Dalai Lama https://www.dalailama.com/ en-us Sun, 18 Nov 2018 15:24:39 +0000 Sun, 18 Nov 2018 15:24:39 +0000 One - We are One Family https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/one-we-are-one-family Sat, 17 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/one-we-are-one-family Tokyo, Japan - This morning, under bright sunshine and a high blue sky scattered with thin clouds, His Holiness the Dalai Lama left Yokohama. He drove directly to the Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall in Tokyo, a ninety year old theatre surrounded by trees. Half the 2800 strong audience sat in the sun, the other half in the shade.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama arriving on stage at the Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall in Tokyo, Japan on November 17, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

The event was presented as an opportunity for young Japanese to get to know His Holiness better and to hear what he has to say. Two other special guests were introduced. Actor, film director and event producer Kenji Kohashi told the audience how moved he had been by a visit to Tibet. It compelled him to visit Dharamsala and meet His Holiness. He declared that he feels he must have been a Tibetan in a previous life.

Ai Tominaga started her career as a model at the age of 17 in New York and worked there for the next ten years. She returned to Tokyo and participates in activities that contribute to social welfare and convey the traditional culture of Japan. She has visited Mongolia. She told the audience how struck she had been by His Holiness’s warmth.

Fashion model Ai Tominaga looks on as film director Kenji Kohashi, both special guests, describes his experiences in Tibet as an introduction to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's talk in Tokyo, Japan on November 17, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor #dalailama

“Brothers and sisters,” His Holiness began, “it’s a great honour for me to have the opportunity to share my views and experiences with you. Wherever I go I emphasize that all 7 billion human beings are physically, mentally and emotionally the same. Everybody wants to live a happy life free from problems. Even insects, birds and animals want to be happy.

“What distinguishes us human beings is our intelligence. However, there are occasions when we use it improperly, as, for example, when we use it to design weapons. Animals like lions and tigers that live by attacking and eating other animals have sharp teeth and claws, but human beings’ nature and teeth are more like those of a deer. We use our intelligence to fulfil our desires, to which, compared to those of other animals, there seems to be no limit.

“Right here and now we are sitting together in peace and pleasure, but at this very moment, in other parts of the world people are killing each other.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the crowd at the Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall in Tokyo, Japan on November 17, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“As I said, devising ever more lethal arms is a poor use of human intelligence and the worst are nuclear weapons. You Japanese have actually been victims of nuclear attack and know what the consequent suffering is like. I’ve been to both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On my first visit to Hiroshima I met a woman who had been through it and survived and I saw the watch in the museum that had stopped at the instant of the explosion and was half melted by the heat. So, instead of using our intelligence to create joy, the result has sometimes been fear.

“Here in the 21st century we should make an effort not to repeat the errors of the last century with its endless series of wars. Historians suggest that 200 million people died of violence during this period. It’s time to say, ‘Enough’. Let’s make the 21st a century of peace and compassion on the basis of the oneness of all 7 billion human beings alive today.

“Over-emphasizing difference of nationality, religion or race culminates in feelings of ‘us’ and ‘them’—division. We must remind ourselves that at a deeper level all human beings are the same. We all want to live a happy life and to be happy is our right. Throughout the universe are sentient beings seeking peace and happiness. What distinguishes the human beings on our planet is that we can communicate with each other—we can convey a sense of the oneness of humanity. If we develop peace of mind within ourselves, I believe we can make the 21st century an era of peace. We must heed the ways of achieving inner peace.

Members of the audience of over 2,800 listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall in Tokyo, Japan on November 17, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“There are no natural boundaries between human beings on this earth, we are one family. At a time of increasing natural disasters, climate change and global warming affect us all. We have to learn to live together, to work together and to share what we have together. The way we make problems for ourselves is senseless. We will achieve genuine peace in the world if we pursue demilitarization, but we need a sense of inner disarmament, a reduction of hostility and anger, to start with.

“A mother gave birth to each one of us and lavished us with care and affection, but once we go to school our education system fails to nurture this sense of loving-kindness. It’s aimed instead at fulfilling material goals. We need to re-introduce to education such inner values as warm-heartedness. If we could be more warm-hearted we’d be happier as individuals, contributing to happier families and wider communities too.

“Human beings are social animals. What brings us together is love and affection—anger drives us apart. Just as we employ physical hygiene to protect our health, we need emotional hygiene, the means to tackle our destructive emotions, if we are to achieve peace of mind.

A view of the Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall pavilion during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's talk in Tokyo, Japan on November 17, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I belong to the 20th century, an era that is past. But this is what I want to share with you young people—if you start to collect the causes now, you’ll live to see a happier, more peaceful world. Don’t be content with the present circumstances, take a more far-sighted view.”

His Holiness added that when the heart is closed it leads to fear, stress and anger. Nurturing the idea of the oneness of humanity has the effect of opening the heart. When you think of all other human beings as your brothers and sisters it’s easy to communicate with them all. It makes it easier to smile, to be warm and friendly. He said this is what he tries to do. For him, whether they are beggars or leaders, all human beings are the same. If he tells himself he’s a Buddhist, a Tibetan, the Dalai Lama, it just increases his sense of isolation.

He observed that Japan has historically been a Buddhist country, yet all religions convey a message of love, compassion and self-discipline. Their philosophical differences arose to suit people of different dispositions, at different times and in different places and conditions. The fundamental message of love remains the same. Buddhism, especially the Nalanda Tradition, with its emphasis on reasoned investigation, takes a realistic stance that accords with the approach of science. His Holiness recommended that to become a 21st century Buddhist, simply having faith and reciting the sutras is not enough, far more important is understanding and implementing what the Buddha taught.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall in Tokyo, Japan on November 17, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Jigme

Ai Tominaga told His Holiness that in her experience young people today have a desire for fashion, but it’s in the context of a concern for freedom, human rights and protecting the environment. She thanked him for giving encouraging advice to the next generation.

Kenji Kohashi told him that when he plans musical and other events he wants young people to develop greater self-awareness. “We have to take the initiative to connect with each other, otherwise we remain apart. For me, a near death experience while mountain climbing and meditation have been a source of inspiration.”

A young man who works for a NGO caring for orphans asked His Holiness to comment on leadership and optimism.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his public talk at the Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall in Tokyo, Japan on November 17, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“According to my observation,” His Holiness replied, “NGOs are sometimes more effective than governments agencies, so I appreciate their contribution. Since our existing culture tends to be materialistic, we look to external sources for fulfilment. But that can change. Look at how popular attitudes to war have changed. In the early 20th century if a nation declared war, people joined up proudly without question. Compare that to resistance in America to the Vietnam War or to the millions of people around the world who marched to protest against going to war with Iraq.

“Certainly I’m optimistic, because giving in to pessimism leads to defeat. I’m committed to trying to revive interest in what ancient Indian knowledge has to tell us about the workings of our minds and emotions—the goal is to achieve peace of mind.”

As words of thanks were pronounced, the organizers of the event from Sherab Kyetsel Ling Institute presented bouquets of flowers to His Holiness and the other guests. A member of the audience ran to the front of the stage and offered His Holiness a knitted hat resembling a sunflower. With a look of amusement he put it on.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and two guests wearing knitted sunflower hats presented at the conclusion of his talk "One - We Are One Family" at the Hibiya Open Air Concert Hall in Tokyo, Japan on November 17, 2018.

Tomorrow, he will visit Sherab Kyetsel Ling Institute where he will teach the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’.

]]>
Dialogue between Modern Science and Buddhist Science https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/dialogue-between-modern-science-and-buddhist-science Fri, 16 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/dialogue-between-modern-science-and-buddhist-science Yokohama, Japan - Immediately after His Holiness the Dalai Lama joined the other panellists on the stage at the National Convention Hall this morning, Ms Youko Yamaguchi welcomed the participants and the 5000 strong audience as she introduced the event. She invited His Holiness to make his opening remarks.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivering his opening remarks at the start of the dialogue with scientists at the National Convention Hall in Yokohama, Japan on November 16, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Jigme

“I’ve been engaged in discussions with American, European and Indian scientists such as Richie Davidson and Wolf Singer for many years. Ancient Indian science as embodied in the Nalanda Tradition advocated reasoned investigation particularly with regard to the mind and emotions. During more than 30 years of these talks proponents of modern science and Buddhist science have achieved mutual benefit. Having learned a great deal about the physical world, Buddhist scholars and contemplatives have acquainted modern scientists with qualities of the mind. The Mind & Life Institute that emerged from these interactions continues to organize conferences and workshops.

“Dialogues like these have two purposes. Scientists’ brilliant minds have predominantly focussed on the physical world. But human beings are not just physical beings. We also have feelings and consciousness. It’s appropriate that scientists learn about the inner world of mind and emotions.

“Secondly, the world is passing through an emotional crisis as reflected in the violence still taking place. During the 20th century there were two world wars, Japan was twice attacked with nuclear weapons and 200 million people lost their lives in violence. If this had resulted in a better world, it might have been justified, but violence necessarily means suffering. Since there are still people who believe that problems can be most efficiently solved by use of force, there’s a risk of repeating the errors of the 20th century. Therefore, we must endeavour to make this 21st century an era of peace.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the audience at the National Convention Hall at the start of the Dialogue between Modern Science and Buddhist Science in Yokohama, Japan on November 16, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“We need to educate people about how the use of violence is out of date. Peace in the world won’t be achieved unless people develop inner peace. The goal of a demilitarized world will not be achieved until individuals start to implement inner disarmament. These days, there’s evidence that constant anger and hostility are bad for our health. Scientists, whose influence is widespread, have a role to play in popular education.

“Previously, our meetings have taken place mostly in countries with a largely Judeo-Christian culture. Now I’m glad that modern science and Buddhist science will encounter each other in Japan, a traditionally Buddhist country. Regarding cosmology, Buddhist literature describes an emergence, abiding and destruction of the universe that can accommodate the Big Bang theory. Yoga and its account of the nervous system has a contribution to make to neurobiology. Scientists have told me of the correspondence they’ve found between Nagarjuna’s thought and findings in quantum physics. Meanwhile, ancient Indian psychology, with what I call a map of emotions, is rich in insight about tackling destructive emotions and fostering positive ones such as forgiveness and loving kindness.”

Japanese neuroscientist Dr Iriki Atsushi opened his presentation with the statement that he wanted to know what a human being is and what is its relation to the rest of the world. He distinguished between plants and animals by pointing out that the latter have nervous systems that are used to process information. He observed that sense organs tend to be at the front, towards the top of the head—where the brain is.

Japanese neuroscientist Dr Iriki Atsushi giving his presentation at the Dialogue between Modern Science and Buddhist Science in Yokohama, Japan on November 16, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Jigme

He discussed studying monkeys in his laboratory. They, like human beings, can be trained to use tools with results that demonstrate how adaptable the brain can be. It treats the tool as an extension of the hand, much as binoculars and so forth are extensions of the eyes. As little as two weeks training in using tools can be shown to result in changes in the monkeys’ brains. Dr Iriki compared this to changes that take place as a consequence of evolution, which, because they take place over much longer stretches of time, cannot be examined in the laboratory.

His Holiness asserted that he also believes in evolution, but what he considers important is to enquire about mind and consciousness. Until late in the 20th century scientists dismissed any talk of mind being anything other than a product of the brain. Now there are experts like Richie Davidson who accept that there is something other than the brain that can affect the brain.

