Dalai Lama https://www.dalailama.com/ en-us Sat, 23 Jun 2018 06:12:20 +0000 Sat, 23 Jun 2018 06:12:20 +0000 Final Day of Teachings in Riga https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/final-day-of-teachings-in-riga Mon, 18 Jun 2018 17:33:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/final-day-of-teachings-in-riga Riga, Latvia - His Holiness left his hotel earlier than usual this morning in order to be able to complete preparations for the empowerment and permission he was going to confer.

On arrival at the Skonto Hall, His Holiness posed for photographs with more than 60 people who as volunteers had served in various capacities during the three-day teaching. As he thanked them, he told them they should consider what they had done as of service to the Buddhadharma.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with volunteers that worked during his three day teaching in Riga, Latvia on June 18, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Once the preparatory rituals were complete, His Holiness announced that he would confer the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment first. He explained that the people of the Land of Snows have a special connection to Avalokiteshvara.

“What’s more, since the complete teaching of the Buddha, as maintained by Tibetan Buddhists, comprising both sutra and tantra, spread to nearby countries including Mongolia, people there also enjoy a special link to Avalokiteshvara. This spiritual connection between Tibetans and Mongolians first started in the 13th century, when the Sakya Lama, Drogön Chögyal Phagpa established close relations with Kublai Khan and later Altan Khan. These good relations developed further under the 3rd Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso, and the 4th Dalai Lama, Yonten Gyatso, who was born in Mongolia.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama conducting preparatory rituals for the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment on the final day of his teachings in Riga, Latvia on June 18, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I first received the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment from Tagdrag Rinpoche when I was a child,” His Holiness recalled. “Then, later, in Dromo in southern Tibet, I received it again from my Senior Tutor Ling Rinpoche. Since then, I must have recited the six syllable mantra several million times. Even in my dreams, there have been indications of my special connection with Avalokiteshvara.”

His Holiness briefly explained how important it is to adopt the right motivation for receiving any type of Empowerment—wishing thereby ultimately to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Members of the audience wearing ritual blindfolds taking part in the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Riga, Latvia on June 18, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Following the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment, His Holiness conferred the permission to practise White Manjushri.

In his final remarks, His Holiness emphasized that adopting a religious practice is entirely up to the individual:

“But if you decide to do so, you should do so sincerely. In the case of Buddhism, it is important to study. The Buddha advised his followers to be sceptical, to examine what he taught in the light of reason, not to accept it merely on the basis of faith. Please keep this in mind,”

His holiness the Dalai Lama on the final day of his three day teaching in Riga, Latvia on June 18, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

As events came to an end, a representative of the organizers thanked His Holiness for coming and for the teachings he had given. She told him that Riga, where people have a chance to see and listen to His Holiness, has for many people become somewhere they go for hope and inspiration. She presented a short financial report, informing the audience that the deficit incurred in organizing the teachings would be met by private donors.

Tomorrow, His Holiness will return to India. During his six day visit to Vilnius and Riga, he met with members of the media, gave two public talks and three days of teachings.

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Second Day of Teachings in Riga https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/second-day-of-teachings-in-riga Sat, 16 Jun 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/second-day-of-teachings-in-riga Riga, Latvia - By the time His Holiness was ready to leave for the Skonto Hall this morning, almost two hundred people filled the hotel lobby waiting to catch a glimpse of him. Many held photos and other items they hoped to have blessed. Security personnel had a tough time keeping a cordon around His Holiness as eager and determined devotees pushed from both sides in their efforts to touch him.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting well wishers as he leaves his hotel on the way to Skonto Hall in Riga, Latvia on June 17, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Once he had reached the teaching venue and settled into his seat on the stage, His Holiness began by remarking that the Buddha taught us to subdue our minds.

“You do this by using your critical faculty and analysing the situation before you. Letting yourself be overtaken by negative emotions leads to suffering. Therefore, it’s important to recognise the shortcomings of an unruly, undisciplined mind. If you train your mind, you’ll suffer less, which is why the Buddha set taming or subduing the mind at the heart of his teaching.”

His Holiness emphasized that prayer by itself  is not sufficient to bring about peace of mind. What is much more effective is coming to understand the workings of the mind and learning how to tackle the mental afflictions that disturb it.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on the second day of his three day teaching in Riga, Latvia on June 17, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness advised the audience to read Shantideva’s ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’, paying particular attention to Chapter Six that deals with patience, Chapter Eight that focuses of exchanging self and others and cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta, and Chapter Nine about wisdom.

“Even people who are not Buddhists can learn from Chapters Six and Eight because what they have to say can apply to everyone. The explanation about patience, for example, can help reduce anger without needing to talk about nirvana or future lives. In fact, the advice about patience and altruism in these two chapters can be found in other religious traditions too.”

Members of the audience reading the texts along with His Holiness the Dalai on the second day of his three day teaching in Riga, Latvia on June 17, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness resumed his reading of the ‘Diamond Cutter Sutra’. When he reached the end, he remarked:

“I generally feel quite uncomfortable giving Buddhist teachings in non-Buddhist countries, when the majority of the audience comes from a Judeo-Christian background. However, I don’t feel such misgivings here where the majority of the audience come from traditionally Buddhist regions.”

Once again His Holiness ate lunch with a group of invited guests following which he held a meeting with the Indian Ambassador to Sweden & Latvia.

A technician keeping track of the FM transmission of the language translations during the second day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching in Riga, Latvia on June 17, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Before leaving for his hotel, His Holiness met with approximately 75 Tibetans who had come from several European countries to attend the teachings. He mentioned the importance of studying Buddhism and the key role understanding Tibetan has in this. He told them he felt the Tibetan Buddhist tradition would be of spiritual benefit to China in the future.

He also briefly alluded to his commitment to the Middle Way Approach—according to which Tibet would not seek independence, but remain within the People’s Republic of China—as part of a mutually beneficial solution.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama meeting with Tibetans from several European countries at the end of the second day of teachings in Riga, Latvia on June 17, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Finally, His Holiness encouraged the Tibetans to be happy and to be proud of their heritage. He told the younger members of the group not to lose hope of one day returning to Tibet. In the meantime, he told them it was important to study modern subjects such as science and technology to be able to contribute to the future development of their homeland.

Tomorrow, the final day of this series of teachings, His Holiness will confer a Thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara Empowerment and a permission to practise White Manjushri.

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First Day of Teachings in Riga https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/first-day-of-teachings-in-riga Fri, 15 Jun 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/first-day-of-teachings-in-riga Riga, Latvia - Yesterday, a short flight over the Baltic Sea brought His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Latvia. He was welcomed at Riga Airport by the local Latvian and Russian organizers of his visit. A large group of well-wishers were waiting to greet him at his hotel—he smiled, waved and shook hands with as many of them as he could.

Organizers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visit to Riga welcome him on his arrival at his hotel in Riga, Latvia on June 15, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

This morning at the Skonto Hall, which is once again the teaching venue, His Holiness first met with more than 40 members of the media gathered in an anteroom. After making a very brief statement, His Holiness took their questions.

Asked how to feel confident of making correct decisions, His Holiness replied:

“We human beings have a sophisticated intelligence which we must learn to use properly. Our decisions and consequent actions should not be taken simply on the basis of what we want. Although such an approach might provide some short-term satisfaction, we’d be little different from animals. As intelligent human beings we also have the ability to reason and anticipate the consequences of our actions. We can assess whether what we do will be socially acceptable and whether it is good for our health or not. We have to take the larger reality of any given situation into account. Looking at things from only one angle is not enough. Examining things from different angles objectively without too much emotion will lead to a better result.”

