Dalai Lama https://www.dalailama.com/ en-us Mon, 25 Mar 2019 12:53:07 +0000 Mon, 25 Mar 2019 12:53:07 +0000 Condolences for Those Who Died in Christchurch https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/condolences-for-those-who-died-in-christchurch Thu, 21 Mar 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/condolences-for-those-who-died-in-christchurch Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand to express his deep sadness over the tragic deaths and injuries that took place in a place of worship as a result of last Friday's shootings in Christchurch. He offered his heartfelt prayers for those who died and conveyed his condolences through Ms. Ardern to their families, friends and the people of New Zealand.

“I admire the courage, wisdom and leadership you have shown in spontaneously declaring that the victims of violence belong to the family of New Zealanders, while the perpetrator of violence set himself apart,” he wrote. “Since we all depend upon others, we have to be inclusive in our concern for them. Wherever I go, I consider myself to be just one among seven billion human beings alive today. It is unthinkable that these days we see people killing each other in the name of religion or out of hostility to another faith. This is why I am committed to creating a greater awareness of the oneness of humanity—the fact that as human beings we are mentally, physically and emotionally the same.

“I applaud the way you and the people of New Zealand have reached out with compassion and support to members of the Muslim community among you. It is encouraging too that across the world, people of all faiths are visiting mosques in solidarity with Muslims after the Christchurch shootings.

His Holiness concluded his letter by observing, “Your Government's determination to reform gun laws will contribute to peace and security, but equally important is to resist hatred and fear by cultivating warm-heartedness as you have shown.”

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A Manjushri Permission https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/a-manjushri-permission Sat, 23 Feb 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/a-manjushri-permission Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - This morning, for the final session of this series of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings, the weather cleared up. The sky was blue and the sun shone brightly over the snow-clad mountains as His Holiness walked to the Tsuglagkhang. The mixed crowd in the yard and around the temple welcomed him with warm smiles and folded hands.

The snow-clad mountains behind Dharamsala in the morning of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's final session of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple on February 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

After taking his seat on the throne, His Holiness explained that he had to spend a little time on preparations for the Manjushri permission he was going to give. Meanwhile, he asked everyone present to recite Manjushri’s mantra—Om arapatsana dhi. When he was ready and began to read the ritual for bestowing the permission, he explained that there is a common option to offer a ritual cake to drive away interfering forces. However, he has decided that seeking to drive such beings away is inconsistent with his avowed wish to help all sentient beings.

“This Manjushri practice belongs to action tantra and the lower tantras are preliminary to the Highest Yoga Tantra that exemplifies what is special and profound about tantra. The Perfection of Wisdom teachings make clear that everything from physical forms up to the omniscient mind is empty of inherent existence. Nagarjuna elucidates this in his ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’. However, in terms of the mind that apprhends it, a distinction is drawn between the adventitious, gross state of mind and the innate mind of clear light.

“The substantial condition for the wisdom-truth body of a Buddha is the innate mind of clear light. The gross state of mind cannot be the substantial cause. The luminous, innate mind of clear light is the mind that meditates on emptiness. This recalls the first lines of the verse the Buddha pronounced soon after his enlightenment: ‘Profound and peaceful, free from elaboration, uncompounded clear light, I have found a nectar-like Dharma.’

His Holiness the Dalai Lama explaining Manjushri Permission he will give on the final session of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Jamyang Shayba in his work on philosophical systems states that although emptiness is taught in the sutra vehicle, the subtlest mind that meditates on that emptiness is not taught there. Although the obscurations to knowledge are revealed in the sutra presentation, it is in tantra that the supreme method for eliminating them is found.”

His Holiness mentioned that the permission of Manjushri he was about to give was one of several forms of Manjushri included in the Rinjung Gyatsa collection. He received it from Tagdrag Rinpoché when he was a child. He commended the practice especially for enabling the individual to cultivate and increase his or her great, vast, profound and swift wisdom. The practice facilitates the sharpening of intelligence and the ability to engage in critical analysis. It also enhances the wisdom on the basis of which to develop bodhichitta that leads to the state of omniscience. His Holiness remarked that we rely on profound wisdom when we make decisions and on vast wisdom when we seek to take a wider perspective on something.

When it came to the ceremony for generating the awakening mind of enlightenment and taking the bodhisattva vows, His Holiness pointed out that for a teaching or practice to be Buddhist it needs to be based on taking refuge in the Three Jewels. For a teaching or practice to belong to the great vehicle or Mahayana, it needs to be based on bodhichitta—it has to do with the mind. He noted that although the 16 Arhats are regarded with great respect, there is no record of any teaching they have given. The legacy of the teachings in fact depends on the works of Nagarjuna and his followers, Asanga and those who followed him, as well as Dignaga and Dharmakirti and those who came after them.

Members of the crowd filling the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple during the ceremony for generating the awakening mind of enlightenment and taking the bodhisattva vows from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

He quoted a verse from ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ that extols the qualities of bodhichitta:

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

“We’ve completed the teaching of Bhavaviveka’s ‘Essence of the Middle Way’ based on Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk’s annotations. Another way in which we may consider Bhavaviveka kind is that his criticism of Buddhapalita’s assertions prompted Chandrakiriti to address them in his ‘Clear Words’ thereby clarifying the correct view. These books by Indian masters are really helpful for dispelling doubts about the misconception of intrinsic existence.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama walking back to his residence at the conclusion of the final session of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“It’s a good, clear day today. We’ve finished the teaching and I look forward to seeing you all again. I’ve received an invitation from the Abbots of Drepung and Ganden Monasteries to come to South India and if I’m feeling fit, I’d like to come. Whatever merit we have created, may it contribute to the flourishing of the Buddha Dharma and the tradition of Je Tsongkhapa in particular.”

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Final Day of the Transmission of Bhavaviveka's ‘Essence of the Middle Way' https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/final-day-of-the-transmission-of-bhavavivekas-essence-of-the-middle-way Fri, 22 Feb 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/final-day-of-the-transmission-of-bhavavivekas-essence-of-the-middle-way Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - After rain through the night, the bad weather let up and the sky brightened this morning as His Holiness the Dalai Lama walked to the Tsuglagkhang, returning people’s smiles and greetings as he went. From the throne he recited the final verse from Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’:

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

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arriving at the Main Tibetan Temple on the final day of his teachings on Bhavaviveka's "Essence of the Middle Way" in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 22, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“We’ve completed Chapter Five and today we’ll finish this reading of ‘Essence of the Middle Way’”, His Holiness announced at the beginning. “Towards the end of his ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ Chandrakirti describes how the Buddha, having studied, reflected and meditated on emptiness, trod the path to enlightenment.

