Dalai Lama https://www.dalailama.com/ en-us Wed, 23 Oct 2019 14:19:32 +0000 Wed, 23 Oct 2019 14:19:32 +0000 Congratulating Justin Trudeau https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/congratulating-justin-trudeau Mon, 21 Oct 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/congratulating-justin-trudeau Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - Following the Liberal Party’s victory in Canada’s national elections, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has sent a letter of congratulation to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“May I take this opportunity too,” he wrote, “to express my appreciation of Canada's policy of compassionate action in taking in vulnerable refugees who have fled horrific and unthinkable conflicts in several parts of the world. As an honorary Canadian citizen myself, I feel proud of this generous, humanitarian gesture.

“During my visits to Canada over the years I have been deeply touched by the warmth of the friendship and affection that Canadians have shown me.

“I would also like to express gratitude to the government and people Canada for their generosity in resettling Tibetan refugees since the early 1970s. I am pleased to see that, by and large, they are making a positive contribution to Canada’s richly multicultural society.”

His Holiness ended his letter wishing Mr Trudeau every success in meeting whatever challenges lie ahead in meeting the aspirations of the people of Canada.

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Meeting with Engaged Buddhists https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-with-engaged-buddhists Sun, 20 Oct 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-with-engaged-buddhists Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - Members of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists led by Thai activist Sulak Sivaraksa met His Holiness the Dalai Lama this morning. They included 35 from Thailand, 41 from India, 37 from Burma, as well as people from the USA, Japan, South Korea, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Taiwan Hong Kong, Switzerland, Hungary and Sweden.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to members of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 21, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“As human beings, we all want to live a happy life,” His Holiness told them, “but we are regularly faced with problems of our own making. Many such problems arise because we persist in viewing others in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’. In addition to this, these days, we also see conflict taking place in the name of religion. There are differences between our religious traditions and even within them—for example the Pali tradition included 18 schools of thought, while within the Sanskrit tradition there were four. Different points of view appeal to people of different dispositions, but what is most important to remember is that all religious traditions stress the importance of cultivating loving-kindness.

Members of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking during their meeting at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 21, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“As you know, the Buddha encouraged his followers to question even what he had told them. Nalanda masters like Nagarjuna, Chandrakirit and Buddhapalita examined his teachings in this light, classifying them into those that were definitive and those requiring interpretation.

“Our collection of scriptures includes 108 volumes of words spoken by the Buddha and 225 volumes of explanatory treatises by subsequent Buddhist masters. We have reassessed the content of these books in terms of science, philosophy and religion. I believe this scientific and philosophical material can be considered in an objective, intellectual way. Consequently, we have compiled books dealing with science and philosophy as recorded in Buddhist literature that have been published in Tibetan and are being translated into English, Chinese, Russian, Mongolian and so forth.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing embers of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists during their meeting at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 21, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness emphasised the need for study. He acknowledged that the Pali tradition conveys the Buddha’s fundamental teachings particularly the Vinaya tradition. He recalled visiting Thailand many years ago and being deeply impressed by the Thai monks’ strict way of life. He also reported a conversation he had had at a meeting of the World Parliament of Religions in Melbourne, Australia, with two Burmese monks, who were surprised when he referred to the Vinaya as something they both—Tibetans and Burmese—had in common.

His Holiness alluded to his being committed to reminding people of the oneness of humanity and the importance of nurturing human values, and his encouragement of inter-religious harmony. He mentioned that as a Tibetan he is committed to preserving Tibetan language and culture and speaking up for the protection of Tibet’s natural environment. Finally, he described his commitment to reviving appreciation of ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions in India.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his meeting with members of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 21, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Answering questions from the audience, His Holiness suggested that a tendency for young people today to became depressed and despondent has its roots in the current education system. Modern education, he observed, with little regard for how to tackle disturbing emotions and how to foster positive attitudes, gives insufficient attention to methods for achieving peace of mind. He encouraged his listeners to think about how to change this.

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Celebrating Guru Nanak’s 550th Anniversary at Chandigarh University https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/celebrating-guru-nanaks-550th-anniversary-at-chandigarh-university Mon, 14 Oct 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/celebrating-guru-nanaks-550th-anniversary-at-chandigarh-university Chandigarh, India - When His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived at Chandigarh University this morning after a half hour drive out of the city, he was received by a welcome committee that included the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor. Tibetan students offered the ‘chema changpu’ traditional welcome on the steps, while on the threshold of the building he was presented a traditional Indian welcome. He was first escorted to the Vice Chancellor’s office. Shortly afterwards he was driven in an electric powered buggy to an amphitheatre, where more than 4000 people, mostly students, were waiting to hear him.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama riding in an electric buggy to the amphitheater for his talk at Chandigarh University in Chandigarh, India on October 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

On the stage, after waving to the crowd and returning their greetings, His Holiness took part in the lighting of a lamp to open proceedings in an auspicious way. The Vice Chancellor, Dr RS Bawa introduced His Holiness to the audience describing him as a global spiritual leader, who has spoken of our brain as a temple and who teaches that to be good-hearted is a true source of happiness.

His Holiness addressed the audience from his seat on the stage, greeting them as brothers and sisters. He told them this is how he regularly begins his talks because he feels that since all 7 billion human beings alive today are mentally, physically and emotionally the same, it is as if they are brothers and sisters.

“We all want to live a happy life,” he went on, “and we all have a right to a happy life. Indeed scientists have observed that as social animals, with a sense of community, it is the nature of human beings to be compassionate. As human beings we need a sense of community to survive.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the gathering at Chandigarh University in Chandigarh, India on October 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“All major religions involve human beings, and because human relations are based on compassion and loving kindness, that’s the common message of all religions. From a philosophical point of view we can find differences of approach, but they all involve methods to implement the message of love.

“At the start of our lives, we survive because of our mother’s kindness. Whatever our later profession or status, all our lives start in this way and we continue to survive on the basis of others’ support. This is why we should pay more attention to cultivating basic human values of love and compassion.

“Sadly, modern education sets material goals, but has little time for simple human values. Modern education, in India at least, was introduced from the West, where there is little idea how to tackle disturbing emotions. India has been familiar with ‘ahimsa’ - non-violence and ‘karuna’ - compassion for thousands of years. If you care for others, how could you harm them? Therefore, ‘ahimsa’ is the appropriate conduct and ‘karuna’ the appropriate motivation. The Buddha was one of many who adopted these values.

Many of the more than 4,000 people, mostly students, listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Chandigarh University in Chandigarh, India on October 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“He abandoned his royal life, practised meditation in remote and isolated places and attained enlightenment. The reality he realized was so different to what was accepted at the time, he hesitated to teach, but eventually he did. For us in Tibet, India is the home of people with deeper understanding.

“In today’s world, despite ample material development, too many lack inner peace. One way to counter anger, jealousy and competitiveness is to cultivate non-violence and compassion towards others. This is why I consider these ancient Indian traditions continue to be relevant. Being able to deal with our emotions in an intelligent way will always be relevant. We can learn how to tackle anger and achieve peace of mind by adopting insights from ancient Indian sources in an objective, secular way.

“The Nalanda Tradition of Buddhist education and training was introduced to Tibet by a great Indian master, Shantarakshita, in the 8th century. We Tibetans have kept this tradition alive since then, with its emphasis on the use of logic and reason and its systematic understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions. As a simple human being, a Tibetan and a Buddhist, I myself am a student of this tradition. We learn fundamental texts by heart, study classic Indian and Tibetan commentaries to them, and, on the basis of logic and reason, debate what we’ve learned with each other. This sharpens the mind and yields deep understanding.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on "Secular Ethics in Modern Education in the context of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji" at Chandigarh University in Chandigarh, India on October 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“After coming into exile and visiting Europe, America and the former Soviet Union, I realized that this knowledge we have preserved is both relevant and necessary to the world today. Although it originated in India, modern Indians have tended to neglect this ancient wisdom. Modern education by itself is not adequate to bring about peace of mind, but I believe India has the potential to combine it with ancient understanding of the mind and emotions to achieve that end.

