Islam. We tend to think that victory involves conquering or overcoming others, but victory is to establish peace among human beings. Thirdly, the Maulana asked, what is ‘jihad’? He explained that when darkness is dispelled by lighting a candle—that is ‘jihad’. When you work to eliminate illiteracy—that is ‘jihad’. When a mother feeds her child to allay its hunger—that is ‘jihad’. Shedding blood is not ‘jihad’.

He ended by remarking that it is a sorry state of affairs when it takes a non-Muslim like His Holiness to remind Muslims about the value of non-violence and reconciliation.

Maulana Mahmud Madani addressing the conference on "Celebrating Diversity in the Muslim World" at the India International Centre in New Delhi, India on June 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Maulana Mahmud Madani, from Deoband, spoke of visiting Ladakh and Turtuk. There he met Shias and Sunnis and came across some who prayed together. He noted that communal harmony exists when Muslims work not only for Muslims but for everyone. He agreed with His Holiness’s observation that very often it is not religious issues that underlie conflict but political considerations. Too often religion is used as a weapon for short term political gain. He recalled that it was ‘fakirs’ who captured the hearts and minds of people and who could be called their rulers more than kings or emperors.

Dr Mohammed Husain Mokhtari (Chancellor of University of Islamic Denomination or Madhaheb University, Tehran, Iran) told the audience that it is a religious duty to respect each other. He commended accepting diversity among followers of religions, but also that in following religion they are united. He said we have to recognise diversity as a fact and that to do so is beneficial for everyone.

Dr Mohammed Husain Mokhtari, Chancellor of University of Islamic Denomination or Madhaheb University in Tehran, Iran speaking at the conference on "Celebrating Diversity in the Muslim World" at the India International Centre in New Delhi, India on June 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Mutual respect is important. Acceptance and recognition of each other is the preliminary to dialogue and if the goal is unity, there has to be dialogue. He encouraged the recognition of similarities as well as the acceptance of differences. Ignorance and negligence are significant obstacles to the spirit of diversity. We cannot achieve unity if we view some groups of people with fear. Nor is it helpful to criticize others as non-believers.

Former Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari spoke of diversity as such a desirable and simple concept. He asked what we find in nature—no flowers, trees or human beings are exactly the same; there is diversity. He commended the efforts made to convene this conference, but wondered if it would have been necessary if we properly understood diversity.

Former Vice President of India, Hamid Ansar speaking on the concept of diversity at the conference on "Celebrating Diversity in the Muslim World" at the India International Centre in New Delhi, India on June 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Muslims are a global community, Mr Ansari said. They number 1.6 billion. Of those, 66% live in Asia; 15% live in West Asia or the Middle East; 20% live in Africa. India, with 190 million Muslims, has the second largest Muslim population after Indonesia. Muslims, he suggested are united in their belief and religious language, but diverse in their manners and customs. The unity of their faith is demonstrated during the annual pilgrimage of the Haj. Wherever they’re from the ritual is the same. There is unity in diversity and diversity in unity.

“Islam has been present in India for a long time and has shown not only diversity but also adaptability. It can be a model for others around the world to emulate. Living together in diversity as we see in India is as unique as it is rare; let’s take it further.”

Members of the audience listening to the speakers during the conference on "Celebrating Diversity in the Muslim World" at the India International Centre in New Delhi, India on June 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

In bringing the morning session to a close, Siddiq Wahid recalled something he learned from His Holiness long ago when he was about 13 years old—to practise one religion explicitly is practise them all implicitly. He thanked His Holiness for coming and expressed the hope that what was learned today may be impressed on Ladakh, J&K, India and South Asia. He went on to thank everyone who had contributed to making the conference a success.

The delegation from Iran presented gifts to His Holiness and to Mr Ansari. His Holiness ate lunch with the Muslim clerics, while the public ate on the patio.

In the afternoon, the conference was to hear from other members of the Iranian delegation, as well as from Prof Ali Khan speaking about Dialogue within the Muslim World; from Ms Farah Naqvi about Gender in the Muslim World and from Ms Seems Mustafa about Muslims and the Media.

His Holiness returned to his hotel and will return to Dharamsala tomorrow.

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Meeting Members of a Group from Iran https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-members-of-the-iranian-impacters-club Thu, 06 Jun 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-members-of-the-iranian-impacters-club Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - At his residence this morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama met 58 members of Iranian  CEOs of small and medium sized enterprises who describe themselves as messengers of peace. As His Holiness entered the room they greeted him with friendly applause.

“I’m very happy to meet people from Iran,” he told them. “Some people are suspicious of Iranians, but I recall that there are reports of links between Tibet and Persia during the time of King Songtsen Gampo during the 7th century. And whereas Persians were described as rich, the Mongolians were referred to as war-like.

“I have certain commitments. As just one among 7 billion human beings, who all want to live a happy life, I’m committed to helping people understand that this can be achieved if they cultivate a calm, happy mind based on love and compassion. Simply put, if you can be compassionate and warm-hearted, you’ll be happy.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing members of a group from Iran during their meeting at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 7, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Secondly, as a Buddhist monk I feel a moral responsibility to promote inter-religious harmony. On a philosophical level there are all sorts of differences between religious traditions, but the common message of them all is the importance of cultivating love. I’m convinced that religious harmony is possible—look at India where so many religious traditions have lived side by side for thousands of years. Because I value religious harmony I’m happy to meet members of other faiths, so it’s a real honour for me to meet you Shia brothers and sisters today.

“These days to see people fighting and killing each other in the name of religion, whether in Egypt, Burma or Afghanistan, is really unthinkable. Next week in Delhi I’ll be attending a meeting to celebrate diversity among Indian Muslims. I’ve heard no reports of friction between Sunnis and Shias in India, so I’ve encouraged my friends in Ladakh to take more active steps to reconcile differences between their brothers and sisters of different denominations.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing members of a group from Iran during their meeting at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 7, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“When I meet people of different spiritual traditions, I remember that at a fundamental level we’re all the same as human beings. In the part of Tibet where I was born, we had Muslim neighbours and as children we played together joyfully with no differences between us. Once I reached Lhasa, our capital city, with the name Dalai Lama, I found there was a small Muslim community there too. They’d been there since the time of the 5th Dalai Lama who gave them land on which to build a mosque. There were almost no reports of disputes between local Buddhists and these Muslims, who were peaceable, cooked delicious food and spoke with an impeccable Central Tibetan dialect.

“I’m looking forward to the coming meeting and hope that representatives of the embassies of various Muslim countries will also attend. I believe it will be an opportunity to promote religious harmony.”

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his meeting with members of a group from Iran  at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 7, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Among the questions put to him, His Holiness was asked if Buddhists don’t believe in God, how do they account for creation? He replied that like Jains, Buddhists believe in life after life with no beginning. Whether you have a happy or difficult life depends on how you’ve conducted yourself before. Being kind and compassionate to others and avoiding doing them harm are good causes for a happy life in the future. The important thing is to make life meaningful—His Holiness mentioned that he appreciates how thinking of your fellow beings as children of a merciful God can help you do that.

Asked his response to the harassment of Muslims in Burma His Holiness explained that when he first heard about it he was in Washington DC. He expressed his sadness at what was happening and appealed to the Burmese Buddhists not only to remember the Buddha, but also to reflect that if he was there, he would have protected these Muslims. His Holiness explained that he had also expressed his dismay to Aung San Suu Kyi, who replied that the situation was very difficult and there wasn’t much she could do. As a mark of his sympathy and concern for the well-being of these displaced people, he directed the Gaden Phodrang Foundation of the Dalai Lama to make a donation towards their relief and rehabilitation through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The Iranians showed their appreciation with another burst of applause.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama signing one of his books to present to members of a group from Iran  at the conclusion of their meeting at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 7, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Before the occasion came to an end, the visitors gathered around His Holiness in smaller groups to have their photographs taken together—clearly very happy to have met him.