“Spreading the broad wings of (the truths of) conventional and ultimate reality,
Leading the swans of (ordinary) individuals, this King of Swans
Soars ahead on the strong winds of virtue
And proceeds to the supreme far shore of the Victorious One’s qualities.

“As Gungthang Rinpoché said, now that you’ve found this precious human life and met with the teachings of the Buddha, especially the teachings of the Nalanda Tradition---manifest in Tibet in the 100 volumes of the Kangyur and 225 volumes of the Tengyur—there is a risk of letting it slip through your fingers without deriving any benefit from it. You need to do what you can to make this life meaningful in order that the next life may be meaningful too. Pray to the Guru to be able to follow the five stage path outlined by the Heart Sutra mantra. Since you have a life with 18 qualities of freedom and opportunity, make it meaningful.

“As a child I wasn’t interested in studying, but after the age of 10 that began to change. I started to really take interest when I was about 13 and first visited the great monasteries. Thanks to my debate partner, Ngodup Tsognyi, who was very keen to understand the Middle Way or Madhyamaka view, I took closer interest too. So, I’ve been preoccupied by the Middle Way view for about 70 years. Since coming into exile I’ve reflected on it every day.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the audience on the final day of his teachings on Bhavaviveka's "Essence of the Middle Way" at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 22, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“To begin with, I used to think that the awakening mind of bodhichitta was admirable, but actually cultivating it seemed too difficult. I told Tagdrag Rinpoché this and he told me he’d been able to develop it and he was confident I could too if I undertook the appropriate meditation. When I taught the Great Exposition of Tantra I mentioned that I found the prospect of actually developing bodhichitta daunting. But after receiving an explanation of ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ from Khunu Lama Rinpoché Tenzin Gyaltsen in 1967 I began to understand that it could be done. At that time, Khunu Lama Rinpoché encouraged me to teach the ‘Guide’ as often as I could, which I have tried to do.

“Consequently over the last 40 years I feel I’ve been getting closer to bodhichitta. Don’t think I’ve been idle. I started out as a lazy student, but to spur me on Kyabjé Ling Rinpoché kept two whips, one of which was yellow to be used on his ‘holy’ student. However, I was under no illusions that there would be any difference in the ‘holy pain’ I would feel if he used it.”

His Holiness encouraged his listeners to develop experience of the Dharma through listening, reflecting and meditating on bodhichitta and emptiness day and night.

“If you pay attention to them intensely during the day, you’ll dream about them when you sleep at night. It’s said that gaining deeper understanding of these things during the dream state is especially effective. What I can tell you is that if you make the effort you can develop these experiences.

Many of the more than 7000 attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings following the text in the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 22, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I don’t have such insight into emptiness that I can remain in absorption on it as accords with the path of preparation, but you can gain such experience by keeping up your effort. As for bodhichitta, what you realize is that you have friends all around you with no enemies as such.

“We all recite the sadhanas of various deities such as Vajrabhairava. Because I’ve received the Lam Dre tradition of the Sakyas, I do Hevajra too. Your tantric practice will be effective if you have a sound insight into emptiness and bodhichitta. Without them your practice won’t come to much. The deeper your experience of the sutra path, the more profound will your practice of tantra be. As Nyengon Sungrab has observed, what was taught in the sutras was the general structure of the path, whereas the tantras, some of which the Buddha taught in the aspect of a monk, but most he revealed in the form of a deity, are specialized teachings. If you develop a good grounding in the general structure of the teachings, you’ll be better able to appreciate the specialized practice of tantra.”

His Holiness prepared to resume reading the text, then reminisced about meeting with Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk. “He was someone who had spent many years in prison in the place where he was born in Tibet. I’d heard that he had the transmissions of the auto-commentary to ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ (Madhyamakavatara) and the ‘Compendium of Valid Cognition’ (Pramanasamucchaya) and felt it was crucial that I receive them from him.

“I also discovered that Khenpo Sangyé Tenzin had the transmission of Kamalashila’s ‘Stages of Meditation’ that he had received at Samyé from a Khampa Lama. Usually I would consult Kyabjé Ling Rinpoché before taking such transmissions, but on this occasion there wasn’t time. In fact, in due course Yongzin Ling Rinpoché gave me Gunaprabha’s ‘Vinaya Sutra’ and told me then that he had passed on to me all the transmissions he possessed.”

 His Holiness the Dalai Lama reading from Bhavaviveka's "Essence of the Middle Way" at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 22, 2019. Photo by Pasang Tsering

His Holiness began to read Chapter Six of ‘Essence of the Middle Way’—Dealing with the Principles of the Samkhyas. He continued to Chapter Seven—Dealing with the Principles of the Vaisheshikas, Chapter Eight—Dealing with the Principles of the Vedanta, Chapter Nine—Dealing with the Principles of the Mimamsa. He paused and said he might stop for the day, then decided that since there were only a few pages left, to read the book through to the end. Chapter Ten dealt with the Omniscience of the Buddha and Chapter Eleven contained praise and a discussion of the title of the text.

“Now we’ve completed our reading of ‘Essence of the Middle Way’,” His Holiness declared as the reached the end. “It’s valuable because it clearly presents the rival views that were propounded in India. I took this text with me to Bodhgaya hoping to give the transmission there, but I was unwell. I’m glad that our efforts here have now been fulfilled. Tomorrow, I’ll be giving a permission of Manjushri.”

