Dalai Lama https://www.dalailama.com/ en-us Tue, 10 Dec 2019 01:14:03 +0000 Tue, 10 Dec 2019 01:14:03 +0000 Symposium on Monastic Education to Mark the 25th Anniversary of Kirti Jepa Dratsang https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/symposium-on-monastic-education-to-mark-25th-anniversary-of-kirti-jepa-dratsang Sat, 07 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/symposium-on-monastic-education-to-mark-25th-anniversary-of-kirti-jepa-dratsang McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, India - This morning, under a cloudless blue sky filled with the brilliant sunlight of winter, His Holiness the Dalai Lama drove the short distance from his residence to the nearby Kirti Jepa Dratsang. He was welcomed at the entrance to the monastery by Kirti Rinpoché who escorted him in. The monastery’s open areas were filled by monks, nuns and devoted members of the public. His Holiness stopped briefly to say consecrating prayers before a huge appliqué thangka of Jé Tsongkhapa and his two principal disciples. He walked a little further before pausing to pay attention to young monks from Darjeeling Suke Kirti Monastery debating. Next, he stopped to view an exhibition of books published by Kirti Jepa Dratsang.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arriving at Kirti Jepa Dratsang in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 7, 2019. Photo by Manuel Bauer

His Holiness took his seat on the stage in a large tented space that had been arranged to host a symposium on monastic education. To his left sat representatives of the Three Pillars of Tibetan democracy and members of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and to his right sat Kirti Rinpoché and Prof Samdhong Rinpoché.

Kirti Rinpoché offered the mandala and threefold representations of the body, speech and mind of the Buddha. Auspicious prayers were recited, including 'The Praise to the Buddha known as the Three Continuums', the ‘Praise to the Seventeen Masters of Nalanda’ and a prayer for His Holiness’s long life by Jamyang Khyentsé, as tea and sweet rice were served.

In conjunction with celebrations of the 600th anniversary of Jé Tsongkhapa’s passing away, the Symposium on Monastic Education for Young Monks and Nuns was declared open. Karma Gelek Yuthok, Kalon for Religion & Culture presented Certificates of Graduation to ten monks. Pema Yangchen, Education Kalon released a souvenir book celebrating the 25th anniversary of the founding of Kirti Jepa Dratshang.

Karma Gelek Yuthok, Kalon for Religion & Culture presenting Certificates of Graduation at the Symposium on Monastic Education to mark the 25th anniversary of Kirti Jepa Dratsang in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 7, 2019. Photo by Manuel Bauer

In his address to the gathering, Kirti Rinpoché expressed his gratitude to His Holiness for accepting the invitation. He added that people in Tibet have regularly asked him to request His Holiness to give a Kalachakra Empowerment in the Do-mey region and he hoped he would accept that request too. He spoke of the founding of Kirti Jepa Dratshang in Dharamsala in the 1990s and the restoration of monasteries in Tibet.

Kirti Rinpoché explained that the present symposium had been convened with a view to maximizing the benefit of young monastics.

“As they grow up, monks and nuns, in Tibet and in exile too, face a lot of challenges,” Rinpoché observed. “They need guiding rules and regulations. So, we thought it would helpful to hold discussions focussing on monastic training. We also plan to discuss a common curriculum for young monastics’ education.

Kirti Rinpoche speaking at the 25th Founding Anniversary of Kirti Jepa Dratsang celebration in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 7, 2019. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“There have recently been other conferences that discussed His Holiness’s reincarnation. Of course, we want His Holiness to reappear among us, but right now our task is to request him to do so. When his reincarnation appears, our responsibility will be to take care of him. And although he has expressed a wish for only a small household in the future, there will need to be a firm and stable institution capable of supporting the work of the Dalai Lama. In conclusion, I’d like to request His Holiness to take care of his health.”

Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Pema Jungney recalled that, following His Holiness’s lead, the older generation had worked hard to re-establish the monastic centres of learning. He praised the theme of the symposium and voiced his hopes for its success.

Sikyong Lobsang Sangay applauded the way Kirti Rinpoché has followed His Holiness’s leadership in exile. “In Tibet,” he remarked, “a campaign of Sinicization has been going on for 60 years. Here in exile, however, we’ve been able to preserve our traditions. Tens of thousands of people have sacrificed their lives for the Tibetan cause. Among those who have committed self-immolation, the greatest number have been from Ngaba, the location of Kirti Monastery in Tibet.”

President of the Central Tibetan Administration Dr Lobsang Sangay speaking at the inauguration of the Symposium on Monastic Education to mark the 25th anniversary of Kirti Jepa Dratsang in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 7, 2019. Photo by Manuel Bauer

He noted that His Holiness has reclassified the content of the Kangyur and Tengyur under three headings—science, philosophy and religion. Buddhism’s account of the science of the mind is something from which everyone can benefit, whatever their personal beliefs.

His Holiness began by greeting Kirti Rinpoché, the leaders of the CTA and everyone attending the symposium. He then read from the colophon to the ‘Praise to the Seventeen Masters of Nalanda’, which includes the following:  ‘At the present time, when in the ordinary world there is great advancement in the fields of science and technology, but we are also distracted by the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, it is extremely important that those of us who follow the Buddha should have faith based on knowledge of his teaching’.

“Buddhism speaks of three objects of knowledge,” he continued. “Those that are obvious, those that are slightly hidden and those that are obscure. Buddhists say we can understand slightly hidden and obscure phenomena on the basis of inference and reliance on the authority of the Buddha. This applies to our cultivating the path of liberation. We are able to draw inferences about slightly hidden and obscure objects of knowledge because we employ logic and reasoning.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the gathering at the 25th Founding Anniversary of Kirti Jepa Dratsang in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 7, 2019. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“As the Sikyong pointed out, we can think of the content of the Kangyur and Tengyur in terms of science, philosophy and religion. The science mostly deals with science of the mind which can be of widespread benefit. One of the principal philosophical ideas is dependent arising, which corresponds to notions underlying quantum physics.

“Only in the Nalanda Tradition was there such an emphasis on using logic to understand the Buddha’s teaching. However, both the use of logic and understanding of psychology described in the classic texts can be employed in an entirely academic context. Much of the Nalanda Tradition is compatible with science.

“Each of the 17 Masters of Nalanda composed treatises that we continue to study today. In contrast to that, the 16 Arhats left almost nothing behind apart from one verse attributed to Rahula. One of the Arhats is said to reside at Mount Kailash. When Kirti Rinpoché requested that I give a Kalachakra Empowerment I wanted to ask him where he thinks Shambhala is. Once when I was talking to an astrologer, he told me that it was in the vicinity of Kailash and that you had to dig through snow to reach it and so on.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the inauguration of the Symposium on Monastic Education to mark the 25th anniversary of Kirti Jepa Dratsang in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 7, 2019. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“Similarly, on another occasion, I was talking to Gyen Wangdu about Rudrachakrin the King who will restore Buddhism to the world and how the prediction includes an account of its destruction in the first place. Receiving the Kalachakra Empowerment is popular, but it’s not easy to do even the practices associated with the mind mandala. And as for the six branch yogas of the completion stage, they are now really only found among the Jonangpas.

“The Buddha is said to have reflected as follows soon after his enlightenment: 'Profound and peaceful, free from elaboration, uncompounded clear light, I have found a nectar-like Dharma. Yet if I were to teach it, there is no-one who would understand what I said; therefore, I shall remain silent here in the forest.'

“The words ‘profound and peaceful’ can be taken to refer to his first round of teachings; ‘free from elaboration’ refer to the second round and the perfection of wisdom. ‘Uncompounded clear light’ can be understood to refer to the subtle mind of clear light that is employed in highest yoga tantra. There are four empty states which are empty of coarse appearances associated with the stages of dissolution—white appearance, red increase, black near attainment and clear light.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the 25th Founding Anniversary of Kirti Jepa Dratsang in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 7, 2019. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“Panchen Palden Yeshi is reputed to have visited Shambhala and there was a huge grain in the Potala he’s said to have brought back.

“The foundation of the Buddha’s teaching is love and compassion, on the basis of which you develop the awakening mind of bodhichitta. Bodhi here refers to enlightenment on the basis of wisdom.”

His Holiness remarked that Shantarakshita brought the pure, authentic Nalanda Tradition to Tibet and Tibetans have kept it alive for more than 1200 years. He noted that most Asian countries are sympathetic to Buddhism, but when aspects of the Nalanda Tradition reached China, and from there Korea and Japan, they did not include an emphasis on the use of logic and reason. This is only found in the Tibetan tradition.

A view of members of the press filming His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the inauguration of he Symposium on Monastic Education to mark the 25th anniversary of Kirti Jepa Dratsang in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 7, 2019. Photo by Manuel Bauer

He recalled that when he first voiced and interest in talking to scientists an American friend warned him that science could be the killer of religion. However, he was confident that it was not a threat and has been cooperating and holding conversations with scientists for almost 40 years.

He observed that in today’s world many problems were created by human beings themselves despite its being human nature to be compassionate. One factor is that too many people pursue only materialistic goals. His Holiness referred to his commitment to reviving interest in ancient Indian knowledge, especially of the workings of the mind and emotions, in India. He mentioned that several pilot projects are underway.

He reiterated that only Tibetan Buddhism maintains the approach of examining the Buddha’s teachings in the light of reason and logic. He recalled that, in the past, when observing debates going on in Sarnath, he sometimes suggested that the debaters set scriptural citation aside to argue solely on the basis of reason.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the inauguration of the Symposium on Monastic Education to mark the 25th anniversary of Kirti Jepa Dratsang in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 7, 2019. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“Kirti Rinpoché has worked hard, especially in developing a curriculum that can be used in Tibet. I’d like to thank him.

“As the Sikyong pointed out, we should all aim to be 21st century Buddhists. In the ‘Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path’ Tsongkhapa doesn’t say we should have a pure vision of the lama. Instead he lists the qualities he should possess. He states that those who wish to discipline others should first be disciplined themselves. They should cultivate ethics, a calmly abiding mind and insight into reality.

“The Shukden practice became prevalent because people followed what the lama said unquestioningly. After coming into exile, I urged monasteries and nunneries to introduce the study of logic and philosophy. It’s not blind faith we need, but command of reason and logic. In addition, I suggested that the practice of logic and debate be introduced into ordinary schools, because logic can be applied whatever subject is under examination. Gradually more and more of our people are taking up this approach to study.

“We are the custodians of the Nalanda Tradition and the knowledge it maintained. At the same time, Tibetan is the most accurate language in which to express it. Pride in this contributes to the undaunted spirit of the Tibetan people, which has lent courage to the many who have sacrificed themselves for our cause.”

Prof Samdhong Rinpoché delivering the opening presentation at the Symposium on Monastic Education to mark the 25th anniversary of Kirti Jepa Dratsang in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 7, 2019. Photo by Manuel Bauer

In his opening presentation to the Symposium on Monastic Education Prof Samdhong Rinpoché acknowledged that the aim of the meeting was praiseworthy. “Buddhist teaching is a source of happiness,” he said, “but whether it survives or not will largely depend on monastics, male and female, so their training and education is crucial. Under Kirti Rinpoché’s influence many monastics are receiving a sound education in Tibet and I appreciate that.”
Rinpoché questioned whether there is enough time to do justice to the more than 60 text books Kirti Dratshang has published. He wondered whether some of the material might be summarized.