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Empowerment of Avalokiteshvara, Lord of the World https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/empowerment-of-avalokiteshvara-lord-of-the-world Tue, 04 Jun 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/empowerment-of-avalokiteshvara-lord-of-the-world Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - The Tsuglagkhang, the Main Tibetan Temple, was decorated with garlands of marigolds and 11,000 people were gathered in and around it when His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived this morning. Seated at the foot of the temple steps were 23 teams of young Tibetans from Europe, America and many parts of India, who are participating in the 25th Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Gold Cup football tournament. His Holiness greeted them cheerfully and posed for a photograph with them.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama poses with the 23 teams of young Tibetans from Europe, America and many parts of India, who are participating in the 25th Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Gold Cup football tournament in the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 5, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Addressing the crowd from the throne, His Holiness remarked: “Every year during Saga Dawa (the fourth month of the Tibetan lunar calendar that celebrates the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and passing away) we collect 100 million ‘manis’ (the six syllable mantra of Avalokiteshvara). Many people participate in this in many places. One of the effects of the recitation is the blessing of ‘mani’ pills that are later distributed widely. The rite that we use was compiled by Serkhong Tsenshab Rinpoché.

“The monks of Dzongkhar Chödé Monastery have requested me to give the empowerment of Avalokiteshvara Lord of the World today. It’ll be good if they join in the first three days of the seven day recitation. For the practice to be meaningful it’s important to reflect on bodhichitta and the view of emptiness while conducting your recitations.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the crowd from the teaching throne in the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 5, 2019. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“When you’re doing this practice you need to imagine Avalokiteshvara in front of you. Avalokiteshvara is endowed with all qualities. He is the deity embodying compassion, which Chandrakirti praised as essential in the beginning, middle and end of the path.”

His Holiness recalled the 19th century master Nyengön Sungrab’s observation that the Buddha’s teachings can be divided into those that belong to the general structure, which includes the three rounds of teachings recorded in the Sutras, and specialized instructions. For those with pure karma the Buddha arose as the chief deity of the mandala and taught the tantras. These were specialized teachings given in accordance with different disciples’ needs and aptitudes.

Some of the 11,000 attending the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment sitting in the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple watching His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 5, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Past masters who meditated on Avalokiteshvara as their main deity progressed through the paths and grounds,” His Holiness added. “We classify the tantras as belonging to the Nyingma and Sarma, ancient and new, traditions. Within the Nyingma tradition some teachings are regarded as ‘kama’ or distant oral transmissions, others belong to the ‘terma’ or close revealed treasure lineages, while a third category consists of teachings derived from ‘dag nang’ or profound pure visions. Among these pure visions there are three types: those in which the deities appear as if to direct sensory perception, those in which deities manifest during meditation and those that appear in dreams.

“Today’s empowerment is part of the ‘Sangwa Gyachen’ or ‘Secret Sealed Visions’ of the great Fifth Dalai Lama, a collection that is regarded as among the main teachings of the lineage of Dalai Lamas. Tagdrag Rinpoché thought it was important to give this collection of teachings to me. In the course of receiving these empowerments I had a series of different dreams each night. There is a section related to Dzogchen that I was unsure that I had received from him so I asked Dilgo Khyentsé Rinpoché to give it to me.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama undertaking preparations for giving the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 5, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness announced that he had to undertake some preparations before giving the empowerment and asked the congregation to recite the six syllable mantra—Om mani padme hum. He explained that ‘Om’ is the initial syllable of many mantras and consists of three letters a, u and ma—aum. These represent the body, speech and mind of the Buddha and some sentient beings. He observed that although the mind is naturally pure, it is obscured by temporary defilements. These can be overcome by developing insight into reality. In this context, ‘mani’, which means jewel, represents method or the awakening mind of bodhichitta. ‘Padme’, or lotus, indicates wisdom, specifically insight into emptiness. These two need to be developed in combination and ‘hum’ represents their inseparable union. On the basis of this our body, speech and mind can be transformed into the body, speech and mind of a Buddha.

“This statue of Chenrezig Wati Zangpo,” and His Holiness indicated a standing sandalwood statue to the right of his throne, “was long in the care of the monks of Dzongkha Chödé Monastery. In exile it was brought to me. When Dzongkha Chödé moved to their own quarters in the south of India a divination was performed to see whether it should go with them or stay here. The result was that it has stayed with me. There are suggestions that the expression on the face changes, which I think may be true. I feel he sometimes smiles at me.

Tibetan students in the audience preparing ritual blindfolds used in the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 5, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“When the great 5th Dalai Lama undertook an Avalokiteshvara retreat he brought together two statues that were known as Avalokiteshvara brothers—one from Ngari, this Wati Zangpo, and the other from Lhasa—which prompted pure visions. He saw Songtsen Gampo emerge from the heart of this statue.

“I don’t have pure visions like he did, but I do see things in dreams. Early in our days in exile, when I was still staying at Swarag Ashram, I dreamed that I went to the Jokhang in Lhasa and saw the statue known as the self-generated, five faced Avalokiteshvara. He beckoned me to him and I hugged him. He told me to remain diligent and not to weary of the task before me.

“Some time later, during the cultural revolution, the statue was destroyed, but some pieces of the faces were rescued and brought to me here. Some of them I placed inside the Thousand Arm Avalokiteshvara we have here; others were kept in a box next to him.” The glass fronted box was retrieved and placed on the table next to His Holiness.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama gesturing at a glass case containing pieces of an Avalokiteshvara statue destroyed during the cultural revolution but later rescued and brought to India as he explains the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 5, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“On another occasion I had a dream that Wati Zangpo stood before me and we were talking together like friends. I asked him if he had realized emptiness and he replied, ‘Yes, I have.’ Sometimes I boast that Avalokiteshvara is my boss—anyway, I think of myself as his messenger.”

As His Holiness began the procedures for giving the empowerment, he mentioned that he has given up the custom of sending potentially interfering beings away with a ritual cake. He says there seems to be a contradiction in generating compassion for all sentient beings at the beginning of the day and then expelling some of them later on. The real foes, he stressed, are the adventitious defilements that temporarily obscure the innate clarity and awareness of the mind.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting a Sikh man invited to come to the stage during the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 5, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

At a certain point His Holiness looked up and noticed a Sikh watching with interest from the door at the back of the temple. He asked where he was from and invited him to come up and shake hands—which he did.

In the course of the empowerment His Holiness led the audience in cultivating the all-encompassing yoga that involves cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta and visualizing it as a bright moon disk at the heart. Next is the cultivation of the wisdom understanding emptiness that is visualized transformed into a vajra standing on that moon. He declared that this is something he does every day while encouraging those listening to do so too.

Monks from Dzongkhar Chödé Monastery listening as His Holiness the Dalai Lama gives the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 5, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Smiling, casting his gaze over the people who lined the way, speaking to some and waving to others, His Holiness walked from the temple and down the stairs to the yard where more people vied for his attention. He spoke to one or two before climbing into a car and driving home.

Collecting 100 million ‘mani’ mantras will begin tomorrow.

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Teaching Young Tibetans https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/teaching-young-tibetans Sun, 02 Jun 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/teaching-young-tibetans Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - The weather was warm and humid as His Holiness the Dalai Lama walked to the Tsuglagkhang, the Main Tibetan Temple, from his residence this morning. An estimated 8000 members of the public, 400 Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) students from classes 9,10,11 & 12 and 800 Tibetan college students filled the temple, the spaces around it and the yard below.

Young and old members of the Tibetan community watching as His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrives at the Main Tibetan Temple for his teaching for young Tibetans in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 3, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Referring to a custom he began in 2007, His Holiness told the audience that his main aim today was to teach young Tibetans and the text he was going to go through was Thokmey Sangpo’s ‘37 Practices of Bodhisattvas’.