His Holiness introduced the phenomenon of people, mostly accomplished meditators, whose bodies remain fresh for some days after clinical death. Their hearts stop, circulation ceases, their brains are dead, and yet their bodies remain poised and fresh. Scientists have, as yet, no explanation for this observable occurrence, but a project has been set up to look into it. Buddhist science explains it as a result of the remaining presence of the subtlest consciousness. Once that departs the body slumps.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama commenting on the presentation by neuroscientist Dr Iriki Atsushi during the Modern Science and Buddhist Science in Yokohama, Japan on November 16, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Jigme

His Holiness mentioned that different levels of consciousness can be identified. He pointed out that when someone undertakes training in concentration, they do so on the level of mental consciousness, disregarding sensory consciousness. He repeated his belief in evolution, that to begin with there was empty space within which energy, heat, fluidity and solidity emerged evolving until there were conditions to support consciousness.

Dr Chong-Sun Chu, a quantum physicist from Taiwan told the panel that he wanted to know how the universe works. What he has learned is that the world is beautiful and it is understandable. He observed that it is remarkable that the laws of physics appear to hold true despite vast variations of scale. However, on a subatomic level the world behaves differently as described by quantum physics. It is a world of waves and particles. He touched on the uncertainty principle, entanglement, which he illustrated with an example of the relations between round and square cakes, string theory and quantum geometry.

Dr Chong-Sun Chu, a quantum physicist from Taiwan, talking about how the universe works at the Dialogue between Modern Science and Buddhist Science in Yokohama, Japan on November 16, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Jigme

Prompted by a photograph of the earth and its moon and the comment that nothing exists as it appears His Holiness challenged Dr Chu to agree that we know the moon consists of particles, but that once we investigate them we have to ask, “Where is the moon?”

Psychologist Dr Yoshiko Sakiko of Kyoto University introduced a young researcher, Fujino, who had met His Holiness and after a vipassana meditation course was inspired to do research into meditation and the brain. He has been investigating whether differences can be identified in the brains of people undertaking two different forms of meditation. These are shamatha, which is described as focused attention meditation (FAM) and usually involves the development of concentration and vipassana, which is described as open monitoring meditation (OMM). Focussed attention meditation is conducted by focussing on the breath, whereas open monitoring meditation involves being aware of present existence as it is.

The brains of the 17 meditators involved in the investigation were scanned by MRI after periods of meditation. Their striatums were analysed which revealed increased selective attention in those doing FAM and decreased selective attention in those doing OMM. Further research is being done related to memory and re-experience of emotion.

Psychologist Dr Yoshiko Sakiko of Kyoto University delivering her presentation on research into meditation at the Dialogue between Modern Science and Buddhist Science in Yokohama, Japan on November 16, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Jigme

His Holiness clarified that he prefers to compare placement or concentrative meditation and analytical meditation. Part of the practice of analytical meditation in relation to the cultivation of positive emotions like compassion would involve learning about what compassion is and how to cultivate before entering into meditation. When first person experience is examined by a third person it is crucial, he suggested, that they be unbiased.

As to whether it’s possible to be both a meditator and a scientist, His Holiness confirmed that as far as he is concerned Nagarjuna was a classic example of someone who was both. He remarked that there are Tibetans who claim that logic is primarily a tool with which to defeat others. This, he said, is an error. It’s necessary to use logic in your own analysis. Ignorance is removed by employing reasoning and wisdom, not prayer or focussed attention alone. This is relevant because all destructive emotions arise out of ignorance.

Answering questions from the audience His Holiness advised that one way to familiarize yourself with the fundamental mind of clear light would be to learn to recognise when you are dreaming. If you can cultivate meditation in the dream state, when the sensory consciousnesses are not functioning, you can access a subtler level of mental consciousness.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during the Dialogue between Modern Science and Buddhist Science at the National Convention Hall in Yokohama, Japan on November 16, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Jigme

His Holiness reiterated the need to augment modern education with instruction about inner values and the mind. He recommended that just as students are taught the importance of physical hygiene to health, they should also be instructed in ways to develop emotional hygiene, learning how to tackle destructive emotions as they arise. He went on to encourage the use of human intelligence to strengthen basic human qualities like loving kindness. He stressed the importance of recognising the oneness of humanity.

The discussions were brought to an end and words of thanks were offered. But before leaving the stage His Holiness reminded the audience of the Buddha’s adage that you are your own master. “In transforming the mind and emotions it’s necessary to be determined and optimistic. Great masters of the past used the opportunities they had. They found happiness. We have the chance to do that too. Japanese are hardworking people, but don’t put all your energy into work. Think about all you’ve heard over the last couple of days. Transformation takes time, but if you keep at it, you’ll be happier as a result.”

Once again His Holiness waved and saluted the audience, then stood for a few moments hands folded as if in prayer for their well-being before leaving the stage. Tomorrow, he will address a group of Japanese young people on the theme ‘One—We are One Family’ in Hibiya, Tokyo.

]]>
‘In Praise of the Buddha for Teaching Dependent Arising’ and Avalokiteshvara Empowerment https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/in-praise-of-the-buddha-for-teaching-dependent-arising-and-avalokiteshvara-empowerment Thu, 15 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/in-praise-of-the-buddha-for-teaching-dependent-arising-and-avalokiteshvara-empowerment Yokohama, Japan - Views of the sky were clear and the morning sun illuminated bridges across the Yokohama Bay as His Holiness the Dalai Lama walked to the teaching venue before the audience began to arrive today. Seated alone, His Holiness began the preparatory procedures for the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment he was going to give. Behind him hung a large appliqué thangka depicting Buddha Shakyamuni flanked by Nagarjuna and Asanga and another portraying Avalokiteshvara, Lord of the World. Beside him was small pavilion containing the Avalokiteshvara mandala.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama performing preparatory procedures for the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment he was to give in Yokohama, Japan on November 15, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Jigme

Once people began to fill the hall, the ‘Heart Sutra’ was recited first in Japanese, then in Korean, Chinese and Mongolian.

“Good morning, today I’m going to give the initiation of the Great Compassionate One, Avalokiteshvara, Lord of the World,” His Holiness announced when he was ready. “Generally, I regard the teachings of the Buddha as being of two categories: the general structure that includes the sutra teachings from the three turnings of the wheel of dharma and special teachings given to specific groups or individuals. Today’s tantric empowerment belongs to the category of specialized teachings.

“In India there was no division into old and new tantras, a distinction introduced in Tibet at the time of Lotsawa Rinchen Sangpo. In the old tantra tradition there are teachings belonging to the distant ‘kama’ lineage, the near lineage of ‘termas’ or hidden treasures, and the close lineage from visionary sources. This empowerment is derived from the Secret Visions of the Fifth Dalai Lama. I received the empowerments from Tagdrag Rinpoché when I was very young and I have undertaken many of the associated retreats.

“When we first came into exile we didn’t have a copy of the text, but eventually a copy came to me and since then, following the custom of the 13th Dalai Lama, I perform an offering to Avalokiteshvara on the tenth day of every month in accordance with it. In Tibet there was a celebrated statue of Avalokiteshvara in the Potala, another in the Jokhang, while a third was the Wati Sangpo or Kyirong Jowo in the care of Dzongkar Chodé Monastery. When the Fifth Dalai Lama undertook an Avalokiteshvara retreat he brought the three together and experienced visions of deities emerging from the heart of the Wati Sangpo.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the audience on the final day of his teachings in Yokohama, Japan on November 15, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Jigme

“That statue, the Kyirong Jowo, was brought to India by the monks of Dzongkar Chodé and is now staying with me in Dharamsala. The monks say that different expressions can be seen on its face and I’ve noticed that it seems to smile when I’m making prayers related to bodhichitta. I had a dream about it once in which I was talking to him face to face. I asked if he had realized emptiness. “Yes”, he replied. Some people regard the Dalai Lamas as emanations of Avalokiteshvara, but I consider myself to be just his messenger.”

His Holiness spoke about the Nalanda Tradition and how it spread after Shantarakshita introduced it to Tibet. He mentioned that the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang visited Nalanda University, where he studied and is reputed to have met Nagarjuna’s disciple Nagabodhi. Eventually the Nalanda Tradition spread from Tibet to Mongolia and the Russian Mongolian Republics of Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva.

His Holiness observed that there had been a custom in Tibet of venerating a set of Indian scholars known as the ‘Six Ornaments and Two Supremes’, but it occurred to him that several prominent scholars were missing. Adding their names he drew up a new list of the ‘Seventeen Masters of Nalanda’ and commissioned a painting of them all. He remarked that Khunu Lama Rinpoché, Tenzin Gyaltsen had told him that several Buddhist masters were outstanding among Indian scholars and that texts like Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’ and Dharmakirti’s 'Commentary on Dignaga's 'Compendium of Valid Cognition' were Sanskrit works of the highest quality.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the inal day of his teachings in Yokohama, Japan on November 15, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Jigme

Returning to the question of visions and the Dalai Lamas, His Holiness mentioned that Gendun Drup, the First Dalai Lama studied with Je Tsongkhapa and was a dedicated practitioner who had visions of Tara. The Second Dalai Lama, Gendun Gyatso, had visions of deities from his childhood. Due to differences with Panchen Yeshe Tsemo he was unable to stay at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery that had been founded by his predecessor, and went to Drepung. The Abbot there had a dream of the Tenma Chunyi (The Twelve Protector Goddesses of Tibet) carrying a monk towards the monastery. He told the monks that someone was coming and that they were to welcome him.

In due course, Gendun Gyatso became Abbot of Drepung and later Abbot of Sera as well. He had a strong connection to Palden Lhamo. “I once had a dream that I was on top of the Potala,” His Holiness explained, “and I could hear the poignant melody of Drepung’s offering prayer to Palden Lhamo. A voice told me that Gendun Gyatso composed it.

“The Second Dalai Lama is reputed for having founded Chö-khor Gyal Monastery and opened the Lhamo Latso Lake. He also established Ngari Dratsang and Dagpo Dratsang. The Third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso’s deeds took him to Mongolia—it’s almost as if there was a plan for the Dalai Lamas to extend their influence. Eventually the Fifth became the temporal and spiritual leader of Tibet.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama giving the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment in Yokohama, Japan on November 15, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness remarked that he had been born in a humble village near Kumbum, the birthplace of Je Tsongkhapa, who exemplified the approach that through reasoned analysis it is possible to transform the mind and make life meaningful. So long as we cling to ignorance, as in the notion that things have an independent existence, destructive emotions arise within us. His Holiness quoted Aryadeva:

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

However, he went on to clarify that since ignorance has no sound basis in reason, it can be defeated and along with it the problems to which it gives rise.

His Holiness announced that he would give the lay-person’s precepts. He pointed out that the Enlightened Ones don’t wash unwholesome deeds away with water, nor do they remove the sufferings of beings with their hands, neither do they transplant their own realization into others. It is through teaching the truth of suchness that they help beings find freedom. They indicate the right path that it is up to us to follow.

Members of the audience wearing ritual blindfolds during the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the final day of his teachings in Yokohama, Japan on November 15, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

He also recalled that the Buddha hesitated to teach what he had realised after his enlightenment because no one would understand what he had to say. However, eventually explaining that “in the eyes of the noble ones this is true suffering...” he taught the Four Noble Truths. Later, during the second turning of the wheel of dharma, he taught the perfection of wisdom. The explicit meaning of those teachings was emptiness of independent existence, which Nagarjuna would be responsible for elaborating. The implicit meaning was how to make progress on the path, which Asanga clarified in the Five Treatises of Maitreya.