He spoke about the importance of Tibetan as the medium of study, specifically literary Tibetan. He recommended that the use of dialect be avoided. He expressed support for better teacher training and again praised the handbook for teachers produced at Kirti Monastery. He recommended distinguishing between teachers of secular subjects and Dharma teachers, but urged teachers to integrate what they teach in themselves. He concluded with his good wishes for the success of the symposium.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama waving to the crowd as departs for his residence at the conclusion of the inauguration of the Symposium on Monastic Education to mark the 25th anniversary of Kirti Jepa Dratsang in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 7, 2019. Photo by Manuel Bauer

The Chair of the Symposium Organizing Committee, Ven Tsering, offered thanks to the guests, educators and the 150 monks and nuns from more than 100 monastic institutions for showing interest by their attendance.

His Holiness and other guests ate lunch together, following which he visited the Assembly Hall and the Protector Chapel before returning to his residence. Friends and well-wishers, smiles on their faces and silk scarves in their hands lined the road from one gate to the other.

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Meeting Tibetan Studies’ Students https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-tibetan-studies-students Mon, 02 Dec 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-tibetan-studies-students Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala - Two groups of students met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the audience hall at his residence this morning. One was a group of seven, with accompanying staff, from Earlham College, Indiana, USA, who have spent three months studying at the College for Higher Tibetan Studies — Sarah. The other consisted of 14 students who are due to graduate from a two-year intensive training with the Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translator Program. They were accompanied by nine teachers and staff, as well as their 14 Tibetan language tutors.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arriving at the audience hall for his meeting with Tibetan Studies' students at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 2, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Opening his remarks to them, His Holiness outlined his four commitments. He observed that the whole of humanity comprises one community, declaring that he is trying to make a positive contribution to that community by promoting the importance of having a compassionate mind.

“In developed parts of the world material facilities are excellent and yet stress, competition and self-centredness leave people dissatisfied. I’m committed to trying to let people know that the ultimate source of happiness is within us.

“I’m also committed to encouraging harmony among religious traditions. Conflict and violence in the name of religion is unthinkable. To believe that only one religion is true and that there is only one truth is very short-sighted. In reality, in the wider world, we have several religions and truth has many aspects. Here in India inter-religious harmony is excellent. Indigenous traditions flourish side by side with traditions from abroad, setting an admirable example for others to follow.

“From a Buddhist point of view all religions involve human beings and seek to foster good human qualities like love, forgiveness, tolerance and self-discipline. Their different philosophical standpoints are varying methods to support these basic principles.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to groups of Tibetan Studies' students at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 2, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Thirdly, I’m a Tibetan, someone in whom the majority of Tibetans place their trust. Although I’ve retired from political responsibility since 2001—we have an elected leadership to take care of that—I’m concerned about the natural environment in Tibet. Because of its altitude and cold temperature, it’s fragile and if damaged will take longer to recover than other places. Therefore, there’s a need to protect and preserve the ecology of Tibet.

“In addition, I’m concerned to keep Tibetan culture alive. Through the Nalanda Tradition we were introduced to ancient Indian knowledge and practice focussed on non-violence, a calmly abiding mind and insight into reality.

“Tibet’s first contact with Buddhism occurred with the arrival of a Chinese princess in the seventh century. But, a century later, the Tibetan Emperor chose to introduce Buddhism from India. He invited Shantarakshita, a venerable monk, philosopher and logician, to visit Tibet. Shantarakshita was the foremost scholar of his day at Nalanda University. He advised the Emperor to initiate the translation of Indian Buddhist literature into Tibetan. Consequently, the Tibetan language was enriched and is now the language closest to Sanskrit. Indeed, Tibetan is the most accurate living language for explaining Buddhist philosophy, psychology and logic.

“My fourth commitment is to trying to revive ancient Indian knowledge in India. Modern education neglects this profound understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions, which remains relevant today and has the potential to be very beneficial.

A view of the audience hall during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's meeting with Tibetan Studies' students at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 2, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Many of the problems we face today are of our own making. Thinking of others in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’ leads to division and conflict, as we saw in the world wars of the last century and the invention of nuclear weapons—weapons of annihilation. Self-centredness and failing to see the world as one community leads to such circumstances. This is why we need a sense of the oneness of humanity.

“We’re all growing older, but in many ways we’d be better off if we could restore the open, friendly and playful outlook we had as children. Children naturally recognise that we are all the same in being human.

“Just as we teach children to wash their hands and clean their teeth, to exercise and keep physically fit, we need to train them in ways to keep their peace of mind and tackle destructive emotions like anger, fear and jealousy.

“That my brothers and sisters is what I have to report to you. Do you have any questions for me?”

One of the trainee translators asked how she could best use her new-found skills for herself and others. His Holiness answered that the content of the more than 300 volumes of the Kangyur and Tengyur can be categorized as dealing with science, primarily science of the mind, philosophy and religion. While the religious material is only of interest to Buddhists, scholars and academics would do well to examine the philosophy and science.

A trainee translator asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his meeting with Tibetan Studies' students at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 2, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

He recommended that she look into translating texts dealing with the science of mind, paying attention to mental, as opposed to sensory, consciousness, and the science of reason. He particularly encouraged her to examine how anger, for example, destroys peace of mind and how compassion is its antidote.

Distinguishing the agent from his action, His Holiness pointed out that the agent is another human being like us deserving of compassion. It is his negative action, on the other hand, that may require you to take counter measures. However, the proper solution to conflict is to engage in dialogue with your opponent.

His Holiness advised young people faced with disruptive problems to use their intelligence and to look at the difficulty from a number of angles. Unless you take account of the reality of any given situation, he said, your response is likely to be unrealistic. You need to take a broader view.

Asked what makes him laugh, His Holiness observed that Tibetans in general are cheerful people. Reporting that his mother was his first teacher of warm-heartedness, he recalled that neither he nor his brothers and sisters ever saw her show an angry face. Considering all sentient beings to be kind like mothers Shantideva wrote:

And so, today, within the sight of all protectors,
I summon beings, calling them to Buddhahood.
And, till that state is reached, to every earthly joy!
May gods and demigods and all the rest rejoice!

His Holiness remarked that when he gives empowerments, he no longer performs the ritual for driving away interfering forces because as sentient beings they deserve to be included rather than driven away.

Questioned about Arya Tara His Holiness observed that she represents the embodiment of all Buddha’s activities, just as Avalokiteshvara embodies his compassion and Manjushri his wisdom. In such a context we shouldn’t regard these bodhisattvas as individual persons or deities. We can pray to Tara for long life, freedom from illness and prosperity and to fulfil the four kinds of action, peaceful, increasing, controlling and forceful.

“In Tibet,” His Holiness mentioned, “we tended to take more interest in the specialized teachings of tantra at the expense of studying the general structure of the teachings. In the early 60s, here in exile, I urged monasteries and nunneries that had previously been dedicated primarily to performing rituals and prayers to introduce programs of study.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama wearing a cap presented by students from Earlham College during a group photo after their meeting at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on December 2, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“There was a lama a couple of generations ago who commented that if all you do is recite mantras, you risk only wearing out your nails. The key practices of the general structure of the Buddha’s teachings are cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta and an understanding of emptiness.”

His Holiness highlighted three levels in the acquisition of knowledge. Firstly, you develop an acquaintance with something by listening to explanations or reading about them in books. Secondly, you reflect thoroughly on what you’ve learned, which leads to conviction. Finally, you familiarize yourself with that conviction in meditation, which gives rise to concrete experience.

His Holiness disclosed that Jetsun Milarepa approached a lama who told him, “I have a teaching that enables you to attain enlightenment without any need for meditation.” Reflecting on his training in black magic, Milarepa thought that he must therefore be a person of some experience. However, Marpa, who he met later, put him through all kinds of hardship before introducing him to practices and teachings through which he became enlightened.

Almost as an after-thought, His Holiness divulged that three days ago he had a dream of Marpa, his teacher Naropa, the latter’s mentor Tilopa, and Guhyasamaja. He then sat for a few more minutes as the groups of students had their photographs taken with him before returning to his residence.

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Teachings for Buddhists in Maharashtra https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/teachings-for-buddhists-in-maharashtra Sun, 24 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/teachings-for-buddhists-in-maharashtra Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India - This morning His Holiness the Dalai Lama drove across Aurangabad to the PES College of Physical Education, where a stadium had been prepared for him to address the public. From his car he was driven in a golf-cart along a cordoned off corridor across ground to the stage on the other side. Smiling people thronged the barriers to catch a glimpse of him as he passed.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama riding in a golf-cart to the stage at the stadium of PES College of Physical Education in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India on November 24, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

When he reached the stage, His Holiness paid his respects before a large white statue of the Buddha and an image of Dr Ambedkar. After he had taken his seat the stadium began to fill more rapidly, eventually accommodating more than 50,000 people. The Bhikkhus wore saffron and maroon robes, while lay devotees were mostly dressed in white. Mahanayaka Thero from Sri Lanka, seated next to His Holiness, led a chant of the verses for taking refuge in Pali.

Dr Harshadeep Kamble explained to the audience that he and his family had taken the initiative to launch the event and were supporting it financially. Ven Bodhipalo Mahathero invited His Holiness to address the venerable monks and lay devotees.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama lighting a lamp in front of an image of Dr Ambedkar before his talk at PES College of Physical Education in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India on November 24, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

"Firstly, I'd like to recite some preliminary verses," His Holiness told the crowd.

Praise for the Perfection Wisdom:

Homage to the Perfection Wisdom,
The Mother of all Buddhas of the three times,
Which is beyond words, inconceivable, inexpressible,
Unproduced and unobstructed, in the nature of space,
The objective domain of self-aware wisdom.

Tatyatha - gateh, gateh, paragateh, parasamgateh, bodhi svaha

The homage from Nagarjuna's ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way':

I prostrate to the perfect Buddha,
The best of all teachers, who taught that
That which is dependent origination is
Without cessation, without arising;
Without annihilation, without permanence;
Without coming; without going;
Without distinction, without identity
And peaceful - free from fabrications.

And the first verse of Chandrakirti's ‘Entry into the Middle Way':

The Shravakas and those halfway to buddhahood are born from the Mighty Sage,
And Buddhas take their birth from Bodhisattva heroes.
Compassion, nonduality, the wish for buddhahood for others' sake
Are causes of the children of the Conqueror.

“Nagarjuna wrote a clear commentary to the perfection of wisdom teachings called ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’, which clarifies their explicit instruction, emptiness of intrinsic existence. Maitreya composed the ‘Ornament for Clear Realization’ which elucidates the path that is the implicit instruction of the perfection of wisdom. These are both texts studied deeply in Tibet.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the crowd of more than 50,000 people at the stadium of PES College of Physical Education in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India on November 24, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“We learned to employ logic through studying Dignaga’s ‘Compendium of Valid Cognition’ and Dharmakirti’s ‘Commentary on Valid Cognition’ The Vinaya we follow belongs to the Mulasarvastavada Tradition. We rely on the clear commentary of Gunaprabha. We also paid close attention to Vasubandhu’s ‘Treasury of Higher Knowledge’.

“The Buddha himself trained in India’s existing spiritual traditions. He adopted the practices of ‘ahimsa’ and ‘karuna’. Eventually he advocated a profound philosophical stance.