“The students among you may have been born in India, but you are Tibetan by ancestry. Those of us who are Tibetan will remain so until we die. There are myths about the Tibetan people’s origins to which I don’t pay much attention. However, there is archaeological evidence that people have been living in Tibet for 30-40,000 years. Nevertheless, what is special about us is our religion and culture. In 7th century, King Songtsen Gampo gave instructions for the creation of a script in which to write Tibetan. It was based on the Indian alphabet with vowels and consonants. So, although Tibetan spoken language is different from both Chinese and Indian languages, the model for our writing was Indian.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing Tibetan students sitting in the Main Tibetan Temple during his teaching for young Tibetans in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 3, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“In 8th century Shantarakshita was invited to Tibet by King Trisong Detsen. He advised that since we had our own language and writing we should study Buddhism in Tibetan rather than relying on Sanskrit. It’s said that despite his advancing age, Shantarakshita himself learned some Tibetan. He recommended that we translate as much Indian Buddhist literature into Tibetan as we could. The result is that our Kangyur collection, containing translations of the words of the Buddha, consists of about 100 volumes, while the Tengyur collection that includes subsequent Indian treatises consists of 220 volumes. Each text begins a gesture of authenticity, ‘the title of this work in the Indian language is such and such; the title in Tibetan is ...’

“Buddhism arose like the sun over Asia bringing illumination to many. In the west, Christianity prevailed, in the Middle East, Islam, whereas in India various Hindu schools, Jainism and Buddhism flourished. What further distinguishes India is that followers of all the world’s major religious live here side by side. An example of the atmosphere is the Parsee community, Zoroastrians originally from Persia, who, though few in number, live amidst millions of Hindus and Moslems in Mumbai quite without fear. Indian religious traditions show each other respect.”

Members of the audience taking notes during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching for young Tibetans at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 3, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness mentioned Taxila, an ancient Indian centre of learning that preceded Nalanda University. Nalanda produced many great masters, whose calibre we can judge by what they wrote. Their works, originally composed in Sanskrit, are available to us today in Tibetan translation. His Holiness remarked that in the countries of South-east Asia Buddhist literature is preserved in Pali. He explained that he refers to the Sanskrit and Pali traditions rather than the more disparaging Lesser and Greater Vehicles (Hinayana and Mahayana).

His Holiness observed that the Buddha’s first round of teachings, including the Four Noble Truths, a rough account of selflessness, single-pointed concentration and so forth, was first preserved in Pali. The second round dealing with the Perfection of Wisdom teachings was given to a select, powerfully intelligent group on Vulture’s Peak. He noted that the extensive edition of the Perfection of Wisdom runs to 12 volumes, the intermediate edition to three and the short edition to one, with several shorter texts besides.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his teaching for young Tibetans at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 3, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

The ‘Heart Sutra’ explains emptiness of inherent existence when it states that ‘form is empty, emptiness is form’. This doesn’t imply nothingness, rather that form, or a material object, can be seen, but when its identity is sought it can’t be found. Things do not exist the way they appear. Quantum physics similarly says that nothing exists objectively. Because form arises in dependence on many factors, it has no inherent existence.

His Holiness also referred to the third round of the Buddha’s teachings in Vaishali and elsewhere when he taught the ‘Unravelling of Thought Sutra’. Having taught about the objective clear light in the Perfection of Wisdom series, in this third round he clarified the subjective clear light—the subtlest consciousness.

“When you meditate, you use the sixth mind, mental consciousness, not sensory awareness. In the west, mental consciousness is not much discussed. The function of the brain tends to be explained in relation to sensory perceptions. The mind can’t be explained solely on the basis of the brain. However, ancient India had a good understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions. There was knowledge of the subtle mind and its luminous quality, as well as recognition that destructive emotions arise in a coarse state of mind.

A Tibetan student from Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) school looking at the text during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 3, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“The masters of Nalanda focused on the perfection of wisdom, exploring it in detail. Nagarjuna, for example, gave explanations not only in relation to scripture, but also in terms of logic and reason. The Buddha himself advised his followers not to accept what he taught at face value, but to examine it, much as a goldsmith tests gold, and accept it only after rigorous investigation has shown it to be logical and of benefit.

“In the Tibetan tradition we study by memorizing the ‘root text’, going through explanations of it word by word and debating with each other what we have understood. Dignaga’s and Dharmakirti’s extensive writings on logic and epistemology were translated into Tibetan. Later, Tibetan scholars like Chapa Chökyi Sengé (1109-69), the Abbot of Sangphu, and Sakya Pandita elaborated on these themes. Logic and reason are really helpful, a unique characteristic that I wanted to make you young Tibetans aware of. It’s something of which we can be proud.”

A view of the Main Tibetan Temple filled with some of the 1200 Tibetan students attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching for young Tibetans in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 3, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness began to read ‘The 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas’, noting that it opens with words of homage to Lokeshvara, the embodiment of compassion, and then in the third and fourth lines suggests that things do not exist as they appear. He glossed the Tibetan word for Buddha, revealing that it implies having eliminated all short-comings and having seen everything as it is. Jé Tsongkhapa refers to ‘not being captivated by either extreme view’.

Mental afflictions have no sound basis, they arise on the back of exaggeration. The opposite of anger, compassion and patience, are supported by reason.

The verses advise, give up your homeland, cultivate seclusion, give up bad friends and your good qualities will grow. Take refuge in the Three Jewels—the principal refuge is the Dharma, the experience of true cessation and the path to it. The Buddha is our teacher and the Sangha our companions in putting what he teaches into practice. The Buddhas do not wash unwholesome deeds away with water, nor do they remove the sufferings of beings with their hands, neither do they transplant their own realization into others. It is by teaching the truth of suchness that they liberate (beings).

Tibetan students listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching for young Tibetans at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 3, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Verse 8 counsels ‘never do wrong’, much as Aryadeva states in his 400 Verses:

First prevent the unwholesome,
Next prevent [ideas of a coarse] self;
Later, prevent [distorted] views of all kinds.
Whoever knows of this is wise.

Liberation is freedom from afflictive emotions.

Next, think about all sentient beings and develop the altruistic intention to attain enlightenment for their benefit—‘therefore, exchange your own happiness for the suffering of others’. This practice is elaborated on by Nagarjuna in his ‘Precious Garland’ and Shantideva in his ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’. It is reiterated a few verses down, ‘without discouragement take on the misdeeds and the pain of all living beings’.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama commenting on the text "Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva" during his teaching for young Tibetans at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 3, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Things do not exist in the way they appear—the text says: ‘when you encounter attractive objects, though they seem beautiful like a rainbow in summer, don't regard them as real’. Quantum physics tells us that as long there is an observer there is an observed object. The Mind Only School says that things have no external reality, while the Middle Way School states, ‘nothing whatever has any objective existence’.

The text concludes: ‘Destroy disturbing emotions like attachment at once, as soon as they arise’, ‘In brief, whatever you are doing, ask yourself "What's the state of my mind?"’ ‘Dedicate the virtue from making such effort to enlightenment—this is the practice of Bodhisattvas’.

In his own closing remarks His Holiness recommended that Buddhism should be introduced on the basis of the Two Truths, conventional and ultimate truth. The Four Noble Truths can more clearly explained on that foundation.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama waving to members of the crowd as he leaves the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard for his residence at the conclusion of his teaching for young Tibetans in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 3, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“As I mentioned earlier,” His Holiness added, “the Nalanda Tradition was illuminating like the sun. Those of us who live in freedom have the opportunity to keep alive this vast tradition of Buddhism—do your best.”

As he walked slowly along the temple corridor and down the steps into the yard, His Holiness stopped frequently to greet the many individuals young and old waiting, their hands folded in respect, smiles on their faces, to catch his eye. Then he drove in a car the short distance back to his residence.

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Support for Greta Thunberg’s Speaking Out about the Climate Crisis https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/support-for-greta-thunbergs-speaking-out-about-the-climate-crisis Thu, 30 May 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/support-for-greta-thunbergs-speaking-out-about-the-climate-crisis Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to Greta Thunberg to express his deep appreciation for her efforts to raise awareness of the climate crisis that faces us all.

“It is very encouraging to  see how you have inspired other young people to join you in speaking out,” he wrote. “You are waking people up to the scientific consensus and the urgency to act on it.

“I am also an ardent supporter of environmental protection. We humans are the only species with the power to destroy the earth as we know it. Yet, if we have the capacity to destroy the earth, so, too, do we have the capacity to protect it.