“Guru Nanak, whose 550th anniversary you are observing, celebrated compassion, ‘ahimsa’ and religious harmony. Although he came from a Hindu background he made a pilgrimage to Mecca to emphasize the importance of inter-religious harmony and mutual respect.

“I’ve noticed that in the Sikh community there are hardly any beggars because you are not only hard-working people, but also generous in supporting each other. These are good qualities we can all learn from.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Chandigarh University in Chandigarh, India on October 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I have spent the major part of my life in India, where I am the Government of India’s longest-staying guest. I believe India can make a significant contribution to the world’s well-being. Wherever I go I talk about the need for secular ethics, because whether they are religious or not, everyone needs peace of mind. And on that basis I consider myself a messenger for ancient Indian thought.”

His Holiness spoke of his serious interest in science and the conversations he’s had with scientists over 40 years or so about cosmology, neurobiology, psychology and physics, particularly quantum physics. Where quantum physics states that nothing exists as it appears, nothing has any objective existence, he confirmed it corresponds to Nalanda thought.

His Holiness mentioned that destructive emotions like anger and fear are rooted in ignorance and self-centred attitudes. Nevertheless, he declared, if we use our brains and intelligence properly, we can achieve peace of mind and become a friend to everyone. He acknowledged a need to pursue self-interest to some extent, but advised that we should do so wisely, taking others’ interests into account. We need the wisdom and warm-heartedness that Guru Nanak showed in abundance.

His Holiness the Dala Lama during his talk at Chandigarh University in Chandigarh, India on October 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Noting that we are still in the early years of the 21st century, His Holiness expressed his conviction that if we make efforts to change, with a clear vision, it is still possible to make this century more peaceful and more compassionate. He mentioned the importance of recognising that relying on the use of force to resolve conflict and disagreements is out of date and that our larger aim should be a demilitarized world. He suggested that warfare belonged to the feudal system and has no place in a democratic order.

His Holiness outlined his four commitments: as a human being he is determined to promote inner values as a source of human happiness. As a monk he is dedicated to encouraging inter-religious harmony. As a Tibetan he is committed to speaking out about the need to protect Tibet’s natural environment and to working to preserve Tibet’s language, religion and culture. Finally, he feels compelled to work to revive ancient Indian knowledge.

He told the audience how pleased he was to meet with bright young people like them, people who have the future in their hands. He urged them to make an effort to bring about positive change, to narrow the gap between rich and poor, to challenge the caste system as Guru Nanak and the Buddha before him have done. In our democratic times, he stressed, we all are equal. He mentioned that while prayer is undoubtedly of personal benefit, on a social level it takes action to bring about real change.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his talk at Chandigarh University in Chandigarh, India on October 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Among questions from the audience, His Holiness was asked about ecology and the environment. “When I was in Tibet,” he replied, “I had no idea about the importance of ecology. In exile, it was a surprise for me to learn that you couldn’t drink from just any source of water, because some are severely polluted. I remember also being told that the river that runs through Stockholm no longer supported fish because it was so polluted. However, manufacturers and others took greater care of their waste and the river was cleaned up to the point that fish returned. Similarly, once damage to the ozone layer was discovered, steps were taken to put an end to its causes and the hole in it began to repair.

“We can put an end to our consumption of fossil fuels and switch to renewable sources of energy,” His Holiness declared. “Global warming is increasing and where our way of life is contributing to reducing the life of the planet, we should take steps to change it.”

Responding to a question about whether the atmosphere in which education takes place is as important as the content of the curriculum, His Holiness reiterated the significance of paying attention to the mind itself. He said we are familiar with various levels of sensory awareness, but both positive and destructive emotions are mental experiences. They involve the mind and if we examine the mind we find that it involves different degrees of subtlety. He pointed out that we are most familiar with the relatively coarse consciousness involved in sensory awareness when we’re awake. Consciousness when we dream is subtler than that and consciousness in deep sleep in subtler still. Finally, the subtlest awareness occurs at the time of death.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama holding plate symbolizing the Global Leadership Award presented to him by Chandigarh University in Chandigarh, India on October 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Chandigarh University presented a Global Leadership Award to His Holiness symbolized by an engraved brass plate, a portrait of Guru Nanak and a portrait of His Holiness executed by one of the students. He was then invited to endorse a new scholarship program.

In his words of thanks, DP Singh referred to His Holiness as a unifying forces for millions and thanked him for gracing the university with his presence.

Before leaving the stage, His Holiness had a few words of encouragement for students from the Himalayan region, including Tibet. He planted a tree as a memento of his visit in front of the Academic Block.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama offering a few words of encouragement for students from the Himalayan region before leaving the stage after his talk at Chandigarh University in Chandigarh, India on October 15, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

After enjoying lunch with the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and other members of the university, His Holiness was seen off as he left the campus by crowds of students who smiled and waved. From the university he drove to Nangal on the Punjab border where he stopped for the night in a guest house that he first visited in 1956. Tomorrow morning, he will return to Dharamsala.

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Inauguration of Chitkara University’s 11th Global Week https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/inauguration-of-chitkara-universitys-11th-global-week Mon, 14 Oct 2019 22:30:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/inauguration-of-chitkara-universitys-11th-global-week Chandigarh, India, - Yesterday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama travelled by road from Dharamsala to Chandigarh. This morning he was invited to inaugurate the 11th Global Week of the Chitkara University and representatives of the university came to escort him to its campus at Rajpura. The Global Week, when teachers come from across the world to teach short courses to Chitkara students, is regarded as a platform for raising their international awareness and broadening their learning experience.

Young Indian women performing traditional dance at the start of the Inauguration of Chitkara University’s 11th Global Week in Chandigarh, India on October 14, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness was seated in the front row of the auditorium while the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Mrs Sangeet Jaura introduced him to the 1200 strong audience of students and faculty. Five young Tibetan women performed a selection of songs and dances from Tibetan opera tradition, beginning with a poignant rendition of verses of a prayer for His Holiness’s long life. Five young Indian women then gave an energetic performance from the South Indian Bharatanatyam dance tradition. They were followed by a group of four more young Indian women who danced in the North Indian Kathak style. All three groups of performers came down from the stage to where His Holiness was sitting and he thanked each one of them personally.

Invited onto the stage, His Holiness was joined by the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of the university in lighting a lamp in salutation to Sarasvati the goddess of knowledge, music and learning. Next, he sat between them and addressed the audience.

His Holiness joining the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of the university in lighting a lamp in salutation to Sarasvati the goddess of knowledge, music and learning to open Chitkara University’s 11th Global Week in Chandigarh, India on October 14, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Respected brothers and sisters and younger brothers and sisters, we really are human brothers and sisters. According to theistic religious traditions we are all created by one god who is the embodiment of infinite love. As his children, we are all brothers and sisters. From a non-theistic point of view, our lives have no beginning. We are born in life after life and as human beings on this occasion we are all brothers and sisters of the wider human family.

“Some of the problems we face, such as natural disasters, are beyond our control. But others, involving bullying, exploitation and cheating, we make for ourselves. Nevertheless, scientists have found evidence that human beings are, by and large, compassionate by nature. They also point out that constant anger and hatred serve to undermine our immune systems, so, clearly, cultivating warm-heartedness is good for our health.