Before giving the empowerment, His Holiness gave an explanatory transmission of Je Tsongkhapa’s ‘In Praise of the Buddha for Teaching Dependent Arising’. He recalled that when Tsongkhapa left his native Amdo for Central Tibet at the age of 16, his teacher Dhondup Rinchen gave him clear advice on how he should pursue his education. Thus, he went to the Kadampa monastery of Sangphu where he engaged in philosophical studies and sat for exams.

At Gadong he experienced a vision of Manjushri who would advise him thereafter. Subsequently, he was teaching a circle of followers when Manjushri told him to go into retreat. When Tsongkhapa expressed other people’s misgivings about his disrupting the teachings he was giving, Manjushri told him he knew better. Tsongkhapa entered into rigorous austere retreat with companions like Togden Jhampa Gyatso.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama giving the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment at the Pacifico Yokohama National Convention Hall on the final day of his teachings in Yokohama, Japan on November 15, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Jigme

His Holiness remarked that when he was young he memorized ‘In Praise of the Buddha for Teaching Dependent Arising’ in a single morning. Later, he received an explanation of it from the Kinnauri master Gyen Rigzin Tempa, who had received it in turn from Khangsar Dorje Chang.

When he had completed his reading of the text, His Holiness embarked on the Avalokiteshvara empowerment to which the members of the audience gave their rapt attention. Having concluded two days of Buddhist teachings, he made a point of waving to the audience in different parts of the hall and reaching down to outstretched hands at the front of the stage as he prepared to leave. Tomorrow, he will take part in a dialogue on modern science and Buddhist science.

]]>
Teaching the ‘Heart Sutra’ and ‘Stages of Meditation’ https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/teaching-the-heart-sutra-and-stages-of-meditation Wed, 14 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/teaching-the-heart-sutra-and-stages-of-meditation Yokohama, Japan - His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived at the teaching venue early this morning and when he walked onto the stage the hall was still filling. He fondly greeted old friends among the monks gathered around the throne before taking his own seat. He encouraged those reciting the ‘Heart Sutra’ in Japanese to begin and when they had finished addressed the capacity crowd of 5000—Japanese, Taiwanese, Koreans, Mongolians, Russians and Chinese from across East Asia.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the capacity crowd of 5000 at the Pacifico Yokohama National Convention Hall in Yokohama, Japan on November 14, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Here I am once again in Japan, happy to be among old friends and so many people from other countries too—I greet you all. You’ve not come here just for fun, but to listen to Buddhist teachings. This 21st century is a time of great technical development when people talk about creating artificial intelligence. I imagine they can create devices that emulate sensory consciousness, but they’re a long way from reproducing mental consciousness. Still, this is a time when we might ask if religion is still relevant.

“All 7 billion human beings alive today want to be happy; they don’t want to suffer. We are assailed by increasing natural disasters that we can’t do much about, but wholesale killing, the starvation of innocent and the neglect of the poor and needy are troubles people are responsible for. Worst of all is killing in the name of religion. We all want to look after ourselves, but when we were born we were nurtured by our mothers. Evidence from experiments with infants before they can talk has led scientists to conclude that basic human nature is compassionate.

“Scientists have also found that while constant anger and fear undermines our immune system, having a compassionate attitude reinforces it. Families whose members treat other with trust and affection are happy, whereas those who are suspicious and jealous are unhappy. Love and compassion bring people together—anger drives them apart.

“Material development and physical comfort alone don’t relieve unhappiness, but if you are relaxed and have peace of mind, whatever goes on around you, won’t upset you. It isn’t the sophistication of the devices we own that brings us peace of mind, it’s human qualities like love and compassion. These qualities, along with tolerance, contentment and self-discipline, are what all religions teach about; therefore we still need religion today. Our different traditions may take different philosophical positions, but they are all directed towards cultivating love and compassion. Of my many Hindu, Jain, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Sikh, as well as Buddhist friends, who are sincere followers of their own traditions, what they all have in common is warm-heartedness. Therefore, I am committed to promoting inter-religious harmony.

Some of the 5000 people listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the first day of his teaching at the Pacifico Yokohama National Convention Hall in Yokohama, Japan on November 14, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“We are caught in the cycle of existence because of karma and delusion. If we think over the disadvantages of self-cherishing and self-centredness and cultivate love and compassion for others instead, we can overcome obstacles and make progress on the path.”

His Holiness also made clear his commitment to preserving Tibetan religion and culture, specifically the Nalanda Tradition established by Shantarakshita in the 8th century. What distinguishes it from other traditions is the way it takes a reasoned, logical approach to the study of philosophy and psychology. His Holiness considers it is this approach that has allowed a fruitful dialogue to develop between Tibetan Buddhist scholars and contemplatives, and scientists.

He noted that in the course of translating Buddhist Sanskrit literature into Tibetan, the language was refined to such a degree that it remains the most accurate medium for expressing subtle Buddhist knowledge today. With some satisfaction he mentioned that nuns who have completed the traditional course of rigorous study have recently been awarded the degree of Geshe-ma. They too are playing their part in keeping the Nalanda Tradition alive.

“The essence of Buddhism is cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta and an understanding of emptiness,” His Holiness remarked as he turned his attention to the ‘Heart Sutra” and a concise commentary to it by Acharya Jnanamitra. “These have been the focus of my practice until now. When I make the effort I feel I have some semblance of experience and I believe that if I were to develop concentration I might be able to reach the path of preparation in this life.”

A view of the stage at the Pacifico Yokohama National Convention Hall during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching in Yokohama, Japan on November 14, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Jigme

Referring to the ‘Heart Sutra’ as belonging to the Perfection of Wisdom teachings that are part of the Sanskrit tradition prompted His Holiness to explain his reluctance to use the terms Hinayana and Mahayana. He prefers to avoid the connotations that one vehicle is inferior and the other superior and refers instead to the language in which they were recorded—Pali and Sanskrit. Not only the Four Noble Truths, but also the instructions for monastic discipline, both fundamental to all Buddhist traditions, were recorded first in Pali.

The second turning of the wheel of dharma, recorded in Sanskrit, consisted of the Perfection of Wisdom teachings whose explicit instruction is the lack of intrinsic existence. For people inclined to fall into nihilism when presented with that idea, during the third turning of the wheel the Buddha taught the three natures: imputed nature that implies no intrinsic existence; dependent nature that is not self-created and perfect nature that has no ultimate, independent existence. At that time he also taught about Buddha nature and wisdom at the time of death. These aspects contributed to Maitreya’s ‘Sublime Continuum’ (Uttaratantra).

Reminding his audience that things don’t exist the way they appear, His Holiness presented a challenge: “Look at me---what you see is my body, listen to me and what you hear is my voice, but where is the Dalai Lama. In the ‘Heart Sutra’ we read ‘form is empty’. Nagarjuna says, ‘There does not exist anything that is not dependently arisen. Therefore there does not exist anything that is not empty.’ The appearance of things does away with the extreme of eternalism; seeing things as empty eliminates nihilism. Form is empty and emptiness is form because form is dependently arisen. Form and its emptiness are of the same nature.

“When you look at things and try to find their nature you find they have no ultimate existence, yet they do exist on a conventional level. In the 60s I was reading one of Je Tsongkhapa’s commentaries. When I came to a line that read, ‘This ‘I’ is merely designated on the aggregates I felt as if I’d been struck by lightning. Later, I understood I’d realized the gross selflessness of a person. As Nagarjuna’s ‘Precious Garland’ says, ‘As long as the aggregates are misconceived, there is a misconception of an 'I'. When this conception of an 'I' exists, there is action which results in birth.’”

Monastics from Korea listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching in Yokohama, Japan on November 14, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

In the 'Heart Sutra', when Avalokiteshvara recites the mantra, "Tadyata gaté gaté paragaté parasamgaté bodhi svaha" ("It is thus: Proceed, proceed, proceed beyond, thoroughly proceed beyond, be founded in enlightenment"), he is telling followers to proceed through the five paths. His Holiness clarified what this means:

"Gaté gaté - proceed, proceed - indicates the paths of accumulation and preparation and the first experience of emptiness; paragaté - proceed beyond - indicates the path of seeing, the first insight into emptiness and achievement of the first bodhisattva ground; parasamgaté - thoroughly proceed beyond - indicates the path of meditation and the achievement of the subsequent bodhisattva grounds, while bodhi svaha - be founded in enlightenment -  indicates laying the foundation of complete enlightenment."

"Aryadeva's advice to overcome unwholesome deeds, to eliminate views of self and finally to eradicate all wrong views," His Holiness observed, "also refers to making progress on the path. With regard to overcoming unwholesome deeds, the key to achieving a good rebirth and the opportunity to continue to practise, Nagarjuna's 'Precious Garland' lists sixteen causes.

“There are thirteen activities to be stopped. Of the ten unwholesome deeds to be avoided, three are physical - killing, stealing and adultery; four are verbal - false, divisive, harsh, and senseless speech; and three are mental - covetousness, harmful intent, and wrong views. Three additional activities to be restrained include drunkenness, wrong livelihood and doing harm. There are three further activities to be adopted - respectful giving, honouring the honourable, and love.

His Holiness reading from the text on the first day of his teaching in Yokohama, Japan on November 14, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Chapter Nine of Shantideva’s ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ opens with the observation—‘All these practices were taught by the Sage for the sake of wisdom’. Therefore, making progress on the path depends on developing an understanding of emptiness supported by the awakening mind of bodhichitta. This will enable you to fulfil your own and others’ goals.”

His Holiness next took up the middle volume of ‘Stages of Meditation’, explaining that it was composed after Kamalashila defeated quietist Chinese monks in debate. They asserted that progress could be made on the path through concentrative meditation alone without recourse to study. Kamalashila, Shantarakshita’s disciple asserted the advantages of combining study with meditation.

Reading through the text, His Holiness touched on training the mind in compassion, which involves developing equanimity, the root of loving-kindness, and identifying the nature of suffering. He discussed at greater length the prerequisites for developing calm-abiding and its pitfalls of dullness and excitement. However, calm-abiding by itself is not sufficient to make progress on the path; much more important is to focus with a calmly abiding mind on what you’ve understood through analysis—that is the way to develop special insight.

His Holiness ended the morning session with the assurance that he will read Je Tsongkhapa’s ‘Praise to the Buddha for Teaching Dependent Arising’ tomorrow when he will also be giving an Avalokiteshvara permission.

]]>
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Interviewed in Yokohama https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-interviewed-in-yokohama Tue, 13 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-interviewed-in-yokohama Yokohama, Japan - His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in Yokohama from India yesterday on his 25th visit to Japan. Although the views over the bay from his hotel window were grey, His Holiness was bright and refreshed by a good night’s sleep after his journey. He opened his conversation with Rina Yamasawa of NHK with a recollection of his first visit in 1967. His elder brother, Taktser Rinpoche, was here and over lunch teased His Holiness, who had become a vegetarian, that he had the tastier bowl of udon noodles.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Rina Yamasawa of NHK during their interview in Yokohama, Japan on November 13, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness answered a first question about how he sees the situation in Tibet today by reviewing his three commitments.

“First I consider myself just one among 7 billion human beings. While we pray for the welfare of all sentient beings, there’s nothing we can do but pray for those in other galaxies. On this planet there are countless animals, birds, fish and insects, but they have no language so we can’t really communicate with them. On a practical level, it’s our fellow human beings who we can do something for. In a materialistic world where many don’t know the value of peace of mind, I try to help them become happier by showing them how to find inner peace.

“I’m also a Buddhist and it saddens me to see conflict in the name of religion. In India, where different religions live together side by side, we see that religious harmony is possible.

“Thirdly, I’m a Tibetan and, although since 2001 I have retired from political responsibility, I remain concerned about Tibet’s natural environment. What’s also important is the preservation of our culture and the knowledge we obtained from India.