“In the first round of his teachings at Sarnath, he taught ethics, concentration and wisdom— ‘shila’, ‘shamatha’ and ‘vipashyana’. Later, at Rajgir he revealed the perfection of wisdom to a more select and intellectually inclined audience. He explained ultimate reality to them. He stressed the difference between appearance and reality, with the explicit purpose of undermining the subtle level of ignorance. This was the essentially the path followed by the Nalanda Tradition.

“Nalanda masters like Nagarjuna developed what the Buddha had taught with his explanation of dependent arising. In due course, the teachings of Buddhism extended right across Asia. In the 20th century Westerners also began to take an interest. Here in India, Dr Ambedkar made a significant contribution to the understanding of Buddhism with his own formal conversion and conversion of 500,000 others at Nagpur in 1956. It is because of Dr Ambedkar that many of you are here today. With him, Buddhism was revived in this country.

“As growing numbers of people show interest in Buddhism, it’s important to understand what is meant by the words Buddha and Dharma. The Tibetan word for Buddha indicates someone who has cleared away all the defilements of their mind and freed themselves from all obstructions to knowledge—from being able to see phenomena as they are.

Some of the more than 50,000 people listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the stadium of PES College of Physical Education in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India on November 24, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Understanding what is meant by the Buddha and the Three Jewels entails understanding the two truths, the four noble truths, as well as how you abandon unwholesome action and follow the path to true cessation. Attaining true cessation is the real refuge, the jewel of Dharma. To attain that and follow the path of the Buddha effectively, it’s necessary to become a member of the Sangha with a direct understanding of emptiness. Faith alone is insufficient; you need to apply reason and study.”

His Holiness mentioned the three kinds of suffering—the suffering of suffering, suffering of change and existential suffering. He remarked that the suffering of suffering can be avoided by abandoning unwholesome actions. In the second case, things and feelings we consider pleasurable change into suffering. Existential suffering is the unsatisfactoriness that pervades all three realms of existence, the desire, form and formless realms. In the higher of these realms it is temporarily possible to avoid the suffering of suffering, but existential suffering pervades everywhere.

Suffering is rooted in ignorance that is depicted as the first of twelve links of dependent arising. This ignorance is not a case of simply not knowing reality, it refers to a misconception of reality. Once you understand dependent arising this misconception will not arise.

His Holiness drew attention to coarser and subtler understandings of selflessness in the context of the four schools of Buddhist thought. The Particularists and Sutra Followers—Vaibhasika and Sautrantika Schools—assert the lack of a self-sufficient ‘I’. The Mind Only and Middle Way Schools—Chittamatra and Madhyamaka—explain not only the selflessness of persons, but the selflessness of phenomena too, especially the selflessness of the body/mind combination.

Earlier, His Holiness had inaugurated a block-chain enabled platform for preserving the Tripitaka and Dhamma texts. He suggested that it would be helpful if, in time, it could also present the gist of Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom’ and the ‘Ornament for Clear Realization’. These texts would represent the core of the Nalanda Tradition, which Tibetans have kept alive since Shantarakshita introduced it to them more than 1000 years ago.

The Hindi interpreter translating His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at PES College of Physical Education in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India on November 24, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Although I didn’t study as long as some of our top Geshés, I studied the Nalanda Tradition for 13 years, then sat for and acquired the degree. As Jé Tsongkhapa wrote: ‘In the beginning I sought much learning, in the middle the teaching dawned on me as spiritual instruction and in the end, I strove day and night in practice. I dedicate the merit that the Dharma may flourish.’

“What would we meditate on, if we didn’t know what the Buddha taught? He said, “I’ve shown the path to liberation, but whether you follow it is in your hands.” We must identify the disturbing emotions and apply antidotes to them. Faced with all sorts of difficulties in my life, I have discovered that what I studied has been really helpful to me.

“I generally advise Buddhists to be 21st century Buddhists, to study and develop faith that is based on understanding. In his book, ‘Clear Meaning’, Haribadra referred to two kinds of follower, the intelligent and the dull. If you follow the path of the dull, the Buddha’s teachings may not last much longer. But if you follow the path of the intelligent, Buddhism may survive several centuries more.

“The Buddha instructed his followers, “As the wise test gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, so, bhikshus, should you accept my words—after testing them, and not merely out of respect for me." When we see an image of the Buddha we say, “This is our teacher.” If that’s how we think of him, we should also consider ourselves as students, which means we need to study.

“I’ll give a brief reading of the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’, which I first heard when I was a child and which I have recited daily since then. I find it very helpful.”

Some of the more than 50,000 people listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the stadium of PES College of Physical Education in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India on November 24, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Reading the short text in English, His Holiness commented that the first two verses teach us not to be arrogant. If we develop the awakening mind of bodhichitta and restrain ourselves from harming others, there’s no room for arrogance. The third verse recommends tackling the destructive emotions with wisdom. Verse four highlights the difference between the kind of compassion we feel for relatives and friends, which is coloured by attachment, and the more genuine compassion we feel when we recognise that even an enemy is a fellow human being.

The fifth and sixth verses allude to Shantideva’s remark that your enemy is your greatest teacher. The seventh refers to the practice of giving and taking, which His Holiness said he’s have found very helpful. Where the final verse says ‘May I see all things as illusions and, without attachment, gain freedom from bondage,’ there is an aspiration to understand dependent arising.

There are two options. Things can either be independent or they exist in dependence on other factors. As quantum physics asserts, things have no objective existence. They exist, but are not independent.

“Studying Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom’ and Chandrakirti’s ‘Entering the Middle Way’ sheds light on the disparity between appearance and reality,” His Holiness observed. “I’ve been analysing this for 70 years or more and I’ve been cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta for 50 years. These practices have been helpful in counter my misconception of self and my self-cherishing attitude.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama waving to the crowd as he prepares to leave the stage at the end of his talk at PES College of Physical Education in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India on November 24, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Lastly, I want to express my deep appreciation to those who have provided this opportunity for us to be together. And I would also like to thank all the members of the audience for taking the trouble to come and for showing such deep interest. Buddhism is profound, but I never claim that it is the best tradition. Just as you can’t say that one medicine is always the best, because what is best depends on the need and condition of the patient, so different people find different spiritual traditions helpful according to their various dispositions.”

As he prepared to leave, His Holiness came to the front of the stage the better to see the faces of people in the audience. He saluted them with folded hands and waved. Many people eager to be closer to him pressed forward as he left the stage and walked to his car. From the stadium he drove to Aurangabad airport, from where he flew to Delhi. Tomorrow, he will return to Dharamsala.

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Visiting the Lokuttara International Bhikkhu Training Centre https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/visiting-the-lokuttara-international-bhikkhu-training-centre Sat, 23 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/visiting-the-lokuttara-international-bhikkhu-training-centre Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama flew from Delhi to Aurangabad yesterday at the invitation of the Lokuttara International Bhikkhu Training Centre. He last visited the city more than 40 years ago in May 1978. This morning, before leaving for the Centre, he met briefly with media representatives.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama meeting with media representatives in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India on November 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

He wished them a good morning and told them he was looking forward to meeting people while he is here and exchanging ideas.

“I usually describe myself as a messenger of Indian thought,” he told them. “I believe India’s long-standing traditions of ‘ahimsa’—non-violence and ‘karuna’—a compassionate attitude, are very relevant to today’s world. That’s why I talk about them whenever I can. Also, because of ‘ahimsa’, India is a country where all religions live together amicably. I not only admire this example, but am committed to promoting inter-religious harmony.

“Once, at a large meeting in Ladakh a local imam declared that while Muslims had a clear devotion to Allah, they also need to show love to all the creatures of Allah.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to members of the media in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India on November 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“In my experience, observing ‘ahimsa’ and ‘karuna’ brings inner peace. Since all human beings need peace of mind, ‘ahimsa' and ‘karuna' remain relevant today. In order to inculcate deeper values in the world, we need to reawaken knowledge of these qualities in modern India.

“My body, born in Tibet, is Tibetan, but my mind, filled with knowledge rooted in ancient India, is more Indian than some of the modern Indians I meet. I am convinced that a greater appreciation of ‘ahimsa’ and ‘karuna’ can be achieved through education. So, my first commitment is to promoting a more compassionate humanity.

“I’m looking forward to meeting followers of the Theravada tradition today. Any questions?”

Members of the media listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during their meeting in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India on November 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Asked about the Karmapa Rinpoché, His Holiness replied that he didn’t know what he was doing now, but that he’s a very good person who pays close attention to his studies. The Karmapa is an important spiritual teacher, he added, but it’s not so much the individual we need to rely on. Although there are no reincarnations of the Buddha or Nagarjuna, studying what they taught is what counts. Most important is developing warm-hearted compassion.

Invited to comment on Dr Ambedkar’s role, His Holiness recalled that he started his movement to revive Buddhism in India in Nagpur in 1956. His Holiness noted approvingly that Ambedkar was all for equality in society and opposed the caste system.

As to the contribution the Bhikkhu Training Centre can make, His Holiness pointed out that the Buddha was a teacher. What’s more he encouraged his followers not to accept what he taught just out of respect for him, but after investigating and examining it the way a goldsmith tests gold.

A view of the golden Buddha stature at the Lokuttara International Bhikku Training Center in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India on November 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

The clear, blue sky was strewn with mare’s tail clouds as His Holiness drove north-east out of the city to the Lokuttara Mahavihara, the Bhikkhu Training Centre founded by Venerable Bodhipalo Mahathero. A senior Bhikkhu was there to welcome him as he arrived. He escorted him to the foot of a colossal golden Buddha statue, whose hand mudras indicate teaching and meditation. His Holiness bowed his head and spent some moments in prayer and reflection. Next, he planted a Bodhi tree and in an adjacent temple again paid his respects before the statue of the Buddha.

More than 150 Bhikkhus sat on the floor of the Training Centre to listen to His Holiness. Dr Harshadeep Kamble requested the Abbot, Ven Bodhipalo Mahathero to welcome His Holiness, Mahanayaka Thero from Sri Lanka and a senior Mahathera from Thailand. He offered them white shawls and flowers. Dr Kamble announced that since the Training Centre was completed a year ago, two groups of Bhikkhus have trained there.

Ven Bodhipalo Mahathero welcomed his guests and celebrated His Holiness’s presence as a blessing for the Indian Buddhist community. He said it didn’t matter whether monks belonged to the Theravada, Mahayana or Vajrayana traditions, they were welcome. He declared that monks should be optimistic. What they had to do was understand and practise. Coming together, as Buddhists are doing for the present three-day Global Buddhist Congregation, is the need of the time. It will result, he said, in a revival of the Buddha’s teachings. He acknowledged Dr Ambedkar’s reintroducing Buddhism to modern society, as well as his efforts to make India strong.

The Abbot of the Lokuttara Mahavihara, Ven Bodhipalo Mahathero. welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama and guests to the Training Centre in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India on November 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“These days, I don’t use the terms Hinayana and Mahayana,” His Holiness observed at the start of his talk. “Teachings of the Theravada Tradition were recorded in Pali. The teachings of the Nalanda Tradition were recorded in Sanskrit, so I prefer to talk about the Pali and Sanskrit traditions.