“In infancy we are open and friendly to our fellows, but after starting school we pay little attention to our emotions. Modern education was influenced by the West, but here in India we have longstanding traditions of non-violence, compassion, concentration and insight into the nature of reality—‘ahimsa’, ‘karuna’, ‘shamatha’ and ‘vipashyana’. Jainism and Buddhism are both products of such Indian values. Today, we need an education along these lines about the workings of our minds and emotions, otherwise we only aim for materialistic goals.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the inauguration of Chitkara University’s 11th Global Week in Chandigarh, India on October 14, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“We need to learn how to tackle our destructive emotions. If we do that, we’ll be able to understand how warm-heartedness is the basis of world peace. People who only receive a materialistic education naturally develop only a materialistic outlook. Consequently, they have only a limited idea of how to deal with problems they face. Just as we bring up children with an appreciation of physical hygiene, we need to introduce them to an equivalent emotional hygiene that entails discovering how to temper anger and attachment and cultivate warm-heartedness towards others.

“I am committed to reviving interest in the ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions, and I believe India now is the only country that could pioneer a combination of such understanding with modern education. Just as Mahatma Gandhi revealed the power of ‘ahimsa’, non-violence, in the 20th century, in this century India could reveal the importance of tackling our disturbing emotions and cultivating peace of mind. Where religion is a matter for personal concern, secular ethics apply to the whole of humanity. Therefore, it would have a wider appeal if peace of mind was approached from a secular point of view.”

His Holiness went on to explain that we can build a happier more peaceful humanity once we understand that the ultimate source of happiness is not money and power, but something within ourselves. He told his listeners that he would like to hear what they had to say about this, since the airing of different opinions serves to stimulate fresh thinking. He recalled that masters of the Nalanda Tradition, to which he belongs, subjected even the Buddha’s teaching to critical appraisal. Where it appeared to contradict logic and reason, they would ask what the Buddha’s purpose was in presenting things that way.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speakig at the inauguration of Chitkara University’s 11th Global Week in Chandigarh, India on October 14, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

A question was raised about health care, to which His Holiness responded that peace of mind is as important as physical health. It enables you to remain calm whatever the circumstances around you. On this basis, the 8th century Indian master Shantideva pointed out that our enemy can be our greatest teacher. What’s more, a self-centred attitude prompts you to be suspicious and afraid, whereas when you consider other human beings as brothers and sisters fear disappears.

His Holiness explained that when he faces a challenge he always examines it from different angles to assess whether it can be overcome. If it can, there’s no need to worry about it. If it can’t, then worrying about it is of no use. He observed that what seems like a problem to begin with often turns out to be an opportunity. He suggested that if young people today were to deal with challenges they face with vision, they could look forward to creating a happier more peaceful world. Where self-centredness narrows the mind and induces fear, altruism and concern for others brings self-confidence.

He pointed out that destructive emotions are rooted in ignorance, which is to see things as existing the way they appear---in other words as intrinsically existent. Coming to understand that the way things appear owes much to the observer is liberating.

A view of the auditorium during the His Holiness the Dalai Lama's talk on "The Need for Universal Ethics in Education" at the inauguration of Chitkara University’s 11th Global Week in Chandigarh, India on October 14, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Asked how to teach about human values to children who lack even basic necessities, His Holiness lamented the global gap between rich and poor. Here in India, he said, the caste system is out of date. More than two thousand years ago, the Buddha opposed distinctions on the basis of caste. It is a custom that has roots in a feudal attitude, but is something that can be changed through education. He expressed admiration for the pluralism and diversity that flourish in India and observed that because we human beings are social animals, we need to treat each other with loving kindness.

His Holiness described global warming and the climate crisis as very serious, emphasizing how much he appreciates Greta Thunberg’s efforts to raise awareness of the need to take appropriate action. He reported a Taiwanese environmentalist recently warning him that if things don’t change, 80 years from now the situation will be really grave. His Holiness admitted that it won’t affect people his age, but that it is essential to consider what the impact will be for those who are young now.

Having said that, His Holiness told another questioner that there are grounds for optimism. He recalled that from one perspective the 20th century was an era of war and bloodshed. However, the spirit that gave rise to the creation of the European Union, to put the common good first, was a sign of hope and human maturity that could well be emulated in Africa, Latin America and here in Asia. Such a development would allow for greatly reduced military spending. The possibility of resolving conflict through dialogue rather than violence enables the prospect of this becoming a century of peace and demilitarization.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his talk at the inauguration of Chitkara University’s 11th Global Week in Chandigarh, India on October 14, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Individuals cultivating peace of mind lead to a more peaceful society,” His Holiness advised, “and that in turn contributes to a more peaceful world. All beings want to find joy. We depend on hope, which is the pursuit of something good. But to do that we need to use our brains properly. Real happiness depends, not on sensory awareness, but on the mind itself—the key is to establish peace of mind. To do that requires that we understand the system of mind and emotions, which was thoroughly examined in ancient India.”

Chitkara University presented His Holiness with the degree of Honorary Doctor of Literature in acknowledgement of his unparalleled and invaluable contribution to humanity, world peace and education. He formally declared the 11th Chitkara Global Week open and the Vice Chancellor offered words of thanks.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama holding the degree of Honorary Doctor of Literature presented by Chitkara University in Chandigarh, India on October 14, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Outside the auditorium His Holiness opened the Chitkara Centre for Happiness by unveiling a plaque and planted a tree as a memento of his visit. As the guest of the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor, he was entertained to lunch in rooms decorated like a roadside Punjabi ‘dhaba’, before returning to his hotel in Chandigarh.

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Offering Sympathy for Suffering Caused by Storm in Japan https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/offering-sympathy-for-suffering-caused-by-storm-in-japan Sun, 13 Oct 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/offering-sympathy-for-suffering-caused-by-storm-in-japan Chandigarh, India - Moved by reports in the news of the destruction wrought in Japan by the worst storm in decades, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister.

“I would like to offer my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives as a result of the recent Typhoon Hagibis,” he wrote, noting that it also caused unprecedented damage to property and has disrupted life in general.

“I would like to congratulate you and your Government for the efficient measures that you have put in place in anticipation of the storm and its consequences.

“As you know, I have been able to visit Japan quite regularly over the years and I have been deeply touched by the love and affection that the people there have shown me, as well as the interest they have taken in my efforts to promote human values and peace of mind.”

His Holiness’s letter ended with the reassurance of his prayers for those in distress.

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Congratulating Abiy Ahmed Ali on Being Awarded This Year’s Nobel Peace Prize https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/congratulating-abiy-ahmed-ali-on-being-awarded-this-years-nobel-peace-prize Fri, 11 Oct 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/congratulating-abiy-ahmed-ali-on-being-awarded-this-years-nobel-peace-prize Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - With the announcement that Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of Ethiopia is to be awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to achieve peace and reconciliation between Ethiopia and Eritrea after decades of tension and conflict, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to congratulate him.  

“The establishment of friendly relations between neighbours like Ethiopia and Eritrea will benefit not only the citizens of those countries,” His Holiness remarked, “but will also set an example for countries everywhere to work for their common good. I am encouraged too, to learn of your contribution to the search for peace elsewhere in East and North-east Africa.

“The way you reached out to President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea and his positive response and willingness to enter into dialogue has helped to make possible the peace process. The two of you have demonstrated through your actions what I consider to be a simple truth—genuine reconciliation is possible in a spirit of mutual respect.

“I am also encouraged by your focus on the environment, including the initiative to plant trees in Ethiopia to counter the effects of climate change.”

At the end of his letter, His Holiness noted that he shares the Nobel Committee’s hope that a peaceful, stable and successful Ethiopia will have many positive results, and will help to strengthen not only brotherhood and sisterhood among nations and peoples in the regions, but will also further development and prosperity on the continent.

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Third Day of Nagarjuna's ‘Precious Garland of the Middle Way' https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/third-day-of-nagarjunas-precious-garland-of-the-middle-way Fri, 04 Oct 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/third-day-of-nagarjunas-precious-garland-of-the-middle-way Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - Walking from his residence to the temple this morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was unrestrained in his efforts to engage with members of the public. In the temple yard people pressed against the railings in their eagerness to catch his eye. He clasped hands, exchanged words with a few, patted some children on the cheek and bumped foreheads affectionately with others. He responded similarly to people seated outside the temple as he made his round.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arriving inside the Main Tibetan Temple on the final day of his three day teaching given at the request of a group from Taiwan in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 5, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

When the Chinese recitation of the ‘Heart Sutra’ was complete His Holiness asked the chant master to continue chanting the additional final verse with its moving tune while he completed preparatory procedures for the Mahamayuri permission he was to give later.