His Holiness the Dalai answering question from members of the media during their meeting in Riga, Latvia on June 16, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

To a question about competition and whether he had a favourite team to win the World Cup, His Holiness responded:

“I feel that competition that results in everyone involved reaching the top can be regarded as healthy and positive. However, if it entails putting obstacles in your rivals’ way, it’s not so good.

“Personally, I have little interest in sport, so I have no favourite team. When I was young I played a bit of badminton and ping-pong. In Beijing, in 1954/55, I played ping-pong with the Chinese Prime Minister, Zhou En-lai, but my motivation was poor—because he had a minor disability I thought it would be easy for me to win.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting the audience on his arrival on stage at Skonto Hall in Riga, Latvia on June 16, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

As His Holiness took the stage in the larger hall, a capacity crowd of 4000 people took to their feet, cheering and waving silk scarves in welcome. The ‘Heart Sutra’ was recited in Latvian.

“I am very happy to be here once more in Riga,” His Holiness began. “It seems that many people from the Russian Republics have also come. We are all followers of the same Nalanda Tradition, so I feel it is my duty to explain it to you.

A group from Latvia reciting the ‘Heart Sutra’ in Latvian at the start of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching in Riga, Latvia on June 16, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Everyone wants happiness and no one wants suffering. In that we are all equal. However, despite out not wanting suffering, it seems that we run after it. Although we can take steps to overcome physical distress, since anxiety and fear are at the root of suffering, what we really need to achieve is peace of mind. Scientists say they have found evidence that basic human nature is compassionate, so it’s common sense that whatever faith we may follow, the root of peace of mind is warm-heartedness.”

His Holiness explained that a key element of the Nalanda Tradition, which has been kept alive in Tibetan Buddhism, is its use of logic and reason. This approach was introduced to Tibetans by the great Nalanda Master Shantarakshita, who was invited to the Land of Snows by the Tibetan emperor in the 8th century.

A view of the stage with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the first day of his teachings at Skonto Hall in Riga, Latvia on June 16, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“We develop destructive emotions such as anger and attachment on the basis of ignorance. To counter that the Buddha spoke of the Two Truths—conventional and ultimate truth. He pointed out the gap between appearance and reality. Different Buddhist schools of thought present different interpretations of the Two Truths, but Nagarjuna taught that we will only eliminate fundamental ignorance by coming to understand emptiness of intrinsic existence in the context of dependent origination—the notion that things only exist in dependence on other factors.

“As Buddhists our practice should be founded on understanding, not blind faith alone, and to achieve understanding we need to learn. In Tibet, in the past, monks were only regarded as learned when they had studied 20 to 30 years. In India today, monks study at least 20 years. I respect all religions, but what distinguishes Buddhism is that the Buddha advised his followers not to take what he said at face value, but to examine and investigate it in the light of reason. Buddhism is the only tradition to adopt such a sceptical approach.”

Some of the more than 4000 people attending the teachings listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Skonto Hall in Riga, Latvia on June 16, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

The first text from which His Holiness began to read was the ‘Diamond Cutter Sutra’. Before completing that, he switched to Je Tsongkhapa’s ‘In Praise of Dependent Origination’, which he read to the end.

His Holiness had lunch with a group of invited guests before returning to his hotel. The teachings will resume tomorrow.

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Meeting with Tibet Supporters and Public Talk in Vilnius https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/meeting-with-tibet-supporters-and-public-talk-in-vilnius Wed, 13 Jun 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/meeting-with-tibet-supporters-and-public-talk-in-vilnius Vilnius, Lithuania - Meeting with members of the Lithuanian Parliamentary Group for Tibet and Tibet supporters this morning His Holiness the Dalai Lama told them:

"We’ve been passing through a difficult period with extensive human rights violations in Tibet, but my main concern is for the preservation of Tibet's unique cultural heritage. This is rooted in the ancient Indian understanding of the workings of the mind, on the basis of which we can achieve peace of mind and tackle our destructive emotions. This is something that is very much relevant today.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to members of the Lithuanian Parliamentary Group for Tibet and Tibet supporters in Vilnius, Lithuania on June 14, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“We appreciate the support of friends like you. The people in Tibet’s spirit remains strong and when you show concern it not only gives them courage, it also sends a clear message to Chinese hardliners that the Tibetan issue has to be dealt with in a realistic way. Therefore, I would like to thank you on behalf of the six million Tibetans."

Answering a question about different kinds of maps, His Holiness remarked:

"Political boundaries are the creation of bureaucrats, which may or may not reflect cultural boundaries. Historically the Chinese empire was characterized by political power, the Mongolian empire by its military prowess and the Tibetan empire by its spiritual strength. There was a brief period when Mongolia dominated both Tibet and China by military means. On the other hand, Tibet’s preoccupation with spiritual affairs meant that its influence extended to what is now, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Iran in the west, to much of China in the east, to Mongolia in the north and the Himalayan Region and the border with Burma in the south. Therefore, a map reflecting the extent of Tibetan Buddhist culture would be much larger than a political map of Tibet.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama joining members of the Lithuanian Parliamentary Group for Tibet and Tibet supporters for a group photo in Vilnius, Lithuania on June 14, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

While posing for photographs with people holding Tibetan flags, His Holiness told them a story.

“When I was in Beijing in 1954-55 I met Chairman Mao several times. We developed a close relationship—he was very kind to me, almost like a father to his son. On one occasion he asked if we Tibetans had a national flag. Somewhat hesitantly I answered, “Yes”. He approved and told me we should fly it alongside the Red Flag. So if anyone criticizes you for displaying this flag, you can tell them the Dalai Lama was given permission to do so by Chairman Mao himself. “

Meeting with Prof Vytautas Landsbergis, who became President of Lithuania when it achieved independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, His Holiness recalled, "How happy I was when you invited me here in 1991. I was so moved and impressed by the people’s joy, enthusiasm and determination. It was an honour to be here among you."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama meeting with former Lithuanian President Prof Vytautas Landsbergis in Vilnius, Lithuania on June 14, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

At the Siemens Arena His Holiness was introduced to the crowd of more than 2500 by the Mayor of Vilnius, Remigijus Šimašius. As he presented the Mayor with a traditional white scarf, His Holiness explained what it meant.

"The colour white represents warm-heartedness, truthfulness and honesty. The smooth texture of the scarf represents non-violent conduct—trying to help others whenever you can and refraining from harming them. At the end here, written in Tibetan, it says ‘May whoever is given this be happy night and day’. This kind of gift was first offered in India and has been adopted in Tibet. Since the silk the scarf is made of originated in China, the gift reflects a sense of harmony between India, Tibet and China."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama explaining the significance of the white scarf he presented to Mayor of Vilnius, Remigijus Šimašius at the start of his talk in Vilnius, Lithuania on June 14, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Addressing the crowd as brothers and sisters, His Holiness continued, “If we really thought of the rest of humanity as our brothers and sisters there’d be no room for bullying and cheating each other. Thinking of ourselves as somehow special only leads to loneliness, because the reality is that every human being's future depends on other human beings. Of course it’s natural to want to look after your own interests, but you have to do so in a wise rather than a foolish way. That means taking others into account and considering their concerns as well as your own. If the people around you are happy, obviously you’ll be happy too."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the audience of over 2500 at the Siemens Arena in Vilnius, Lithuania on June 14, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

When a member of the audience asked how to reconcile traditional and modern teaching methods His Holiness suggested that to start with it’s important for parents to show their children maximum affection. In schools it is a teacher’s responsibility to take an affectionate interest in their students well-being as well as providing them with instruction. For example, she or he might explain how anger disrupts our peace of mind, while compassion sets the mind at ease and fosters good health.