“It is encouraging to see how you have opened the eyes of the world  to the urgency to protect our planet, our only home. At the same time, you have inspired so many young brothers and sisters to join this movement.”

His Holiness ended his letter by offering his wholehearted support for Ms Thunberg’s efforts with his prayers and good wishes.

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Congratulating the Chief Minister of Sikkim https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/congratulating-the-chief-minister-of-sikkim Sun, 26 May 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/congratulating-the-chief-minister-of-sikkim Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - Writing to Shri Prem Singh Tamang, Chief Minister of Sikkim, His Holiness the Dalai Lama offered congratulations on his and his party's success in the recent State Assembly elections.

“A great responsibility now lies ahead of you,” he wrote, “and I trust that under your leadership the people of Sikkim will see prosperity and progress. I particularly hope that you will strive to improve the lives of the less privileged people in the State.

“During my visits to Sikkim over the years, the people of Sikkim have shown me affection and warm hospitality, which I very much appreciated. The kindness and enthusiasm with which I have been received vividly reminded me of the strong emotions I felt during my first visit in 1956. I have been equally heartened by the enthusiasm and interest they have shown in how positive human values can help us deal with the challenges we face today.”

His Holiness acknowledged that last month marked the 60th anniversary of Tibetans’ life in exile. Noting that there is a sizable Tibetan community residing in Sikkim, he took the opportunity to express deep appreciation for the warm and friendly way in which Tibetans have been received. He concluded by wishing the Chief Minister every success in ensuring the well-being of the people of Sikkim.

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Congratulations to Two Chief Ministers https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/congratulations-to-two-chief-ministers Sat, 25 May 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/congratulations-to-two-chief-ministers Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Shri Pema Khandu and the Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik to congratulate them both on their respective parties’ victories in recent State Assembly elections.

In his letter to Shri Pema Khandu he wrote: “As you know, I very much appreciate your friendship, and the affection and warmth that the people of Arunachal Pradesh have shown me during my visits there. Last month marked the 60th anniversary of our life in exile. I take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the State Government and people of Arunachal Pradesh for their friendship and kindness to the Tibetans settled there.”

Addressing Shri Naveen Patnaik he remarked: “Over the years, I have been able to visit Odisha quite regularly, and have enjoyed being able to meet and talk with you, as we did most recently in 2017. As you may know, there is a Tibetan Rehabilitation Settlement at Chandragiri in the District of Gajapati. May I, therefore, take this opportunity to express deep appreciation of the warm and friendly way Tibetans have been received there.”

He mentioned to both Chief Ministers his observation that in recent years much progress has been made to improve the lives of people in their states, especially the under-privileged, which he described as wonderful.

He wished both Shri Pema Khandu and Shri Naveen Patnaik every success in meeting the challenges involved in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the people of Arunachal Pradesh and Odisha respectively.

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Extending Congratulations to the Indian Prime Minister https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/extending-congratulations-to-the-indian-prime-minister Wed, 22 May 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/extending-congratulations-to-the-indian-prime-minister Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - With the announcement of the results of the Indian general election His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, to offer his congratulations on his and the National Democratic Alliance’s success.

“It fills me with admiration and pride to see India, the world's largest democracy, emerging as a leader in the community of nations,” His Holiness declared. “India is one of the great ancient civilizations, a distinctive and fundamental feature of which has been ahimsa and karuna — non-violent conduct motivated by compassion.

“ In addition to promoting an appreciation of the oneness of humanity and encouraging inter-religious harmony, I am committed to reviving interest in the ancient Indian understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions. I believe India is the only country that can successfully combine this ancient knowledge with modern education and ensure that people know how to achieve lasting peace of mind. The positive response I have encountered, especially among young Indians, in exploring such possibilities I regard as a sign of hope.

“We Tibetans have tremendous respect for India as the source of our spiritual culture,” he continued. “The traditions of Nalanda University brought to Tibet in the eighth century have had a powerful impact on our development. One highly regarded Tibetan master in the 14th century paid tribute to this when he said, “Until the light (knowledge) was brought from India, Tibet, even as the Land of Snows, remained in the dark.”

“Last month marked the 60th anniversary of our life in exile. I would like to take this opportunity to express the Tibetan people's immense gratitude to the Government and people of India. It is due to India's consistent generosity and kindness to us that we have been able to preserve our ancient cultural heritage in exile.

In conclusion His Holiness wrote: “I pray you will be successful in meeting the challenges that lie ahead in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the people of India.”

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Congratulations for Australia’s Prime Minister https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/congratulations-for-australias-prime-minister Sat, 18 May 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/congratulations-for-australias-prime-minister Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - In a letter congratulating Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, on his Coalition Party’s victory in Australia’s parliamentary elections, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote:

“Over the last four decades I have travelled the length and breadth of Australia and have been deeply touched by the openness and warmth of people from all walks of life.  I have also been encouraged by their enthusiasm and interest in my effort to promote a sense of oneness of humanity and closer inter-religious harmony.

“I take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to the Australian people for their  interest and concern for the present situation of the Tibetan people.”

He ended by wishing Mr. Morrison every success in meeting the challenges that lie ahead in fulfilling Australians’ hopes and aspirations.

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Offering of a Long-Life Ceremony to His Holiness the Dalai Lama https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/offering-of-a-long-life-ceremony-to-his-holiness-the-dalai-lama Thu, 16 May 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/offering-of-a-long-life-ceremony-to-his-holiness-the-dalai-lama Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - An estimated 7500 people packed the Tsuglagkhang, the Main Temple and Yard adjacent to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s residence this morning to participate in offering prayers for his long-life. The route from the palace gate to the temple through the yard and the temple itself had been richly decorated with garlands of flowers and bouquets. The pillars were painstakingly wrapped in coloured cloth. Tashi Shölpa, Gyal Shay and Lhamo dancers welcomed His Holiness as walked from his residence.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama walking through the courtyard on the way to the Main Tibetan Temple to attend an offering of prayers for his long life in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 17, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Inside the temple, which was filled with monks, sat representatives of Tibet’s religious traditions: from the Bön tradition, Menri Lopon Trinley Nyima Rinpoché; from the Geluk tradition, Jangtsé Chöjé, Gosok Rinpoché and Ganden Tri Rinpoché, Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin; Head of the Sakya tradition, Sakya Trizin, Ratna Vajra Rinpoché; also from the Geluk tradition, Sharpa Chöjé, Lobsang Tenzin; from the Karma Kagyu tradition, Situ Rinpoché; and from the Nyingma tradition, Ringu Tulku.

To the right of His Holiness’s throne, behind Ganden Trisur, Rizong Rinpoché, sat the Abbots of Sera, Ganden, Drepung, Tashi Lhunpo, Gyumé and Gyutö Monasteries, while to the left sat serving and retired Kalöns.

His Holiness greeted them with a broad smile when he arrived, before taking his seat on the throne. Looking out over the audience he saw six monks from Thailand and directed that they be seated with the Abbots on the dais.

The ceremony, conducted by monks from Namgyal, Gyutö and Kirti Monasteries began with a prayer invoking the former incarnations of Avalokiteshvara in India and Tibet composed by the late Trulshik Rinpoché. Next, the ‘Praise to the 17 Masters of Nalanda’ was recited. The offering requesting His Holiness’s long life was a rite focussed on Amitayus by the Fifth Dalai Lama and belonging to the collection of his Secret Visions. Its performance had been recommended by Nechung, the State Oracle, during the customary New Year trance and was offered by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and the People of Tibet.

Namgyal Monastery monks performing Dakini rituals as part of the Long Life Offering prayers for His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 17, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

At a certain point in proceedings, after the dispatching of the five dakinis, the Nechung Oracle and the oracles of Dorje Yamakyong, Nyenchen Thangla, and Kharak Khyung Tsün approached His Holiness in trance, dancing and offering prayers. They were followed by the representatives of Tibet’s religious traditions who paid His Holiness their respects and offered prayers. Tsog was offered to him.

Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay stood with Sakya Trizin as he made the mandala offering and recited from memory a long supplication to His Holiness to live long. The supplication mentioned that he has been inconceivably kind to the Tibetan people and has taught all over the world. He has encouraged harmony among the world’s religious traditions, the protection of the environment, and the preservation of the Tibetan cultural heritage. He has advocated non-violence. He has presented the knowledge contained in the Kangyur and Tengyur collections in terms of philosophy, science and religion and promoted secular ethics for the benefit of all.

The Nechung Oracle offering ritual substances for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 17, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

The supplication ended, “May your life be as firm as an indestructible vajra, may the Tibetan people be reunited and may you return to Tibet to sit on the Lion Throne in the Potala Palace. Please guide us from life to life. We request you accept our prayer.” With that the Sakya Trizin presented a statue of Amitayus to His Holiness, followed by trays bearing the eight auspicious emblems, the seven symbols of royalty and the eight auspicious substances.

The religious heads and dignitaries from the CTA offered silk scarves.

President of the Central Tibetan Administration Dr Lobsang Sangay offering a white scarf to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the Long Life Offering Ceremony for His Holiness at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 17, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness addressed the gathering. “People from the Three Provinces, representatives of our spiritual traditions and protector deities oath-bound at the time of King Trisong Detsen have made this Long-Life Offering—I’d like to thank you all.

“When I recently fell ill many people around the world, as well as inside and outside Tibet, prayed for me, and again I’d like to thank you all. Karma is such that if you haven’t done something, you won’t experience the consequences, nor will the consequences of someone else’s action ripen on you. However, because of close relations within a family and close links between teachers and students prayers between them can be effective. Those who prayed for me did so sincerely—I’m sure it will have been powerful and effective. Thank you.

Members of the Tibetan community in the traditional dress of the three provinces of Tibet holding offering to present during the Long Life Offering Ceremony for His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 17, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I can’t talk about my past lives, but in this life I became a monk and I’ve studied and practised, as Jé Rinpoché writes towards the end of ‘Dependent Arising: A Praise of the Buddha’:

“Becoming ordained into the way of the Buddha
by not being lax in study of his words,
and by yoga practice of great resolve,
this monk devotes himself to that great purveyor of truth.”

His Holiness described his deep respect for the 17 Masters of Nalanda. He observed that there had earlier been a praise for the ‘Six Ornaments and Two Supremes’, which overlooked several masters whose works were influential in Tibet. Consequently he composed his ‘Praise to the 17 Masters of Nalanda’ and encouraged the study of their respective treatises.

Young Tibetan students sitting in the Main Tibetan courtyard watching the Long Life Offering Ceremony for His Holiness the Dalai Lama on big screens in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 17, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I’ve given serious thought to emptiness,” he continued, “thanks to the encouragement of my debate assistant Ngodup Tsognyi. Later, when I reported to Kyabjé Ling Rinpoché my experience as a result of contemplating the Second Dalai Lama’s ‘Songs of the Correct View’, he remarked, ‘Before long, you’ll be a ‘space-yogi’. As Choné Lama Rinpoché put it, ‘It’s because of my teachers’ kindness that I have anything to say about emptiness, the luminous nature of the mind and bodhichitta’.

“As far as bodhichitta is concerned, I found my mind was transformed as a result of hearing Khunu Lama Rinpoché’s explanation of ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ in 1967. I’ve gained some experience of the view of emptiness and the extensive path of bodhichitta and I’ve shared it with others because I’ve seen them to be beneficial. I continue to generate bodhichitta on a daily basis and reflect on what Shantideva wrote:

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

If I do not actually exchange my happiness
For the sufferings of others,
Not only shall I not attain the state of a Buddha
Even in cyclic existence I shall have no joy.

As long as space endures,
As long as sentient being remain,
Until then, may I too remain
And dispel the miseries of the world.

“In this life I’ve been able to serve the Tibetan people and the Tibetan tradition and I’ve been able to show others how helpful an altruistic mind can be. Predatory animals only kill when they are hungry, but human beings do harm to each other on almost any pretext. In such a context we need to be more altruistic.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the gathering during the Long Life Offering Ceremony at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 17, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness quoted the Buddha’s advice: ‘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.’ He observed that only the Buddha encouraged such a sceptical, reasoned approach. He noted that in his first round of teachings, the Buddha explained the Four Noble Truths and the 37 Factors of Enlightenment. During the second round he clarified the Perfection of Wisdom and in the third round he revealed the clear light nature of the mind, which is the basis for tantric practice. Thus, the Buddha gave his teachings in a progressive way.

Referring to his three commitments, His Holiness remarked that as a simple human being himself, he is committed to serving humanity. As a Buddhist he is committed to promoting harmony amongst religions, which as a result of its longstanding traditions of ahimsa and karuna (non-violence and compassion), flourishes in India. The aim of all religious traditions is peace. Thirdly, as a Tibetan, His Holiness reported that he has done his best to educate Tibetans in exile. Although it’s been difficult for him to be very effective in Tibet, in exile he has done what he could to support and enrich Tibet’s cultural heritage.

“Buddhism in Tibet is a complete tradition,” he asserted, “including the Fundamental Vehicle, the Universal Vehicle and Tantra. Shantarakshita, a philosopher and logician, established Buddhism in the Land of Snows. Sakya Pandita followed his lead when he wrote the influential ‘Treasury of Logic and Epistemology’. It’s on the basis of this that we’ve had successful and mutually beneficial interaction with modern scientists. I’ve made some contribution to general well-being over the last 60 years, but the unflinching spirit of the people in Tibet has been my inspiration. It’s because of them that we’ve been able to keep our culture alive.

Representatives of the Tibetan religious traditions sitting in the front of the Main Tibetan Temple during the Long Life Offering Ceremony for His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 17, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“The First Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Gendun Drup, who lived to be 84, had no wish to be born in a pure land. Since I have the opportunity to benefit beings, it will be good if I’m able to live longer. I make prayers to him for his blessing that I may live another 10-15 years.

“Once I had a dream that I was swimming, even though I can’t swim, and Palden Lhamo was riding on my back. She remarked, ‘There’s no doubt you’ll live till you’re 110 years old.’” Applause rippled through the temple. “Other people too have dreamt that I may live till I’m 113. As I told people in Ladakh, what would you prefer, that you keep asking me to come here and there, or that I live long?

“People and gods have made this Long-Life Offering. I’m sure it will have a positive effect and I hope I will live to 110.”

Several auspicious prayers were recited as former and serving cabinet ministers paid their respects to His Holiness, concluding with the ‘Words of Truth’.

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Generating the Awakening Mind https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/generating-the-awakening-mind Sun, 12 May 2019 02:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/generating-the-awakening-mind Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - Before His Holiness the Dalai Lama reached the Main Temple this morning, the ‘Heart Sutra’ was recited three times in the languages of the Buddhist Republics of the Russian Federation, Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva. Once he had arrived, greeted the eminent Lamas and the audience and taken his seat on the throne, the ‘Heart Sutra’ was chanted once more in Russian.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting members of the audience as he arrives at the Main Tibetan Temple for the final day of his teachings requested by Russian Buddhists in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 12, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“So to conclude this series of teachings, today we’ll conduct a ceremony for generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta,” His Holiness announced. “As far as the awakening mind is concerned we need to understand that we are seeking to attain a state in which all defilements and faults have been eliminated and in which perfect realization—omniscience—has been achieved. Unsurpassed enlightenment is the goal you seek when you generate the awakening mind. You aspire to become a Buddha for the benefit of all sentient beings.

“In his ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ Chandrakirti wrote:

“Even those abiding in the first mind of complete enlightenment (bodhichitta)
Overcome those born from the speech of the Subduer Kings
And Solitary Realizers through their own merit's increase.
On the (ground called) Gone Afar he surpasses them with his intelligence.

“And at the end of the sixth chapter of the same work, he wrote:

“And like the king of swans, ahead of lesser birds they soar,
On broad white wings of conventional and ultimate (bodhichitta) full spread.
And on the strength of virtue's mighty wind they fly
To gain the far and supreme shore, the oceanic qualities of Victory.