“Since 1974 we haven’t been seeking independence for Tibet, being prepared instead to remain within the People’s Republic of China. Much has changed in China over the last 40 years. The number of Buddhists has grown to more than 300 million, many with an interest in Tibetan Buddhism. Meanwhile, even hardliners among the officials are in a dilemma about how to deal with Tibet. They see that 70 years of suppression and attempted brainwashing haven’t diminished the Tibetan spirit.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Rina Yamasawa of NHK during their interview in Yokohama, Japan on November 13, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Jigme

“Instead of independence we are seeking mutual benefit. The Chinese can help us with infrastructural development and we can help them with Buddhist psychology. So, our Middle Way Approach is an attempt to reach mutual agreement for mutual improvement. Some Tibetans exercise their freedom to remain set on independence such as we enjoyed in 7th, 8th and 9th centuries. However, I am a great admirer of the spirit of the European Union that places the common interest of all its members above individual nation’s concerns. India too is a federation of states with different languages, cultures and religious traditions that are part of a union. I venture to imagine some kind of future union prevailing between India, China and Japan.”

His Holiness went on to clarify that Tibetans in what were historically the three provinces of Tibet have a right, according to the Chinese constitution, to a high degree of autonomy. That would allow them to preserve their language and culture. He pointed out that his own birthplace and that of Je Tsongkhapa are now part of Qinghai. He looked forward to genuine autonomy being granted in Uighur, Mongol and Tibetan regions.

Ms Yamasawa asked His Holiness how his successor would be chosen. He explained that as far back as 1969 he had made it clear that the choice of whether another Dalai Lama would be recognised rested with the Tibetan people. That choice precedes any decision about how a successor may be chosen. It could be that the traditional way of identifying a reincarnation will be followed, but there have also been cases of Lamas nominating an already living person as their successor.

He noted that at the end of this month a convening of Tibet’s spiritual leaders will take place, primarily focussed on raising the quality of Buddhist knowledge and practice. The question of a future Dalai Lama may also be on the agenda.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama responding to a question during his interview with Rina Yamasawa of NHK in Yokohama, Japan on November 13, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness observed that when he was recently in Europe a group of women met him to complain about the sexual misconduct of some Tibetan spiritual teachers. He told them that when such complaints were first brought to his attention he asked if such individuals had disregard for the rules the Buddha laid down, why they would listen to anything he had to say. He’d suggested that the shame of publicity might be more effective. He advised the group to forward their complaints to the meeting of spiritual leaders in a letter.

When Yamasawa steered the conversation back to the topic of his successor, His Holiness told her that some years ago, faced with similar questions from a journalist in New York he had taken off his glasses, as he did again today, and asked playfully, “Look at my face, is the need to address the question of my reincarnation urgent?” He told her that what happens after his death is of little interest to him compared to being a good Buddhist practitioner here and now. He repeated for her Shantideva’s verse, which he takes as his motivating prayer: ‘For as long as space endures and for as long as living beings remain, until then may I too abide to dispel the misery of the world.’

In his additional replies, His Holiness stressed that he advises followers of the Buddha today to be 21st century Buddhists, which he defines as driven by knowledge and understanding of what the Buddha taught rather than blind faith. He also discussed his admiration for democracy, his attempts to introduce reform in Tibet and his determination to do so once he and 80,000 Tibetans came into exile.

A second interview with Ms Yoshiko Sakurai, president of the think tank known as the Japan Institute of National Fundamentals, touched on several similar themes. As to how Tibetan traditions had been preserved, His Holiness emphasized how generous the government of India and Prime Minister Nehru had been in their support. It was Nehru who personally encouraged efforts to educate Tibetan children in separate Tibetan schools and to re-establish the monastic seats of learning. As a result of the latter, there are now more than 10,000 monks and 1000 nuns well-trained in the Nalanda Tradition.

Ms Yoshiko Sakurai, president of the Japan Institute of National Fundamentals, interviewing His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Yokohama, Japan on November 13, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Referring to education in the wider world, His Holiness noted that it tends to have materialistic goals, whereas it would be better if it addressed the needs of both the heart and the brain. Specifically he recommended teaching people how to tackle their destructive emotions.

When Ms Sakurai lamented that the Chinese authorities seem to be doing little for Tibetans and Uighurs, His Holiness replied that he saw the past 70 years in terms of four eras affected by Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Xi Jinping. Although the same party remained in power, guided by the same constitution, nevertheless great changes had taken place. He noted that there still remained room for further change. He also remarked that 1.2 billion Chinese have a right to know what is really going on and when they know that, he expressed confidence in their ability to judge what’s right from what’s wrong.

His Holiness mentioned that in Tibet, even as suppression has increased, Tibetans have continued to pursue non-violence. He highlighted the cases of the more than 150 people who have committed self-immolation as examples, saying that they were very sad on the one hand, but on the other were worthy of admiration because they remained non-violent, at least in relation to others.

Asked how Japanese and Tibetans can contribute to the welfare of humanity His Holiness expressed his admiration for the Shinto Tradition due to its appreciation of the natural environment. He commended the possibility of combining technological development with a deep understanding of the workings of the mind to enable more people to find inner peace. He also expressed the hope that Japan, as the one country that has been subject to nuclear attack, will not let up on its leadership of the movement to eliminate nuclear weapons.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama poses for a photo with the members of the production team after his interview with Ms Yoshiko Sakurai, president of the Japan Institute of National Fundamentals, in Yokohama, Japan on November 13, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

He reiterated that his cherished goals of a world not only free of nuclear weapons, but also demilitarized in general, will only come about when more people have achieved a sense of inner disarmament in their own hearts and minds. This, he suggested, is something to which Japanese brothers and sisters can contribute.

]]>
Celebrations of Guru Nanak’s 550th Birth Anniversary https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/celebrations-of-guru-nanaks-550th-birth-anniversary Sat, 10 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/celebrations-of-guru-nanaks-550th-birth-anniversary New Delhi, India - This morning in New Delhi, Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter came to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He thanked His Holiness for using Twitter. His Holiness spoke to him extensively about historic links between India and Tibet, India’s exemplary tradition of religious harmony and the importance of recognising the oneness of humanity. When Dorsey asked what would have the most impact on bringing religious traditions together, His Holiness replied that in general expressing affection and respect is what brings people together in most situations.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and CEO of Twitter, in New Delhi, India on November 10, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

On the steps of the Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan (BVSSS), His Holiness was welcomed by the Director, Dr Mohinder Singh and the President, former Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, with the gift of a sapling. They then escorted him to the stage inside. BVSSS is an institution established 60 years ago to commemorate and further the work of Bhai Vir Singh, a poet, scholar, and theologian of the Sikh revival. Today, it was the focus of the inaugural event of a year-long celebration of the 550th anniversary of the birth of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak.

Proceedings began with the singing of a Praise to Guru Nanak by Sdn Taranjit Kaur. Dr Mohinder Singh, host of the occasion, recalled Guru Nanak’s advice to observe the unity of humanity and overcome divisiveness. He also based his inter-religious dialogue on an ability to listen to others with an open mind.

Sdn Taranjit Kaur singing a Praise to Guru Nanak to start the celebrations of Guru Nanak’s 550th Birth Anniversary in New Delhi, India on November 10, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness was formally welcomed with the gift of a maroon shawl and a framed copy of the Mul Mantra, the first composition uttered by Guru Nanak Dev upon enlightenment, done in gold leaf.

The keynote speaker, eminent art historian, BN Goswamy gave an erudite account of Guru Nanak who he compared to the legendary Simorgh of the poet Attar of Nishapur’s literary masterpiece, the ‘Conference of the Birds’. He noted how much Guru Nanak emphasized the importance of truth when he said that truth never grows old, truth survives and truth brings illumination.

After pointing out that there are no known contemporary portraits of Guru Nanak, Goswamy described and explained a series of drawings and paintings displayed on screens before the audience showing various aspects of the Guru’s life. He drew particular attention to a painting which depicted him wearing a robe inscribed with quotations from scriptures of various faiths, revealing his respect for them all. He told a story of Guru Nanak’s being rebuked during his pilgrimage to Mecca for sleeping with his feet pointed at the Kaaba, and his retort, “Show me anywhere where my feet will not be pointed towards God”.

Eminent art historian, BN Goswamy, delivering the keynote address at celebrations of Guru Nanak’s 550th Birth Anniversary in New Delhi, India on November 10, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness and Dr Manmohan Singh were next invited to honour a number of spiritual leaders among the guests with a gift. They included Dr Inderjit Kaur, Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal, Swami Gurdip Giri, Acharya Shrivasta Goswami, Pir Kwaja Syed Nizami and Sir Mark Tully.

Invited to make his remarks, His Holiness began by saluting his respected friend and former Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, his spiritual brothers and sisters and other brothers and sisters in the audience.

“It’s a great honour for me to be here for the inauguration of this year-long celebration of the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak’s birth. Although I don’t know all the details of his life, I have great admiration for Guru Nanak. I am particularly impressed that someone from a Hindu background like his made a pilgrimage to Mecca to express his respect for another religious tradition. This reflects the longstanding Indian tradition of different religions living together in harmony.

“Common to several Indian spiritual traditions are 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—inner peace. This is a key part of the legacy of Indian civilization and Guru Nanak, like Mahavira and the Buddha before him was a product of such Indian tradition.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the audience at celebrations of Guru Nanak’s 550th Birth Anniversary in New Delhi, India on November 10, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Recently I took part in a conference of Buddhist monks and when it came to my turn to speak I told them I preferred to be frank and informal. I asked them to consider, when we see conflict arising in the name of religion,  whether, in this 21st century, religion remains relevant or not. I asked them why it is that despite pervasive material development and education we still face problems. My suggestion was that modern education is focussed on material goals and leads to a materialistic way of life with the result that people don’t know how to achieve peace of mind,

“What’s worse is that although we’re enjoying peace here, in Syria and Afghanistan people are killing each other in the name of religion, children are starving in places like Yemen and the gap between rich and poor grows ever larger. When our human brothers and sisters are suffering in this way, how can we remain indifferent?

“The root of the problem is a lack karuna or compassion. Whether or not there is a God as some religions believe, what human beings do is important. And the quality of what they do depends on their motivation, which is why we have to learn how to cultivate a compassionate mind. This is why religions with their message of karuna and ahimsa, compassion and non-violence, is so important. It’s also why mutual respect among our various spiritual traditions is crucial too.

“Fortunately, religious harmony continues to flourish in modern India. Look at the Parsees, descendants of the Zoroastrians from Persia, in Bombay. There are fewer than 100,000 of them among millions of Hindus, Muslims and Christians, yet they live in peace without fear—that’s India. I believe India should make more of this and show the rest of the world that different religions can live amicably, in harmony, side by side.

A view of the hall at Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan during celebrations of Guru Nanak’s 550th Birth Anniversary in New Delhi, India on November 10, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“So religion remains relevant today. Whether there is a God or no god, a next life or no next life, liberation, moksha, or not—and you,” indicating Prof BN Goswamy, “mentioned truth, which is a difficult word to define, despite their different philosophical views, all our religious traditions talk about love. Modern India should pay more attention to the ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions with its advice about tackling destructive emotions and achieving a kind of emotional hygiene.

“Let me tease Mark Tully, what we call modern education was by and large imposed on India by the British, but only in India are we likely to see a combination of modern education with methods for achieving peace of mind.”