“My first teacher of compassion was my mother. As part of my Buddhist training I read a great deal about the qualities of altruism, but she was the first person to demonstrate it in practice."

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his talk at he Siemens Arena in Vilnius, Lithuania on June 14, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

At the end of his talk His Holiness thanked the audience for their interest and for staying awake. He urged them to think about what he had said.

"No matter what work you do, if we each make the effort, we can create a more peaceful world. I also believe that smaller nations like the Baltic States are sometimes freer to be creative and take a lead in this process in international affairs.”

Tomorrow, His Holiness will travel to Riga, Latvia, where he is to teach Tsongkhapa’s ‘In Praise of Dependent Origination’ and the ‘Diamond Cutter Sutra’, as well as giving Manjushri permission.

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Meeting with the Media and a Visit to University of Vilnius https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/meeting-with-the-media-and-a-visit-to-university-of-vilnius Wed, 13 Jun 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/meeting-with-the-media-and-a-visit-to-university-of-vilnius Vilnius, Lithuania - In his first engagement of the day, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave an exclusive interview to the lrytas.tv channel, during which three young children had the opportunity to ask him a question.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama giving an interview to the lrytas.tv channel in Vilnius, Lithuania on June 13, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Asked how you can be sure you’ve made the right decision about something, His Holiness replied:

“Life is quite complicated. But I use my brain—the human brain has great potential. However, we should not allow our negative emotions to interfere. We should analyze things objectively, examining them from different angles. If you do that, whatever you do will be realistic. We have to use our human intelligence. Then as our self-confidence grows it brings inner strength. “

In the packed lobby of the hotel, more than 60 people gathered to attend His Holiness’s interaction with members of the media.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting members of the media as he arrives for their meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania on June 13, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

In answer to a question about the goals of education, His Holiness explained:

“I consider myself one of the 7 billion human beings. We are mentally, emotionally and physically the same. What’s more, scientists now say they have evidence that our basic human nature is compassionate. That’s a cause for hope. We can see the truth of it in our day to day experience. When our minds are more compassionate, we feel mentally happier and physically well. If we’re constantly angry or afraid, it has the effect of undermining our immune system.

“Everybody wants to be happy—and no one wants to suffer. Yet the majority of the problems we face are of our own making. Therefore, we have to think this through more carefully. When we are young we are generally appreciative of love and affection, but as we grow older we tend to discriminate between ‘us’ and ‘them’.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions during his meeting with members of the media in Vilnius, Lithuania on June 13, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“The modern education system is very much oriented towards material goals, with little time for inner values. I suggest that just as we observe physical hygiene to maintain our physical health, we also need to cultivate a sense of emotional hygiene to keep our peace of mind. We need to incorporate training about this into our general education.”

Invited to comment on the relative roles of men and women, His Holiness explained how historically, when the criterion for leadership was physical strength, men naturally became leaders. Now, however, education has overcome such distinctions and across the world there is a greater regard for equal rights among women and men. He remarked that where old ways of thinking discriminate against women, we should oppose them. He added that since scientists have shown that many women are more sensitive to others’ pain, they have a special role to play in promoting compassion and human values.

His Holiness was greeted at the University of Vilnius, by an enthusiastic crowd of more than 2000 people. After a short introduction by Prof. Vytis Vidunas, Director of the House of Tibet, His Holiness began his talk.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to a crowd of over 2000 at the University of Vilnius in Vilnius, Lithuania on June 13, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

"No one among the 7 billion human beings alive today wants suffering. Nevertheless, despite all major religions teaching about love and tolerance, because we focus only on our own interests, exploiting and cheating others without concern, we create problems for ourselves.

"The 20th century was a period of immense violence because of the tendency to ry to solve problems by use of force. In the interdependent world in which we live today, this way of thinking is completely out of date. On the basis of the oneness of humanity, we need instead to cultivate a sense of global responsibility."

His Holiness declared that if we are to make the 21st century an era of peace, we have to find ways to reduce the arms trade and eliminate nuclear weapons. He remarked that in the short term the power of the gun may seem stronger, but in the long term, as smaller nations like Lithuania have proved, what is stronger is the power of truth.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the University of Vilnius in Vilnius, Lithuania on June 13, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness explained that promotion of a more peaceful world on the basis of the human values of loving kindness and compassion is his primary commitment. Next, he is committed to the promotion of inter-religious harmony. He pointed out that in India people of different faiths and points of view have lived together in peace for more than 3000 years. Now, when the population has grown to over a billion, although occasional problems arise, religious harmony continues to flourish, demonstrating to the world that it is possible.

As a Tibetan His Holiness is committed to the preservation of Tibetan culture and the Tibetan language in which it is expressed. He is also deeply concerned for Tibet's ecology, bearing in mind that more than a billion people across Asia depend on the rivers that rise in Tibet for water.

Finally, His Holiness mentioned that he is committed to the revival of ancient Indian knowledge, especially the Nalanda Tradition that was introduced to Tibet in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is his conviction that the view of reality and understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions that it entails remain relevant and of potential benefit in this day and age when the world is caught in emotional crisis.

A member of the crowd asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his talk at the University of Vilnius in Vilnius, Lithuania on June 13, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Answering questions from the audience His Holiness explained that in today's world there is a need for deeper spiritual values based on scientific findings and common sense. He urged the members of the audience to think about what they had heard and investigate what he had said.

From the University His Holiness drove to Tibet Square where he planted a sapling to symbolize friendship between Lithuania and Tibet in the Centenary Year of Lithuanian Independence. He then walked along a nearby canal to see an exhibition of photographs of Tibet by the late Lithuanian writer Jurga Ivanauskaite who wrote several books on the Land of Snows.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama planting a sapling to symbolize friendship between Lithuania and Tibet at Tibet Square in Vilnius, Lithuania on June 13, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness had lunch with the former Mayor of Vilnius, Mr. Arturas Zuokas, and invited guests before returning to his hotel.

Tomorrow, His Holiness will give a public talk at the Siemens Arena.

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Statement on the Singapore Summit Initiative https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/statement-on-the-singapore-summit-initiative Tue, 12 Jun 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/statement-on-the-singapore-summit-initiative Vilnius, Lithuania - His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued a statement where he welcomed the initiative that the leaders of the United States and North Korea have begun in Singapore to resolve long-standing differences in the hope that it will eventually lead to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

In the statement, His Holiness said,

"It is my firm belief that dialogue is the only way to resolve problems, whether between individuals or nations. As an avowed campaigner for demilitarization throughout the world, and the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, I wholeheartedly welcome this historic summit to secure lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.

"I applaud the steps these two leaders have taken. May their effort encourage further endeavors to dispense with these fearsome weapons of mass destruction everywhere with the aim of bringing about genuine and lasting peace in our world."

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Arrival in Lithuania https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/arrival-in-lithuania Mon, 11 Jun 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/arrival-in-lithuania Vilnius, Lithuania - His Holiness the Dalai Lama travelled to Delhi 10 June and spent the following morning meeting old friends.

Today, on arrival in Lithuania, His Holiness was received at Vilnius Airport by the Honorary Indian Consul in Lithuania, as well as by Prof. Vytis Vidunas, Director of the House of Tibet. While answering journalists’ questions as he left the airport, His Holiness said,

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from journalists at the airport in Vilnius, Lithuania on June 12, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I am happy to have this opportunity of visiting Lithuania and meeting with old friends again.”