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Second Day of the Transmission of Bhavaviveka's ‘Essence of the Middle Way' https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/second-day-of-the-transmission-of-bhavavivekas-essence-of-the-middle-way Thu, 21 Feb 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/second-day-of-the-transmission-of-bhavavivekas-essence-of-the-middle-way Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - The weather was dark, cold and stormy this morning when His Holiness the Dalai Lama came to the Tsuglagkhang. He greeted the Lamas sitting around the throne and took his seat. Introductory prayers were quickly over and His Holiness addressed the crowd.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the crowd at the start of his second day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 21, 2019. Photo by Pasang Tsering

“There is a note in the colophon to this book in which Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk wrote that His Holiness the Dalai Lama had requested the transmission of a text in the Tengyur, Bhavya’s ‘Essence of the Middle Way’. He suggested that with annotations of the text based on the ‘Blaze of Reasoning’ a transmission could be created. His Holiness asked that this be done to help the Dharma—do your best, he said. So it was that at the age of 83, during a visit to Taiwan, Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk worked on these annotations while receiving treatment for a broken leg.

“In his 400 Verses, Aryadeva states that emptiness should be explained on the basis of the Two Truths to those who have doubts about the slightly hidden teachings of the Buddha. This is about the disparity between appearance and reality.

“Because of ignorance, not appreciating the difference between appearance and reality, people get angry and try to overcome their opponents, but they can never achieve their narrow aim of total victory. If, on the other hand, they were to cultivate compassion they could see even their foes as friends.

The crowd sitting in the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple watching His Holiness the Dalai Lama on big screens on the second day of his teaching in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 21, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“We all want happiness and because of that we have to take care of the environment in which we live. But we also need to acknowledge how dependent we are on others and how peace of mind contributes to our health and well-being. Our different religious traditions, some theistic, some not, advise how to do this. The Buddha’s teaching is uniquely based on a recognition of dependent arising.

"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.

"Overcoming this ignorance requires making an effort to understand dependent arising."

“Ignorance is depicted in the Twelve Links of Dependent Arising that are part of the painting of the Wheel of Existence often found on temple verandas. They begin with the image of an old blind person that illustrates ignorance and end with a corpse that depicts death. We are led into the cycle of existence by ignorance. We create karma that leaves imprints on our consciousness, which gives rise to birth and death. In the usual painting the Buddha is shown pointing at the moon which indicates cessation and the path to it.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama reading from Bhavaviveka's "Essence of the Middle Way" on the second day of his teachings in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 21, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“All our problems are due to ignorance, our misconception of things as being independently existent, which leads to wrong thinking and to the development of attachment and anger. This is why Aryadeva again advises:

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

His Holiness mentioned two goals: high status or higher rebirth and definite goodness or liberation. He cited sixteen causes of high status listed in Nagarjuna's 'Precious Garland'. They consist of thirteen activities to be avoided, the ten unwholesome deeds: killing, stealing and adultery; false, divisive, harsh, and senseless speech; covetousness, harmful intent, and wrong views. Three additional activities to be restrained include drinking alcohol, wrong livelihood and doing harm. There are three further activities to be adopted—respectful giving, honouring the honourable, and love.

A view inside the Main Tibetan Temple on the second day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 21, 2019. Photo by Pasang Tsering

In order to attain definite goodness we have to eliminate not only misconceptions of self, but also cognitive obscurations. The wisdom understanding emptiness must be supported by the awakening mind of bodhichitta. His Holiness remarked that we need to understand what emptiness means and to follow the path indicated in the Heart Sutra mantra. He defined bodhichitta as the intention to become a Buddha to help others. He pointed out that understanding emptiness is significant in the beginning, middle and end and reiterated that we should gain firm conviction in the teachings of the Buddha by means of reason and training the mind.

Resuming his reading of ‘Essence of the Middle Way’ His Holiness completed Chapter Three, ‘The Quest to Understand Reality’ and went on to read Chapter Four, ‘Dealing with the Principles of the Shravakas’ and Chapter Five, ‘Dealing with the Principles of the Yogacharins’, at which point he stopped for the day. He announced his confidence that he will complete the transmission of this text tomorrow and his intention to give a Manjushri permission the day after that.

Due to the inclement weather His Holiness stopped less frequently than usual as he walked past the temple and down the steps into the yard where he climbed into a car to drive back to his residence.

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Beginning the Transmission of Bhavaviveka’s ‘Essence of the Middle Way’ https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/beginning-the-transmission-of-bhavavivekas-essence-of-the-middle-way Wed, 20 Feb 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/beginning-the-transmission-of-bhavavivekas-essence-of-the-middle-way Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - In persistently cold conditions, under overcast skies, this morning approximately 7000 people gathered in and around the Tsuglagkhang, the main Tibetan Temple, and in the yard below. They included more than 2000 monks and nuns, many of them from the Seats of Learning in South India, local Tibetans and about 800 people from 54 other countries.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting members of the crowd in the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard on the first day of his teaching on Bhavaviveka's "Essence of the Middle Way" in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 20, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived a little earlier than announced and lost no time in beginning the teaching.

“Today, we are going to go through an annotated commentary on the ‘Essence of the Middle Way’. As Je Tsongkhapa writes at the beginning of his ‘Great Exposition of Tantra’, “We should be able to prove the teachings of the Buddha on the basis of reason so as not to be led astray by opponents.” I made a similar point at the end of the ‘Praise to the 17 Masters of Nalanda’: “It is extremely important that those of us who follow the Buddha should have faith based on knowledge of his teaching. Therefore, we should examine the reasons for it with an unbiased and inquisitive mind, analysing it closely.” In India there were many competing schools of thought. Bhavaviveka (500-78 CE) addresses their points of view, which makes this book particularly valuable.

“When, by contrast, Atisha composed his ‘Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment’ in Tibet in 11th century it was intended for an individual to transform his or her mind in a specific way.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama reading from Bhavaviveka's "Essence of the Middle Way" on the first day of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 20, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I’ve received transmission of the 13 Classic texts from Khunu Lama Rinpoché and Geshé Rigzin Tenpa, Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk and so forth and I thought it was important to receive the transmission of this work the ‘Essence of the Middle Way’ too. However, my investigations revealed that there wasn’t one. I thought that if we had an annotated commentary to the text I could receive that, so I requested Sakya Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk (1921-2008) to prepare one and to give it to me. Bhavaviveka composed this text in verse and also wrote his own commentary which is known as the ‘Blaze of Reasoning’.

His Holiness began to read. After the title in Sanskrit—Madhyamakahrdayakarika—he noticed that for some reason Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk had written “and in the language of Central Tibet” rather than just in Tibetan it is called ‘Uma Nyingpo’. For His Holiness the important point was that it is written in the Tibetan language established by King Songtsen Gampo and into which King Trisong Detsen commissioned the translation of the Kangyur and Tengyur.