“First I’ll go through the first chapter of the ‘Precious Garland of Advice to the King’,” His Holiness announced. “Because the book teaches about emptiness it is sometimes referred to as ‘Establishing Conventions’. It explains the causes of high status or good rebirth, which is important because without it you wouldn’t have the intelligence to tell right from wrong. As human beings we have a marvellous brain, one of the reasons why human life is precious. Nevertheless, we still need to aim for definite goodness because although there are benefits to be had from high status, even a good rebirth is under the influence of karma and delusion, so is still subject to the sufferings of conditioned existence.

“It’s not enough to accumulate merit, we also need to purify our delusions. When the Buddha taught about true suffering, origin, cessation and path, he also taught that we need to clear away the faults in our minds. By coming to understand the nature of reality we can overcome afflictive emotions and afflictive intelligence.

“Forms appear to us as if they have a solid independent existence, but analysis reveals that they don’t exist in that way. To achieve definite goodness you need to understand the nature of reality. The more you delve into the correct view, the more compelling it becomes. Nothing that appears to us has any intrinsic existence and the final reality is that ultimately everything dissolves into suchness or emptiness, like a cloud dissolving into the emptiness of the sky. Under analysis the appearance of intrinsic existence disappears leaving nothing we can point at and say “This is it”. Abiding in meditation on emptiness is like resting in a state of great bliss.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama completing preparatory procedures for the Mahamayuri permission to be given at te end of the final day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 5, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“What brings us misfortune is our unruly, restless mind. Mental afflictions are rooted in ignorance, the misconception of reality. Put an end to that and you put an end to all afflictive emotions. As Aryadeva writes in his ‘400 Verses’:

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

“To overcome confusion we need to understand dependent arising. Teaching about emptiness, Nagarjuna and his followers explained it in terms of dependent arising because dependent arising overcomes both extremes at once.

“It’s crucial to recognise the object to be negated. Chankya Rolpai Dorjé says, “People in our system talk about emptiness, but continue to cling to a kind of objective existence”. The Seventh Dalai Lama wrote that we see all kinds of things, like horses, in dreams that appear to exist, and yet they don’t exist as they appear. What appears as a solid, independent object out there, is the object to be negated.”

Members of the audience from over 61 countries listening to translations of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's final day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 5, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness summed up with a well-known verse from early in the text:

As long as the aggregates are conceived,
So long thereby does the conception of I exist.
Further, when the conception of I exists,
There is action, and from it there also is birth.

He mentioned that when it comes to emptiness there are coarse and subtle levels of understanding. A bodhisattva on the first ground understands emptiness directly, but is said to outshine the Superiors of the Hearer Vehicle only on the seventh ground.

Jumping to the end of the book, His Holiness noted the twenty verses from verse 466 that spell out the benefits of bodhichitta. He remarked that he recites them himself every day along with the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’ after reciting the ‘Foundation of All Excellence’.

“I’ve given you the essence of this text,” he told the audience. “You have copies of the book, so you can read it yourself, but whether you transform yourselves within on the basis of what you read is in your hands. It’s like going to a market where there are so many things on sale—whether you actually buy any of them is up to you. The Buddha also said, “I’ve shown you the path, but liberation is in your hands”. Masters like Nagarjuna have written excellent explanatory treatises. Read them over and again, and think about what you read.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the gathering on the final day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 5, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“I told Tagdag Rinpoché that I found the prospect of developing bodhichitta very difficult. He told me to persist and that eventually the experience would arise as he said it had for him. In exile I’ve been able to study, meditate and cultivate the practice and I think I could bring it to fruition if I were to spend time in an enclosed retreat. Gendun Drup, the first Dalai Lama, declared that if he’d remained in his hermitage, he might have gained higher realization. However, as the overall purpose was to serve others, he gave up that option and founded Tashi Lhunpo Monastery. I try to follow his example by teaching the importance of bodhichitta and understanding emptiness.

“Those of you here today have established a teacher-disciple relationship with me and I consider you to be my brothers and sisters in the Dharma. Serving the 7 billion human beings alive today is something practical we can all do.”

His Holiness outlined his four commitments, that as a human being he is committed to reminding people that social animals like us need a sense of compassion. We all want to be happy and being kind is beneficial to ourselves and others. He explained that he tries to encourage harmony and respect among religious traditions. They may take different philosophical points of view, but their intent is to develop love and compassion.

As a Tibetan with the name Dalai Lama, His Holiness observed, the great majority of Tibetans place their hope and trust in him. Although he has retired from any political involvement, he remains committed to drawing attention to the urgent need to protect Tibet’s fragile environment. He is also deeply concerned to preserve the Nalanda Tradition of education that Tibetans have kept alive since Shantarakshita introduced it in the eighth century.

Monks from Taiwan foolowing the text on the final day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings at the request of a group from Taiwan at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 5, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Shantarakshita advocated the translation of Buddhist literature into Tibetan so Tibetans could study in their own language. In the process of translation, Tibetan was profoundly enriched. These days in Tibet, hard-line Chinese officials associate the Tibetan language with the Tibetan identity and try to suppress it. Here in exile, with the help and support of the Government of India Tibetans have set up schools and re-established monasteries as centres of learning, which have a key role in keeping it alive.         

The Tibetan spirit remains strong and Tibetans continue to be dedicated to non-violence. More than 160 people who could have harmed others, have instead sacrificed themselves in acts of self-immolation. His Holiness added that since 1974 he has proposed adopting a Middle Way Approach to relations with the PRC.

His Holiness mentioned that he is in addition committed to trying to revive appreciation of ancient Indian knowledge, including a thorough understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions, here in India. He suggests that India is the only country that could combine insights from ancient India with modern education. He pointed out what an effective example Mahatma Gandhi set in the 20th century with his determined reliance on non-violence. Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Martin Luther King took this example to heart. Perhaps compassion can be as effective in this 21st century.

Finally, His Holiness gave the permission of Mahamayuri, one of a group of five female deities known as 'Five Protectors' or Pancha Raksha, which is popular in China and Japan. In the course of the ritual he also conducted a ceremony for cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama waving to the crowd as he prepares to depart for his residence at the conclusion of the final day of teacings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 5, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“These last three days we’ve focussed on the ‘Precious Garland’. I hope you’ll find what you’ve heard beneficial. Although I do maintain an extensive deity yoga practice, my primary concern is to cultivate bodhichitta and the wisdom understanding emptiness. Sometimes I even dream that I’m teaching other people about bodhichitta. Just as Tibetans nurtured what we learned from Shantarakshita, I invite you deepen your understanding of what I’ve told you.”

The audience brought the series of teachings to an end with the chanting in Chinese of the ‘Song of Immortality’, a prayer for His Holiness’s long life composed by his two tutors, Ling Rinpoché and Trijang Rinpoché. After sitting for photographs to be taken with the students in smaller groups, His Holiness walked down to the car waiting at the foot of the temple stairs and drove home to lunch.

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Second Day of Nagarjuna's ‘Precious Garland of the Middle Way' https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/second-day-of-nagarjunas-precious-garland-of-the-middle-way Thu, 03 Oct 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/second-day-of-nagarjunas-precious-garland-of-the-middle-way Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - Following the recitation in Pali of the Mangala Sutta and the chanting of the ‘Heart Sutra’ in Chinese, His Holiness the Dalai Lama drew attention to a verse that Chinese Buddhists add at the end.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting monks from Taiwan as he arrives for the second day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 4, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

May the three poisons be eliminated,
May the light of wisdom shine forth,
May we face no inner or outer obstacles
And may we train in the bodhisattva path.