In his remarks Dr Manmohan Singh expressed gratitude to His Holiness for his inspiring talk. He also thanked Prof BN Goswamy for his speech, remarking that the two of them have been friends since they studied together in Amritsar when they were young. He looked forward to further meetings with sisters and brothers of other faiths and a series of lectures about different aspects of Guru Nanak’s life and legacy, the proceedings of which will be published in due course.

Former Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh speaking at celebrations of Guru Nanak’s 550th Birth Anniversary in New Delhi, India on November 10, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

He told a story from Guru Nanak’s youth when his father gave him a sum of money with which to do business. Instead he used it to buy food that he offered to sadhus. Thus began the tradition of the langar, providing food for all without distinction. He suggested there is a need for such an innovative approach to our relations today based on truth, gender equality and universal responsibility.

Attention moved to a marquee in the grounds that contained an art exhibition dedicated to Guru Nanak. Accompanied by the other spiritual leaders among the guests and concerned artists, His Holiness cut a ribbon to launch the exhibition. As he viewed the works displayed, Prof BN Goswamy stepped in to explain several pictures. Finally, His Holiness and Dr Manmohan Singh together planted a sapling that Dr Mohinder Singh said the BVSSS pledged to nurture.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Former Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh planting a sapling on the grounds of Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan as part of celebrations of Guru Nanak’s 550th Birth Anniversary in New Delhi, India on November 10, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Dr Manmohan Singh and Dr Mohinder Singh escorted His Holiness to his car and saw him off. Tomorrow, he will set out on a journey to Japan.

]]>
Dialogue with Chinese Scientists about Quantum Effects - Third Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/dialogue-with-chinese-scientists-about-quantum-effects-third-day Sat, 03 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/dialogue-with-chinese-scientists-about-quantum-effects-third-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - Prof Yuan Tseh Lee opened the third day of discussions between Chinese scientists from Taiwan and the USA and His Holiness the Dalai Lama by expressing the presenters’ great appreciation of the opportunity. He then spoke extensively about Challenges and Opportunities for a Sustainable Planet. After drawing attention to the tremendous source of energy the sun represents for the earth, he showed a photograph of our planet from space. He reported a philosopher’s observation that seeing the world like that, free of boundaries, would inspire people to work together to protect it—has it happened yet, he asked.

Prof Yuan Tseh Lee speaking about Challenges and Opportunities for a Sustainable Planet on the third day of discussions between Chinese scientists from Taiwan and the USA and His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 3, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Prof Lee outlined the emergence of human beings two million years ago and their beginning to engage in agriculture 10,000 years ago. This led to settlements and the building of larger structures in which to live. His Holiness asked about the migration of human beings out of Africa. Prof Lee dated it as having taken place 50,000 years ago.

It was the industrial revolution that brought significant change. Up until then most energy was derived from the sun, but with the industrial revolution people began to dig for coal, which enabled them to make steel, cement and so forth. Soon most energy was derived from fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. Energy consumption hugely increased and the population also grew. At the start of the 20th century the global population was 1.5 billion, by the end it was 6 billion and now it is more than 7 billion.

As the population grew, so did pollution, which now fills the air of our cities. Burning fuel for energy has increased emission of greenhouse gases. The result is that while energy from the sun continues enter the atmosphere, the heat that used to escape can no longer do so.

Prof Lee reported that as global warming increases it is giving rise to extreme weather. This year, 2018, has broken all records for temperature, destructive typhoons and forest fires. He remarked that unless we take remedial action it will soon be difficult to live on earth. In 2015 in Paris the UN set goals for sustainable development:

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and fellow participants watching Prof Yuan Tseh Lee's presentation on Challenges and Opportunities for a Sustainable Planet on the third day of the dialogue with Chinese scientists about quantum effects at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 3, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

1. aim to limit average global temperature increase to 2°C or better 1.5°C.
2. set aside $100 billion to help developing countries by 2020
3. meet reduction of carbon emission pledges by 2020

The Professor wryly observed that even after terrible disasters people regard them as freak events rather than something likely to happen again. He mentioned a book written by a Japanese scientist in 2000 that predicted that on the present course humanity would disappear within 80 years. People refused to take him seriously.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recommended that major changes have to be made. Climate change must be recognised as a global problem that requires a global solution, with a target of zero carbon emissions by 2050. Socially there needs to be a turning away from over development. Prof Lee recalled that at the Rio Summit in 1992 the Prime Minister of Norway suggested that sustainable development is what satisfies the present generation without compromising the needs of the next generation. Technologically there needs to be a complete shift away from fossil fuels to cheaper alternative means of generating energy.

The Professor listed five pathways to global sustainability:
a) global responses to global problems
b) back to nature, back to sunshine
c) live better for less
d) control the population explosion
e) improve equality around the world—which at least means closing the gap between rich and poor.

Prof Yuan Tseh Lee delivering his presentation on Challenges and Opportunities for a Sustainable Planet on the third day of the dialogue with Chinese scientists about quantum effects at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 3, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Wonderful,” His Holiness responded, “global warming is really serious and is giving rise to more and more natural disasters. Since everything is interdependent, we have to reassess our lifestyles and adopt alternative energy sources. Big companies and big nations have to take responsibility. The USA’s withdrawal from the Paris accord is very sad. In these circumstances it is important for scientists to speak up about the dangers we face and alert the public. I agree that the gap between rich and poor is also very serious and that we have to take steps to close it by helping the poor.

“Over the last two days our discussions have focused on external phenomena, but real change in the world will only come from a change of heart. Self-centredness is harmful; we must think instead in global terms. We can change people’s ways of thinking through education and scientists can contribute to this by providing detailed information. Ultimately we have to change attitudes, not by law but by education, because the problems that have just been described concern the whole world.

“At a meeting of Nobel Peace Laureates a few years ago we discussed the elimination of nuclear weapons and I suggested we need to set a timetable and hold concerned nations to it. Representatives of IPCC were present then. There is a need for another such meeting to focus on climate change and the practical steps that must be taken to allay it.”

After a short break for tea, Dr Thupten Jinpa took over as moderator. Before opening discussions to the floor he took the opportunity to introduce two guests—Susan Bauer-Wu, President of the Mind & Life Institute in the USA and Amy Varela, Chairperson of the Mind & Life Institute in Europe, commending them for the good work they have done.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from fellow panelists on the third day of the dialogue with Chinese Scientists about quantum effects at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 3, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Prof Maw-Kuen Wu asked His Holiness to clarify how things evolve from space.

“When we talk about empty space,” he replied, “we have to get a clear perspective on the context. There’s a lot of space here in this room, for example. There are also many particles here. At an atomic level, each atom occupies space. How empty space fulfils its role is complicated. Particles have space to move around and they can even bump into each other. In the quantum physics presentations we’ve heard, we’ve focused on the physical world. Now we also have to focus on the inner world, paying more attention to mental consciousness.

“Many brain specialists still do not accept the idea of mind that is not just a function of the brain. However, I know meditators who can remain concentrated for an hour or more. An American I know can maintain his concentration for up to three hours and during that time deeper experiences arise. I mentioned Richie Davidson who is looking into the subtle consciousness that manifests after death.

“Then there are people who remember past lives. I recently heard of a child who remembers dying during the September 11th attack. When I was young, my mother told me, I had clear memories of my past life. However, it seems such memories persist while the new brain is still fresh but fade later on. There was a boy born in Tibet who was eventually recognised as the reincarnation of Geshe Thupten Tsering of Ganden Monastery. He told his parents he should return to Ganden, but when they went to that Monastery in Tibet, he said, “No, the one in India.” They made their way there and as they approached he was able to indicate the house where the Geshe had lived. When they went inside he pointed to a drawer saying my glasses are in there, which they were.

The Chinese language interpreters woking on the the third day of the Dialogue between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Chinese Scientists on Quantum effects at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 3, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“He is a young man now and when I met him recently I asked him whether he still had memories of his past life and he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Ah, so now there’s someone else like me.’ Other friends have told me that memories of past lives sometimes emerge when they meditate deeply on the nature of the mind.”

Dr Yueh-Nan Chen asked His Holiness if his understanding of quantum physics helps his meditation. He also wanted to know whether this dialogue had met his expectations and what he hoped for it in the future.

“My daily practice is to meditate on emptiness,” His Holiness told him.” and altruism as well. Je Tsongkhapa talks about developing meditation on emptiness. He says, appearances are infallible dependent arisings; while emptiness is free of assertions.

As long as these two understandings are seen as separate, you have not yet realized the intent of the Buddha. When these two realizations are simultaneous and concurrent, from a mere sight of infallible dependent arising comes certain knowledge which completely destroys all modes of mental grasping. At that time the analysis of the profound view is complete.

“After such experience there is no basis left for objectification. Worldly appearances serve to remind you that things are empty. This undermines the basis for grasping at intrinsic existence and false projections. Quantum thinking can really help with this.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and fellow participants posing for a group photo at the conclusion of the dialogue with Chinese scientists about quantum effects at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 3, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“One way of defeating self-centredness is to pursue emptiness, which you can base on your understanding of quantum physics, but when you join that with an altruistic aspiration based on exchanging self with others, it becomes a powerful combination.

“Regarding our meeting, it’s been very good. What was discussed earlier and what was elaborated on this morning about global warming is very important. The key is to remember nothing exists as it appears and to train your own mind. I’ve very much enjoyed our discussions.”

Prof Yuan Tseh Lee asked if the potential end of humanity concerned him and His Holiness replied that there are countless other world systems and, come to that, countless other sentient beings. Nevertheless, he said, we will be better able to deal with problems we face if we cultivate a sense of the oneness of humanity, regarding other human beings as our brothers and sisters.

Describing the last three days as wonderful, Prof Yuan Tseh Lee declared they had learned a lot. His Holiness responded, “I hope this just the beginning. I hope such meetings can be repeated.” He offered each of the presenters a kata, a white silk scarf, and invited them and their companions to join him for lunch.

]]>
Dialogue with Chinese Scientists about Quantum Effects - Second Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/dialogue-with-chinese-scientists-about-quantum-effects-second-day Fri, 02 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/dialogue-with-chinese-scientists-about-quantum-effects-second-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - It was colder, the sky was overcast and there had been rain when His Holiness the Dalai Lama walked to the Tsuglagkhang, the Main Tibetan Temple today to take part in a second day of discussions about quantum effects with Chinese scientists from Taiwan and the USA.

The moderator, Prof Albert M Chang, welcoming everybody to the second day of the Dialogue between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Chinese Scientists on Quantum Effects at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 2, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Today’s moderator, Prof Albert M Chang, welcomed everybody to what he called a wonderful conversation. He mentioned that yesterday morning’s exciting exchange had been followed by a dynamic and inspiring discussion with science trained Tibetan monastics in the afternoon. He introduced the first presenter, Dr Ting-Kuo Lee who was to talk about superconductivity, a phenomena difficult to imagine in a classical physical environment.

“Today it’s my great honour to share with you a beautiful phenomenon of the quantum world,” Dr Lee began. He explained that conductivity is a measure of how easy it is for an electric charge to pass through a metal. Superconductivity occurs when there is zero electrical resistance. His Holiness asked if electricity is a wave or particles. Dr Lee replied that it consists of particles, but can also be a wave depending on the angle from which you look at it. He stated that the zero resistance of superconductivity is a quantum effect and that it also has magnetic properties including magnetic levitation that defies gravity. He discussed the movement of pairs of electrons that he compared to ballroom dancers.

Dr Ting-Kuo Lee speaking about superconductivity during his presentation on the second day of the Dialogue between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Chinese Scientists on Quantum Effects at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 2, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Invited to contribute his remarks, His Holiness said, “A point of contrast between the quantum physics presentation of reality and the Buddhist position is that in the ancient Indian tradition there are things that are subject to change and things that are unconditioned. In the world of the mind, subjective experience, there are concepts that are neither objects in the world nor objects of experience.”