His Holiness expressed admiration for the three Baltic States. He noted that immediately after their independence, the people of these countries were full of confidence. He mentioned how important it is for these countries to strive to improve their standard of living as part of the European Union, an institution for which he also has great respect.

Friends and supporters welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he arrives at his hotel in Vilnius, Lithuania on June 12, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

A short drive from the airport brought His Holiness to his hotel in the older part of Vilnius. He was welcomed by a small group of friends and supporters, several waving Tibetan flags.

Tomorrow, His Holiness will address students, faculty and members of the public at the University of Vilnius.

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Meeting Visitors to Dharamsala from India and Abroad https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/meeting-visitors-to-dharamsala-from-india-and-abroad Fri, 08 Jun 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/meeting-visitors-to-dharamsala-from-india-and-abroad Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - Following three days of teachings for young Tibetans, His Holiness the Dalai Lama met this morning with an estimated 1200 people in the yard of the Main Tibetan Temple adjacent to his residence. There were about 1000 visitors from India and abroad, as well as 200 Tibetans. He first posed for photographs with smaller groups of people arranged by geographical location before sitting down on a chair beneath the temple.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to visitors from India and abroad at the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 9, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness observed to begin with that since he had just taught for three days and many of those sitting before him had probably attended he had little to say. Nevertheless, he made some remarks before inviting questions from the audience.

“The Nalanda Tradition, of which Tibetan Buddhism is very much part, made thorough use of logic and reason. This involves investigating what the Buddha said and why he said it. The result of such investigation is a clearer and firmer understanding. As a result of their examination of the records of Buddha’s teaching Nalanda masters like Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti declared that some of them could not be accepted literally because they contradicted reason.

“Following the introduction of Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century by the great philosopher and logician Shantarakshita we Tibetans adopted a similarly rigorous approach. Since Tibetan is probably the classical language closest to Sanskrit it remains the most accurate means available to us today for expressing Buddhist ideas. Although the Nalanda Tradition has been somewhat neglected in India, it was kept alive in Tibet.”

Some of the more than 1200 people listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 9, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

The first question from the audience concerned psychology and how it can be combined with Buddhist methods for cultivating compassion. His Holiness replied that ancient India knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions is rich and deep. He reaffirmed that he is trying to revive appreciation of it because in India it has fallen into neglect. He recommended reading Akya Yongzin’s ‘Compendium of the Ways of Knowing’.

Another questioner asked how to strengthen equality and His Holiness reported that scientists assert that basic human nature is compassionate and this seems to be borne out by the way children respond. So long as their companions smile and behave in a friendly way they don’t seem to care about what their nationality, race or family faith may be.

“As we grow up and pursue our education,” he suggested, “we learn to disregard our basic human values. Instead we pay disproportionate attention to secondary differences, which here in India includes caste distinctions and whether people are rich or poor. These observations give rise to a lot of problems, especially in light of the fact that essentially human beings are physically, mentally and emotionally the same. At the same time I have great admiration for the way India still manages to find unity in diversity. What’s more, compared to her several neighbours, India is remarkably stable.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his meeting with visitors from India and abroad at the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 9, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Likewise I have great respect for the way leading members of the European Union, France and Germany for example, decided that the common interest was more important than national sovereignty. Where they had long been historical enemies, attitudes have completely changed and peace has prevailed among the members of the EU for 70 years.”

His Holiness mentioned that modern education has little time for what he refers to as inner values, nor for explanations of the workings of the mind and emotions. He noted that just as we observe physical hygiene to preserve our health, we also need to cultivate emotional hygiene to maintain our peace of mind. He remarked that if our lives were filled with anger we’d find it difficult to survive.

“Through education and training we can extend our basic human nature. This brings self-confidence, which is important and allows us to be more transparent, leading to trust, which is the foundation of firm friendship. It’s true to say that loving kindness is of value right from birth up to the time of our death.”

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his meeting with visitors from India and abroad at the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 9, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Asked how to reconcile science and religion, His Holiness referred to Indian sources that focus on the gap between appearance and reality. To understand reality requires investigation not just acceptance of things the way they appear. The self, which may appear to exist independently, is described in the Buddhist view as merely designated on the basis of body and mind.

An eight year old girl asked His Holiness what advice he would have had for himself when he was her age. He told her he had been a naughty boy with no interest in studying. All he wanted to do was play and run here and there. He’d been such a tearaway that his tutor was shocked to see his shoes in tatters. He conceded that he later came to appreciate the value of studying and applied himself to it.

“I belong to the generation of the 20th century,” he said, “and my time is gone, but we’re still near the beginning of the 21st century when we can think seriously about whether we want to repeat what went before in terms of people suffering and dying of violence. There is still time to follow the Indian traditions of karuna and ahimsa, a compassionate motivation expressed in non-violent conduct.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering a question from an 8 year old girl during his meeting with visitors from India and abroad at the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 9, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

A young man who is undertaking a meditation course asked about vegetarianism in the context of the avowed Buddhist prayer for the welfare of all sentient beings. His Holiness first pointed out that although Tibetans sincerely make such prayers, when they were in Tibet there were few vegetables and little non-vegetarian food. However, living in exile in India they had many other options. He explained that the main kitchens of the great re-established monasteries prepared only vegetarian food. At the same time efforts had been made to avoid poultry and pig farming in Tibetan settlements.

Then, His Holiness changed the direction of the conversation.

“We also have to make an effort to reduce the trade in weapons. We need to create a demilitarized world. Some problems may be solved by the use of force, but in general it just perpetuates problems. Violence engenders counter violence in a seemingly endless cycle.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from the audience during his meeting with visitors from India and abroad at the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 9, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I love America, which I regard as an important leader of the free world, and I’m great friends with George W Bush. The day after 9/11 I wrote to him expressing my profound condolences but also the hope that any response to the attack would avoid further violence. Eventually Iraq was attacked and when we met afterwards I told him of my affection for him, but also of my reservations about some of his policies. The intention to bring democracy to Iraq was admirable; the use of force was not.

“The only way to really solve human problems is to meet, talk and engage in dialogue. Only if we’re prepared to depend on dialogue will we be able to create a more peaceful world.”

His Holiness thanked the members of the crowd for coming to see him as many of them stood with folded hands and smiles on their faces to see him off. He went from the temple yard to an audience hall in his residence where 88 Thai monks, 13 nuns, 48 lay-people and 8 foreign supporters were joining him for lunch.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama having lunch with Thai monks and their supporters at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 9, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

To begin with a Thai Elder expressed the group’s gratitude for His Holiness’s kindness and hospitality. He replied that it was a great honour for him to share lunch with all of them.

“Fifty years ago, before Thailand entered into diplomatic relations with China, I visited your country two or three times and had an audience with His Majesty the late King. I also joined local monks on their alms round and I remember that the Bangkok streets were hot, so although I was pleased and happy to be there, my bare feet suffered.

“I greatly admired the Thai Buddhist way of life as I saw it. Today, you are about to set out again on your Dhamma Pad Yatra, your third Walk for World Peace from here to Leh and I’m happy to have been able to welcome you and offer you lunch.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama posing for one of several group photos with Thai monks and their supporters at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 9, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I’m very reluctant to say that one religion is better than another, just as we could not claim that one medicine is the best remedy for everything. However, I do believe that by observing the three trainings of ethics, concentration and wisdom we can tackle our emotions and transform our minds enabling us to be of greater help to other people. In that respect Buddhism has something universal to contribute to our common well-being. We can share this with others in a secular way without talking about liberation or nirvana, concerning ourselves only with becoming happier human beings in more peaceful communities.”