Monks in the audience following the text as His Holiness the Dalai Lama reads from Bhavaviveka's "Essence of the Middle Way" on the first day of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 20, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Next came the translator’s homage, which is also known as the ‘salutation imposed by royal command’. King Tri Ralpachen decreed that the translator’s homage should indicate to which section of the Three Baskets of the Buddha’s teachings the work belonged. In this case, the homage to youthful Manjushri indicates that the work belongs to the abhidharma or collection of higher knowledge.

His Holiness remarked that there are many mentions of the subjective clear light mind that he referred to yesterday as having been revealed in the third round of the Buddha’s teachings. That pristine awareness, he said, was not brought about by adventitious causes and conditions, but has prevailed for beginningless time.

“What was the reason for composing this treatise? To bring those who have developed the awakening mind of bodhichitta to enlightenment. To summarize—those who have developed the awakening mind should never forsake it, but should nurture the four intentions to fulfil the purposes of sentient beings and place them on the right path. His Holiness observed again that Bhavaviveka was the first Madhyamaka master to write about rival schools of thought and the intellectual differences that stirred the Buddhist community.”

A view inside the Main Tibetan Temple on the first day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 20, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Having read the first chapter, ‘Not Forsaking Bodhichitta’, His Holiness went on to the second, ‘Engaging in the Ascetic Practice of the Sage’. Again he noted that mind is a stream of consciousness, so the continuity of a being is seen in terms of consciousness. Because consciousness is a continuum a person cannot be intrinsically existent. He mentioned that scientific interest in the subtle mind is growing partly as a result of efforts to explain memories some people have of previous lives and the phenomenon of ‘thuk-dam’. This occurs when an experienced meditator’s body remains fresh after clinical death. The Buddhist explanation is that this is because of the continued presence of subtle consciousness.

His Holiness began to read Chapter Three, ‘The Quest to Understand Reality’ and stopped when he reached verse 260. He will resume his reading tomorrow.

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Observing the Day of Miracles https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/observing-the-day-of-miracles Tue, 19 Feb 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/observing-the-day-of-miracles Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - The skies were clearing this morning after continuous overnight rain had left the ground wet underfoot and deposited fresh snow on the mountains and hills behind Dharamsala.

Fresh snow on the mountains behind Dharamsala on the morning of the Day of Miracles in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 19, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

A sharp fresh breeze blew as His Holiness the Dalai Lama was escorted by yellow hatted monks playing horns, swinging censers and bearing a ceremonial yellow umbrella from his residence to the Tsuglagkhang. The yard and areas around the temple were packed with people and His Holiness returned their greetings as he walked through. Seated inside the temple were monks as well as retired and serving members of the Central Tibetan Administration.

His Holiness took his seat on the throne and the burly chantmaster declaimed the Heart Sutra and the long prayer to the Lam Rim lineage lamas, including the Kadampa masters, in deeply resonant tones.

“We’re gathered on this special day on which we celebrate the Buddha’s having performed miracles at Shravasti in response to a challenge from six rival spiritual teachers,” His Holiness explained. “In Tibet Je Tsongkhapa established this celebration as part of the Great Prayer Festival or Mönlam Chenmo. After some time it lapsed, but was revived once more during the time of Gendun Gyatso, the 2nd Dalai Lama.

The Chant Master leading prayers at the start of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 19, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“We weren’t able to celebrate these occasions during our first couple of years in exile, but re-established the custom as soon as we could after that. I decided to hold today’s teaching in the temple rather than down in the yard because it’s so cold today and because we’ll be meeting here to listen to the ‘Essence of the Middle Way’ over the coming days.”

Reading the Jataka Tales, accounts of the Buddha’s former lives, is part of the Great Prayer Festival. Yesterday, the reading had reached the story of Maitribala. Today, His Holiness began to read the story of Vishvantara, Prince of the Sibis, the life that preceded his birth as a Prince of the Shakyas. An accomplished exponent of generosity, the Prince is described as follows: “Though a youth, he possessed the lovely placidity of mind proper to old age; though he was full of ardour, his natural disposition was inclined to forbearance; though learned, he was free from conceit of knowledge; though mighty and illustrious, he was void of pride.”

His Holiness remarked that although the Buddha lived and taught more than 2500 years ago, there is still interest in his teachings. As do all other religious traditions, Buddhism encourages the practices of love and compassion, patience and tolerance. Different traditions propound different philosophical points of view to support such practice. Theistic traditions speak of a creator God embodying infinite love, qualities the faithful are inspired to emulate.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama reading from the texts during his teaching at the Main Tibetan Temple on the Day of Miracles in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 19, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Non-theistic traditions observe the law of causality that to give help brings happiness and doing harm brings trouble. As social animals dependent on the communities in which they live human beings need to cultivate compassion. Followers of religion, His Holiness observed, should respect each other’s traditions while maintaining faith in their own.

“Buddhist teaching, like other traditions, commends us to take care of others, but what is different is that it expounds selflessness—that there is no independent self. Traditions that speak of an atman, a self independent of the aggregates or body/mind combination, explain that that is what goes from life to life. Buddhism rejects this and states that what goes from one life to the next is the subtle mind.

“In his first round of teachings the Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths. In the second round, as part of the Perfection of Wisdom, he explained that things are empty of intrinsic existence because they are dependently arisen. The self has no intrinsic existence because it is merely designated on the basis of the aggregates.

Members of the crowd listening to a translation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 19, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“During the third round, because there were people who could not yet accept the import of the perfection of wisdom and were at risk of falling into nihilistic views, the Buddha taught the sutra known as the ‘Unravelling of the Thought’. He also explained Buddha nature. Whereas in the second round of teachings he had referred to the objective clear light, during the third round he mentioned the subjective clear light that is also the basis of tantric practice.”

His Holiness quoted a verse that expresses the Buddha’s thought after enlightenment. 'Profound and peaceful, free from complexity, uncompounded luminosity—I have found a nectar-like Dharma. Yet if I were to teach it, no-one would understand what I said, so I shall remain silent here in the forest.' He clarified that ‘profound and peaceful’ refers to the first round of the Buddha’s teachings; ‘free from complexity’ refers to content of the second round, while ‘uncompounded luminosity’ refers to the third round.