“All spiritual traditions encourage us to restrain ourselves from harming others and falling prey to destructive emotions,” he explained. “The mind is not unchangingly polluted by defilements, but we have become accustomed over beginningless time to being subject to the three poisons. Here we pray that we be free from them. The remedy is to cultivate wisdom, so the next line prays that the light of wisdom shine forth. To support that we need to cultivate single-pointed concentration, which in turn is based on discipline and the observance of ethics.

“Thus, overcoming the afflictive emotions involves the three trainings—ethics, concentration and wisdom. These are strengthened and enhanced if we cultivate bodhichitta. We need to make effort and use our intelligence. To focus on the object we want to understand takes concentration. Generating that requires mindfulness and introspection.

“A Buddha is one who has overcome all defects and shortcomings. To attain enlightenment we need wisdom and the awakening mind of bodhichitta. The root of highest enlightenment is compassion, which endows us with the determination to reach enlightenment and the conviction that it is possible to do so.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the gathering on the second day of teachings requested by a group from Taiwan at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 4, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Attaining Buddhahood involves the Truth Body and the Form Body, which are achieved through accumulating wisdom and merit respectively. The essence of the Dharma is the awakening mind of bodhichitta and wisdom understanding emptiness. Practice of these will yield enlightenment, but even on a day to day basis they are useful. As Shantideva writes in his ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’”:

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

If I do not actually exchange my happiness
For the sufferings of others,
I shall not attain the state of Buddhahood
And even in cyclic existence shall have no joy.

“If you are selfish, you’ll be miserable, even in this life. The more you dedicate yourself to others, the happier you’ll be. Selfishness is short-sighted and narrow-minded. All 7 billion human beings are equal in their desire to be happy and avoid suffering, but we cause problems for ourselves. If we remained as we were when we were children, the world would be more peaceful. But as we grow up, we become more calculating and discriminatory.

Members of the audience, some of the more than 1100 from Taiwan attending the teachings, listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 4, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Look at the world today. The violent conflicts we see here and there are a direct result of selfishness. The mechanism of warfare originates in a feudal outlook. Despite cherishing their own dear lives, soldiers fight, kill and are killed because they take orders. Traditionally kings and lords have given those orders on the basis of a divisive outlook that views others in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’.

“If you’re able to reduce negative behaviour in your day to day life, avoiding harming or bullying others and gaining some experience of bodhichitta, you’ll be more contented, your health will improve and you’ll find members of your community are friendlier towards you. Making a point of helping others wherever you can is a cause of the high status Nagarjuna’s ‘Precious Garland’ refers to. Dedicating yourself to the benefit of others brings courage and inner strength.”

His Holiness observed that when the Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths, what is true suffering, true origin, true cessation and true path, he also explained the selflessness of persons. In the subsequent perfection of wisdom discourses he asserted that not only do persons lack an independent self, but the mind/body combination, which is the basis of a person, is empty of intrinsic existence too. This indicates the selflessness of phenomena.

His Holiness noted that consciousness is the basis of the designation of self, and that for proponents of the Mind Only School this is the foundational consciousness. The Mind Only School asserts the reality of mind, but denies the external existence of phenomena. The Middle Way School asserts that nothing has any intrinsic existence whatever, even the mind. Things exist merely by way of designation. Within the Middle Way School, the Autonomists retain a sense of objective existence when they declare that the object to be negated in analysis is the notion that things have independent existence without reference to cognition. They don’t break through to realize emptiness.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama spaking on the secon day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 4, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Chandrakirti, presenting the Consequentialist position in his ‘Entering into the Middle Way’, states that we cannot assert any form of objective existence in anything whether it is external or internal—otherwise there would be logical fallacies.

The key is to distinguish what is definitive and what is provisional. Texts belonging to the Buddha’s third round of teachings, such as the ‘Unravelling of the Thought’ suggest that what was taught in the first and second rounds are provisional, while what was taught in the third round is definitive. The focus of the second round was the object clear light, but the focus of the third round was the subjective mind of clear light. The content of the three rounds of the Buddha’s teachings, the Four Noble Truths, the Perfection of Wisdom and Buddha-nature, the luminous mind of clear light progressively leads you to enlightenment, much as climbing a mountain brings you to the summit.

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

His Holiness picked up his copy of the ‘Precious Garland’ and began to read, starting with the title in Sanskrit—Ratnavali. The verses deal with how to achieve high status by refraining from the ten unwholesome deeds as well as another six, including drunkenness. High status, such as life as a free and fortunate human being, is the basis for attaining definite goodness, which is defined as liberation.

A view of the crowd in the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple watching His Holiness the Dalai Lama on big screens during the second day of teachings in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 4, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

As His Holiness stopped for the day, he told the audience that he would read the remainder of the first chapter of the book tomorrow. He will also conduct a ceremony for generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta and grant the permission of a deity, Rigpa Macha Chenmo, which is popular amongst Chinese and Japanese Buddhists.

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Teaching Nagarjuna’s ‘Precious Garland of the Middle Way’ https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/teaching-nagarjunas-precious-garland-of-the-middle-way Wed, 02 Oct 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/teaching-nagarjunas-precious-garland-of-the-middle-way Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - The sun shone in a clear sky this morning as His Holiness the Dalai Lama walked from his residence to the Tsuglagkhang, the Main Tibetan Temple. He greeted members of the public gathered in the yard and around the temple on his way, stroking a child’s cheek here, exchanging a few words there and waving to those beyond his reach. Once in the temple he respectfully saluted the former Ganden Throneholder, Rizong Rinpoché before taking his seat on the throne. A recitation of the ‘Mangala Sutta’ in Pali by Thai monks was followed by the chanting of the ‘Heart Sutra’ in Chinese.

Thai monks reciting the ‘Mangala Sutta’ in Pali at the start of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 3, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

The more than 7500 people gathered in and around the temple included individuals from 61 countries. Of these, the principal students were 1127 from Taiwan belonging to 21 organizations under the umbrella of the Taiwan International Tibetan Buddhist Association. Largest among these various groups was ‘Bliss and Wisdom’ and its 850 members.

After reciting the customary verses of homage, His Holiness addressed the congregation.

“Today, Chinese from Taiwan and elsewhere have come to listen to this teaching. We are here to learn how to transform our minds. The Buddhist tradition in general and the Nalanda Tradition in particular teach about the mind using logic and reason. They explain how to counter destructive emotions like anger and jealousy, which has the additional physical benefit of boosting our immune systems.

“We have to identify what disturbs our peace of mind and learn how to counter that, much as we take the appropriate medicine when we are sick. When we are angry, we should ask why. Note that anger may cause you to see someone as an enemy, but that can change. Someone who seems like an enemy today may be a friend tomorrow. When someone criticizes you, if you get angry it doesn’t relieve your irritation, whereas if you remain patient and calm, you don’t get upset. Anger, arrogance and jealousy disturb your peace of mind. They spoil your health and disturb your friends.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the gathering on the first day of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 3, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Peace of mind is important because we all want to be happy. Cultivating and preserving it is not so much a religious practice as taking a practical step towards being happy. All religious traditions teach love and compassion because as human beings we are social animals. Our well-being depends on the members of our community. Generally, a child brought up by a loving mother grows into an affectionate adult. In the past, people lived with their families in relatively small groups, but today, we are all dependent on each other. All 7 billion human beings make up one human family. Therefore, it’s crucial that we take account of the oneness of humanity.

“Buddhists talk about helping all mother sentient beings, but those who we can really help are human because we can communicate with them. It’s much more difficult to help animals who have no language. If our brains are slaves to afflictive emotions, they’re not of much use, but if we cultivate love and compassion for others we can achieve happiness. As Shantideva writes:

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

“If you cultivate the awakening mind of bodhichitta, all beings will be your friends. You’ll see all as amiable and none as foes. On the other hand, if you only think of yourself, everyone will seem like a threat. The scriptures tell us that this human life is hard to find and precious because it enables us to fulfil the aims of others and ourselves.”