Prayers to offer the food were recited in Pali and Tibetan. At the end of the meal His Holiness wished all his guests well as they set out on their pilgrimage.

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Teachings for Young Tibetan Students - Final Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/teachings-for-young-tibetan-students-final-day Thu, 07 Jun 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/teachings-for-young-tibetan-students-final-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - As His Holiness the Dalai Lama walked through the yard of the Tsuglagkhang, the Main Tibetan Temple, this morning, he paused here and there to respond directly to people’s greetings. After he had taken his seat on the throne and begun preparatory rituals for the White Manjushri permission he was going to give, members of the Dharamsala Buddhist Study Group, several elderly men and women among them, robustly recited Akya Yongzin’s ‘Compendium of the Ways of Knowing’ by heart. Students from Sherab Gatsel Lobling, the Tibetan Transit School, followed them with a debate presentation focussing on the permutations of karma and what defines an action as wholesome or unwholesome. They had just begun to question how self-immolation could be considered when their presentation was brought to an end.

Students from Sherab Gatsel Lobling, the Tibetan Transit School, demonstrating debate on the final day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings for young Tibetan students at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 8, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness immediately took up the point: “Yesterday the book we are reading touched on this point, that where it is motivated by compassion and for the benefit of others, the Buddha has permitted actions to be taken that are otherwise forbidden. I don’t know whether we can therefore say that self-immolation is a wholesome deed.

“We’ll continue to read from the ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’. None of us wants suffering, we all wish to be happy and yet as the text says:

Although wishing to be rid of misery,
(Beings) run towards misery itself.
Although wishing to have happiness,
Like an enemy they ignorantly destroy it.

“Our experience of pain and pleasure can be mental and physical, yet the effect of the mind is much stronger. Once I was on pilgrimage to Bodhgaya and fell ill with a painful gastrointestinal complaint. On the way to seek treatment in Patna I saw impoverished children by the side of the road and in one place an old man with matted hair lying alone on a bed with no one to care for him. His condition filled me with concern such that my sense of my own pain subsided.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the final day of his teachings for young Tibetan students at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 8, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Elsewhere I’ve noticed that no matter how advanced the physical facilities may be, people can still be unhappy. Ancient Indian traditions, including Buddhism, have observed that it is disturbing emotions that disrupt our peace of mind. That’s why disturbing emotions are regarded as harmful, yet means can be developed to tackle them. What Shantideva makes clear is that under their sway, despite wishing for happiness, people run after suffering.

“In tackling disturbing emotions we need to use our intelligence and our ability to communicate through language.

“The root of suffering is being driven by self-centred attitudes and clinging to our misconception of independent existence. These will create trouble as long as they remain within us. This is why we need to recognise the faults of self-cherishing and the advantages of concern for others. At the start of our lives, our mothers give birth to us and nurture us in their care. When we’ve grown up, to be confined by ourselves makes us uneasy. We’re much happier in the company of others, which is why all religious traditions emphasize the importance of love and compassion.”

Young students following the text as His Holiness the Dalai Lama reads from the ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ on the final day of his teachings for young Tibetan students at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 8, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness resumed reading from the ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ halfway through Chapter Eight. After noting a reference to the equality of self and others, he highlighted the following verse:

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

Having completed Chapter Eight His Holiness set Chapter Nine—Wisdom—in context. To fully understand the topic he recommended reading Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’ and commentaries to it by Chandrakirti and Bhavaviveka. He noted that the first two verses indicate the direction of the chapter:

The Sage propounded all these branches [of teachings]
For the sake of wisdom.
Therefore, those who wish to pacify suffering
Should generate wisdom.

Conventional and Ultimate,
These are accepted as being the two truths.
The Ultimate is not the object of mind;
The mind is spoken of as conventional.

He further recommended that students memorize two verses from Chapter 24 and one from Chapter 18 of ‘Fundamental Wisdom’:



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

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

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

As he read through the text he drew attention to the introduction to the Four Mindfulnesses—Mindfulness of the Body, Feeling, the Mind and Phenomena, the importance of recognizing the object to be negated and the crucial factor of interdependence.

Assistants moving among the audience with ritual objects as His Holiness the Dalai Lama gives the the White Manjushri permission on the final day of his teachings for young Tibetan students at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 8, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Once he had completed reading Chapter Nine, His Holiness turned to the White Manjushri permission that comes from the Rinjung Gyatsa collection. He explained that to understand wisdom in particular requires analysis and for that it’s useful to rely on Manjushri. He noted that in addition to his support of wisdom, White Manjushri also embodies attributes of compassion. As part of the ritual His Holiness led the assembly in generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta. In conclusion, he asked everyone to join in reading Chapter 10 of the ‘Guide’, which is a long dedication of merit.

Regarding Khunu Lama Rinpoche’s ‘Jewel Lamp: A Praise of Bodhichitta’, which he had intended to read, His Holiness suggested that since the text had been made available in Tibetan, people could read it themselves whenever they had time. He remarked that it was a work that Khunu Lama Rinpoche had written, composing a verse a day, around the time His Holiness left Tibet.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama waving to members of the audience sitting in the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard as he returns to his residence at conclusion his teachings for young Tibetan students at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 8, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Out of concern that the Thai monks in the audience could leave to begin their lunch before midday, His Holiness instructed the Chant-master to restrict the final prayers to a recitation of the ‘Words of Truth’. He then left the temple, as usual joyfully interacting with people in the crowd as he walked all the way to the gates of his residence.

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Teachings for Young Tibetan Students - Second Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/teachings-for-young-tibetan-students-second-day Wed, 06 Jun 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/teachings-for-young-tibetan-students-second-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - As soon as His Holiness the Dalai Lama had taken his seat this morning, members of staff from the TCV School at Gopalpur began an energetic presentation of debate. They discussed taking refuge and definitions of the Three Jewels. They were followed by a group of students from the same school who focussed on science—specifically on living organisms.

Students from TCV School at Gopalpur demonstrating debate at the start of the second day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching for young Tibetan students at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 7, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Phuntsok

“The foremost scholar of the Nalanda Tradition was Nagarjuna,” were His Holiness’s opening words. “His writings reveal what a great master he was, precise and profound. His students, Aryadeva, Bhavaviveka, and eventually Shantideva elaborated on what he wrote. An early verse in his ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’ demonstrates how he used reasoning to establish the teaching:

Neither from itself nor from another
Nor from both,
Nor without a cause
Does anything whatever, anywhere arise.

“Nagarjuna praised the Buddha, not only for attaining enlightenment, but also for teaching dependent origination. As the final homage at the end of ‘Fundamental Wisdom’ says the Buddha taught the holy Dharma to rid us of all distorted views.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on the second day of his teaching for young Tibetan students at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 7, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Phuntsok

“Our intelligence is deluded by distorted views to uproot which the Buddha first taught the Four Noble Truths beginning with true sufferings and true origins. Detailed explanations of the Four Noble Truths include accounts of the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination. These are sometimes illustrated as the outer ring of the Wheel of Life that can often be found painted on temple verandas. It’s said that the original painting was commissioned by an Indian king.

“We all want happiness, not suffering. And yet, because of ignorance, we are beset by problems. In illustrations of the Twelve Links, the first, ignorance, is depicted as a blind, old woman. The second, volitional activity, is shown as a potter shaping a vase on a wheel.