“These powerful lines from ‘Entering into the Middle Way' echo the praise of compassion in the words of salutation.

“The mind of compassion, non-dual understanding,
And the altruistic mind of enlightenment (bodhichitta)
Are the causes of Children of the Conquerors (bodhisattvas).

“In terms of practice, compassion is important in the beginning, middle and end. The ‘Prayer of Maitreya’ states that bodhichitta is the factor that leads you away from the lower realms, to higher realms and finally to that deathless state where you are free from aging and death. Since the time of the Buddha, the great Indian masters who followed him cultivated bodhichitta. This is why we refer to the Buddha as the teacher, the Dharma as the actual refuge and the Sangha, like Nagarjuna and so forth, as companions on the path to enlightenment.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on the final day of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 12, 2019. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“To achieve Buddhahood we also need to realize emptiness. The Middle Way propounded by Nagarjuna is important, so much so that Bhavaviveka criticized what he called Asanga’s and Vasubandhu’s recklessness in neglecting to accept and follow it. However, if we only read Nagarjuna, we won’t reach a very deep understanding. Addressing the challenges posed by other points of view has the effect of broadening and enriching our sense of discernment. Studying a variety of treatises has a clarifying effect.”

His Holiness explained that to conduct the ceremony for generating the awakening mind you can follow the extensive rite described in Asanga’s work the ‘Bodhisattva Grounds’, or the shorter version in Shantideva’s ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’. He suggested that today he would use the verses that begin, ‘With a wish to free all beings ...’

He observed that the Buddha is someone who has travelled the path and teaches from his own experience how to overcome afflictive emotions, ignorance and their residual stains. By following his teaching we can eliminate all mental defilements, because of which he can be seen as the highest teacher.

His Holiness called on the audience to imagine the Buddha in the space before them as a living person surrounded by his Eight Close Disciples, Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri and so forth; the Seven Patriarchs like Kashyapa who came after him; the Seventeen Nalanda Masters, Nagarjuna and Asanga and their followers; the 84 Great Adepts (Mahasiddhas) such as Saraha and so forth.

Members of the audience looking at the text on the final day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the request of Russian Buddhists at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 12, 2019. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness digressed to mention the distinction drawn by an 18th century Lama called Nyengön Sungrab between teachings that constitute the general structure of Buddhism and specialized teachings. Teachings belonging to the Sutras and works like Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’ constitute the general structure that anyone can follow. Tantras, such as Kalachakra, that involve working with channels, winds and drops are specialized teachings intended for specific disciples.

Continuing to describe those imagined gathered around the Buddha His Holiness mentioned Tibetan masters as well as their Indian mentors: Nyingma masters like the 25 disciples of Guru Padmasambhava; Sakya masters of the LamDre tradition; masters belonging to the three Kadampa lineages; masters from the four major and eight minor Kagyu traditions and masters of the Renewed Kadampa tradition, the Gandenpas, Jé Tsongkhapa and his disciples.

“These figures are role models for us in terms of practice of the profound and extensive paths. Taking them as witness to your generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta you generate much merit and wholesome energy. Shantideva summarizes the benefits of generating the awakening mind,

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

If I do not actually exchange my happiness
For the sufferings of others,
Not only shall I not attain the state of a Buddha
Even in cyclic existence I shall have no joy.

“We have to make bodhichitta our main practice. When I was about 13 years old, with Ngodup Tsognyi’s active encouragement, I took great interest in emptiness, but bodhichitta seemed remote to me. However, after I came into exile and especially after I received an explanation of ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ from Khunu Lama Rinpoché, I began to integrate bodhichitta into my practice. Over time, as a result of effort, it has become close to me. You should do the same. Generate bodhichitta, pursue the practice and what happened to me can happen to you.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama conducting the ceremony for generating the awakening mind on the final day of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 12, 2019. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness asked the congregation to kneel on their right knees and, keeping the visualization he had described vividly before them, to recite the Seven Limb Prayer—prostration, offering, confession—taking the Buddha and so forth as witness, rejoicing in their manifest qualities, requesting them to teach, beseeching them not to pass into the state of peace, and dedication. Following that, he led them in reciting these verses three times.

With a wish to free all beings
I shall always go for refuge
to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
until I reach full enlightenment.

Enthused by wisdom and compassion,
today in the Buddha’s presence
I generate the mind for full awakening
for the benefit of all sentient beings.

As long as space endures,
as long as sentient being remain,
until then, may I too remain
and dispel the miseries of the world.

At the end His Holiness encouraged those gathered before him to recite these verses three times every day after they wake in the morning and three times again in the evening. He explained how cultivating bodhichitta and setting an aspiration for enlightenment at the beginning can set the tone for the whole day, enabling you to spend your time meaningfully in the service of others. Then, at the end of the day, you’ll be happy to dedicate the virtue for the benefit of all.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he concludes the final day of teachings requested by Russian Buddhists at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 12, 2019. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

In conclusion His Holiness recited verses of dedication from the Samantabhadra Prayer followed by lines from the end of the Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment.

Likewise may I dedicate
Just as the skilful Samantabhadra,
With pure body, speech, and mind,
Pure actions and pure buddha-fields.

I shall give rise to the aspirations of Manjushri
For this bodhisattva practice of all-embracing good,
To perfect these practices
Without discouragement or pause in all future eons.

In regions where the supreme, precious teaching has not spread
Or where it has spread but then declined,
May I illumine that treasure of happiness and benefit
With a mind deeply moved by great compassion.

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Congratulating the President of South Africa on Election Victory https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/congratulating-the-president-of-south-africa-on-election-victory Sat, 11 May 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/congratulating-the-president-of-south-africa-on-election-victory Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote to Cyril Ramaphosa today to congratulate him on his party's victory in recent national elections.

“South Africa has great potential for development and prosperity,” His Holiness observed. “The people of South Africa have worked hard to promote peace, democracy, and equality, in the spirit of truth and reconciliation. I’m hopeful that under your leadership the country will continue to progress, particularly in improving the lives of the less privileged. It is important to instil optimism and hope among your people, and will also inspire people of other nations.”

He ended by wishing Mr Ramaphosa every success in meeting the challenges that lie ahead and in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the people of South Africa.

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Teachings for Russian Buddhists — Second Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/teachings-for-russian-buddhists-second-day Fri, 10 May 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/teachings-for-russian-buddhists-second-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - Following a recitation of the ‘Heart Sutra’ in Russian, which the hundreds of Russians in and around the Tsuglagkhang joined in, His Holiness the Dalai Lama opened his copy of Jé Tsongkhapa’s ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’. He explained that it was composed after Tsongkhapa had written the Great, Medium and Concise ‘Stages of the Path to Enlightenment’ treatises. He wrote it in response to a request from Tsako Wönpo Ngawang Drakpa, a close disciple and leader of the people of Gyalmorong in Eastern Tibet.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arriving at the Main Tibetan Temple for the second day of his teachings in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 11, 2019. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

In an accompanying note Tsongkhapa urged Ngawang Drakpa to practise well the teaching he was sending him. He assured him that should he do so, when he, Tsongkhapa, manifests enlightenment as one of the 1000 Buddhas of this fortunate aeon, he will share the nectar of his teaching first with him.

The Three Principal Aspects of the Path that this short set of verses refers to are the determination to be free, the awakening mind of bodhichitta and the wisdom understanding emptiness.

“All sentient beings want happiness,” His Holiness observed, “and seek to avoid suffering and adversity. You can see this easily if you block an insect’s path—it shies away and seeks another route. Spiritual practitioners in ancient India identified afflictive emotions as the source of many of our troubles. The Sanskrit term is ‘klesha’ rendered in Tibetan as ‘nyön-mong’, which refers to states of mind that disturb our peace of mind, making us unhappy, the moment they arise.

“Non-Buddhist practitioners in ancient India saw the afflictive emotions of the desire realm as faulty and disadvantageous. They practised all kinds of austerity to overcome them such as fasting and remaining naked. They turned away from the realm of desire and cultivated the four meditative absorptions, leading to the pursuit of the four absorptions of the formless realm—infinite space, infinite consciousness, nothingness and the peak of cyclic existence, the subtlest state of mind within the cycle of existence.