Some of the more than 1100 people from Taiwan attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 3, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness talked about how all religious traditions commend us to be warm-hearted, although they take different philosophical approaches to this goal. Some theistic traditions, like Judaism, Christianity and Islam place their faith in a creator god, seeing other beings as children of that god and so as brothers and sisters. Non-theistic traditions in India, such as a strand of the Samkhya tradition, Jains and Buddhists see happiness and suffering as dependent on our actions. This point of view gave rise to the idea of non-violent conduct promoted first by Jains, but also adopted by the Buddha.

His Holiness clarified that the Buddha’s foundational teaching was given openly, in public and was later recorded in the Pali language. This tradition is followed in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Later teachings were recorded in Sanskrit, a more scholarly language. He mentioned that since the terms Hinayana and Mahayana, implying a lesser vehicle and a greater vehicle, can be viewed as discriminatory, he prefers to speak of the Pali and Sanskrit traditions. Monks of the Pali tradition maintain good monastic discipline. Scholars of the Nalanda Tradition that exemplifies the Sanskrit traditions emphasized the use of reason and logic. Its members investigated the Buddha’s teaching without taking it for granted.

The Buddha himself encouraged his followers to examine his teaching carefully in the way a goldsmith tests gold. When Nagarjuna and his followers did this, they classified what the Buddha had taught into definitive and interpretable instructions, after subjecting them to analysis akin to a scientific approach.

Reiterating the importance of cultivating and maintaining peace of mind, His Holiness stressed that it is not necessary to be religious to do so. What is important is learning how to tackle disturbing emotions. He mentioned that he has been encouraging the introduction of social, emotional and ethical learning to the education system.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on the first day of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 3, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Although he considers Buddhism to have some of the profoundest understanding of reality, what he is particularly interested in is for Buddhists to use that knowledge to help others. He observed that while philosophical and psychological ideas were introduced and explained in religious literature, they can be well employed in an objective, secular and academic context.

His Holiness reported classifying the content of the 300 volumes of the Kangyur and Tengyur, the collections of translations of the Buddha’s teachings and subsequent Indian treatises, under the following headings---science, philosophy and religion. These materials have been compiled into separate books in Tibetan and translated into Chinese, English and other languages. Work on the volumes dealing with science is complete, while work on the philosophical volumes is underway.

His Holiness discussed different ways in which the selflessness of persons and phenomena are explained within the Buddhist tradition.

“The Mind Only School assert that no phenomena exist externally, they are but reflections of the mind. They speak of non-dual emptiness. The Middle Way School allow no kind of essential or intrinsic existence. For them nothing exists independently. Things exist merely as designations.

Members of the audience sitting on the veranda of the Main Tibetan Temple listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the first day of his teachings in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 3, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“In the ‘Heart Sutra’ Shariputra asks "How should a child of the lineage train who wishes to engage in the practice of the profound perfection of wisdom?" Avalokiteshvara tells him, “'Whatever son or daughter of the noble lineage wants to train in the profound discipline of the perfection of wisdom should consider things in the following way. First, he or she should clearly and thoroughly comprehend that the five aggregates are empty of any inherent nature of their own.” Although things appear to have a solid, independent existence, they do not actually exist that way. Form is empty means that it does not exist the way it appears.

“Because things are conditioned by other factors, they exist as mere designations, labelled by language. When we critically examine form, it is empty of intrinsic existence. But when we accept what appears, form exists on a conventional level. “Emptiness is not other than forms and forms are not other than emptiness.”

“Mind exists as a series of moments, moments of consciousness.

“Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’ explains in Chapter 26 how we are brought into unenlightened life in the cycle of existence. Chapter 18 deals with selflessness, and Chapter 24 clarifies the Four Noble Truths. There are commentaries on ‘Fundamental Wisdom’ by Buddhapalita and Chandrakirti. Je Tsongkhapa read these and other classic texts in preparing for his own commentary. At a certain point he had a vision of Manjushri who gave him an answer to a question that he found difficult to understand. Manjushri then advised him to engage in further study and practice. Eventually, it was when he was reading Buddhapalita’s commentary that he achieved a correct insight into emptiness.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting members of the audience os he departs the Main Tibetan Temple at the conclusion of the first day of his teaching in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 3, 2019. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness remarked that when he gives someone a statue of the Buddha, he explains that the Buddha was a teacher. Consequently, what’s important is to study his teachings. He observed that the Buddha’s teachings reached China before they reached Tibet. However, since the pilgrim Xuanzang studied at Nalanda before returning to China, and Buddhism was introduced to Tibet by the foremost Nalanda scholar Shantarakshita, both Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism belong to the Nalanda Tradition. The difference is that while the key works on logic and epistemology by Dignaga and Dharmakirti were translated into Tibetan, they were not translated into Chinese.

Declaring that he had intended to read the first chapter of Nagarjuna’s ‘Precious Garland of the Middle Way’ today, His Holiness summarized its contents. The chapter distinguishes between being born with high status and achieving definite goodness. “High status is considered to be happiness, Definite goodness is liberation.” It is necessary to transform the mind, employing wisdom and analysis in order to achieve definite goodness, but that is only possible on the basis of life as a human being. His Holiness emphasized that transforming the mind does not come about in a short time, but if you keep up your effort, you’ll achieve your goal. Whatever you read or hear, you must reflect on it over and again, to gain conviction. Through meditation bring about experience of what you’ve understood to transform the mind.

As he brought the session to an end for the day, His Holiness encouraged his listeners to attend the opportunity to review what he had been talking about. He told them not to sit quietly, but to ask questions to settle whatever doubts they might have. He will resume his explanation tomorrow.

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Greeting the President of India on his Birthday https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/greeting-the-president-of-india-on-his-birthday Mon, 30 Sep 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/greeting-the-president-of-india-on-his-birthday Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - On the occasion of the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind’s 74th birthday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote to him to offer his congratulations.

“India's role as a democracy committed to pluralism and diversity is an example to the world,” the letter continued, “and I take pride in noting that the philosophy of ancient India, exemplified by the traditions of scholarship upheld at Nalanda University, took a scientific approach founded on reason. India's ancient traditions, including ahimsa and karuna, are of great relevance in today's world.

“I am glad to note that in the course of his recent address to the United Nations General Assembly, the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi remarked that India gave the world the Buddha’s message of peace, not war.

“Since I consider myself a messenger of India, I am confident that through sharing the treasures of ancient Indian knowledge for the greater good of humanity, India can play an active role in creating a happier and more peaceful world.”

His Holiness ended his letter with an expression of thanks. Writing on behalf of the Tibetan people, he took the opportunity to extend deep gratitude to the government and people of India for the warm and generous hospitality Tibetans have received in this country for so many years.

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Condolences on the Death of Jacques Chirac https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/condolences-on-the-death-of-jacques-chirac Thu, 26 Sep 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/condolences-on-the-death-of-jacques-chirac Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - In a letter to Madame Bernadette Chirac offering his condolences on the death of her husband President Jacques Chirac His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote:

His Holiness the Dalai Lama walking with French President Jacques Chirac in Paris, France on December 8, 1998.

“I had the privilege of knowing Monsieur Chirac ever since he was elected Mayor of Paris. I counted him among the friends of the Tibetan people. When he was President of France, I admired the way he cultivated close cooperation with Germany, which served to strengthen the European Union. I have a dream that similar visionary political projects will spread to Africa, Latin America and Asia.

“His dedication in championing the integration of the European Union will be remembered with respect.”