“Our experience of pain and pleasure comes about as a result of our wholesome and unwholesome actions. The painting includes an inner ring that is half black, alluding to unwholesome actions and half white that indicates wholesome deeds. Many of our actions result from mental afflictions—ignorance, attachment and hatred—illustrated in the centre by a pig, a rooster and a snake respectively.

Tibetan students sitting on veranda at the Main Tibetan Temple listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the second day of his teaching in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 7, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Phuntsok

“Ignorance refers to our misconception of reality, which in his ‘400 Verses’ Aryadeva says permeates our disturbing emotions.

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

“To overcome this ignorance requires making an effort to understand dependent origination.”

His Holiness remarked that everything appears as if it exists objectively and independently. He said that when he looks into the crowd before him he sees schoolchildren and Thai monks, who each look as if they exist from their own side. That is how they appear, but the Buddhist view is that that is not how they actually exist.

A view of the inside of the Main Tibetan Temple on the second day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching for young Tibetan students in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 7, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Phuntsok

His Holiness recalled mentioning yesterday that quantum physicists refer to nothing having objective existence. Today, he referred to an American psychiatrist, Aaron Beck, who has long experience of working with people deeply troubled by anger. Beck told him he had observed that when people are angry they see the object of their anger, usually someone else, in a wholly negative light, but 90% of this feeling is just mental projection. His Holiness considers this a valuable insight.

“All religious traditions regard peace of mind as important. Developing it requires working with our inner world. According to some traditions this involves submitting to God envisaged as infinite love—an approach to peace of mind that depends on faith. Many Indian traditions, however, employ techniques for cultivating a calmly abiding mind and insight (shamatha and vipashyana) to achieve mental peace.

“The Buddhas uproot ignorance and lead beings to liberation by teaching about reality. They don’t wash away wrongdoing with water, nor do they remove suffering with their hands. The historical Buddha observed that each of us is our own master, implying that we can overcome suffering by eliminating ignorance from our own minds. No one else can do it for us.

Some of the more than 9000 people attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching for young Tibetan students sitting in the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 7, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Phuntsok

“The Buddha is the teacher of refuge, but the actual refuge is the Dharma Jewel, the true path and true cessation. Those who have experience of these things are the Sangha Jewel. Ultimately the intention of the Buddha is to lead others to the state he has reached.”

His Holiness resumed reading Chapter Five of the ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ from where he stopped yesterday. He touched on the qualities of a teacher, quoting Je Tsongkhapa, who said that one who will discipline others has to be disciplined themselves.

As he began reading Chapter Six about Patience His Holiness remarked that in order to preserve our peace of mind we need to practise patience and take account of the shortcomings of anger. “No one says I’m happy today,” he quipped, “because I’ve just had a good fight with someone.”

A student asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during a break on the second day of teachings for young Tibetan students at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 7, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Phuntsok

During the intermission His Holiness answered questions from students, after which he completed reading Chapters Six, Seven and Eight of the ‘Guide’. As he brought the session to an end His Holiness mentioned that he is thinking of giving a White Manjushri permission as part of tomorrow’s teachings.

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Teachings for Young Tibetan Students https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/teachings-for-young-tibetan-students Tue, 05 Jun 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/teachings-for-young-tibetan-students Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - The yard around the Tsuglagkhang was packed with people when His Holiness the Dalai Lama walked out through the gates of his residence this morning. The estimated 9000 people included 900 college students, 112 students from the Men-tsee-khang, 105 students from the Tibetan Transit School, nearly 1400 students from TCV schools—mostly from classes 9-12, 250 from the Dharamsala Buddhist Study Group, more than 2000 interested people from abroad, including 150 Thai monks from the Thai Dhama-Sala Charitable Society, and local Tibetans.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting TCV students as he arrives at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 6, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Phuntsok

Smiling and waving to members of the crowd as he went, His Holiness made his way up to the temple. There he paid his respects before the statue of the Buddha and greeted old friends before taking his seat on the throne.

Members of the Dharamsala Buddhist Study Group, comprising men and women, monastics and lay-people, Tibetans and people from abroad, demonstrated their debating skills. The first group discussed the aspiring and venturing awakening minds as described in the ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’. The second group explored modes of reasoning as revealed in Dharmakirti’s ‘Commentary on Valid Cognition’ (Pramanavarttika).

Members of the Dharamsala Buddhist Study Group demonstrating their debating skills at the start of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching for young Tibetan students at the Main Tibetan Temple in  Dharamsala, HP, India on June 6, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Phuntsok

Dispensing with a long recitation of prayers His Holiness recited two short verses before beginning to address the gathering.

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

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

“We’ve been holding teachings for young Tibetans at this time of year when children from distant schools and colleges could also attend for several years now. So students and school children are the main disciples on this occasion, but I am also glad to welcome monks from Thailand.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on the first day of his teaching for young Tibetan students at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 6, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Phuntsok

“The Buddha attained enlightenment in India more than 2500 years ago. The explanation of the Four Noble Truths and their sixteen characteristics that he gave in Sarnath, Varanasi, was his fundamental teaching. Later, he elaborated on this in the teachings he gave on Vulture’s Peak.

“The Thai monks here are senior to us as students of the Buddha. They follow a tradition of monastic discipline or Vinaya preserved in the Pali language. We in Tibet follow a tradition preserved in Sanskrit. There are some differences in the number of infractions and the precepts held in these traditions, for example in the Theravada tradition one precept enjoins a monk to wear his robes properly, whereas in the Mulasarvastavadin tradition seven precepts are stipulated with regard to the wearing of robes. In terms of the spirit of the Vinaya we share essentially the same traditions, however the Perfection of Wisdom teachings we Tibetans uphold are specific to the Sanskrit tradition.

“I greatly appreciate the presence of these Thai monks and other followers. In the past there has been little contact between members of the Pali and Sanskrit traditions despite efforts to encourage it. In the 1960s, I sent some Tibetan monks to Thailand where they stayed in monasteries and observed the Theravada vows, but the arrangement could not be kept up. We are hoping to resume it and a first step will be for monastics from each side to learn the other’s language.

Many of the over 9,000 people attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings watching on TV screens in the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 6, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Phuntsok

“In addition to people from traditionally Buddhist countries are others who have become interested in Buddhism even though where they come from has no historical link to it.”

His Holiness mentioned the array of religious traditions preserved in India, some indigenous like the Samkhya, Jain and Buddhist traditions and the Abrahamic traditions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam from elsewhere. All these traditions emphasize altruism. They teach about love and compassion. He observed that since all have been of service to humanity in the past and will continue to be in the future trying to set them apart serves no purpose. He recommended that people make an effort to cultivate respect and harmony among them while upholding their own faith and declared that India has shown over a long period that this can be done.

His Holiness conceded that there are philosophical differences among these various traditions—some are classified as theistic, believing in a creator god, while others are not. One branch of the Samkhyas, Jains and Buddhists do not assert a creator, but among them only Buddhists deny the existence of a self independent of the psycho-physical aggregates. He remarked that among different Buddhist schools of thought, all assert a selflessness of persons, that there is no single, independent self functioning like a controller of the aggregates. However, only some, the Mind Only and Middle Way Schools, also speak of a selflessness of phenomena.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the first day of his teaching for young Tibetan students at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 6, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Phuntsok

Declaring that the ultimate view of emptiness was explained by Nagarjuna, His Holiness asked what the purpose of such philosophical ideas might be. In answer he quoted Nagarjuna,‘Through the elimination of karma and mental afflictions there is liberation; Karma and mental afflictions come from conceptual thoughts and these come from mental elaborations. Elaboration ceases through emptiness.’ The point is to eliminate distorted views that give rise to disturbing emotions.