The Buddha rejected the idea of an atman, a single, autonomous, permanent self. Nagarjuna elucidated this in his ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’, as can be seen in the first chapter. Chapter 26 explains the 12 links of dependent arising, beginning with ignorance. How things lack intrinsic existence is revealed in chapter 18 and chapter 24 shows that this is because they are all dependently arisen.

That which is dependently arisen
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 mental afflictions there is nirvana.
Karma and mental afflictions come from conceptual thoughts.
These come from mental fabrication.
Fabrication ceases through emptiness.

His Holiness pointed out that understanding things to be empty of intrinsic existence loosens our anger and attachment towards them. He reported that Indian nuclear physicist Raja Ramana had told him that the quantum physics notion that nothing has any objective existence seems to be new, but was anticipated long ago by Buddhist and other Indian thinkers. He added that American psychiatrist Aaron Beck’s observation that the negative light in which we hold someone or something with which we are angry is 90% mental projection—this also complies with Nagarjuna’s thought.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama explaining a point in the text during his teaching at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 19, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“It’s not enough just to cultivate the awakening mind of bodhichitta,” His Holiness said, “you also need the wisdom that understands that things have no independent or intrinsic existence. In this connection, Je Tsongkhapa made the request, ‘May I overcome all doubts by employing the fourfold reasoning’. To overcome wrong views, we need to study books like Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom’, Chandrakirti’s ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ and Bhavaviveka’s ‘Essence of the Middle Way’. Then analyse and compare what they have to say. This is why faith is not enough, we need to use reasoned analysis.

“In Tibet we acknowledged a group of Indian masters known as the Six Ornaments and Two Supremes, but since such masters as Chandrakirti and Shantideva were left out, I composed a Praise to the Seventeen Nalanda Masters to include them.”

Resuming the story of Prince Vishvantara, His Holiness told of his great generosity and how a neighbouring king decided to test and take advantage of it by asking him to give away his majestic white elephant. Ministers were sent to make the request. Prince Vishvantara suspected that this was the ‘miserable trick of some king’, but ‘his attachment to righteousness did not allow him to be frightened by the lie of political wisdom’. He dismounted from the elephant and agreed to give it away. His own father’s ministers, angered by the loss this represented to their kingdom, complained to the prince’s father the king, resulting in the prince’s banishment.

Some of the several thousand monastics attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 19, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness mentioned that the Kadampa tradition consisted of three lineages. Of these the Scriptural Lineage focussed on six texts—the Jataka Tales and the Tibetan equivalent of the Dhammapada, the Udanavarga. Also included were Shantideva's ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life' and ‘Compendium of Training', Asanga's ‘Bodhisattva Grounds' and Maitreya's ‘Ornament of Sutras'. Of these, the first two, the Jataka Tales and the Udanavarga provided the basis for faith. He went on to cite Haribhadra’s description of two kinds of practitioner, those who start with faith and the more intelligent who start with reason.

As he took up the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’ His Holiness remarked that bodhichitta is cultivated on the basis of reason. This short text contains instructions not only for cultivating bodhichitta, but also for developing a view of reality. His Holiness stated that he first received an explanation of it from Tagdrag Rinpoché and later from Kyabjé Trijang Rinpoché. As he read through the verses, he commented that when we give to the poor we should do so respectfully; we should treasure ill-natured trouble-makers and give the victory to others, regarding enemies as precious teachers. We should cultivate the practice of ‘giving and taking’ and regard all things as like illusions, asking ourselves whether things really exist the way they appear.

Turning to Je Tsongkhapa’s ‘In Praise of Dependent Arising’ His Holiness stressed that the root of all suffering is ignorance. In the course of reading through the verses, he recounted the story of Je Rinpoché’s having a vision of Manjushri who gave him instructions. When Je Rinpoché told him he had difficulty understanding them, Manjushri told him to study the classic texts and to engage in practices of purification and accumulation of merit. To do this he recommended he go into retreat.

A view of the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple, full of people listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching on the Day of Miracles in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 19, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Because Je Rinpoché was teaching a large group of students at the time, some friends told him that to break off and go into isolated retreat might attract criticism. When this was reported to him, Manjushri retorted, “I know what’s best for you to help other beings.” Consequently, with eight close disciples, Tsongkhapa entered a long retreat at Chadrel Hermitage in 1392. He had a dream of Nagarjuna and his disciples. One of them, who he identified as Buddhapalita, came forward and touched a book to his head. Next day, while reading ‘Buddhapalita’ Je Rinpoché gained a subtle insight into emptiness and dependent arising’s being simultaneous and concurrent. As a result he developed the special respect for the Buddha that is expressed in this text.

Next, His Holiness gave a reading of his Praise to the 17 Masters of Nalanda. He gave particular emphasis to the kindness of Shantarakshita and Kamalashila who were responsible for establishing the Nalanda Tradition with its combination of logic and philosophy in Tibet.

“In the past we Tibetans lived in isolation,” His Holiness observed, “but coming into exile has enabled us to share the Nalanda Tradition and its basis in reason with others. This is an inspiration to Tibetans in Tibet, who rejoice that our traditions will not die out. Meanwhile, we in exile take inspiration from those Tibetans’ unflinchingly determined spirit.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivering his closing remarks at the conclusion of his teaching at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 19, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Keeping our knowledge and traditions alive is a source of pride and those from the CTA who have contributed to this can feel they have made their lives meaningful. There will be a sunny day for Tibet and the time when it will come is not far off. There are no reports that the great masters who wrote the Thirteen Classic Texts that we study sat chanting in deep voices—they employed analysis and wrote about what they understood. Monks of the seats of learning in South India belong to this tradition and should keep it up.”

His Holiness concluded by reciting the following verses from Nagarjuna’s ‘Precious Garland’:

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

May sentient beings be as dear to me as my own life,
And may they be dearer to me than myself.
May their ill deeds bear fruit for me,
And all my virtues bear fruit for them.

As long as any sentient being
Anywhere has not been liberated,
May I remain [in the world] for the sake of that being
Though I have attained highest enlightenment.