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Visit to Harijan Sevak Sangh at Gandhi Ashram https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/visit-to-harijan-sevak-sangh-at-gandhi-ashram Tue, 24 Sep 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/visit-to-harijan-sevak-sangh-at-gandhi-ashram New Delhi, India - This morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama joined a number of spiritual leaders from Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jain and Christian traditions at the Gandhi Ashram in Delhi. They first paid their respects before Gandhi-ji’s memorial, and then planted a tree together in the courtyard outside the library to mark the occasion.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with spiritual leaders from Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jain and Christian traditions before their program at Gandhi Ashram in New Delhi, India on September 25, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness and the other spiritual leaders then assembled on the stage where Morari Bapuji yesterday began a ritual performance of the Ram Kathaa, recounting the life and deeds of Lord Ram, which will go on for nine days. Together with members of the Harijan Sevak Sangh they lit a lamp to mark the auspicious opening their interfaith gathering.

Dr. Shankar Kumar Sanyal welcomed the spiritual leaders to the ashram where Gandhi stayed and worked for the benefit of India and the whole world between 1930 and 1940. Each of the spiritual leaders spoke about the importance of cultivating religious harmony, upholding India's ancient traditions of ‘ahimsa’ and ‘karuna’—non-violence and compassion—in addition to taking care of our planet. Representing the Hindu tradition were Sadhvi Bhagavathi Saraswati, Swami Chidanand Saraswati and Baba Ramdev. From the Shia tradition came Maulana Kokab Muharram. Giani Gurbachan Singh represented the Sikh tradition. Father Ajit Patrick spoke on behalf of Christianity, while Maulana Mahmood Madani represented the Sunni tradition of Islam.

Maulana Kokab Muharram of the Shia tradition speaking during the interfaith program at Gandhi Ashram in New Delhi, India on September 25, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness greeted the spiritual leaders as brothers and sisters.

“Not only do all the major world religious traditions convey a message of love and peace, but they also teach how to increase these qualities,” he continued. “One of human beings’ best qualities is their ability to see other people as brothers and sisters. And it is on such a basis that we can live in harmony with each other.

“Nowadays, we see conflict and violence break out in the name of religion, despite its imparting a fundamental message of tolerance and faith in God. Nevertheless, this country provides a living example that religious traditions can live in harmony, which in turn is founded on the age-old practice of non-violent conduct prompted by a sense of compassion. Because of this sound sense of religious harmony, all the world’s major religions have flourished here in peace and free from fear for hundreds of years. The different philosophical views they propound are all focussed on extending compassion, which is their common message. Therefore, conflict in the name of religion is unthinkable.”

Baba Ramdev. and Morari Bapuji look on as His Holiness the Dalai Lama addresses the gathering during the interfaith program at Gandhi Ashram in New Delhi, India on September 25, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness advised that it is no longer enough for India simply to uphold religious harmony, she should take steps to encourage others to follow this example. He also observed that while one billion human beings alive today declare they have no interest in spiritual practice, they remain our brothers and sisters. Like us they wish to find happiness and overcome suffering. He emphasized that although methods for training the mind arose from spiritual practices for accomplishing tranquillity and insight—‘shamatha’ and ‘vipashyana’—, today, they can be studied and implemented in an objective academic way. The purpose would be to benefit all human beings whether they were believers or not.

“Even within Buddhism, we find the Pali and Sanskrit traditions. The Sanskrit tradition, upheld by masters like Nagarjuna, employs logic and analysis in relation to the Buddha’s teachings. Where they found that what the Buddha taught on some occasions contradicts reason, they declared that it be subject to interpretation. Such a sceptical approach can be adopted whether you are a believer or not.

“Something else we have to consider is that at the present time, when population growth and the climate crisis present a challenge to the whole of humanity, we need to take steps to protect the environment. This planet is our only home and if it becomes too hot for us to survive, there is nowhere else we can escape to. Therefore, we must try to protect our sources of water and restore forests by planting trees.”

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the interfaith program at Gandhi Ashram in New Delhi, India on September 25, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

In his concluding remarks His Holiness pointed out that if India’s ancient knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions could be combined with modern education, many people could learn how to tackle their afflictive emotions and achieve peace of mind. Understanding that things do not exist the way they appear, which resonates with the view of quantum physics, is extremely helpful in countering negative mental states, such as anger, that are founded entirely on appearances.

After the musicians, who are performing the Ram Kathaa, had played several songs, Morari Bapu offered His Holiness a sapling. The event ended on a hospitable note with the various spiritual leaders eating lunch together before they dispersed.

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Second Day at Shri Udasin Karshni Ashram https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/second-day-at-shri-udasin-karshni-ashram Sun, 22 Sep 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/second-day-at-shri-udasin-karshni-ashram Mathura, UP, India - This morning, at the start of his second day at Shri Udasin Karshni Ashram, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was joined by Swami Karshni Gurusharanandaji Maharaj, Swami Chidanand Saraswati with other members of the ashram and they meditated together.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama joining Swami Karshni Gurusharanandaji Maharaj, Swami Chidanand Saraswati and other members of the ashram in meditation on the morning of the second day of his visit to Shri Udasin Karshni Ashram in Mathura, UP, India on September 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Subsequently, His Holiness drove to the banks of Yamuna where, with Maharaj-ji and Swami-ji, he took part in an aarti ritual that involves the offering of light. When a journalist asked what parts of Indian culture are relevant in today's world, His Holiness replied:

“I’m convinced that cultivating India's age-old traditions of ‘ahimsa’, non-violent conduct and ‘karuna’, its compassionate motivation, are the only way to put an end to violence in the world. As human beings we are much the same. We are born the same way and we die the same way. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the kind of basic human values that have been cultivated in this country for thousands of years.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama taking part in an aarti ritual at the banks of the Yamuna river in Mathura, UP, India on September 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Back at the ashram His Holiness inaugurated the gate to the Buddha garden that has been established there by ringing a large bell, which will eventually be hung over the entrance. He paid his respects before the statue of the Buddha, reciting following prayer:

With the coming of the Teacher into this world,
The Dharma’s shining like the rays of the sun,
A sense of brotherhood and sisterhood amongst the followers
May conditions be auspicious for the Teaching to endure.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama inaugurating the gate to the Buddha garden at Sri Udasin Karshni Ashram in Mathura, UP, India on September 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness remarked that while it is noble to create statues of the Buddha, since they cannot speak, it is also important to establish centres of learning if we want to contribute to the preservation of the teachings.

Next, His Holiness was escorted to the Shiva Temple where he joined Maharaj-ji in performing a Rudra Abhishek offering to the Shivling. The Lingam was bathed and anointed with the five nectars, flowers and other sacred substances.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama joining Swami Karshni Gurusharanandaji Maharaj in performing a Rudra Abhishek offering to the Shivling at Sri Udasin Karshni Ashram in Mathura, UP, India on September 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

After a short break, His Holiness came to the ashram’s auditorium where he answered questions from journalists and members of the ashram. Regarding India's role in an increasingly fragmented world, His Holiness made clear the importance of ‘ahimsa’ and ‘karuna’ and India’s setting an example of inter-religious harmony. These qualities contribute to the country’s strength. His Holiness added that India should lead a global movement towards demilitarisation.

His Holiness also advised that India is specially positioned to integrate modern education that involves science and technology with a traditional understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions. Modern education by itself is not adequate because it fails to bring about inner peace. Despite the diversity of their philosophical views, India's religious traditions all focus on inner values, which is one of the reasons that harmony has prevailed.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from journalists in the auditorium at Sri Udasin Karshni Ashram in Mathura, UP, India on September 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness recommended that inner values be inculcated in young people from their early years until they reach university, pointing out that ‘ahimsa’ and ‘karuna’ are the perfect antidotes to anger. He stressed that study of these subjects need not be done in a religious manner. They can be adopted in an objective academic way. Whether or not you choose to practise religion is a matter of personal choice, but the whole of humanity is in need of peace of mind

Maharaj-ji praised His Holiness and the way he has worked tirelessly for the good of humanity, emphasizing the importance of wisdom and love. He reported how much he appreciates His Holiness’s advice to develop love and compassion from within. He also agreed with His Holiness about the basic common message of Indian traditions. He recited verses from the Gita that illustrated how wisdom and love counteract anger and attachment

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to members of the ashram in the auditorium at Sri Udasin Karshni Ashram in Mathura, UP, India on September 23, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“It’s not to his physical flesh and bones that we pay our respects, but to the wisdom that abides within His Holiness. Since His Holiness embodies truth and wisdom, followers of truth is are also followers of His Holiness. I consider His Holiness to be one of the masters of this ashram and so the ashram belongs to him. He is free to stay here whenever he wishes.”