“In today’s world people abuse and kill each other, despite scientists observing that basic human nature is compassionate,” His Holiness observed. “One reason seems to be that modern education is more focussed on achieving material development than on cultivating our basic human inclinations towards compassion.

“In Tibet, the Nalanda Tradition of Buddhist study and practice were introduced thanks to the religious Emperors. The great scholar Shantarakshita established Buddhist teachings while Padmasambhava overcame obstacles. Shantarakshita encouraged the translation of Indian Buddhist literature from Sanskrit into Tibetan as we see reflected in the colophon to the ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’, which shows that three different teams of scholars and translators, at different times, worked to refine the edition we have today.

A member of the audience following His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching on ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 6, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Phuntsok

“Although I respect all religious traditions for the message of love and compassion they convey, it is on the basis of the philosophical insights and the tools of reason and logic provided by such scholars as Shantarakshita and Kamalashila that we Buddhists are able to engage in mutually beneficial dialogue with modern scientists.

“This year I suggested we look at the ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’. If you are restless and despondent, reading Chapter six can calm you down. Similarly, due to self-cherishing attitudes our minds are easily disturbed. Remedies can be found in Chapter eight with its focus on meditation and the cultivation of the awakening mind of bodhichitta.

“In 1967, when I came across Khunu Lama Rinpoche’s ‘Jewel Lamp’ I asked him to teach it to me. After teaching me the‘Guide’ he asked me to explain it to others whenever I could. He told me that Shantideva composed it in the 8th century and that there has been no greater book dealing with bodhichitta since then—this is the essence of the Buddha’s teachings.

“Today, many people are dominated by disturbing emotions. These books explain how to tackle such negative emotions as attachment and anger, which are rooted in a distorted view of reality. By developing the wisdom understanding emptiness we can overcome them and transform our minds.”

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during an intermission on the first day of teachings for young Tibetan students at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 6, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Phuntsok

During an intermission His Holiness answered several questions from students in the audience. When the session resumed, he began to read ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ steadily from the beginning. Pausing to make occasional clarifications, His Holiness completed the first four chapters and was well into Chapter Five when he stopped. He will continue his reading tomorrow morning.

Walking down from the temple, as is his wont, His Holiness greeted old friends and new, smiling, waving and shaking hands, before climbing into a car to complete the journey home.

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American, Indian and Tibetan Students and Teachers Meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/american-indian-and-tibetan-students-and-teachers-meet-his-holiness-the-dalai-lama Fri, 01 Jun 2018 17:46:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/american-indian-and-tibetan-students-and-teachers-meet-his-holiness-the-dalai-lama Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - Eighty people from three different groups met His Holiness the Dalai Lama today. They included students and faculty members from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, as well as participants in the Emory-Tibet Partnership from the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, and students involved with the Kurukul Program of the Foundation for Universal Responsibility, New Delhi.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting members of the audience before his meeting with students and teachers at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 1, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness welcomed them to Dharamsala, which he described as his second home for the last 59 years.

He outlined his four main commitments, explaining that the first is to promoting an understanding of the oneness that unites all 7 billion human beings alive today. He mentioned not only the interdependence of the global economy, but also how we are all affected by common concerns like climate change.

“We are emotionally, mentally and physically the same and we can help each other by sharing our experience of achieving peace of mind.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to groups of students and teachers at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 1, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Noting that the fundamental message of all major religious traditions includes the importance of cultivating friendship, love, tolerance and self discipline, His Holiness is committed to promoting inter-religious harmony. Consequently, he expressed regret at the level of religious conflict that can be seen today.

“Look at India,” he said, “where religious harmony has been thriving for thousands of years. In addition to indigenous traditions, there others from elsewhere. Followers of Zoroastrianism, for example, originally came from Persia and their community now numbers fewer than 100,000, mostly in Mumbai. But they live there completely without fear. That’s the Indian tradition.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during their meeting at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 1, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Then, as a Tibetan, someone in whom 6 million Tibetans have placed their trust, I have a moral responsibility to help them as best I can. I semi-retired from my political role in 2001 and completely retired and devolved those responsibilities to an elected leadership in 2011. Now I’m committed to working to encourage the protection of Tibet's fragile environment. This involves more than the well-being of six million Tibetans because, as a Chinese ecologist has observed, Tibet’s influence on global climate is equivalent to that of the North and South Poles. That’s why he referred to the Tibetan Plateau as the Third Pole. Almost a billion people across Asia depend on water from rivers such as the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Salween and Mekong, all of which rise in Tibet. If the snow on the mountains of Tibet disappears, millions of Indians will suffer the consequences."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from the audience during his meeting with students and teachers at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 1, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness also expressed his dedication to keeping Tibet’s language and its rich cultural and religious heritage alive. He explained how the Buddhist traditions of Tibet were drawn from those upheld at the Nalanda University in India. They included a strong reliance on reasoning and investigation, which corresponds to a scientific approach.

“The world is facing a crisis of emotions. Elements of the Nalanda Tradition derived from the longstanding Indian practices for developing a calmly abiding mind and deep insight (shamatha and vipashyana) have much to tell us about tackling our negative emotions and cultivating lasting peace of mind. This is why this knowledge remains relevant today, which is why I am also committed to trying to revive an appreciation of it. I believe that here in India it is possible to integrate ancient knowledge with a modern education.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama posing for one of several group photos at the conclusion of his meeting with students and teachers at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 1, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness answered several questions from the audience related to creating a more compassion society, dealing with adversity, making positive use of technology and coming to terms with death. He also advised the Buddhists in the room to take a 21st century approach to their faith by developing a reasoned understanding of who the Buddha was and what he taught.

The meeting ended with members of the various groups gathering around His Holiness to have their photographs taken with him, after which everyone dispersed for lunch.

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Meeting Participants in an International Conference on the Middle Way Approach https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/meeting-participants-in-an-international-conference-on-the-middle-way-approach Tue, 29 May 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/meeting-participants-in-an-international-conference-on-the-middle-way-approach Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama met 500 Tibetans from different parts of the world and 170 Tibetans from various settlements in India and Nepal in the yard of the Tsuglagkhang this morning. They had gathered in Dharamsala to participate in an International Conference on the Middle Way Approach.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing participants to an International Conference on the Middle Way Approach during their meeting at the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 30, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

"Since I formulated the Middle Way Approach,” His Holiness told them, “I feel I have a responsibility to explain it."

He recounted his initial experiences of dealing with the outside world, including China, beginning in the 1950s. Next, he recalled his introduction to Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru

"I met him first in 1954 at Beijing, then again in 1956 when I was invited to attend the 2500th Buddha Jayanti Celebrations in India. By then, the Chinese communists had already begun their brutal crackdown in Tibet. Consequently, my ministers, as well as my brothers, were utterly opposed to my returning to Tibet. They sought to persuade me to stay in India. I discussed this with Nehru, who advised me to return to Tibet. He highlighted certain points in the Seventeen Point Agreement which he felt we could still negotiate with the Chinese. He recommended that I try to do that within Tibet.

Participants to an International Conference on the Middle Way Approach listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during their meeting at the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 30, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

"However, once I had returned, the situation in our homeland continued to deteriorate, ultimately reaching a point where I had to escape. Nevertheless, one of the advantages of my having gone back to Tibet was that I was able to complete my Geshe Lharampa examinations there."

After narrating his fruitless attempts to negotiate with Chinese officials, His Holiness described Tibetans’ life as refugees in India.

Once settled in the freedom and safety of India, His Holiness and his former ministers made every effort to raise the issue of Tibet at the United Nations.