From the temple His Holiness walked back to his residence smiling and waving to members of the crowd as he went, stopping here and there to have a word with an old friend.

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Interaction with Young FICCI Ladies Organisation https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/interaction-with-young-ficci-ladies-organisation Mon, 18 Feb 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/interaction-with-young-ficci-ladies-organisation Theckchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - A delegation of 75 young women from the Young FICCI Ladies Organisation (YFLO), Delhi, called on His Holiness the Dalai Lama this morning. YFLO is a platform for young women from diverse professional and entrepreneurial backgrounds to interact with each other. Its primary objectives are to promote entrepreneurship and professional excellence among women, to act as a catalyst for the social and economic advancement of women and society at large and to make women aware of their strengths.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to 75 members of the Young FICCI Ladies Organisation at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 18, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

When His Holiness entered the room he greeted the group with a bright, “Good morning”, before asking them to sit down. A representative offered him a gift and the FLO annual report entitled ‘Women Transforming India’.

His Holiness opened his remarks with the following observations.

“We are now in the 21st century. If we look back at the 20th century, it was a time of violence and fear. Therefore, we should make this century an era of non-violence and compassion. With regard to compassion, there is scientific evidence that women are more sensitive to others’ pain. Indeed in human history most warriors, or killers, were men, whereas women consistently show more concern for others’ well-being.

“In this century we should make special efforts to promote loving kindness and women should take a leading role in this. They shouldn’t just stay at home, but should support and be involved with education.

Members of the Young FICCI Ladies Organisation listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 18, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Some years ago, the editor of a French women’s magazine asked me if there could ever be a female Dalai Lama and I told her “Yes, of course, if she would be more effective.” In Tibetan history there is already a case of the reincarnation of a high spiritual leader being born as a woman in the lineage of Samdhing Dorje Phagmo.

“The Buddha gave men and women equal opportunities in that he offered ordination as a Bhikshu to men and as a Bhikshuni to women. Although the introduction of the Bhikshuni lineage in the Tibetan tradition is something I can’t achieve by myself, I have been able to encourage nuns and women to study. The result is that there are now nuns who have attained the highest level of education, (the Geshe-ma degree).”

His Holiness explained that mothers gave birth to all 7 billion human beings alive today. He added that the impact of the affection they showed remains with us until we die. Conversely, the impact on those whose mothers neglected them or whose mothers passed away stays with them as a feeling of insecurity for the whole of their lives. He recalled his own mother’s kindness:

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing women from the Young FICCI Ladies Organisation at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 18, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“My own mother was essentially kind. She was particularly kind to me, at the time her youngest child. There was no school in our village and she was illiterate, but she was naturally kind. I had no toys to play with, but instead rode on her shoulders as she went about her work in the fields or with our animals. We, her children, never saw an angry expression on her face. She was kind to us, kind to our neighbours. When victims of famine came to the door, she always found them something to eat. It’s because of her that I am the happy, smiling person I am today.”

His Holiness referred to discrimination against women on grounds of religious custom as misplaced. He suggested that discrimination in relation to the caste system seems inappropriate if Brahma is the source of each caste. He also criticized the social custom of looking down on women, but suggested it can only be changed through education in which women should take part. Finally, he advised that there should be more women in politics.

Atashi Saraf Singhania, Chairperson YFLO, thanked His Holiness on behalf of the group for taking the time to see them. Quoting Swami Vivekananda—“There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved”—she told His Holiness that members of YFLO want to encourage young women in all areas of commercial and entrepreneurial activity.

Atashi Saraf Singhania, Chairperson YFLO, thanking His Holiness the Dalai Lama during their meeting at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 18, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Answering questions from the group, His Holiness emphasised the importance of vision as a source of inspiration. He suggested that we need a vision of the world we’d like to see in 2029 and that we should aiming now to ensure that by the middle of this century the world will be a happier more peaceful place. He noted that many of the problems we face are our own creation. However, he expressed admiration for India as a free, democratic country that demonstrates that harmony among different religions is possible. This is an example that India can set the world.

In the context of today’s materialistically oriented education system he extolled the qualities of ancient Indian knowledge rooted in the practices of cultivating a single-pointed, calmly abiding mind (shamatha) and the insights derived from analytical meditation (vipashyana). These practices have led to a cumulative understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions leading to their transformation and the achievement of peace of mind. The Buddha was a product of such Indian traditions, which also fostered the practice of ahimsa or non-violence and its motivation in karuna or compassion. He mentioned that training the mind is more effective that prayer on its own.

His Holiness expressed some sadness that modern Indians pay little attention to the qualities of ancient India. He declared that the Indus Valley civilization compared to the ancient civilizations of Egypt and China had produced a stream of brilliant thinkers. These culminated in the Buddha and the great masters of Nalanda, whose works were the basis of his own study and training. He noted that the renowned Indian physicist, Raja Ramana, had once told him that although quantum physics is relatively new in the West, many of its ideas were anticipated by ancient Indian thought.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from the audience during his interaction with women from the Young FICCI Ladies Organisation at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 18, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Asked how to inculcate a sense of gratitude in children, His Holiness recommended showing them affection. Invited to define the purpose of life, he replied that it is to be happy and joyful. If you are full of joy, he said, your health will be good, your family will be happy and that happiness will affect the atmosphere of the community in which you live. He teasingly remarked that young women like those before him spend time and money on cosmetics to make themselves look good, but a smile rather than a frown can make any face more beautiful.

Another questioner wanted to know how to live a happy life. His Holiness told her that we all live in hope, hope that something good will happen. As human beings we have to use our intelligence and to be realistic. This entails looking at things from different angles in order to see the whole picture.

“Be truthful and transparent,” he recommended. “If you tell a lie, it leads to fear and anxiety. Transparency and concern for others leads to trust and trust leads to friendship—and we all need friends. This is Nalanda thought—Indian thought.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama posing for a group photo with members of the audience after his meeting with women from the Young FICCI Ladies Organisation at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 18, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness noted that when it encourages others to succeed competition has a favourable result, but when it results in the obstruction and failure of others it’s unacceptable.

He thanked the group for coming, told them how much he had enjoyed talking to them and posed for photographs with them before returning to his residence.