“After his enlightenment, the Buddha went to Sarnath where he explained what was to become the foundation of his teachings. He taught the Vinaya, the monastic discipline, the Four Noble Truths, their 16 characteristics and the 37 factors of enlightenment. The Four Noble Truths are the very foundation of what he taught.

“We all experience true suffering, but only human beings have the intelligence to be able understand its cause. It is important not only to understand what true cessation of suffering would be like, but also that it is possible to attain it. Ultimately, the cause of suffering is ignorance, holding a mistaken view of reality. The path, on the other hand, is to understand reality. Along with that, we need to know that the mind is pure and that the mental afflictions that cloud it are not part of the mind and can be eliminated. We need to understand that it is possible to attain cessation in the context of dependent arising—pratityasamutpada.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to more than 150 Bhikkus and guests at the Lokuttara International Bhikku Training Center in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India on November 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Shamatha, the practice to develop a calmly abiding mind, a concentrated mind, and vipashyana, insight into reality are found in common with non-Buddhist traditions. However, what is unique about the Buddhist approach is that it leads to insight into the idea that there is no independent self separate from the body and mind.

“In the Nalanda Tradition the Mind Only and Middle Way views of reality are similar to the view of quantum physics. That is to say that external things don’t exist as they appear. Ignorance is based on appearances and is an acceptance that the way things appear is the way they exist. Quantum physics mostly examines external things, but stresses the crucial role of the observer. However, only Buddhism has examined the observer.

“You can see my body and you can hear my voice, but you don’t know where my sense of ‘I’ is.

“When the Buddha first taught at Sarnath, he explained ethics, concentration and wisdom— ‘shila’, ‘shamatha’ and ‘vipashyana’, which correspond to the three collections of teachings— ‘Vinaya’, ’Sutra’ and ‘Abhidharma’. These are the foundation of his teaching. Ethics corresponds with the discipline of the Sangha community, the Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas and Upasikas.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Lokuttara International Bhikku Training Center in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India on November 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“When it comes to cultivating a calmly abiding mind, we need to recognise the obstacles to concentration, such as laziness, dullness and excitement. Within wisdom there are subtler and coarser levels of understanding selflessness.

“The Buddha’s second round of teachings at Rajgir were given to a more selected audience. They were recorded in Sanskrit, the language of the educated. There he taught the perfection of wisdom, that nothing exists as it appears. In the third round of teachings, also recorded in Sanskrit he discussed the subtle mind that understands ‘shunyata’—emptiness of independent existence.”

His Holiness talked about how the Buddha had been a prince, who left his family and became a bhikshu. His first five disciples became bhikshus like him because it’s easier to make mental progress if you observe the ethics of a monk or nun. His Holiness observed that the Buddha accorded equal opportunities to men and women in conferring both the Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni vow. The Buddha spent six years practising meditation in austere conditions, deepening his understanding until all ignorance was eliminated and he became a Buddha. From this we learn that ethics is the foundation of practice. So, I’m pleased to know that you are taking active steps here to secure the Bhikkhu Sangha.

Bhikkus in the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Lokuttara International Bhikku Training Center in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India on November 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness explained that the Buddha entrusted the care of the Dharma, especially the upholding of the Vinaya, to Mahakashyapa, who was followed by Ananda, Shanavasika, Upagupta, Dhitika, Krishna and Sudarshana. Due to disagreements, 18 schools of thought emerged. Of the four major orders of Vinaya, Theravada, Mahasanghika, Mulasarvastivada and Sammitya, today, Theravada, Mulasarvastivada and Dharmagupta survive. The Pali and Sanskrit Pratimoksha codes of discipline are essentially the same, differing over small points of detail.

“It is wonderful that you are paying special attention here to training Bhikkhus.”

Finally, His Holiness explained three levels of knowledge. The first is acquired by listening or reading, but tends to be easily deflected by other points of view. The second involves reflection and analysis, and entails penetrating the meaning. The third level concerns deepening understanding yet further by familiarizing yourself with what you’ve understood in meditation. This leads to insight.

During the words of thanks, Ven Bodhipalo Mahathero, on behalf of Lokuttara Mahavihara, offered replicas of the great golden Buddha statue outside to His Holiness, Mahanayaka Thero from Sri Lanka and the senior Mahathera from Thailand. This last elder offered a crystal statue of the Buddha to His Holiness, while His Holiness offered a statue to Lokuttara Mahavihara.

His Holiness then joined the elder monks for lunch, before returning to his hotel in Aurangabad. Tomorrow, he is to give a public talk.

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The 24th Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Memorial Lecture https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/the-24th-sarvepalli-radhakrishnan-memorial-lecture Thu, 21 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/the-24th-sarvepalli-radhakrishnan-memorial-lecture New Delhi, India - This morning His Holiness the Dalai Lama drove across New Delhi to the India International Centre (IIC), where he had been invited by the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) to give the 24th Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Memorial Lecture. Dr Radhakrishnan was the first Vice-President of India and the second President. He founded the IIAS in 1965 in what had been the Vice-Regal Lodge and later the Rashtrapati Niwas, Shimla.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama joining Guest of Honour, Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and IIAS Chairman, Kapil Kapoor in lighting a lamp to inaugurate the  24th Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Memorial Lecture at the Indian International Cnntre in New Delhi, India on November 21, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

As he reached the stage erected on the IIC’s Fountain Lawn, His Holiness greeted, smiled and waved to many old friends in the 250 strong audience of invited guests. Principal among them was Dr Kapila Vatsyayan. He was requested to join Guest of Honour, Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and IIAS Chairman, Kapil Kapoor in lighting a lamp to inaugurate the occasion.

Prof Makarand R Paranjape, Director of the IIAS was welcoming. He gave a potted history of the IIAS and its founding in Shimla by Dr Radhakrishnan once he had become President. The Rashtrapati Niwas was part of the Presidential estate, but was under-used. Dr Radhakrishnan, who was a scholar not only of the Vedas and Sanskrit, but also held the Spalding Chair of Ethics at Oxford, decided to transform it into an institute of advanced study. With regard to ethics he remarked, “It’s not that human beings are unaware of moral imperatives, they just don’t want to exercise them.”

Prof Paranjape invited NN Vohra, President of IIC and former Governor of Jammu & Kashmir to speak. He declared he had little to say, other than to express joy at His Holiness’s presence. He harked back to first meeting him in the early ‘60s when he was a Magistrate in Kangra and the MEA Liaison Officer was away. Mr Vohra was deputed to serve His Holiness. He recalled finding him, earnestly learning English, sitting on the veranda of his Swarag Ashram residence in Dharamsala, reading the Calcutta Statesman.

NN Vohra, President of IIC and former Governor of Jammu & Kashmir speaking at Indian International Centre in New Delhi, India on November 21, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Vice-Chairman of the IIAS, CL Gupta gave a short introduction in Hindi.

Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe expressed his sense of honour to be sharing a platform with His Holiness. He noted that not every spiritual leader has the authority to speak about ethics, but His Holiness has earned it. He raised four points in relation to a discussion of ethics: the need for a universal acceptance of spiritual democracy; individualism and collectivism and the interdependence between them; in relation to protecting the environment and dealing with climate change, the notion that you should contribute before you consume, which he said rich, developed countries have not done. Finally, he mentioned ethics and economics, and suggested taking Mahatma Gandhi’s trusteeship as a model.

Addressing the gathering as “Respected elder brothers and sisters”, His Holiness told them he could see a number of old friends among them who he’d known for a long time.

“I recognise your faces, even if I can’t immediately remember your names. When I notice that some of you look older, I’m reminded that I’ve grown older too.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivering the 24th Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Memorial Lecture at the Indian International Centre in New Delhi, India on November 21, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“However, what’s much more important is that we make our lives meaningful. We all have Buddha nature, but it takes practice to fulfil its potential. One of the principal factors of such practice is acquiring an understanding of reality. This entails recognising the gap between appearance and reality. Since destructive emotions are based on our misconception of appearances, the antidote to them is to recognise reality. The second factor is altruism. We can see that those who have a more compassionate outlook are happier and gather others around them.

“Today, we are commemorating Dr Radhakrishnan, who I first met when I came to India in 1956. He was the chairman of the committee that invited me to the Buddha Jayanti celebrations. He was well-versed in modern education, but also deeply learned about ancient Indian knowledge.

“The way he chanted Sanskrit was impressive, but when he declaimed verses from Nagarjuna’s ‘Mulamadhyamikakarika’ (‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’) I reflected that understanding the meaning of the words was as important as how they sounded. Nevertheless, he embodied the positive potential of combining modern and ancient ways of learning.

“There is an urgent need for India’s traditions of ’ahimsa’ and ‘karuna’, non-violence and compassion, in today’s world, which is still riven  by fighting and killing, sometimes even in the name of religion. And yet each human being fundamentally wants to live a happy life without having to grapple with suffering or a disturbed mind. In fact, we have the potential from birth to develop inner values like compassion that yield peace of mind.

Some of the 250 people attending the 24th Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Memorial Lecture at the Fountain Lawn of the Indian International Centre in New Delhi, India on November 21, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Compassion naturally gives rise to tolerance and forgiveness. It allows us to appreciate that even someone we think of as an enemy is a human being with a right to be happy. This is one of the reasons why it’s said that your enemy can be your best teacher. He or she teaches the possibility of unconditional compassion.”

His Holiness discussed the way science is changing. At one time scientists knew a great deal about the external world, but little about the mind and our inner realm. He noted that for much of the 20th century scientists dismissed any idea that the mind was anything but a function of the brain. Since the latter years of the last century and the early years of this one, however, there has been a growing acceptance of evidence that the mind can affect the brain.

Scientists today are examining how the brain is affected in the course of meditation. There are also researchers from Moscow and Wisconsin investigating what happens when accomplished meditators enter the state of ‘thukdam’. They are clinically dead, but because their subtlest consciousness is yet to depart their bodies remain fresh for some time.

His Holiness concluded that as qualities of the mind are better understood, there is a corresponding need for schools to teach how to develop, and maintain, peace of mind. This is something to which ancient Indian knowledge can contribute.

A view of the stage at Fountain Lawn of the Indian International Centre as His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivers the 24th Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Memorial Lecture in New Delhi, India on November 21, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

While answering questions from the audience, His Holiness spoke of the seriousness of global warming and how encouraging it is to see young people such as Greta Thunberg voicing the need to take action. He mentioned the role ‘ahimsa’ and increased vegetarianism can play.

He commented that young children naturally have a fresh, open, compassionate attitude. It should be possible for schools to nurture these qualities and teach children that warm-heartedness leads to peace of mind as well as better physical health. He remarked that if you are compassionate and altruistic everything tends to appear in a positive light. No matter what difficulties you face, you don’t lose your peace of mind. If, on the other hand, you are filled with fear and suspicion, everything appears in a negative light.

“I believe strongly in the oneness of all humanity. As human beings we are all the same,” he explained. “Therefore, whoever I meet, there’s no barrier between us.”

Asked why the teaching of Dharma seems to have declined, His Holiness suggested that perhaps too much attention is given to performing rituals and not enough to the real meaning of the teaching. He recommended giving more time to study and less to recitation. “The real practice,” he confirmed, “is to transform our mind and emotions.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting members of the audience as he departs the stage at the conclusion of the program at the Indian International Centre in New Delhi, India on November 21, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness stressed that if more time were spent in schools encouraging students to achieve peace of mind, after 30 years it would be possible to see a difference in how they turned out. Understanding how to bring about peace of mind, and tackle those negative emotions that threaten to disturb it, is the key to living a good life.