After lunch with Maharaj-ji and Swami Chidanand Saraswati His Holiness left for Delhi.

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Visit to Shri Udasin Karshni Ashram https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/visit-to-shri-udasin-karshni-ashram Sat, 21 Sep 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/visit-to-shri-udasin-karshni-ashram Mathura, UP, India - Leaving Delhi early this morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama drove to the city of Mathura on the banks of the Yamuna River, where he was the guest of Swami Karshni Gurusharanandaji Maharaj. On arrival at Shri Udasin Karshni Ashram he was received by ashram staff and escorted to his room, where Maharaj-ji joined him.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama exchanging greeting Swami Karshni Gurusharanandaji Maharaja on his arrival at Sri Udasin Karshni Ashram in Mathura, UP, India on September 22, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

After a short rest, His Holiness proceeded to the main Krishna Temple to pay his respects. Maharaj-ji accompanied him to a seat on the dais and led temple priests in performing a ritual ablution, as a mark of respect, which involved washing His Holiness's feet with milk, yogurt, saffron, ghee and sandalwood. This was followed by the recitation of a Guru Puja and other offerings to His Holiness including recitations from the Four Vedas.

Addressing the gathering, His Holiness told them how moved he felt to listen to the sonorous chanting in Sanskrit.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama paying his respects at the main Krishna Temple at Sri Udasin Karshni Ashram in Mathura, UP, India on September 22, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“When I was young I learned Sanskrit from the Kalapa manual, but found it quite difficult. India’s most ancient philosophical tradition, the Samkhya School, employed Sanskrit, as did the later Jain and Buddhist traditions. Buddhist literature was recorded in both Pali and Sanskrit, but masters at Nalanda University, such as Nagarjuna, Asanga and Buddhapalita, all wrote in Sanskrit. Indeed, scholars today have told me that the quality of writing to be found in Nagarjuna’s ‘Mulamadhyamikakarika’ and Dharmakirti’s ‘Pramanavartika’ is of the highest standard. The study of Sanskrit and grammar was included among the Five Major Sciences we pursued in Tibet. Therefore, we regard Sanskrit with great esteem. I’d like to thank you for your beautiful recitations.

“Central to ancient Indian tradition was the practice of ‘ahimsa’, non-violent conduct, motivated by ‘karuna’, compassion, notions that remain relevant today, not only in India, but in the whole world. I believe that it is because of thes factors that India has also long been an example of religious tolerance, something else the world could learn from. I am also convinced that, while studying modern subjects such as science and technology, Indians should try to preserve the knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions that evolved here in ancient times, because it can be of benefit to all 7 billion human beings alive today, whether they are religious or not.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the gathering at Sri Udasin Karshni Ashram in Mathura, UP, India on September 22, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness remarked that scientists report that it is basic human nature to be compassionate. However, education should pay more attention to developing and extending it. He mentioned how valuable it would be if students were trained in emotional hygiene, the ability to tackle their afflictive emotions and achieve peace of mind, from kindergarten up to university. He expressed confidence that Maharaj-ji and the members of his ashram are making an effort to preserve such traditions.

His Holiness joined Maharaj-ji and the monks of the ashram sitting on the floor for lunch. Ashram students chanted beautiful verses during the meal that was served in traditional fashion on leaves and in earthenware bowls.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama joining for lunch with members of the Sri Udasin Karshni Ashram in Mathura, UP, India on September 22, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Back in his room after lunch, His Holiness briefly discussed tomorrow's program with Maharaj-ji, in the course of which he expressed a hope that they could spend some time in the morning meditating together.

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Meeting with Intellectuals, Academics and Diplomats https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-with-intellectuals-academics-and-diplomats Fri, 20 Sep 2019 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2019/meeting-with-intellectuals-academics-and-diplomats New Delhi, India - When His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with a group of about one hundred intellectuals, academics and diplomats this morning, he told them that as human beings we are the same; mentally, emotionally and physically, we are all the same. We have the same kind of brain and the same quality of intelligence. What’s more we all want to live a happy life free from suffering.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting a member of the audience before his talk to intellectuals, academics and diplomats in New Delhi, India on September 21, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“These days, scientists tell us that basic human nature is compassionate,” His Holiness explained. “We are social animals who depend on the community in which we live. Before they go to school children are open and friendly to each other. They don't care what religion or nationality their companions belong to, so long as they play together in a friendly way. Once they start school, however, they learn to pay more attention to secondary differences, such as religion, colour, economic background and, here in this country, what caste people belong to. To counter this kind of discrimination, this sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’, we need to cultivate a sense of oneness of 7 billion human beings.”

His Holiness told the gathering that he has four commitments. The first is to help people understand that while we all want to live a happy life, the real source of happiness is within ourselves. Warm-heartedness makes you, your family, and your neighbours happier. His second commitment is to encouraging religious harmony, which is a long-standing tradition in India. He pointed out that we have different religious traditions because different people have different needs and mental dispositions—although all religious traditions convey a common message of love and compassion.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to a group of intellectuals, academics and diplomats in New Delhi, India on September 21, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His third commitment relates to his being a Tibetan and someone in whom the Tibetan people have placed their trust. He clarified that since 2001, he has completely retired from political involvement, devolving those responsibilities to an elected leadership.

“Nevertheless, I remain concerned to preserve Tibet’s religion, culture and language. In 7th century the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo commissioned the creation of a written script modelled on the Indian Devanagari script. Then, in the 8th century King Trisong Detsen invited the great scholar Shantarakshita from Nalanda University to introduce Buddhism to Tibet. The tradition he laid down belongs to the Sanskrit tradition, as upheld at Nalanda, that emphasized the use of logic and reasoning. It is this basis that allows Tibetan Buddhism to collaborate in discussion with modern science. The Nalanda Tradition also incorporates the practice of non-violent conduct—‘ahimsa’ and its compassionate motivation—‘karuna’.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing a gathering of around 100 intellectuals, academics and diplomats in New Delhi, India on September 21, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Finally, I am committed to seeking to revive an interest in the knowledge of ancient India, which had a thorough understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions. This, I believe, is very relevant in today’s modern world. I believe that here in India this knowledge can be combined with modern education to our common benefit.”

Responding to questions from the audience, His Holiness advised that when it comes to India-China relations it is better for the two countries to live side by side as peaceful neighbours. As to whether it is better to teach children about religion or basic human values, he suggested that religious practice is a matter of personal choice, but simple warm-heartedness benefits everyone.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from the audience during his meeting with intellectuals, academics and diplomats at the Taj Hotel in New Delhi, India on September 21, 2019. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

He emphasized the need for study, not only among monks and nuns, but even among lay people. He recalled watching a Sikh student in Ladakh who has taken an enthusiastic interest in debate. He recommended that people explore the idea of ‘pratityasamutpada' or dependent arising. Because things exist in dependence on other factors, they are empty of independent existence. If we extend this notion to appreciate that our own happiness depends on others, we will better understand the relevance of compassion. He advised that if we cultivate loving kindness, even our enemies can become our greatest friends.

Asked why common sense seems so rare, His Holiness observed that the modern education system introduced in India by the British pays little attention to training the mind. Consequently, people have no idea how to tackle their destructive emotions nor how to achieve basic peace of mind. He concluded with the reassurance that we can actually transform our minds and emotions---it takes time but it can be done if we steadily keep up the effort.

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