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Deepak Chopra and Friends Meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/deepak-chopra-and-friends-meet-his-holiness-the-dalai-lama Mon, 11 Feb 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/deepak-chopra-and-friends-meet-his-holiness-the-dalai-lama Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - Indian-born American author and public speaker Deepak Chopra and 45 close friends met His Holiness the Dalai Lama this morning. His Holiness welcomed them saying:

“We’ve met a few times before, but now I’m happy to be able to welcome you here, my spiritual brothers and sisters, to what has been my home for the last nearly 60 years.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting Deepak Chopra in the Maori style of rubbing noses at the start of their meeting at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 11, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“In today’s world, despite extensive material development, we face all kinds of problems. Natural disasters are beyond our control, but fighting and killing are things we could put a stop to. However, we pay too much attention to material goals and not enough to human values like love. Many of the problems we face are of our own creation and yet scientists tell us that basic human nature is compassionate. They also tell us that cultivating a compassionate attitude is good for our physical health, while constant anger and fear undermine our immune systems.

“We don’t give enough weight to inner values. We see other people in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Even religious practitioners do this. We distinguish between our country and their country. Young children don’t care about such distinctions. If other children smile and play, they’re happy to be with them. It’s only when we get older that we begin to stress secondary differences between us. We need to look deeper and appreciate that we are all the same in being human. And I believe we have a responsibility to share the importance of warm-heartedness.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to a group led by Deepak Chopra at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 11, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Since we last met in New Jersey,” Deepak Chopra interpolated, “it has become clear that many ailments are a result of inner inflammation and that meditation is a means of calming it down.”

“I appreciate the work you do.” His Holiness responded, “We all belong to the 7 billion human beings. Mentally, emotionally and physically we are the same, so we should each contribute as best we can to making humanity better and happier. We should try to make this 21st century different from the 20th century, a period spoiled by violence, a time when brilliant scientists dedicated themselves to improving weapons. The outbursts of fighting and killing we see here and there today are a consequence of that old way of thinking that problems can be solved through the use of force. Instead, we should acknowledge our different interests and ideas and make this a century of dialogue.”

In answering questions from the group, His Holiness explained that just as we can’t assert that one medicine is best for everyone, because what is required will depend on the patient’s age, condition and ailment, we can’t state that a particular religious tradition is best. Different people may find different traditions and practices more effective for them. Tibetans follow the Nalanda Tradition which means they study the works of various masters and he indicated the figures depicted in paintings hanging around the room. They analyze and investigate contrasting points of view, which deepens their understanding. For the individual, His Holiness added, the important thing is to find a practice that helps tackle the destructive emotions.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during their meeting at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 11, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Asked to name a world leader he admired, His Holiness mentioned Mahatma Gandhi, who, despite his sophisticated education, returned to India where he dressed like an ordinary Indian and promoted ahimsa or non-violence during the freedom struggle. He also acknowledged Rajendra Prasad, first President of India and Willy Brandt who maintained contact with the Soviet Union even during the Cold War.

Invited to explain how to be compassionate while being wronged, His Holiness recommended recognizing that we are all just human beings. He declared that he’d found such an approach of immense help in his own life. Whoever he meets he feels is just like him, someone he can regard as a brother or sister. When he thinks of Chinese officials in Tibet who have imposed hardship on Tibetans, he reminds himself that they too are human beings. As social animals, human beings depend on the community in which they live, which is why His Holiness emphasizes the importance of remembering the oneness of humanity.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering a question from the audience during his meeting with Deepak Chopra and a group of his friends in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 11, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

He went on to discuss non-violence and what a waste it is to dedicate talent and resources to developing, manufacturing and selling weapons. He recounted a meeting of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome and being shocked by a description of the consequences should nuclear weapons be used. He immediately suggested that a timetable be set for their elimination, but nothing happened. Nevertheless, he said, it is essential not to give up the effort, not only on the level of leaders and organizations like the UN, but on an ordinary public level too.

“As brothers and sisters we must take action,” he said, “to bring about a peaceful world step by step.”

In the face of modern education’s predominantly material goals His Holiness recommended adding to instructions about physical hygiene advice about emotional hygiene and ways to tackle destructive emotions. Children can be taught to recognize that anger and fear ruin our peace of mind, while other destructive emotions disrupt family harmony. He noted that the ancient Indian understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions remains relevant and helpful on a practical level today.

The audience gathers around His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he presents a Dharma Wheel to Deepak Chopra at the conclusion of their meeting in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 11, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“In the early 20th century,” His Holiness added, “scientists only showed interest in learning about the brain as distinct from the mind. Gradually, some of them have come to recognize that there are different levels of mind—sensory waking consciousness, the consciousness of the dream state, the subtler awareness of deep sleep and so forth. Some meditators have experienced these different levels of mind in meditation, while scientists have begun to see how they affect the brain.

“In schools we need to teach not only about physical fitness, but about mental fitness too. In general, modern India pays too little attention to this kind of understanding, but I am committed to encouraging a revival of ancient Indian knowledge in this country. I am convinced that India is the only country that can combine modern education with ancient Indian knowledge of the mind and emotions and share it with the wider world.”

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Condolences on the Death of George Fernandes https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/condolences-on-the-death-of-george-fernandes Tue, 29 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/condolences-on-the-death-of-george-fernandes Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote to Shrimati Leila Kabir this morning to express his sadness at the passing away of his old friend George Fernandes. He offered his condolences to her and the members of her family.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with George Fernandes in Dharamsala, HP, India on March 10, 2007. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I had the privilege of knowing him for over five decades,” His Holiness wrote, “during which time we met regularly, and as you know, I continued to visit him after he retired from active politics.

“I admired him greatly because he dedicated himself to what he believed in, no matter how difficult the situation was. George was a great humanitarian and believer in truth. Throughout his life, his was a voice for the millions of poor and needy people of the country. He had a firm conviction in justice and wisdom. He was a real heroic leader.

“He was a steady friend who was sympathetic to· the Tibetan cause right from the beginning. He never missed an opportunity to speak up for the Tibetan people as well as for others in a similar situation.

“Although George and I belong to different religious traditions, as a Buddhist I am confident he will be reborn again to serve his country and in particular the cause of the underprivileged.”

His Holiness ended his letter with prayers for his late friend and the declaration that he would always remember him.