Prof Kapil Kapoor offered extensive words of thanks in Hindi and concluded that it was his pleasure and duty to thank the day’s speakers, His Holiness and Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe for what they had to say about ethics.

As His Holiness left the stage and made his way to the buggy that would drive him to his car, many people pressed forward in a great show of affection to greet him, shake his hand or catch his eye.

Tomorrow, he will leave Delhi for Aurangabad.

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Tushita Delhi’s 40th Anniversary https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/tushita-delhis-40th-anniversary Wed, 20 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/tushita-delhis-40th-anniversary New Delhi, India - Members and friends of Tushita Mahayana Meditation Centre, New Delhi, invited His Holiness the Dalai Lama to join them today in celebrating the centre’s founding 40 years ago by Lama Thubten Yeshé and Zopa Rinpoché. The venue was St Columba’s School, adjacent to the Sacred Heart Cathedral, in the heart of the capital, where an audience of more than 5000, including many students from other Delhi schools gathered to listen to His Holiness.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama meeting with supporters and friends of Tushita on his arrival at St Columba's School in New Delhi, India on November 20, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Tushita’s Director Dr Renuka Singh and St Columba’s Principal Bro E L Miranda welcomed His Holiness as he arrived. In a short meeting with supporters and friends of Tushita, he remarked that Lama Yeshé and Zopa Rinpoché had done a great deal to make people around the world aware of what the Buddha taught.

“Now,” he added, “it’s important to be 21st century Buddhists reliant more on reason and understanding than faith alone. The Buddha advised his followers not to accept what he said without question, but to investigate and examine it. He explained that people and things are empty of intrinsic existence, but encouraged his followers to investigate this for themselves.”

Students from Pratyek, an NGO educating and looking after underprivileged children, presenting a rap about children’s rights at the start of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's talk at St. Columba's School in New Delhi, India on November 20, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness greeted the audience with folded hands, a broad smile and a wave before taking his seat on the stage. After Renuka Singh had introduced him to the school children, students of St Columba’s performed an entertaining song and dance. Then, to mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, students from Pratyek, an NGO educating and looking after underprivileged children, presented a rap about children’s rights.

His Holiness released a new edition of a book ‘Daily Inspirations’, which contains an inspiring thought for every day of the year. Renuka Singh drew these quotations from his writings and compiled them into a collection.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama releases ‘Daily Inspirations’, the new edition of a book Renuka Singh compiled on his behalf before his talk at St. Columba's School in New Delhi, India on November 20, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Addressing the audience as “Dear brothers and sisters, young and old”, His Holiness told them how happy he is to meet young people. He’s nearly 85 years old, he said, but interacting with young people makes him feel younger.

“Time is always moving on,” he told them. “Nothing can stop it. The question is whether we use our time properly or not. We can’t do anything about the past, but what happens in the future depends on what we do now. We can create a happier, more peaceful future, or a more miserable one. The generation who belong to the 21st century have both the opportunity and the responsibility to deal with this. A lot of problems we face, like war, are created by human beings. But since we participated in their creation, we have the ability to reduce and eliminate them too.

“War and violence come about as a result of anger, selfishness and narrow-mindedness. If we were to have a more compelling sense of the oneness of humanity, there’d be no basis for divisions into ‘us’ and ‘them’ and no basis for bullying and killing each other.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at Tushita Delhi’s 40th Anniversary celebration held at St. Columba's School in New Delhi, India on November 20, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Human beings are social animals with a concern for the community in dependence on which they survive. In times past, the limits of this concern were family and local community, but now all 7 billion human beings alive today constitute one community.

“Buddhists pray for the welfare of all mother sentient beings. Jews, Christians and Muslims, who see the entire world as God’s creation, regard their fellow human beings as children of God and therefore as their brothers and sisters. We have to live side by side with one another. Traditions like some Samkhyas, as well as Jains and Buddhists don’t believe in a creator, but shape their actions in terms of ‘ahimsa’—non-violence and ‘karuna’—compassion. Pursuing these practices, you automatically become more peaceful and compassionate.

“Non-violence and compassion, approached from a secular point of view, are clearly relevant today. We each need these qualities in our personal lives. People can be encouraged to adopt them, not by prayer and rituals, but through education. Our modern education system tends to set materialistic goals, but it can be combined with knowledge of how to train the mind and tackle destructive emotions.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the crowd during Delhi’s 40th Anniversary celebration held at St. Columba's School in New Delhi, India on November 20, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness explained his four commitments—to promoting loving kindness through education; to encouraging inter-religious harmony, since all religious traditions convey a common message of concern for others; to protecting Tibet’s fragile ecology and keeping its system of knowledge alive, and, finally, to working to revive interest in ancient Indian understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions. He declared a conviction that India can make an invaluable contribution to peace in the world by sharing instructions about how, as individuals, we can achieve peace of mind.

He explained that the way he was taught to study entailed first learning a classic book by heart. Then you would read and listen to word by word explanations of it, following which you would explore what you had understood in reasoned debate with fellow students. He stated that the Nalanda Tradition, from which Tibetan Buddhism is derived, took a scientific approach to the mind and inner world that scientists can relate to today.

He acknowledged that we are driven by self-interest, but advised that we must be wisely self-interested rather than foolishly so. Because our own lives depend on other people, it’s wise self-interest to take care of them.

A view from the back of the more than 5000 strong crowd during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's talk at St. Columba's School in New Delhi, India on November 20, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Taking up the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind”, His Holiness commented that the author, Geshé Langri Thangpa, was, with Sharawa, a disciple of Kadampa master, Geshé Potowa. He was a great practitioner of the awakening mind of bodhichitta. Reading the first line, ‘May I always cherish all beings’, he advised, right from the start, asking who, what or where is this ‘I’?

The line in the second verse, ‘Cherish others as supreme.’ is useful in countering a self-centred attitude. Verse three encourages us to examine which emotions do us harm and which do us good. Verse four highlights the idea that being able to feel compassion even for those we would normally regard with hostility is the test of genuine compassion.

‘May I accept defeat And offer the victory to them’, and ‘May I give all help and joy to my mothers, And may I take all their harm and pain Secretly upon myself,’ in verses six and seven refer to the practices of giving and taking. His Holiness recalled that in 2008 when he heard that Tibetans in Lhasa had mounted demonstrations, he was apprehensive of their coming to harm. He imagined removing all the Chinese authorities’ anger and hostility and giving them joy and benevolence. He clarified that this practice made little difference to events on the ground, but enabled him not to lose his peace of mind.

His Holiness the Dalak Lama giving a short teaching on ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’ during his talk at Tushita Delhi’s 40th Anniversary celebration held at St. Columba's School in New Delhi, India on November 20, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

In the last verse, the line, ‘May I see all things as illusions’, alludes to countering the misconception that things exist as they appear by understanding that they have no independent existence. They do not exist from their own side.

In an exchange of questions and answers, Renuka Singh read out questions from the audience and His Holiness gave crisp answers.

Q. Which comes first, compassion or wisdom?
A. Wisdom takes time to develop, but it’s possible to be warm-hearted immediately.

Q. How do you view yourself?
A. As a human being—from Amdo.

Q. How can we handle worry about exams?
A. When I took exams, I was a little anxious. However, I’d studied for 13 years and once the date of the exam was set, I studied harder, so I didn’t worry very much.

Q. How can we be academically successful and achieve peace of mind?
A. Think to yourself that you are studying in order to be able to serve others.

Q. Couldn’t the idea, ‘regard myself as inferior to all ‘, lead to demoralisation?
A. You can’t be demoralised if you have cultivated a sense of altruism.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from the audience read out by Renuka Singh during his talk at St. Columba's School in New Delhi, India on November 20, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Q. Amidst chaos, what stories have restored your faith in humanity?
A. Everybody wants to live a happy life, so ask yourself what actually ensures happiness and what destroys it.

Q. What’s the cause of students’ depression?
A. Self-centredness and a lack of understanding of the mind and emotions.

Q. Should the young preserve the old ways or embrace modern culture?
A. Try a combination. Combine modern education with ancient knowledge of the workings of mind and emotions.

Q. How important is meditation for the young today?
A. It’s relevant. Try starting classes in silence and thinking about the mind.

Q. Why is a guru important?
A. Jé Tsongkhapa writes in the ‘Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path’, someone who wants to discipline others must first be able to discipline themselves. And of the ten qualities of a guru listed in the ‘Sublime Continuum’, the most important are having compassion and affection.

Q. What is happiness?
A. If you have a joyful mind, other problems won’t detract from your happiness.

Q. How did you escape from Tibet?
A. That’s a long story. I spent nine years trying to deal with the Chinese. In 1954 I went to China and met Party leaders including Chairman Mao. I was impressed, but power spoiled them. Ultimately there has been no freedom, no freedom of the press and so forth, in China. From 10-17 March 1959 I tried to cool the situation down. There’d been violent suppression of Tibetans in Eastern Tibet. There were signs of the same occurring in Lhasa—that and other indications showed that it was time to go.

Q. How to deal with grief?
A. The Buddha died. Nagarjuna died. It’s natural.

Q. Is it good to be nationalistic?
A. You need to check whether it is a narrow-minded, short-sighted feeling, which isn’t so good and leads to division, or whether it is a broad-minded concern for all.

Brother EL Miranda, Principal of St Columba’s School offering words of thanks at the conclusion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's talk in New Delhi, India on November 20, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Brother EL Miranda, Principal of St Columba’s offered extensive words of thanks. He pointed out that education at the school is intended to prepare students for leadership in order that the dreams of the Mahatma and God may be fulfilled. The school motto, he said, is ‘Dare to know, sincerely and consistently’. He requested His Holiness, “Please come again,” and, mindful of the Irish brothers who had founded the school, ended with an Irish blessing:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand
.

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Meeting with Indian Buddhists and Students of Mass Communication https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-with-indian-buddhists-and-students-of-mass-communication Fri, 15 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-with-indian-buddhists-and-students-of-mass-communication Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - Two groups of Indians met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his residence this morning. One consisted of members of the Youth Buddhist Society of India, Sankisa: students, teachers, doctors and engineers from 13 states and their friends. The other group were students and faculty from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication who have been getting to know the Tibetan community in Dharamsala.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing members of the Youth Buddhist Society of India, Sankisa and students and faculty from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness began his talk to them be declaring that his primary commitment is to promoting the practice of altruism, the awakening mind of bodhichitta.

“We are encouraged to view all sentient beings as being as dear as our own mother. There are beings in other galaxies with whom we have no direct contact. Here in this world there are animals, birds, insects, worms and so forth, who it is difficult to help because they have no language. However, we can do something for our fellow human beings, because we can communicate with people who are mentally, physically and emotionally the same as us. Training in compassion brings people peace of mind—it brings happiness.

“When we’re too frustrated, angry or full of fear, we have no peace of mind. Money, fame and power don’t bring peace of mind, but paying attention to compassion does. Young children don’t care about their companions’ faith, nationality or race, so long as they smile and play cheerfully together. That’s the spirit we all need.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking during his meeting with Indian Buddhists and students of mass communication at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Unfortunately, modern education gives little instruction on how to tackle our disturbing emotions and achieve inner peace. On the other hand, for more than 3000 years the concepts of ‘ahimsa’—restraining from harming others, and ‘karuna’—cultivating a compassionate motivation, have flourished here in India. These practices existed before the Buddha.