"Although the resolutions passed by the UN brought no concrete results inside Tibet, the second resolution asserted the ‘Tibetan people’s right to self-determination’.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing over 650 Tibetans from various settlements in India and around the world participating in an International Conference on the Middle Way Approach during their meeting at the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 30, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

"Nehru advised that the Tibetan issue could be best resolved by engaging directly with China. He further recommended that the real way to keep the Tibetan issue alive was to educate our young people."

His Holiness explained that he had first begun to think about the Middle Way Approach in 1974, ideas that paved the way for his elder brother's eventual meeting with Deng Xiaoping.

"During a two hour meeting between Deng Xiaoping and my elder brother in 1978, Deng Xiaoping told him that apart from independence, everything else could be discussed. Because he’d heard that several thousand Tibetan children were receiving a modern education in India, he even asked that we send some of them to Tibet, where there was an urgent need for English translators."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama posing for one of several group photos with Tibetans participating in an International Conference on the Middle Way Approach during their meeting at the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 30, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness went on to emphasize the importance of keeping Tibetan Buddhist traditions alive because of their unique and scientific approach to reality. He added that maintaining a working knowledge of literary Tibetan was crucial to this.

Reiterating his commitment to promoting the idea of the oneness of humanity, His Holiness asked how it would be if this were not to include the Chinese people. He stressed the importance of building friendly relations with the Chinese, while at the same time upholding Tibetan unity.

"In the future, I believe our rich religious and cultural heritage can make a significant and beneficial contribution to the rest of the world. Therefore, we have to work together without being distracted by regional differences between us.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting members of the audience as he departs for his residence at the conclusion of his meeting with participants to an International Conference on the Middle Way Approach at the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 30, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

The meeting came to an end after almost an hour when His Holiness returned to his residence. The members of the audience dispersed with smiles on their faces and blessed pills and protection cords in their hands.

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Second Day of Interaction with Vietnamese Groups https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/second-day-of-interaction-with-vietnamese-groups Mon, 21 May 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/second-day-of-interaction-with-vietnamese-groups Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama met Vietnamese business leaders, artists, intellectuals and members of youth delegations for a second time today. First of all he undertook the preparatory ritual for a White Manjushri Permission, while members of the audience recited the mantra of Buddha Shakyamuni.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama undertaking the preparatory ritual for a White Manjushri Permission at the start of the second day of his meeting with groups from Vietnam at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 22, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

"The 7 billion human beings alive today can be categorized into three groups," His Holiness explained, "one that does not pay much attention to inner values, another that considers religion to be negative and one that has respect for spiritual practice. Everybody has an equal right to be happy, however, it seems that when faced with difficulties or desperate circumstances, people who have the support of religious belief find it easier not to lose hope.

"Jainism, one branch of the Samkhyas and Buddhism do not believe in a creator. Apart from Buddhism, all other religious traditions accept the notion of an independent, permanent self, or atman. The Buddhist theory of dependent origination means this idea of an independent self is untenable.

An assistant performing ritual cleansing with incense as His Holiness the Dalai lama gives the White Manjushri Permission on the second day of his meeting with groups from Vietnam at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 22, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

"The Buddha taught that things do not exist as they appear. Later, four major schools of thoughts evolved within Buddhism, each of which explains the four noble truths, the two truths and the concept of selflessness, but among them all it is the Middle Way (Madhyamaka) presentation that is most scientific."

His Holiness explained that destructive emotions arise on the basis of misunderstanding the ultimate nature of things and that by understanding emptiness it is possible to eliminate them at the root.

"In order to properly understand how the wisdom understanding emptiness serves to counteract destructive emotions, it is important to study psychology as explained in the classic India Buddhist texts," His Holiness remarked.

His Holiness the Dalai lama giving the White Manjushri Permission on the second day of his meeting with groups from Vietnam at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 22, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Clarifying why the realization of emptiness is related to Nirvana or liberation, His Holiness cited Nagarjuna's ‘Fundamental of Wisdom':

Through the elimination of karma and mental afflictions there is liberation;
Karma and mental afflictions come from conceptual thoughts
And these come from mental elaboration.
Elaboration ceases through emptiness.

His Holiness also quoted Aryadeva's ‘Four Hundred Verses':

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

When dependent arising is seen
Confusion will not occur.
Thus every effort has been made here
To explain  precisely  this subject.

His Holiness also explained that understanding emptiness is essential to the attainment of liberation and enlightenment. He further pointed out that the real source of suffering is maintaining an extreme self-centred attitude and the misconception of an independent self. He explained how a sense of concern for others helps counteract anger.

His Holiness the Dalai lama posing for one of several group photos at the conclusion of his two day meeting with Vietnamese business leaders, artists, intellectuals and members of youth delegations and groups in Vietnam by live teleconference link, at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 22, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

After completing this overview of the Buddha's teachings, His Holiness gave the permission of White Manjushri, which he reported having received from Tagdrak Rinpoche when he was still young in Tibet. At the end, he asked the Vietnamese to recite the Heart Sutra in their own language. As the session came to an end, he assured the group he would see them next year.

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Interacting with Vietnamese Business Leaders, Artists and Intellectuals https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/interacting-with-vietnamese-business-leaders-artists-and-intellectuals Sun, 20 May 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/interacting-with-vietnamese-business-leaders-artists-and-intellectuals Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with approximately 80 business leaders, artists, intellectuals and members of youth delegations from Vietnam at his residence today. Another 500 participated in the interaction in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong over a live teleconferencing link.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama waving to participants in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong attending a meeting over a live teleconferencing link with a group from Vietnam at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 21, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness began by emphasising the need to appreciate the oneness of humanity. He expressed regret about the extent of violence in the world and the way the poor are neglected leading to children dying of starvation.

"Meanwhile,” he added, “many of those who are otherwise well-off are neither happy nor at peace. Still, scientists finding evidence that basic human nature is compassionate is a source of hope. Virtually all of us have benefited from our mother’s affection at the start of our lives. When someone is on their deathbed, if he or she is surrounded by loved ones they can pass away peacefully. From birth to death we all need affection.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to groups from Vietnam at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 21, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

"Many of the problems we face arise because we pay too much attention to secondary differences between us. The antidote to this is to cultivate a deeper understanding of the oneness of humanity. Although we Tibetans have suffered tremendously under the Chinese authorities’ tight control, we don’t use this as an excuse for stirring up hostility towards our Chinese brothers and sisters. On the contrary, a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood is essential for our common well-being.

"Throughout human history, divisions that derive from focussing on secondary differences between us, like faith, colour and nationality, have brought us only suffering."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to groups from Vietnam at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 21, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Turning his attention to religious harmony, he remarked that although different religious traditions present different philosophical points of view, they share a common message of love, compassion and self-discipline, which is ground for mutual appreciation.
The kind of debate and discussion that characterised the Nalanda Tradition of Buddhism, had the effect of deepening intelligence and understanding, indicating the importance of scepticism and asking 'why' and 'how'.

His Holiness took several questions from the audience. Asked how to lead a meaningful life without getting angry, he explained that although anger appears to protect us, scientists have concluded that constant anger and hatred actually undermines our immune system. He reiterated that in resolving differences, it is important to find mutually beneficial solutions because our world is highly interdependent.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a questions during his meeting with groups from Vietnam at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 21, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Faced with difficulties we need to be realistic. We need to take a wider perspective and examine our problems from different angles. Noting that he has lived his whole life under difficult circumstances, he stressed that he has always managed to maintain his peace of mind and keep a smile on his face.

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