Members of the audience reciting prayers at the start of the second day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the request of Russian Buddhists at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 11, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I have several times hoped to have the opportunity to talk to such practitioners when they descend from their mountain solitudes to the Kumbha Melas. Living in such cold conditions they have clearly accomplished the practice of ‘inner heat’, which we know about from the Six Dharmas of Naropa. I would like to learn from their experiences, but the occasion has not arisen.

“In his ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’ Nagarjuna clarifies the faulty nature of afflictive emotions.

Through the elimination of karma and afflictive emotions there is liberation;
Karma and mental afflictions come from conceptual constructs;
These come about from mental fabrication;
Fabrication ceases through emptiness.

“Desire, hatred and ignorance arise from conceptual constructs rooted in seeing what is beautiful or ugly as inherently existent, which is to take an exaggerated view. Aryadeva, a close disciple of Nagarjuna clarified this point.

“Just as the capacity to feel is present throughout the body,
Ignorance dwells in all afflictive emotions.
Therefore all afflictive emotions are overcome
Through overcoming ignorance.

“When dependent arising is seen
Ignorance will not occur.
Thus every effort has been made
To explain (dependent arising) precisely here.

“These masters did not rely on scriptural citation to make their point, they employed reason.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the gathering on the second day of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 11, 2019. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“The primary focus of ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’ is the view of emptiness. To develop that we need a method to overcome our cognitive obstructions, and that method is the awakening mind of bodhichitta. At the same time we have to understand how afflictive emotions cause us trouble and that obstructions to knowledge can be eliminated. Once we see that afflictive emotions can be overcome, we can appreciate that obscurations to knowledge can also be surmounted and that realization of emptiness is possible. The practice of bodhichitta—the altruistic aspiration to enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings---supports the realization of emptiness. The determination to be free is preliminary to that.”

His Holiness mentioned that he had received explanatory transmission of this text from each of his main teachers, Tagdag Rinpoché, Yongzin Ling Rinpoché and Yongzin Trijang Rinpoché. He remarked that in his own practice he recites and reflects on the ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’ rather than the longer ‘Song of Experience’. When he reflects daily on the entire path he uses the ‘Foundation of All Excellence’ and for his bodhichitta practice he recites the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’. He repeated that as a basis of his reflections on the view of emptiness he uses the ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’.

Reading through the text he noted the title, the homage to the teachers, and the pledge to compose (V.1). Tsongkhapa urges listeners and readers to pay close attention (V.2). Since there is no way to still attraction to the pleasures of cyclic existence without a pure determination to be free, he asks how it is to be achieved (V.3). His Holiness indicated the need to understand pervasive suffering, to do which there is a need to appreciate the suffering of change and the suffering of suffering.

A human life with leisure and opportunity such as this is hard to find, consequently we must avert attachment to the attractions of this and future lives. (V.5) The next verse touches on the measure of having developed a determination to be free and the verse after that shows that this is not enough and that Bodhisattvas generate the excellent mind of enlightenment. We need bodhichitta to reach Buddhahood (V.6). The process of developing the awakening mind of bodhichitta is described in the following two verses.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the second day of his teachings requested by Russian Buddhists at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 11, 2019. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

Swept by the current of the four powerful rivers, completely enveloped by the darkness of ignorance, and ceaselessly tormented by the three miseries—all beings, your mothers, are in this condition. Think of them and generate the awakening mind (V.7&8).

“Although 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. It’s interesting that Tsongkhapa doesn’t mention ‘selflessness’ here, despite its being common to all four Buddhist schools of thought. Instead he presents that system of Nagarjuna, who praised the Buddha for teaching dependent arising, which Nagarjuna and his disciples were fulsome in exploring. At the end of his ‘Fundamental Wisdom’ Nagarjuna writes:

“Homage to Gautama
Who, through compassion,
Taught the exalted Dharma,
Which leads to the relinquishing of all views.

“Tsongkhapa goes on, ‘Appearances are infallible dependent arising: emptiness is free of assertions. As long as these two understandings are seen as separate, you have not yet realized the intent of the Buddha. When these two realizations are simultaneous and concurrent, from a mere sight of infallible dependent arising comes certain knowledge, which completely destroys all modes of mental grasping. At that time the analysis of the profound view is complete.’ (V.11&12) When that analysis is complete, understanding of dependent arising induces an understanding of emptiness and conversely.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama explaining Tsongkhapa's "Three Principal Aspects of the Path" on the second day of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 11, 2019. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“This is not to say that the mind realizing emptiness and the mind understanding dependent arising are synonymous—they complement each other.

“When I look at you,” His Holiness remarked, “something appears to me. I see your bodies; I may hear your speech. You appear as something solid existing from your own side, but you do not actually exist in that way. Likewise, when you see me and listen to me you can infer something of my thinking from what I say, and yet my body, speech and mind are not me, any more than your body, speech and mind are you. Things may have a solid appearance, but they don’t exist that way.

“Chandrakirti observed that things don’t exist independently from their own side, but they do exist on a conventional level. He cites the analogy of a chariot that cannot be found when analysed in seven ways, but that still exists by way of worldly convention.

“When you understand dependent arising you gain an insight into emptiness. You can also understand that whatever is empty is a dependent arising. The two complement each other.

The Russian interpreter translating His Holiness the Dalai Lama's explanations during the second day of teachings requested by Russian Buddhists at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 11, 2019. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“The final verse concludes, when you realize the keys of these three principal aspects of the path, depend on solitude and strong effort and quickly reach the final goal (V.14). The colophon states ‘This advice was given by the Bhikshu with extensive learning, Lobsang Drakpa, to Tsako Wönpo Ngawang Drakpa’.

Having completed the teaching, His Holiness stopped for the day. He announced that tomorrow he will conduct a ceremony for generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta. He greeted friends and well-wishers who lined the corridor as he left the temple and again had a few words for people gathered at the bottom of the temple stairs before climbing into a car and returning to his residence.

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Teachings for Russian Buddhists https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/teachings-for-russian-buddhists Thu, 09 May 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/teachings-for-russian-buddhists Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - An eager crowd of more than 7600 awaited His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Tsuglagkhang, the Main Tibetan Temple, this morning. They included people from 69 countries among them 429 from India, 254 from Israel, 194 from the USA, 147 from Britain, 137 from Germany as well as the principal group of 1100 from Russia. His Holiness stopped to speak to several people as he walked through the yard. When he reached the temple he greeted Ganden Trisur, Rizong Rinpoché, the incumbent Ganden Tripa and others before taking his seat on the throne.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arriving at the Main Tibetan Temple for the first day of his teachings requested by Russian Buddhists in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 10, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

After a recitation of the ‘Heart Sutra’ in Russian, His Holiness addressed the congregation.

“The teaching today is mainly directed to people from Russia, including those from the Buddhist Republics of the Russian Federation, Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva, who have a longstanding connection with Tibet. There is a special bond between us.

“Some time ago we would hold teachings for Russians in Delhi. Then some people told me that they couldn’t easily afford to come, so we arranged teachings in Riga, Latvia, that was easier for them to reach. Travelling that far has become difficult for me, so we thought of holding teachings in Delhi again. However, Delhi is hot and the air is polluted so here we are in Dharamsala once more where I hope you will enjoy the clean air and the pleasant weather.

“One of the sutras records the Buddha predicting that his doctrine would travel from north to the north. First of all it spread from India to Tibet and from there to Mongolia and the Buddhist Republics of Russia. Early on, Buddhism was introduced to Tibet from China when King Songtsen Gampo married a Chinese princess who brought the Jowo statue with her. Later, King Trisong Detsen invited Shantarakshita who brought the Nalanda Tradition from India to Tibet.