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Meeting with Students from the USA and Israel https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-with-students-from-the-usa-and-israel Mon, 28 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-with-students-from-the-usa-and-israel Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - This morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with a group of 51 students and 6 staff members of Kivunim. This department of Hebrew College offers an academic gap year program for North American High School graduates based in Jerusalem with field trip visits to 11 other countries. His Holiness welcomed them to Dharamsala—his home for the last sixty years.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing students and staff members of Kivunim, a gap year program for North American High School graduates based in Jerusalem at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on January 28, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

"All of us seven billion human beings are mentally, emotionally and physically same,” he told them. “Whether you are a Muslim, a Jew, a Christian or belong to any other faith, there is no difference in the way we are born or the way we die. We begin our lives basking in our mother’s affection, without which we would not have survived.

“Scientists have evidence that basic human nature is compassionate. They have also found that the opposite, constant anger and hatred, weaken our immune systems. Therefore, just as we teach physical hygiene to preserve our physical health, in order for people to learn how to maintain a happy, peaceful mind, they need to learn emotional hygiene—how to tackle their destructive emotions.”

His Holiness explained that he is committed to promoting basic human values because of his concern that people should be able to lead their lives in joy and peace. In this connection he is also committed to encouraging religious harmony because, despite differences in their philosophical views, all major religious traditions convey a similar message of love and compassion, patience and tolerance and so forth. He acknowledged that belief in a merciful creator God is a powerful basis for viewing our fellow creatures as brothers and sisters. Being responsible for your own actions, as taught among non-theistic traditions, has a similar effect.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to a group of gap year students based in Israel during their meeting at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on January 28, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness mentioned how sad he feels to see conflict in the name of religion:

"Religion is supposed to bring people closer together, so it’s unthinkable that it should be used create conflict. It is particularly sad when members of different denominations of the same religion, such as Sunni and Shia Muslims, quarrel with each other, however this doesn’t seem to be a problem in India.”

Although he has retired and passed his political responsibilities to an elected leadership in 2011, His Holiness remains deeply concerned about keeping Tibet's rich culture and language alive.
"As far as the Nalanda tradition is concerned, its approach to reality, which depends on the use of reason, is scientific and unique among Buddhist traditions."

Regarding the need to protect Tibet’s ecology, His Holiness reported that scientists have told him that because the natural environment at high altitude is more fragile, when it is damaged it takes much longer to recover.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his interactive meeting with North American gap year students based in Israel at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on January 28, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Historically, according to Chinese documents, Tibet, Mongolia and China were independent nations in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries,” His Holiness remarked. “However, the past is past. We need to take account of the reality today. We are not seeking separate status for Tibet. We are prepared to remain with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), provided there is mutual benefit. I have great admiration for the spirit of the European Union that puts the common interest ahead of the interests of its individual members.”

His Holiness answered several questions from the audience and posed for a photographs with them before returning to his residence.

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Meeting with Young Indian Scholars https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-with-young-indian-scholars Thu, 24 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-with-young-indian-scholars Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - This morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with a group of 22 Indian scholars participating in a three-day Conference on Tibetan Studies organized by the Tibet Policy Institute of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to a group of Indian scholars at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on January 24, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness explained to them how the authentic traditions of Nalanda University were introduced to Tibet.

"While the precious knowledge that is the core of this tradition may have been forgotten in India, through rigorous study and practice we have kept it alive in Tibet for more than a thousand years. The Nalanda tradition is not just a matter of religious teaching. Within its philosophy and advanced psychology are effective means for dealing with our destructive emotions.  It is a tradition deeply rooted in reason and logic. Following the Buddha’s advice to his followers to investigate what he had taught, great Nalanda masters like Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti examined his teachings in the light of reason and concluded that some were subject to interpretation and could not be taken literally."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing a group of Indian scholars at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on January 24, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness remarked that the analytical approach to study followed in Tibetan monastic centres of learning, employing memorization, debate and meditation is similar to a scientific approach. He told his guests that there are ten thousand monks and a thousand nuns trained in this way in the monastic centres of learning in South India.

"In my more than thirty years of serious discussions with modern scientists, I have learnt much from them about the external world and we have been able to explain to them what we understand about the workings of the mind and emotions.”

A member of a group of young Indian scholars asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during their meeting at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on January 24, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness was full of praise for ancient Indian tradition—ahimsa or non-violence as a mode of conduct and karuna or compassion that is its motivation. He noted that even before the coming of the Buddha, the practices of shamatha and vipashyana, which are means to cultivate a single-pointed mind and special insight were widely observed. Indeed, the Buddha was a product of these ancient Indian practices.

Referring to the more than 300 volumes of Buddhist literature translated mostly from Sanskrit into Tibetan, His Holiness observed:

"The content of these sutras and treatises can be classified into three categories: science, philosophy and religion. While the religious content is really only of interest to Buddhists, the scientific and philosophical content can be studied in an objective academic context. Raja Ramana, one of India’s top nuclear physicists, once told me that although quantum theory is relatively new in the scientific world corresponding ideas can be found in Nagarjuna’s writings.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with a group of young Indian scholars, participants in a  Conference on Tibetan Studies, after their meeting at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on January 24, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

"Many of the problems we face today have their origins in destructive emotions. Ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind can help us understand how to tackle such emotions. This is why I believe there is great potential in India to combine modern education with this traditional knowledge to beneficial effect.”

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His Holiness Mourns the Passing of Sree Shivakumara Swamiji https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/his-holiness-mourns-the-passing-of-sree-shivakumara-swamiji Tue, 22 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/his-holiness-mourns-the-passing-of-sree-shivakumara-swamiji Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his condolences today to the followers of Dr Sree Sree Sree Shivakumara Swamiji who has passed away at the venerable age of 111.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama offering a butter lamp to Sree Shivakumara Swamiji during his visit to Tumkur University in Tumkar, Karnataka, India on November 27, 2012. Photo by Jeremy Russell

“I had the privilege of meeting Swamiji at Tumkur University several years ago,” His Holiness wrote. “I admired his dedicated service for the benefit of the poor, especially the many educational institutions Swamiji set up for them.”

His Holiness noted that Swamiji’s long and meaningful life was an inspiration to others. He concluded by paying his respects once again to Swamiji and his many followers for their service to humanity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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