Prof Maw-Kuen Wu also discussed superconductivity, referring to the zero resistance discovered by Onnes in 1911 and perfect diamagnetism of the Meissner effect. He remarked that superconductivity is a novel quantum state which can provide lossless power transmission, with obvious benefits. It underpins the superconductivity levitation train that has been developed in Japan with advantages of speed, energy saving and low noise. Superconductivity also provides opportunities for more accurate medical diagnosis through magnetoencephalography and MRI. It also has applications in astronomy.

Prof Maw-Kuen Wu also discussing superconductivity during his presentation on the second day of the Dialogue between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Chinese Scientists on Quantum Effects at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 2, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Prof Albert M Chang spoke about quantum transport referring to linear superposition and emergent nonlinear phenomena in electron transport. He touched on quantum interference in relation to classical waves, Young’s double slit experiment and the Aharonov-Bohm effect. Mention of David Bohm and his picture on the screen prompted His Holiness to remember his great kindness as one of the first people to teach him about quantum physics. “However,” he remarked, “I wasn’t a good student. When he was explaining things to me I seemed to understand, but once the lesson was over, it was all gone.”

Prof Chang also referred to chaos, differentiating between a ballistic chaotic-cavity in the shape of stadium and a non-chaotic cavity in the shape of a circle, which illustrates the linear superposition for the wave propagation of individual electrons. He asked if His Holiness had noticed a correspondence between the effects of quantum mechanics and anything in Buddhist philosophy.

Prof Albert M Chang delivering his presentation on quantum transport on the second day of the Dialogue between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Chinese Scientists on Quantum Effects at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 2, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness replied, “In ancient Indian tradition, all destructive emotions are related to ignorance, mistaking appearance for reality. Therefore, two truths are explained—two levels of reality. There is naive realism which believes conventional appearances are real, which is to take an unexamined perspective on the world, and there is an examination of reality that yields wisdom in the face of this illusion. Quantum physics also distinguishes between appearance and reality.

“Nagarjuna said that if you subject anything to rigorous analysis, nothing can be found, and yet we have experience of those very things. He wrote:

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

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

“The conclusion is that dependent origination refutes the extreme of existence, while emptiness refutes the extreme of nonexistence and when you understand that you are not captivated by either extreme view.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking during the second day of the dialogue with Chinese scientists on quantum effects at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 2, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness added that what Nagarjuna taught is not just a case of speculative philosophy, but has a transformative effect if put into practice. He repeated a couple of verses from the Song of the Direct View by the Seventh Dalai Lama in relation to this:

All things in samsara and nirvana are mere projections of your own mind.
That mind too is beyond birth and death,
Abiding in the ultimate mode of being.
E-ma-ho, most wondrous.

In the vision of my mind as being inseparably one with emptiness—
A cloud suspended in the autumn sky—
All mental entanglements subsided;
I, an unborn yogi of space.

Beginning his talk about water—a most unusual liquid, Prof Chung-Yuan Mou declared it was a great honour to talk about it to His Holiness. Then, with a laugh and a gesture to the pouring rain, remarked that the heavens were indicating their approval too. Water, he said, which makes up 60% of our bodies, is the most abundant and important substance for life. One of its unusual aspects is that it is shapeless, formless, odourless, colourless; it breaks all the rules. Most liquid frozen sinks, ice floats on water. Usually liquid expands when heated, water shrinks. It’s very accommodating. It is an excellent solvent for sugar, alcohol, ions, salt, amino acid and so forth.

Prof Chung-Yuan Mou talking about water during his presentation on the second day of the Dialogue between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Chinese Scientists on Quantum Effects at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 2, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Water and oil do not mix; in fact, water is the opposite of fat. However, when photosynthesis takes place, solar energy is stored in water as sugar. The fundamental reason for the abnormal properties of water, the Professor explained, is the unusually strong hydrogen-bonding interactions between water molecules.

On a practical level, Prof Mou observed that there are many parts of the world where people have trouble gaining access to water, especially clean water. 54% of India faces such water stress. He confirmed that scientists like him are seeking solutions to this problem.

In response to the Professor’s asking him if it’s possible for there to be life without water, His Holiness drew attention to the role of water in the classic Buddhist accounts of the origins of the universe. These describe stages of space giving rise to formation, enduring, destruction of the universe and its ultimate return to space. In terms of the elements, the universe is described as evolving from space, air, fire, water and earth, dissolving in reverse order at the time of destruction.

His Holiness made it clear he accepts the idea of the Big Bang and suggested that it comes about as a result of the energy of space particles. He mentioned that two Italian scientists told him the Big Bang took place 12 billion years ago. An American in Bombay said it was 25 billion years ago. Prof Yuan Tseh Lee reported that in his opinion it took place 30 billion years ago.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama interacting with members of the audience as he departs from the Main Tibetan Temple for his residence at the conclusion of the second day of the dialogue with Chinese scientists on quantum effects in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 2, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Prof Chang brought the morning’s session to a conclusion, thanking His Holiness, the presenters for their contributions and the audience for paying attention. A third morning of discussions will take place tomorrow.

]]>
Dialogue with Chinese Scientists about Quantum Effects - First Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/dialogue-with-chinese-scientists-about-quantum-effects-first-day Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/dialogue-with-chinese-scientists-about-quantum-effects-first-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - The first discussions between Chinese, mostly Taiwanese, scientists and His Holiness the Dalai Lama took place in the Tsuglagkhang, the Main Tibetan Temple adjacent to his residence today. His Holiness walked to the temple, greeting members of the public who were waiting to see him in the yard. Once he reached the temple he acknowledged the assembled monks and paid his respects before the statue of the Buddha. After warmly greeting the nine Chinese presenters, he made a point of reaching out to old friends among the assembled guests. He then joined the presenters seated around a long table.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama opening the dialogue with Chinese scientists about quantum effects at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 1, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Among the monks at the head of the temple were six Tibetan presenters, graduates of the Emory Science program, who will participate in discussions with the Chinese scientists in the afternoons. Approximately fifty guests sat in the back of the temple, including many who came with the Taiwanese group. About 270 Tibetans joined the audience: researchers from His Holiness’s office, as well as students from the Men-tsee-khang, the College for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah, the Tibetan Children’s Village and neighbouring schools. The meeting was conducted in English with simultaneous translation into Chinese and Tibetan being made available over FM radio. Proceedings were web-cast live.

His Holiness opened the conversation. “Firstly, I would like to welcome all of you here. This is the first time we’ve held discussions with mainly Chinese scientists. I’ve taken part in dialogues with scientists for more than 30 years, but they have mostly involved Western scientists, Americans and Europeans, as well as one or two meetings with Japanese and Indians.

“These meetings have two purposes. The first is to expand our knowledge. Until the late 20th century the focus of scientific research was mostly on external things. There was little interest in the mind, only investigations of the brain. The discovery of neuroplasticity, the recognition that changes can be seen in the brains of people who, for example, develop firm concentration, changed that way of thinking. Some scientists are now showing greater interest in the mind, even subtle consciousness.

“There are cases of people who are declared clinically dead—their hearts have stopped, circulation has ceased and their brains are dead—and yet their bodies remain fresh. This was the case with my own teacher, who remained in this state for 13 days. Others remain for anything up to two or three weeks. This is a something to investigate. In the Buddhist tradition we have an explanation that concerns subtle consciousness remaining in the body during this period, but scientists haven’t been able to explain it yet.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivering his opening remarks at the start of the first day of the dialogue with Chinese scientists about quantum effects at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 1, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“So, one purpose of these meetings is to expand our knowledge, to include the mind as well as external phenomena, in order to achieve a fuller understanding. The second purpose of such discussions concerns the use to which knowledge is put. Despite the useful progress that has resulted from scientific research and technological advancement, there have also been destructive developments that provoke fear. Clear examples are nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Their development may have been a remarkable achievement, but their only purpose is to kill.

“Scientists have discovered that constant fear and anger are damaging to our health. They undermine our immune system. On the other hand, cultivating a more compassionate attitude brings peace of mind that reinforces our overall good health. Here’s a simple example: most people prefer a smile to a frown. It’s human nature. Even dogs respond with wagging tails to a smile and other shows of affection.

“Our major religious traditions convey a common message of love, forgiveness and tolerance, but today religious influence is declining. Consequently, in our education programs, in addition to advice about physical hygiene and its benefits for physical health, we need to teach about emotional hygiene—how to tackle our destructive emotions. It should be our aim to be both physically and mentally fit. Promoting inner values on the basis of religious belief has only a limited effect today. However, people are more responsive to evidence based on scientific research.”

His Holiness explained that all 7 billion human beings share a common experience—their mothers give birth to them and nurture them with affection. Consequently, young children care little about differences of nationality, religion or race; they play happily with others who respond with a smile. He observed that as we grow up our education is oriented towards materialistic goals with little time for inner values. He recommended that education should include advice on how to achieve peace of mind.

A view of inside the Main Tibetan Temple as His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivers his opening remarks on the first day of the dialogue with Chinese scientists about quantum effects in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 1, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness mentioned that he had found his own Buddhist practice useful, but declared that he is no more able to say this or that religious tradition is the best, than he could say that this or that medicine is best in all cases. Just as the effectiveness of medicine depends on the need and condition of the patient, so different religious traditions with the different approaches are suitable for different people according to their disposition, culture and so forth. He suggested that at the present time ethics can be most effectively presented from a secular point of view on the basis of scientific findings. Looking over to Susan Bauer-Wu and Amy Cohen Varela, His Holiness praised the contributions the Mind & Life Institute has made in this direction.

“A few months ago I was teaching a group of Taiwanese Buddhists when a quantum physicist among them introduced himself to me. This meeting was convened as a result of our conversation. I’m very happy to be meeting with you, Chinese scientists, including this Nobel Laureate, Prof Yuan Tseh Lee.”

His Holiness mentioned that he sometimes feels a reluctance to discuss quantum physics with Westerners whose cultural background is based on Judeo-Christian in case it leads to a conflict of faith. He feels less difficulty in relation to Asians, particularly Chinese. He recalled that when the Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang came to India in the 7th century he studied at Nalanda University. He is reputed to have met Nagabodhi a direct disciple of Nagarjuna. Evidently, Chinese Buddhists are familiar with the name Nagarjuna and the Nalanda Tradition.

Noting that relations between Chinese and Tibetans are thousands of years old, he conceded that they have sometimes quarrelled. At other times, such as in the 7th century, their ruling families have intermarried. Since 1974, it was decided not to seek independence for Tibet, provided Tibetans were granted all the rights they are entitled to under the Chinese constitution, including the preservation of their language and culture, as well as the protection of Tibet’s environment. His Holiness remarked that Tibetans can benefit from Chinese help in terms of material development, while Tibetans can share their knowledge of the Nalanda Tradition with Chinese Buddhists.

Prof Yuan Tseh Lee introducing the participants to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the first day of the dialogue with Chinese scientists about quantum effects in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 1, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

On behalf of the group of presenters Prof Yuan Tseh Lee thanked His Holiness for inviting them. He described science as a language to communicate with nature, a language that we need to learn. Science is based on evidence. He added that since human population and consumption of resources are growing, causing us to recognise that we live in a finite system, science also has a social responsibility. He told His Holiness they would like to hear from him how science, religion, humanity and nature should interact. His Holiness replied that when he first expressed interest in science, an American Buddhist friend warned that science is a killer of religion. He considered this and decided that since science is a method for coming to terms with reality, it is not a threat to the Buddha’s teachings.