Some of 1100 Buddhists from Russia following the opening prayers on the first day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 10, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Two main streams of Buddhism emerged in India, the Pali tradition and the Sanskrit tradition. They both have the practice of monastic discipline, the ethics of the Vinaya, in common. The Nalanda Tradition developed within the Sanskrit tradition emphasizing the study of philosophy and the disciplining of the mind on the basis of reason and logic. Destructive emotions were tackled on the basis of reason, especially the wisdom understanding selflessness—the selflessness of persons and of phenomena. “

“Eventually the Middle Way School (Madhyamaka) asserted that phenomena exist only by way of designation. This and the assertion that things do not exist the way they appear are comparable to the quantum physics’ observation that nothing has any objective existence.”

His Holiness reiterated that the Nalanda Tradition had been conveyed first to Tibet, then to Mongolia and on to the Russian Buddhist Republics. Historically these regions produced thousands of great scholars.

“When I was preparing for my Geshé exam I read many books by such scholars. One of my debating assistants, a scholar from Inner Mongolia called Ngodup Tsognyi, really inspired me to take an interest in the Middle Way view. These days we have several hundred Mongolians studying in the great monasteries in the south of India.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the audience on the first day of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 10, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“The Nalanda Tradition makes extensive use of logic in accordance with the Buddha’s advice: ‘As the wise test gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, So, bhikshus, should you accept my words—after testing them, and not merely out of respect for me.’ The Nalanda Masters subjected the Buddha’s words to logical scrutiny in order to verify them. Only when they were satisfied by reason and experiment did they accept them. The Buddha is the only religious teacher to have encouraged his followers to be sceptical in this way. And this is scepticism is what makes the Nalanda Tradition attractive to scientists.

“Today, in many parts of the world, when it is so much easier to exchange information, more and more people are taking an interest in Buddhism—European Russians as well as traditionally Buddhist Russians. There are also Russian scientists interested in investigating the mind.”

His Holiness repeated advice he often gives that followers of the Buddha today should try to be 21st century Buddhists. He declared that to take refuge in the Three Jewels without understanding is insufficient. Buddhism has unique philosophical points of view, but also teaches the importance of ahimsa or non-violence as a code of conduct. If ahimsa, motivated by karuna or compassion, were more a part of our lives there would be less conflict in the world and we could better address problems like the gap between rich and poor.

Members of the audience attending the first day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching requested by Russian Buddhists at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 10, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness observed that the classic works of the great Nalanda masters and commentaries to them by Tibetan and Mongolian scholars contain insight and knowledge that could well be studied in an objective, academic way.

“The book I was going to go through with you here is ‘The Changeless Nature’ or Uttaratantra, but it may be too long for the time we have available. It refers to the ‘Tathagatagarbha Sutra’ or the ‘Buddha-nature Sutra’ which was part of the Buddha’s third round of teachings. The second round dealt with the Perfection of Wisdom teachings and in the first round he expounded the Four Noble Truths.

“Gungtang Tenpai Drönmé remarked that the three turnings of the wheel of dharma, or the three rounds of the Buddha’s teachings, are like climbing a mountain, starting at the base and continuing on to the summit. The Perfection of Wisdom teachings of the second round discuss emptiness or the object clear light, but the third round, especially the ‘Tathagatagarbha Sutra’, emphasizes the subjective mind of clear light. We need to learn how to progress along the path according to these three rounds of teachings.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on the first day of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 10, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Soon after his enlightenment the Buddha is said to have expressed his thoughts as follows: ‘Profound and peaceful, free from elaboration, uncompounded clear light, I have found a nectar-like Dharma. Yet if I were to teach it, no-one would understand what I said, so I shall remain silent here in the forest.' We can understand this verse as anticipating the teachings he would eventually give. ‘Profound and peaceful’ refers to the first round of the Buddha’s teachings; ‘free from complexity’ refers to content of the second round, while ‘uncompounded luminosity’ refers to the third round.

“The ‘Tathagatagarbha Sutra’ explains how the clear light mind, ‘uncompounded luminosity’ has existed for beginningless time; it’s always been there. This is also referred to in the Guhyasamaja Tantra and the four empty states, as well as in a commentary to the ‘Mahaparinirvana Sutra’ composed by the Seventh Dalai Lama. This clear light mind is the main subject of the ‘Uttaratantra’ and the seven vajra points with emphasis on the spontaneously arisen mind of clear light.

“It is comparable to what you find in the Nine Vehicles of the Nyingma tradition, the Hearer, Solitary Realizer and Bodhisattva vehicles, the three outer tantras—Kriya, Charya and Yoga tantras and the three inner Tantras—Maha, Anu and Ati Yogas. Mahayoga corresponds to the generation stage, Anuyoga to the completion stage, while Atiyoga takes the basic luminous nature of the mind into the path, as is also described in the Guhyasamajatantra.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting members of the audience as he leaves at the end of the first day of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 10, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness stopped there for the day and returned to his residence. Yangden Rinpoché taught for the rest of the morning and conducted a session reviewing what His Holiness had said in the afternoon.

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Meeting with Business Leaders and Professionals from India, Vietnam and Russia https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-with-business-leaders-and-professionals-from-india-vietnam-and-russia Sun, 05 May 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-with-business-leaders-and-professionals-from-india-vietnam-and-russia Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - When His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with business leaders and professionals, 35 from India, 45 from Vietnam and 18 from Russia this morning he told them:

Members of the audience from India, Vietnam and Russia standing as His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrives for their meeting at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 6, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“The purpose of our life as individual human beings is to serve others as much as we can. I dedicate the actions of my body, speech and mind to the welfare of others every day. That’s the meaning of Dharma and reflects the longstanding Indian traditions of ahimsa and karuna. I’ve studied in the ancient Indian tradition since childhood, which has meant memorizing classic texts, receiving word by word explanations of them and using logic and reason in debate to scrutinize what I learned. I strongly recommend using ancient Indian logic. As a student of the Nalanda tradition I’ve found it really helpful for maintaining peace of mind.”

Having invited questions from the audience, His Holiness told a businessman that although shrewd judgement might sometimes lead to success, simply being honest is more reliable because it attracts other people’s trust.

He suggested that we need moral principles if we are to create a more peaceful society. Education should include instructions on how to achieve and maintain peace of mind. Integral to this is advice on tackling our destructive emotions. In India practices for accomplishing concentration and insight (shamatha and vipashyana) have yielded deep understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama listening as a member of the audience ask him a question during his interaction with business leaders and professionals from India, Vietnam and Russia at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 6, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“India is one of the world’s great civilizations, in which the conduct of ahimsa motivated by karuna play a crucial part. I am committed to trying to revive interest in ancient Indian understanding of the mind and emotions. I believe this is the only country that could successfully pioneer a combination of this ancient knowledge with modern education. In our monasteries in South India we have 10,000 monks and 1000 nuns trained and qualified to teach about this.

A questioner asked His Holiness about defending against the ‘evil eye’. He replied that it’s just a superstition and that in this day and age superstition is out of date—much better to think scientifically.

Answering a question about enlightenment His Holiness explained that enlightenment can be defined in different ways. In a Buddhist context it relates to our mind being fundamentally pure. Most of the time, he said, we are concerned with sensory consciousness without any idea of how to achieve peace of mind. Sensory consciousness is a relatively coarse state of mind. The dream state and deep sleep state, uncluttered by sensory input, are subtler, while the subtlest state of mind manifests at the time of death. His Holiness observed that grosser and subtler levels of consciousness can be distinguished in meditation. At its subtlest level the mind is not clouded by ignorance or subject to any other defilement.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his interaction with business leaders and professionals from India, Vietnam and Russia at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 6, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Returning to the notion of ahimsa and karuna, non-violence and compassion, His Holiness pointed out that weapons can only be used to kill and maim. If we’re interested in peace we should seek a demilitarized world. The use of force to solve problems is mistaken. Seeing other people in terms of ‘them’ and ‘us’ easily leads to violence. As human beings we belong to one community, therefore we should respect each other as brothers and sisters.

In conclusion, His Holiness encouraged visitors from Vietnam, traditionally a Buddhist country, and those from Russia, where there have historically been Buddhists with links to Tibet and the Nalanda Tradition, to learn about the mind and emotions. He reiterated the need to take a scientific approach and to study.

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