“Originally Tibetans were nomads and warriors, but after we encountered Buddhism, we became more peaceful. In 7th century the Tibetan king decided to model a form of Tibetan writing on the Indian example. Then in the 8th century, another king, despite his close relations with China, chose to introduce Buddhism to Tibet from India.

“He invited a great scholar, a monk who was a philosopher and logician called Shantarakshita from Nalanda University. Shantarakshita recommended that Indian Buddhist literature should be translated into Tibetan, with the result that we have a collection of 300 volumes of scripture. 100 volumes contain records of the Buddha’s words, the remaining 200 or more consist of commentaries by subsequent Indian masters. In the process of translation, the Tibetan language was deeply enriched. Now it is the most accurate medium for explaining Buddhist thought.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to Indian Buddhists and students of mass communication at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Followers of the Pali Tradition rely on the authority of the Buddha’s words. Followers of the Nalanda Tradition, like us Tibetans, rely on reasoning and logic. We ask “Why? Why did the Buddha teach that? What did he mean?” The Chinese tradition had little interest in logic and analysis. Many Chinese practitioners advocated concentration and non-conceptual meditation. Shantarakshita anticipated tension between that point of view and his logical and analytical approach.

“He advised the Tibetan king to invite his foremost student, Kamalashila to Tibet to debate with the Chinese monks. After defeating the Chinese point of view, Kamalashila emphasized study and analytical meditation. This approach has given us the confidence to engage in fruitful discussions with modern scientists about such topics as cosmology, neuro-biology, physics and psychology.”

His Holiness clarified that he is committed to promoting basic human values, to encouraging inter-religious harmony, and to preserving Tibetan knowledge and culture. He quoted a 15th century Tibetan master who declared that until the light of India reached Tibet, despite its being the Land of Snows, it had remained dark. His Holiness added that Tibet’s preservation of the Nalanda Tradition is a real source of pride.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his meeting with Indian Buddhists and students of mass communication at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

He observed that in the past India produced many great scholars and thinkers who developed a rich understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions—knowledge of crucial benefit to many in the world today. Since he believes that India has both the opportunity and ability to combine this ancient knowledge with modern education, he is committed to trying to revive appreciation of it.

In answering the audience’s questions, His Holiness made clear the contribution that ‘ahimsa’ and ‘karuna’ make to fostering religious harmony. Where there is a basic intent to do no harm, there may be argument, but no violence.

He advised that being too self-centred can give rise to anxiety and depression. An effective antidote is to cultivate a sense of altruism, taking the whole of humanity into account. Appreciating the oneness of humanity leads us to recognise our essential equality as human beings. He pointed out that the Buddha opposed caste divisions.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama responding to a question from the audience during his meeting members of the Youth Buddhist Society of India, Sankisa and students and faculty from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Today, with the help of technology, the whole of humanity is one community.”

Asked how to better share Tibetan culture with the rest of the world, His Holiness commented that prior to 1959 there were those who referred to Tibetan Buddhism as Lamaism, as if it were not an authentic tradition. Nowadays, it is properly respected as the heir to the Nalanda Tradition, a system that even attracts the interest of modern scientists.

Questioned about his next reincarnation His Holiness recalled that when, on a previous occasion, a journalist had asked about this, he took off his glasses, looked him in the eye and asked, “Do you think there’s any hurry?” He remarked that certain Chinese hardliners seem very keen to know the answer to this, but they will have to wait another 30 or 40 years to find out.

“The future of the Dalai Lama is really in my hands. Before I die, I’ll write a will. And I think I’ll probably come back in some Buddhist community. However, as far back as 1969, I made it clear that whether or not there will be a 15th Dalai Lama will be up to the Tibetan people. It’s not so important. There is no reincarnation of the Buddha, but his teaching survives. There are no reincarnations of the Nalanda masters, but their writings remain. In my case, books and recordings of my talks will be there.

“Thank you.”

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Talking to Young Presidents’ Organization Delegation from Nepal https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/talking-to-young-presidents-organization-delegation-from-nepal Wed, 13 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/talking-to-young-presidents-organization-delegation-from-nepal Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - When 30 members of the Nepal chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) met His Holiness the Dalai Lama this morning, he told them that Tibet and Nepal have long-standing historical connections and that it was an honour to receive them.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to the Nepal chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 13, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“The 7th century Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo, married a Nepalese princess, as well as a Chinese princess,” he observed. “Then, when he founded the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, many Nepalese craftsmen were involved in its construction.

“Here in the 21st century, we have kept alive the Nalanda Tradition that was introduced to Tibet in the 8th century. The Pali Tradition of Buddhism, which includes fundamental teachings such as the Four Noble Truths, their 16 characteristics and the 37 Factors of Enlightenment, relies on the authority of the Buddha’s words. The Nalanda Tradition, however, justifies sophisticated Buddhist philosophy on the basis of reason and logic. Nalanda masters asked, “Why did the Buddha teach this or that?” They undertook experiments and investigation.

“These days, scholars and professors in Chinese universities have access to books we’ve compiled and published here in the series ‘Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics’. They acknowledge that Tibetan Buddhism preserves the Nalanda Tradition and its scientific approach.

“This approach uses the potential of the human mind to the full. Although the psychology, science and philosophy it taught are to be found in nominally religious texts, there’s no reason why these topics can’t be studied in a more objective, secular and academic way.

“These materials are included in the 300-volume collection of Kangyur and Tengyur, the source of which was mostly Indian texts. I wonder though if any research has been done to discover how many texts, if any, had Nepalese and Chinese sources. And I wonder too if there are any works extant in Nepalese that were not translated into Tibetan?”

His Holiness invited questions from the 30 strong audience. Ajit Shah, the group’s leader, explained that there were Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims among them. They belong to the YPO, a global leadership community.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from the audience during his talk to the Nepal chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 13, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Asked what makes for happiness, His Holiness talked about the importance and effectiveness of the age-old Indian values of ‘ahimsa’—non-violence and ‘karuna’—compassion. He observed that in India Christians and Muslims too are influenced by ‘ahimsa’. The prevalence of non-violence and compassion, with the natural sense of respect it entails, are reasons why religious traditions in this country live in harmony side by side.

He pointed out that when individuals are too self-centred, they tend to be prone to fear, suspicion, anxiety and anger. ‘Ahimsa’ and ‘karuna’, compassion and restraining from harming others, act as an antidote to this. He added that scientists say that it is basic human nature to be compassionate, because we are social animals. Our very survival depends on our community.

His Holiness also mentioned an important, unique aspect of Buddhist philosophy—pratityasamutpada or dependent arising. This and the theory of a lack on intrinsic existence mean that things don’t exist as they appear. Understanding this gap between appearance and reality also undermines self-centredness. Similarly, because destructive emotions are founded on a misconception of appearances, they have no proper basis. Positive emotions like compassion, however are realistic and grounded in reason.

Questioned about how he sees the future, His Holiness recalled that the early 20th century had been spoiled by too much violence. However, he felt that in the century’s latter years, the founding of organizations like the European Union and efforts to reduce nuclear weapons were signs of human maturity. He said he takes hope from the increasing numbers of people who understand that world peace depends on people in the world finding inner peace.

“One of the ways in which modern education is inadequate,” he explained, “is that it includes such a little understanding of how to achieve peace of mind. Ancient Indian knowledge was rich in its insight into the workings of the mind and emotions. I believe this could be combined with modern education to widespread benefit.”

Asked about his daily routine, His Holiness chuckled and told a story about an Indian politician’s asking him one morning if he had slept well. His Holiness answered that he always gets 9 hours good sleep and follows that with 4 hours of meditation. That, he jokingly told him, helps him sharpen his mind so he can cheat people more effectively. The politician immediately responded, “O, I never sleep more than 6 hours, so I’m not able to cheat people at all.”

His Holiness remarked that despite facing all sorts of difficulties in his life, he has found cultivating altruism to be a helpful source of inner strength.

When the last questioner wanted to know the significance of chanting, His Holiness suggested that by itself chanting is just sound. The important thing is to pay attention to the meaning of the words—they are what can change your mind.

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Expressing Concern for former President Carter https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/expressing-concern-for-former-president-carter Tue, 12 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/expressing-concern-for-former-president-carter Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - Alerted by reports in the press to former President Carter’s admission to hospital, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote immediately to the President to express his concern. He told him he prayed that he would fully and swiftly recover and soon return home.

“You have lived a truly meaningful life,” His Holiness wrote. “I have admired your good work for many years. It is really wonderful that you have remained so active, dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance to those in need. You are an example to us all of how to be of benefit to others.”

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Cultivating Compassion to Bring about Change https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/cultivating-compassion-to-bring-about-change Mon, 11 Nov 2019 03:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/cultivating-compassion-to-bring-about-change Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - Lieutenant Governor of Washington State, USA, Cyrus Habib, led a delegation of 21 students and community leaders this morning, to take part in a live telecast with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on cultivating compassion.

Lieutenant Governor of Washington State, Cyrus Habib, introducing the program with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 11, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Last year we expressed a desire to connect you and your message of compassion with our state,” Habib told His Holiness. “Your 2008 visit to Seattle led to the establishment of a compassion scholars’ program. We have launched the SEE Learning program and are looking to extend it to more schools. We want to know how to make the US and Washington State more compassionate in the 2020s.”

His Holiness responded to the people in the room, as well as to others he could see on screen gathered in Washington. “Firstly, I’d like to say that this opportunity is very useful. I am just one human being out of 7 billion. When we’re young, we enjoy our mother’s affection and the affection of our friends. We smile and are playful. However, our existing education system doesn’t do much to nurture these qualities and show us how to develop warm-heartedness, which is the key to a happy family and a happy life.

“Basic human nature is warm-hearted. When you have a more compassionate mind, everything appears to you in a more positive light. If we employ our human intelligence with warm-heartedness, it creates a happy atmosphere and fosters a happy community. My primary commitment is to promoting basic human values and warm-heartedness from a secular point of view.

A student from Washington State asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during their program in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 11, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“These days, so many human beings suffer as a result of violence or the great gap between rich and poor. And yet, as human beings we are all the same. We all enjoy the same rights. It can help if more people become aware of the oneness of humanity.

“I am also committed to encouraging religious harmony. Despite differences in the philosophical stance, all religions convey a message of love, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. India, where indigenous religious traditions arose before the arrival of Christianity, Islam and so forth, is a living example of harmony and respect between religions. This has roots in India’s long-standing traditions of ‘ahimsa’—non-violence supported by ‘karuna’—compassion. India shows that religious harmony is possible.

“As a Tibetan, trusted by the 6-7 million Tibetan people, I have a moral responsibility towards them. I have retired from political engagement, which is now the concern of an elected leadership. However, I am moved to speak up for the protection of Tibet’s fragile ecology and to work to keep Tibetan culture alive. Since the 8th century, when the Tibetan king invited an eminent Indian scholar to establish Buddhism in Tibet, we have preserved the most complete presentation of the Buddha’s teachings. This Nalanda Tradition, based on logic and reasoning, takes a scientific approach to understanding the workings of the mind.”