Dr Shih Chang Lee opened the scientific presentations with an explanation of space-time symmetry and quantum physics. He talked about Newton’s law of inertia and Einstein’s observation that massless particles move with the velocity of light, leading to his conclusion that velocity is relative, which is described as special relativity.

Dr Chii Dong Chen speaking about the features of quantum mechanics during his presentation on the first day of the dialogue with Chinese scientists about quantum effects in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 1, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Dr Chii Dong Chen opened his account of the entangled world by asking what we learn from nature and showing a video clip that compared the activities of foraging ants with a robot vacuum cleaner. He went on to discuss how birds navigate with particular reference to the Bar-tailed Godwit that flies across the Pacific Ocean to breed. He suggested that unique features of quantum mechanics, superimposition and entanglement, can help us understand birds use of magnetoreception. He introduced the contrast between a conventional computer that calculates serially and a quantum computer that can conduct a series of calculations simultaneously.

Dr Chen’s pointing out that things look different from different angles prompted His Holiness to observe that from a Madhyamaka standpoint there is a difference between our perception of the world and its reality. He mentioned the quantum physicist from China who told him that in his experience some of his colleagues with deep understanding of quantum physics were less subject to emotional disturbance. He also recalled American founder of cognitive therapy, Aaron Beck’s description of an angry peoples’ sense that the object of their rage is completely negative as 90% mental projection. Dr Chen agreed that the observer is important because he or she is part of the perception.

Dr Yueh-Nan Chen during his presentation entitled ‘From Quantum Physics to Quantum Biology’ on the first day of the dialogue with Chinese scientists about quantum effects in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 1, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Dr Yueh-Nan Chen’s presentation was entitled ‘From Quantum Physics to Quantum Biology’. He discussed Schrodinger’s cat and jokingly reported that when he tried to explain it to his wife she asked why he wanted to kill a cat when to do so would be completely against Buddhist precepts. Everyone laughed. He also discussed the Leggett-Garg inequality which defies our intuition on macrorealism.

Finally, Dr Shawn Y Lin described a modern photonic revolution. He observed that sunlight is the engine of life on earth. Max Planck postulated that light was only emitted in quantized form, an insight that has contributed to powerful lasers, LEDs and solar panels. He described ongoing research to improve solar panels to maximize their absorption and predicted that the next generation will be super thin, super absorptive and super effective. Nano-technology will allow for a film that is 98% absorptive of sunlight and only 10 microns thick.

Dr Shawn Y Lin describing a modern photonic revolution during his presentation on the first day of the dialogue with Chinese scientists about quantum effects in Dharamsala, HP, India on November 1, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Invited to offer concluding remarks His Holiness described what he had heard as really wonderful, praising the depth of research. “However, we also need further research into how to reduce anger. At present in the world the role of anger seems to be stronger than that of compassion. In day to day life our emotions cause us trouble. We are at peace here, but elsewhere in the world human beings are being killed or dying of starvation—some of them innocent children. So, in addition to physical discoveries we need to consider how to build a happier humanity.”

Concluding the morning’s discussions Prof Yuan Tseh Lee remarked that teachers encourage creativity and innovation, but such qualities derive from simple curiosity.

His Holiness left the temple to return to his residence, interacting with people who lined the way. Lunch was offered to everyone attending the proceedings in the temple yard. In the afternoon, there were discussions between Tibetan monastics who have received scientific training and the visiting scientists. The dialogue will resume tomorrow morning.

]]>
Indian High School Students Meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/indian-high-school-students-meet-his-holiness-the-dalai-lama Tue, 30 Oct 2018 00:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/indian-high-school-students-meet-his-holiness-the-dalai-lama Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - Today, 140 Indian students and their teachers from 14 High Schools in India and abroad came to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama. They were all attending a Round Square conference at Him Academy Public School, Hamirpur.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting Indian high school students and their teachers as he arrives for their meeting at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 30, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Once His Holiness had entered the room and wished everyone, “Good morning,” a girl student eloquently introduced the group to him. She told him that it was a great privilege for the Him Academy to host the Round Square conference and that being able to come and meet His Holiness made it even more auspicious.

The co-ordinator of the conference thanked His Holiness for meeting them. He explained that Round Square is an international network of 200 like-minded schools in 50 countries that follow the ideas of Kurt Hahn, the founder of Gordonstoun School in Scotland. Round Square schools share a commitment to six themes: international understanding, democracy, environmental stewardship, adventure, leadership and service. These themes are underpinned by other qualities including compassion, tolerance and self-discipline. He explained that the focus of the present conference was co-existence.

“These days I describe myself as a messenger of ancient Indian thought,” His Holiness began. “Physically I’m a Tibetan, but since childhood I’ve studied philosophy, logic and psychology in the Nalanda Tradition. The great scholars of Nalanda University are our teachers and their writings are our textbooks. So, from that point of view, I’m more Indian than many of you who follow an education system set out by the British. I believe that ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions remains relevant in today’s troubled world.

“We all want happiness rather than suffering, but we face a heap of problems like the gap between rich and poor that we have created.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing 140 students and their teachers from Indian high schools at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 30, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Scientists report evidence that basic human nature is compassionate. It’s also true that we are physically, mentally and emotionally the same. Our mothers gave birth to us and treated us with great affection. And yet, as we grow up, we neglect our basic human values and become increasingly intent on money, power and reputation. We seek to destroy our enemies if we can. Even religion, which is supposed to give us guidance, can become a source of division.

“But, look at India. All the world’s major religions flourish here. Various traditions of Hinduism have grown from the early Samkhyas, then there are Jainism and Buddhism, all indigenous traditions. Later, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism came from abroad. All these traditions live here in harmony, which is wonderful.

“For more than 3000 years there has been investigation of the mind and emotions in India. Techniques for calming and focusing the mind as well as developing insight (shamatha and vipashyana) have been used to tackle emotions. The Buddha was a product of such traditions. Wherever I go I speak about peace of mind. To achieve that prayer can be useful, but much more effective is analysis.

“This body has been nourished by Indian dal and roti, while my mind has absorbed ancient Indian thought. This is why I call myself a son of India.”

His Holiness went on to explain that as a human being, one of the 7 billion human beings alive today, he is committed to sharing with others how to achieve peace of mind. He said that he is also committed to protecting the natural environment. He mentioned that after receiving political asylum in India in 1959 and spending a year at Birla House in Mussoorie he moved to Swarag Ashram here in Dharamsala. That first winter, he recalled, there was very heavy snow, but year by year since then there has steadily been less. This, he asserted, is clear evidence of global warming.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing a group of students and their teachers from Indian high schools at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 30, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

It is serious, because Tibet, the source of the Brahmaputra, Ganges and Indus, is the supplier of water to North India and snowfall has been steadily reducing there too. He warned that this likely to lead in the future to a real scarcity of water.

His Holiness noted that he is also committed to fostering inter-religious harmony. He added that as a Tibetan and Dalai Lama the people of Tibet place their trust and hopes in him so he has a responsibility to do what he can to look after them. Following his retirement from political responsibility in 2001, he has dedicated himself to alerting people to the need to protect Tibetan ecology and preserve Tibetan culture.

“We have kept the ancient knowledge we received from India alive for more than a thousand years,” he declared. “We’ve done this through rigorous study, memorizing texts, having them explained word by word and exercising our understanding through debate. The great Nalanda scholar Shantarakshita, who established Buddhism in Tibet, advised the Tibetan Emperor to have Buddhist literature translated mostly from Sanskrit into Tibetan. Consequently, our scriptural collection consists of more than 300 volumes.

“In a world facing an emotional crisis, I am convinced there is much in ancient Indian knowledge that is still relevant today. Analysis reveals that destructive emotions have no sound basis, whereas constructive emotions like compassion do. An American psychiatrist who treated people overwhelmed by anger told me that they would regard the object of their rage as entirely negative, but this was 90% mental projection. I believe that if Indians could revive the ancient understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions that originated here and combine it with modern education, there would be an opportunity to enjoy material development and peace of mind.

A student asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his meeting with Indian high school students and their teachers at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 30, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“In the past, Indians were our gurus, now the time has come for India to teach the rest of the world. It will be necessary to present ancient Indian knowledge in a secular, academic way, but adopting a secular approach and treating all spiritual traditions with respect is a longstanding Indian tradition too. I have great hopes for young Indians like you.”

In his answers to students’ questions His Holiness remarked that people regard a show of force as heroic and engaging in dialogue as somehow weak—this needs to change. Similarly, we need to drop the tendency to view others in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’. He noted that problems like widespread unemployment and the gap between rich and poor occur because of a lack of moral principles. He remarked that discrimination on the basis of caste is out of date and he looks forward to hearing other spiritual leaders speak out about it. He suggested that one way to address divisions in society is to take a broader view.

With regard to protecting the environment His Holiness emphasized the need to take steady action, citing the example of rivers in which the presence of fish was restored by steady effort to eliminate pollution. Asked about desire His Holiness remarked that realistic desire can be positive and a source of progress. It’s unrealistic desire that leads to trouble. He advised that whatever we do we need to combine compassion and a concern for others with intelligence. That, he said, is the wise way to fulfil your own self-interest.

He reiterated that just because understanding of the mind and emotions is found in texts of a spiritual nature doesn’t mean that such understanding cannot be examined and employed in an academic and scientific way. Answering an enquiry about how to reduce anger His Holiness recommended asking yourself what use anger is to you. Generally it’s destructive, creates unhappiness and clouds our ability to use our intelligence properly.

A view of the meeting room at His Holiness the Dalai Lama's residence during his meeting with Indian high school students and their teachers in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 30, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Asked about co-existence His Holiness acknowledged that the global economy has made us all more interdependent, while technology has put us in closer touch with each other. At the same time, climate change and damage to the environment are presenting problems that we can only address together as members of one human community. Therefore, seeking co-existence is a natural response to the situation in which we find ourselves, but he conceded that self-centredness continues to be obstructive.

With respect to positive change, education is the key factor. His Holiness emphasized once again the importance of considering how to train future generations to be more compassionate and to use their intelligence properly.

A representative of the Round Square conference expressed thanks to His Holiness for sparing the time to interact with the students. He replied that he was happy to have been able to do so, because meeting with young people like this makes him feel younger too.

]]>
His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Discussions with Youth Leaders from Conflict Zones https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-in-discussions-with-youth-leaders-from-conflict-zones Wed, 24 Oct 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-in-discussions-with-youth-leaders-from-conflict-zones Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - For the third year in a row the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has brought a group of youth leaders from conflict zones to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama. USIP is a nonpartisan and independent institution tasked with promoting national security and global stability by reducing violent conflicts abroad.

Led by USIP President Nancy Lindborg, the 27 youth leaders, and three who came last year but who are now assisting as trainers, came from 12 different countries: Afghanistan, Burma, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Venezuela.

USIP President Nancy Lindborg looks on as His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivers his opening remarks during the discussion with youth leaders from conflict areas at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 25, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

When His Holiness entered the room today he bid them all, "Good morning," and shook hands with members of the morning's first panel.

"I really enjoy this kind of meeting," he told them. "My main practice is to dedicate my body, speech and mind to the benefit of others. I can't help any of you by cleaning your houses, but at least I can smile. Usually one smile invokes another. It's quite rare for a smile to be met with a frown. And just as I dedicate my physical actions to the benefit of others, so do I direct my speech, but the main thing is that I dedicate my mind to fulfilling others' well-being—not just today, but for as long as space remains. However, when I sit in meditation I'm by myself, but when I'm with people like you I can smile and use my voice too. Thank you for giving me this opportunity."