A member of the audience at Seattle University in Washington State asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question through video link during their program at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 11, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness explained that what destroys our peace of mind is destructive emotions like anger and jealousy. These can be countered to some extent by the cultivation of positive emotions. Understanding how to maintain peace of mind was thoroughly explored in ancient India. Because this knowledge remains relevant today, His Holiness feels committed to trying to revive appreciation of ancient Indian wisdom. He looks forward to this knowledge being combined with modern education.

The Lieutenant Governor told His Holiness that several compassion scholars in the room wanted to bring their projects to his attention and seek his advice.

His Holiness several times mentioned the importance of recognising the oneness of humanity. A direct result of this is to see whoever you meet as a brother or sister. He noted that as a result of modern education’s being oriented towards materialistic goals, there is a tendency to seek satisfaction in material goods rather than in human values like compassion. He suggested that if education included guidance about how to tackle destructive emotions it would lead to more widespread peace of mind.

Members of the audience reacting to comments by His Holiness the Dalai Lama during their program on cultivating compassion at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 11, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Cultivating love and compassion—warm-heartedness—brings the individual peace of mind and creates a more peaceful atmosphere in the community. What’s more, compassion brings us determination and inner strength.”

Responding to a question about climate change, His Holiness was clear that we have to think of the future of the whole of humanity.

Asked about the most important factor for emotional health, besides the practice of compassion, His Holiness commended an affectionate family and being shown affection at school.

Mr Habib thanked His Holiness for kindly giving his time. He told him that the people of the state of Washington wished him good health and undertook to try to implement his advice.

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Responding to the Destruction of Cyclone Bulbul https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/responding-to-the-destruction-of-cyclone-bulbul Mon, 11 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/responding-to-the-destruction-of-cyclone-bulbul Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala - Moved by reports of the havoc wrought by Cyclone Bulbul, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee. His letter expressed sadness at the loss of life, the devastation of property, as well as the hardship caused to so many people in several districts of the state.

“I appreciate that every effort is being made to rescue those affected and that relief efforts are underway,” he wrote. “As a mark of solidarity with the people of West Bengal, I am making a donation from the Gaden Phodrang Trust of the Dalai Lama to the relief and rescue efforts.

“I would like to express my sympathy to you, to the families who have lost loved ones, and to all affected by this natural disaster.
                    
“In addition to our profound respect for India as a holy land, which has also been home to many Tibetans over the last 60 years,” His Holiness concluded, “we have a special regard for Bengal. This is because Shantarakshita, the great philosopher and dialectician who established Samye, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Tibet, in the 8th century CE, and Dipankara Atisha, who revived the practice of Buddhism in the 11th century, both came from Bengal.”

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Attending an Inter-Faith Conclave at Guru Nanak Dev University https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/attending-an-inter-faith-conclave-at-guru-nanak-dev-university Sat, 09 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/attending-an-inter-faith-conclave-at-guru-nanak-dev-university Amritsar, Punjab, India - As part of celebrations of the 550th Anniversary of the Birth of Guru Nanak Dev-ji, the first Sikh Guru, the Punjab Government invited His Holiness the Dalai Lama to take part in an Inter-Faith Conclave at Guru Nanak Dev University. The theme of the meeting, Ik-Noor, represents harmony among different sections of society based on mutual respect and understanding.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama walking down the causeway to the Dabar Shahib at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, India on November 9, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness travelled to Amritsar from Dharamsala yesterday afternoon. This morning, as the sun rose over the city, he drove to the Golden Temple, the Harmandir Sahib, the Sikhs’ holiest place of worship. A welcome committee was ready to greet him and escort him to the Darbar Sahib, the shrine covered in gold foil at the centre of the ‘sarovar’, the tank of holy water. As he walked down the causeway to the temple, His Holiness greeted the hundreds of devotees lining up to enter the temple. Once inside, His Holiness, who had covered his head in deference to Sikh tradition, paid his respects and offered his own quiet prayers.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama receiving ‘prasad’, blessed food, that is offered to each pilgrim as he leaves the Darbar Sahib at the the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, India on November 9, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

As he left the Darbar Sahib he partook of the ‘prasad’, blessed food, that is offered to each pilgrim. Leaving the Harmandir Sahib, His Holiness drove to Guru Nanak Dev University. The Vice Chancellor, Dr Jaspal Singh Sandhu, welcomed him and other participants in the conclave. He informed the gathering that His Holiness visited the University 25 years ago when he attended the convocation. He then introduced the other participants.

On behalf of the Government of Punjab, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal welcomed all present to the Land of Five Rivers. Against great odds, he stated, Punjab survives as a guardian of India's ancient civilization. As the land of soldiers, built on courage, it defends the integrity of the country. It is the land of Guru Nanak, who preached the oneness of all humanity.

Government of Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal welcoming the audience and participants at the start of the Inter-Faith Conclave at Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Punjab, India on November 9, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness was invited to address the panel and audience of about 900. “I always start by greeting my elder and younger brothers and sisters,” he began. “I believe that fundamentally all 7 billion human beings are the same, we are truly brothers and sisters. The way we are born and the way we die is the same. We are the same in having two eyes, two ears, one nose, and so forth. Our brains are essentially the same. Mentally, emotionally and physically we are the same. This is the reality. Therefore, we need to develop a sense of the oneness of all human beings.

“As we grow up, we gradually begin to draw distinctions on the basis of faith, colour, nationality and so forth. This leads to a sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Although such differences are actually secondary, putting too much emphasis on them leads to conflict and war. These days we even see people being killed in the name of religion.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Inter-Faith Conclave at Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Punjab, India on November 9, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Many of the problems we face today are created by human beings, therefore each and every one of us has a responsibility to work to create harmony. According to scientists, basic human nature is compassionate. Our survival depends on our community. I may be the Dalai Lama, but without community support I cannot survive on my own. Since these days, the whole of humanity is one community, we need to appreciate the oneness of all human beings.

“I don’t think of myself as anything special, I am just another human being. We are social animals; we all have a seed of compassion. Yet modern education, introduced by the British, has no tradition of training the mind. In this country, for more than 3000 years, we have had methods for developing a calmly abiding mind and insight into reality. These days I feel it’s important that India try to combine modern education with its ancient knowledge of the workings of the mind.

“‘Karuna’ or compassion is based on warm-heartedness. Insight into reality requires intelligence. Cultivating compassion with intelligence we can develop peace of mind. When individuals are at peace within themselves, they contribute to a more peaceful atmosphere on a family and community level. It’s common to teach children about physical hygiene to preserve their health. These days I recommend that we also teach emotional hygiene, how to tackle the destructive emotions that disturb our peace of mind.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Inter-Faith Conclave at Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Punjab, India on November 9, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I have long been student of Indian wisdom. Perhaps my mind is more Indian than many modern educated Indians. I have faced many difficulties in my life, but I have been able to keep my peace of mind as a result of adopting non-violence in my conduct and compassion in my motivation. I smile wherever I go.

“We are all the same in being human. Acknowledging this helps reduce suspicion. Whoever I meet, I feel is just another human brother or sister. This has been my practice for 70 years. I appeal to you who live in modern India not to neglect your ancient wisdom. Remember that materialistic development by itself will not bring inner peace.”

His Holiness was effusive in his admiration for India’s longstanding custom of religious harmony. He cited as an example, Guru Nanak’s making a pilgrimage to Mecca. In so doing, he expressed his respect for all religions. He was also full of praise for the way Sikhs do not observe the caste system, which in this day and age is out of date. He voiced a wish that other religious leaders would also make this point.

A view of the stage at Guru Nanak Dev University as His Holiness the Dalai Lama addresses the Inter-Faith Conclave in Amritsar, Punjab, India on November 9, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness declared that he is committed to promoting religious harmony, since all religions convey a common message about the importance of cultivating loving kindness. He repeated his appreciation of the practice of ‘ahimsa’, and the widespread observance of vegetarianism in this country. He added that the time has come for ‘ahimsa’ to be applied to protecting the environment and other forms of life like birds, fish and insects. He mentioned that his old friend Sunderlal Bahuguna had asked him to talk about the protection of trees whenever he has the opportunity, which he said he tries to do.

As a Tibetan he is committed to keeping Tibetan knowledge and culture alive and speaking up for the protection of Tibet’s fragile ecology. He mentioned that he is also very keen to see a revival of appreciation of ancient Indian wisdom.

“Finally, I would like to say that I very much have enjoyed being here today with you, my spiritual brothers and sisters. I would like to make a promise to you all that for the rest of my life I will be focussed on preserving and sharing the ancient Indian wisdom in which I have trained.”

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Inter-Faith Conclave at Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Punjab, India on November 9, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

In his remarks, Swami Shuddhidananda of the Ramakrishna Mission asked his companions to remember one of India’s really great spiritual teachers, Shri Guru Nanak-ji. He asked, what is the one thing that can unite the human race? The recognition that we all belong to one family.

Maulana Syed Athar Hussain Dehlavi, Founder Anjumana Minhaj-e-Rasool made his contribution in Urdu. Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, former Jathedar Sri Akal Takht Sahib, spoke in Punjabi.

Rev. Bishop Samantha Roy of the Church of North India recalled that Guru Nanak emphasized oneness and equality. He spoke up for the poor and downtrodden. He defended the rights of women. He exemplified religious tolerance. Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant church, was born about 15 years after Guru Nanak. Both were reformers who wanted to bring about positive change in the societies in which they lived.

Sister B.K. Usha, representing the Brahma Kumaris, spoke in Hindi. Ahmed Khata Syed of Ahmadiya Mission spoke in Urdu. Dr. Monica Gupta of the Shri Aurobindo Mission sent a contribution in English, but was unable to attend.

The meeting ended with words of thanks. His Holiness then joined the other religious leaders and invited guests for lunch at the Vice Chancellor's Residence, following which he drove to the airport to return to Dharamsala.

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Meeting Delegates to the Rising Himachal - Global Investors' Meet https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-delegates-to-the-rising-himachal-global-investors-meet Fri, 08 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-delegates-to-the-rising-himachal-global-investors-meet Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - After the Chief Minister of Sikkim, Prem Singh Tamang came to see him this morning, accompanied by his wife, son and members of his staff and cabinet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama met approximately 100 delegates to the Rising Himachal Global Investors' Meet currently taking place in Dharamsala.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Chief Minister of Sikkim, Prem Singh Tamang at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 8, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I always consider the entire 7 billion human beings as brothers and sisters,” he told them. “Differences of colour, country or religion are secondary distinctions. Fundamentally, the way we are born and the way our mother nurtures us are the same. And when the end comes, we die the same way too. Our lives begin in the lap of our mother’s compassion, without which we could not survive.
                                
“Scientists say human nature is basically compassionate because we are social animals. No matter how successful an individual may be, their survival depends on the community. In times past, communities were limited and local, but today the whole of humanity is one community. Consequently, I am committed to promoting the notion of the oneness of humanity and the idea that being warm-hearted makes us not only happier, but healthier.

“We teach children about physical hygiene from kindergarten onwards, but we should also teach them about emotional hygiene. They need to know not only how to cultivate peace of mind, but also to recognise that it is emotions like anger and jealousy that disturb our inner peace. The ancient Indian values of ‘ahimsa’—nonviolence and ‘karuna’—compassion have a role to play in this. What’s more, the age-old practices for developing a calmly abiding mind and insight into reality, have given rise to a thorough understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions.”

His Holiness explained that the first round of the Buddha’s teachings, in Sarnath, were recorded in Pali. The second round, comprising the perfection of wisdom teachings that laid the basis for the Nalanda Tradition, given in Rajgir, were recorded in Sanskrit. The third round, given primarily in Vaishali, were also written down in Sanskrit. He pointed out that, despite close family connections with China, in the 8th century, the Tibetan King, Trisong Detsen, chose to invite a scholar from Nalanda to introduce Buddhism to Tibet from India.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing delegates to the Rising Himachal Global Investors' Meet at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 8, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

He stressed that a distinctive feature of the Nalanda tradition was its use of reason and logic. Followers of this approach were encouraged not just to accept what they were told, but to ask “Why?”

“Modern education is, of course, important in terms of material development,” His Holiness remarked, “but it includes no instructions for achieving peace of mind or tackling our destructive emotions. India could combine modern education with ancient Indian insight that would make it possible to enjoy both benefits. This is why I am trying to revive appreciation of ancient Indian wisdom

While answering questions from the audience noted that whereas positive emotions are backed by reason, destructive emotions such as anger, fear and suspicion have no such basis. Many of us think of the self, the ‘I’, as the independent owner of our body and mind. Some traditions refer to this as the ‘atman’ and assert that it is its continuity that is the basis for our living life after life. Buddhism, on the other hand teaches that there is no such independent self and that the self is a mere designation on the basis of body and mind. Different levels of consciousness are outlined and it is the subtlest consciousness that goes from life to life.

His Holiness reminded his listeners that the Buddha advised, "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." This is a scientific approach that encourages the use of reason.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his meeting with delegates to the Rising Himachal Global Investors' Meet at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 8, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

When a representative of a group of Vietnamese invited His Holiness to visit Vietnam, he acknowledged that Vietnam is a traditionally Buddhist country. He urged them to study and practise, to develop wisdom and altruism, and so become 21st century Buddhists.

“I’ve been thinking about ‘shunyata’—emptiness for about 70 years and my destructive emotions have been reduced. Reflecting on altruism has the effect of reducing self-centredness, which gives rise to fear, anxiety and anger.”

Asked about the way some religious traditions seem to think they have a monopoly on truth, His Holiness replied that in terms of an individual’s personal practice the idea of one truth and one religion has value. However, in terms of a community and humanity at large, we have to accept there are several religions and several aspects of the truth.

“In this country,” he observed, “many religious traditions live together side by side. In Bombay, the relatively small Parsee community of Zoroastrians, originally from Persia, live amidst millions of Hindus, Muslims and Christians completely without fear. This is India.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama posing for a group photo with delegates to the Rising Himachal Global Investors' Meet after their meeting at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 8, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“All the world’s religions flourish here and we can see that harmony among religions really is possible.”

To the question, how can we make tomorrow different, His Holiness suggested learning about inner values, reflecting on what you’ve learned, and making yourself thoroughly familiar with it. Through listening or reading, reflection and meditation, it is possible to transform your mind.

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Talking about Secular Ethics with Entrepreneurs and Management Graduates https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/talking-about-secular-ethics-with-entrepreneurs-and-management-graduates Thu, 07 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/talking-about-secular-ethics-with-entrepreneurs-and-management-graduates Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - A group of Indians, many of whom graduated from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, in 1979, who are attending a conference in Dharamsala on secular ethics, came to visit His Holiness the Dalai Lama this morning. They were joined by business leaders from the Zuckerberg Institute who are here to learn about Tibet in the context of their global ethics in business agenda.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on secular ethics to entrepreneurs and management graduates at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 7, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness greeted them as brothers and sisters and told them how important it is to emphasize that as human beings, we are all the same.

“In the 21st century the world belongs to us 7 billion human beings and each country belongs to the people who live there, not their rulers. Basic human nature is compassionate because we are social animals. Community is the basis of our survival and nowadays technology has helped humanity become one community.”

He commended the longstanding Indian traditions of ‘ahimsa’—non-violence and ‘karuna’—compassion, which he stressed remain relevant today. He also noted that the general Indian practices for developing a calmly abiding mind and insight into reality have given rise to a profound understanding of the mind and ways to tackle destructive emotions.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his meeting with entrepreneurs and management graduates at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 7, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

In the past, he observed, centres of learning were mostly associated with religious institutions. Modern education with its materialistic goals pays little attention to inner values and the mind. Religions teach how to achieve peace of mind, but in many places the influence of religion is in decline.

“I’m a great admirer of the spirit of the European Union and its emphasis on the common good. Since peace has prevailed among the EU’s members for more than 70 years, I consider this spirit to be a hopeful sign of human maturity.

“Climate change is an urgent crisis facing the human community. Here in Dharamsala, where I’ve lived since 1960, snowfall is clearly reduced. Scientists are expressing serious concern about the consequences for our environment. Greta Thunberg is prompting people to take action, which is wonderful. One participant in a recent meeting on the environment recently told me that if we do nothing, within 80 years much of the world will be desert. The challenge of climate change is a vivid reminder that we have to think of the good of the whole of humanity.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the gathering during his meeting with entrepreneurs and management graduates at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 7, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy and joyful. Peace of mind is essential to this and to achieve it we have to learn to tackle our disturbing emotions on the basis of a better understanding of the workings of the mind. A clearer understanding of the reality that people and things don’t exist as something solid from their own side, as they appear to do, can be very helpful. Observations from quantum physics back this up.

In answering several questions from the audience, His Holiness pointed out that since dealing with hostile people can teach us patience, we can view our enemies as teachers. He distinguished two levels of compassion—compassion for our friends and relatives that is influenced by attachment and compassion even for our enemy that is genuine compassion.

He repeated his conviction that peace in the world depends on individuals finding a secular approach to peace of mind.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his talk on secular ethics to entrepreneurs and management graduates at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 7, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Invited to comment on ‘desire’, His Holiness remarked that it’s useful to differentiate realistic from unrealistic desire adding that the desire to be a good human being is a positive desire.

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‘Heart Sutra' Teaching at the Request of Koreans - Third Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/heart-sutra-teaching-at-the-request-of-koreans-third-day Wed, 06 Nov 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/heart-sutra-teaching-at-the-request-of-koreans-third-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - As he walked from his residence to the Tsuglagkhang this morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama reached out to well-wishers and devotees on both sides of the path. Among them were the elderly and infirm in need of comfort, children and infants and ordinary people happy to have the opportunity to offer a katag, a silk scarf.

Monks from Thailand reciting the ‘Mangala Sutta’ in Pali on the final day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 6, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

In the temple, proceedings began as usual with monks from Thailand reciting the ‘Mangala Sutta’ in Pali. They were followed again today by a group of Korean nuns who chanted the ‘Heart Sutra’ in Korean following the steady beat of a ‘moktak’ wooden fish.

His Holiness addressed the gathering. “Here we have monks from the Theravada tradition and Korean dharma brothers and sisters, who follow the Sanskrit tradition. All of us are followers of the same Gautama Buddha. Buddhism spread across Asia from India to Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, to China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam. It was also carried to Nepal and Tibet, Mongolia and the Russian republics of Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva.

“There are many religious traditions in the world, all of which advocate the practice of love, patience, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. Their many followers have benefited from this. What makes Buddhism different is its philosophical stance. Buddhism doesn’t assert a creator god. The Buddha told his followers, “You are your own master.” What happens to you is a result of your own actions.

“The attainment of liberation and omniscience is not about something outside you. It’s about your transforming your own mind. When you free yourself from karma and delusion, you attain liberation. Defilements of the mind can be overcome. Their residual stains can be eliminated, enabling you to see everything as it is.

A view of the audience inside the Main Tibetan Temple on the final day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings requested by a group from Korea in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 6, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“The final nature of the mind of the Buddha and other sentient beings is no different. Sentient beings have Buddha-nature. They can become Buddhas. The potential to attain enlightenment is within you. The empty nature of mind, common to Buddhas and sentient beings is within. It’s always there. This is the material of Buddhahood.

“As traditional followers of the Buddha we can feel fortunate to have been born in places to which the Buddha’s teaching has spread and flourished. However, simply keeping our faith and reverently reciting the ‘Heart Sutra’ is not sufficient. We need to study and think through what the Buddha taught. Buddhist teaching includes a thorough understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions that we can only take advantage of if we study. Whenever I have the time, I continue to read and study.

“Listening to teachings is good, but we have to reflect on what we hear and then meditate on what we’ve understood. I would like to send a message through you to your friends elsewhere about the importance of study. Once the teachings are over today, you’ll all disperse in different directions, but we’ll still be together in spirit. I won’t forget you.”

His Holiness declared that the main aim of the Buddha’s teaching was the attainment of liberation and omniscience. He clarified that he feels uncomfortable using the terms Hinayana and Mahayana—lesser vehicle and greater vehicle—preferring to refer to the Pali tradition and Sanskrit tradition instead. He said he likes to have Theravada monks open the teachings with their recitation because it serves as a reminder that the Pali tradition came first.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama explaining bodhichitta on the final day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 6, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

As Buddhism developed, its scholars worked in Sanskrit, leading eventually to the Nalanda Tradition. The essence of the Sanskrit tradition is the awakening mind of bodhichitta.

“There is aspiring bodhichitta and engaging bodhichitta,” His Holiness clarified. “Jé Tsongkhapa says bodhichitta is the foundation of all great practice. Without it you can’t cultivate the omniscient state of a Buddha. Even if you have acquired a correct view of emptiness, without bodhichitta you won’t be able to eliminate cognitive obscurations. On the other hand, if you cultivate bodhichitta it will be a source of great and wholesome merit.

“Bodhichitta is the core of a bodhisattva’s practice. It brings peace of mind, which in turn brings good health. Shantideva describes bodhichitta as leading to bliss and asks:

Mounted on the horse of bodhichitta,
Which puts to flight all mournful weariness,
What lucid person could be in despair
Proceeding in this way from joy to joy?

“He adds:

And so, today, within the sight of all protectors,
I summon beings, calling them to Buddhahood.
And, till that state is reached, to every earthly joy!
May gods and demigods and all the rest rejoice!

“Founded in ethics, the cultivation of bodhichitta is dependent on sentient beings. Sentient beings are as infinite as space, so to benefit them is powerful. Buddhahood comes about through the blessings of the Buddhas, but also in dependence on sentient beings. Shantideva asks, ‘Why venerate the Buddhas, but not sentient beings?’ Once we develop bodhichitta we can see everything in a positive light.

Members of the audience taking the bodhisattva vow on the final day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 6, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Today, we’ll develop aspiring bodhichitta. The bodhisattva vow involves avoiding 18 primary and 46 secondary downfalls. The main practice is to cherish others more than yourself. If you can do that, you’ll be able to keep the rest of the vow.”

In the course of conducting the bodhichitta ceremony, His Holiness discussed the difference between the general structure of the Buddha’s teachings and the specialized instructions like tantra. At the end, he urged the members of the audience to encourage their friends to be warm-hearted too.

He briefly explained that he is committed to promoting love and compassion as a source of human happiness. Similarly, he’s dedicated to encouraging inter-religious harmony. He is also committed to keeping Tibetan religion and culture, derived from the Nalanda Tradition, alive, as well as to reviving ancient Indian knowledge in modern India.

He brought the teaching to an end with a resounding, “See you next year.”

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