Nancy Lindborg guided the conversation by calling on youth leaders to introduce themselves and put their questions to His Holiness. The first, posed by a delegate from Venezuela, was about whether it is possible to achieve peace when you have no freedom.

"There are different levels of peace," His Holiness told her, describing his own experience of life in a conflict zone. "When Chinese Communists first invaded Tibet their control of the country was not so tight. In 1954 I went to Beijing to attend the People's Congress. I met Chairman Mao several times. He didn't conduct himself like a political leader. He behaved like an old farmer who'd become a revolutionary. I developed some respect for him and the other party leaders I met. We discussed the history of the revolution and Marx's ideas. I was attracted then as now to his socio-economic theories, especially the notion of equal distribution.

A youth leader asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during their discussion at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 25, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

"However, during the Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin spoiled things with his war-time mentality and the perpetuation of secrecy, suspicion and suppression. These attitudes led directly to totalitarianism. Eventually Stalin made things worse. Nevertheless, I found that in the early years, Chinese revolutionary leaders were really dedicated, but once they tasted power it seems exercising it became more important than ideology. This is what produced the Cultural Revolution. Good, straightforward, honest people were dismissed, while cunning individuals like Zhou Enlai survived.

"As I returned home in 1955 I met General Zhang Guohua on the way and told him that when I set out the previous year I had been apprehensive, but I was returning full of confidence. Yet from 1956 onwards it seems the Chinese officials grew more suspicious of me. At the same time, reform was ruthlessly imposed, starting in Eastern Tibet, which caused the people to revolt. However, the former servants of Tibetan feudal landlords showed them kindness by letting them know when they were about to be subjected to class-struggle sessions enabling some of them to escape to India.

"Many people fled Eastern Tibet and congregated in Lhasa. In 1959, when the Chinese invited me to attend some dance performance, the public were very suspicious and surrounded the Norbulingka Palace to protect me. I tried to reassure them and wrote letters to the Chinese to no avail. I received a message from a former high Tibetan official asking me to identify where I was staying in the Norbulingka, but it wasn't clear whether the purpose was to protect or target me. On 17th March we decided to leave. On 20th March Chinese forces bombarded Lhasa and incidentally shelled my residence at Norbulingka. It seems the decision to escape was correct and here in India I've been able to contribute to a greater sense of peace of mind."

A view of the meeting room at His Holiness the Dalai Lama's residence during his meeting with youth leaders from conflict areas in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 25, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness went on to explain how in exile the focus had been on preserving Tibetan culture and identity by educating Tibetan children. He called this a realistic approach mentioning that resorting to anger and violence is self-destructive and leads to harsher suppression. He stressed that violence is the wrong method to bring about change. Nancy Lindborg added that USIP has evidence to that non-violence is consistently more effective in the long run.

His Holiness noted that there are now estimated to be 400 million Buddhists in China, many of whom appreciate the value of Tibetan Buddhism. He remarked that while the Chinese could bring material development and physical comfort to Tibet, Tibetans can offer China spiritual development and peace of mind. The key, he said, is to remain determined, to be realistic and to take action.

"We have recorded ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions in the books we translated from Sanskrit. We address problems by tackling the mind and emotions and building inner strength. After 70 years, employing all kinds of methods, the Chinese have failed to dent the Tibetan spirit."

Responding to a question about the role of women, His Holiness observed that women have been shown to be more sensitive to others' suffering. Conversely, heroes celebrated for killing their opponents are almost always men. In a Buddhist context, he said, we refer to other beings as ‘all mother sentient beings' in acknowledgment of their kindness. He reiterated advice he often gives about the need to see more women in leadership roles and more closely involved in education about compassion. He quoted former President of Ireland and human rights campaigner, Mary Robinson, as referring to him as a ‘feminist Dalai Lama'.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama talking with participants during a tea break in the discussion with youth leaders from conflict areas at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 25, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness confirmed the importance of using technology wherever possible to overcome a lack of knowledge. He recalled that in Tibet the primary source of news from the outside world was the Muslim traders who travelled to and from India. He observed that people in more isolated countries are more likely to think in terms of one truth, one religion. This approach is fine on a personal level, he said, but the reality of the world we live in is that there are several major religions and truth can have many aspects.

Noting that many problems we face arise from a basic lack of moral principles, His Holiness recommended training the mind, cultivating a deeper concern for the well-being of others. Such concern arises naturally when we regard other people as brothers and sisters.

“We have to remember that each and every one of us is a part of humanity. We need to be determined to achieve positive change, but also need to be able to take a long view of what needs to be done. What is important is not to become demoralized. Optimism leads to success; pessimism leads to defeat. One person can be the source of inspiration for many others. Those of us who practise Buddhism aim to achieve Buddhahood, which is almost impossible for most of us, but the very aspiration gives us inner strength.

“This kind of meeting gives me confidence that we are waking up. We can achieve change in the world. We can cause the seeds of good to grow. We need to be firm in our aims and tackle them together. Some years ago, a meeting of Nobel Peace Laureates agreed on the urgent need to eliminate nuclear weapons, but if such a goal is to be achieved we need set a timetable and stick to it, attracting others to the cause.”

A youth leader from South Sudan who came to Dharamsala last year and who has returned this year as a trainer gave a brief appraisal of the two meetings she had attended with His Holiness.

Participants reacting to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's comments during the discussion with youth leaders from conflict areas at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 25, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“I was here last year and I’m so happy to have been able to come back again. I feel you live by what you say. You are a world leader we can relate to. Your peace of mind is an inspiration. I see all of us going back like Dalai Lamas to bring peace to our own places. I’m happy to know that you are a feminist Dalai Lama. Thank you for sparing some of your time for us here.”

Answering a final question about peace-building His Holiness declared,

“Ideas may travel from the top down, but the movements that will put them into effect have to work from the bottom up. I am very encouraged to see how young people like you are trying to bring about positive change. We have good grounds to be confident because our efforts are based on truth and reason—therefore we will succeed.    

“We are working for the good of humanity. I don’t think of myself just as a Tibetan or a Buddhist, but as a human being. We have to think of the whole of humanity. Being human is the common ground in our efforts to create a better world. Remember, we all survive in dependence on others.”

Nancy Lindborg expressed thanks to everyone who had contributed to making the meetings fruitful including the staff of His Holiness’s Office, of USIP and Radio Free Asia. She offered His Holiness a USIP peace cap, which he put on with a smile. His parting advice was that this kind of meeting comes about as a result of the co-operation of individuals.

“Everyone wants to live a happy life, but many don’t know how it’s to be done. In time, and with effort, we can change that.”

]]>
Conversation with Students from Woodstock School https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/conversation-with-students-from-woodstock-school Wed, 10 Oct 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/conversation-with-students-from-woodstock-school Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - The happy chatter that filled the meeting room next to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s office fell silent when he walked into the room and scanned the faces of the students waiting for him. He smiled broadly, wished them “Good morning”, and sat down. There were 51 students belonging to classes 11 and 12 from Woodstock School, who are visiting Dharamsala during their extra-curricular ‘activity week’. His Holiness first made friends with Woodstock School at the beginning of his life in exile when he lived in Mussoorie, the hill-station where the school is based.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing students from Woodstock School at the meeting room next to his office in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 11, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

After asking how many Tibetans and Bhutanese there were in the group, His Holiness wanted to know where the rest of the students came from. The majority were Indian, but among a total of seven nationalities there were also students from Palestine, Syria and Afghanistan.

His Holiness reported that he had just been talking to a group from Indonesia about how sad he feels to witness friction between Shia and Sunni Muslims. To him it is unthinkable that people who worship the same Allah and follow the same Quran should fall out as they seem to do.

“However, I’ve never heard of such quarrels between Sunni and Shia adherents here in India,” he told them. “Indeed India is unique in that all the world’s major religions, those indigenous to the country, as well as those that came from abroad, all live here happily together. India’s long-standing tradition of inter-religious harmony is exemplary and now the time has come to share this practice with the rest of the world.”

The first of several questions from the students concerned His Holiness’s pastimes.

“When I was a boy I used to enjoy taking things apart,” he replied with a laugh, “I examined my toys and watches to see how they worked. I dismantled and reassembled a movie projector that had belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama to make it work. Since I was young I’ve also enjoyed growing plants. I grew beautiful tulips in the Norbulingka garden in Lhasa. These days, however, as I get older, I have less interest in these things.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing students from Woodstock School his residence in  Dharamsala, HP, India on October 11, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Another student wanted to know who decides what’s moral. His Holiness told her that all the world’s major religions teach about love, compassion, tolerance and self-discipline. Some traditions, like Judaism, Christianity and Islam, believe in a creator God and regard us all as children of that God. Other Indian traditions like Jainism and Buddhism see beings themselves participating in creation, so responsibility for change rests on our shoulders.

“We should not let ourselves be dominated only by sensory awareness,” His Holiness advised, “we should also pay attention to mental consciousness, develop a single-pointed mind and use it to analyse the nature of self and the nature of reality.

“What we experience is the result of our own actions. If it brings joy, we regard what we’ve done as positive; if it leads to misery we think of our action as negative. Just as we can’t say that one particular medicine is the best on all occasions, we cannot say that one religious tradition is best. We need our different traditions because of people’s different dispositions and therefore we need to treat all religious traditions with respect.

“Many problems we face we bring on ourselves because we are prey to destructive emotions. We tend to think in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’ with little sense of the oneness of humanity. And yet, climate change, for example, because it affects us all, means we have to take a more global view. We can’t neglect it. We are interdependent. Consider how Tibet and its rivers are the source of much of Asia’s water. But snowfall has been drastically reduced as a result of global warming.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering a question from the audience during his conversation with students from Woodstock School at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 11, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness told a student who asked how to overcome apathy and be more inspired that there’s a need to improve our education systems. We’re used to instructions about observing physical hygiene to preserve our health, but we need to add to it a sense of emotional hygiene. This means learning to tackle destructive emotions like anger, fear and hatred. By training our minds, rather than turning to drugs or alcohol, we can change our emotions.”

Ancient Indian psychology has much to say about this and although he says modern India is quite materialistic, His Holiness considers India to be the only country that could pioneer a combination of modern education with ancient Indian understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions

Asked if he’d ever had doubts about the Buddha’s teachings, His Holiness replied that the Buddha advised his followers not to take what he taught at face value but to question and investigate it. Consequently, Buddhism in general and the Nalanda Tradition in particular take a realistic approach grounded in reason and logic. He explained that it’s on such a basis that he has been able to engage in dialogue with scientists for almost forty years.

“Nalanda University is now in ruins, but the traditions of study that flourished there Shantarakshita established in Tibet in 8th century. He was a great scholar and logician, as well as a pure monk, and we have kept alive what he taught us.”

Members of the audience reacting with laughter to comments made by His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his conversation with students from Woodstock School at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 11, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Before the meeting came to an end, His Holiness drew a distinction between the generations of the 20th and 21st centuries. “I belong to the 20th century, a time that has gone. You, however, all belong to the 21st century and you need to think about how to avoid repeating the errors of the past. Where the 20th century was filled with violent conflict, there is now a need to disarm.

“At a meeting of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome several years ago, we discussed the importance of eliminating nuclear weapons. I suggested that just talking about it isn’t enough. We need to set a timetable and stick to it. I believe it can be done because in general people are fed up with violence.

“In addition to eliminating nuclear weapons, we need a broader sense of demilitarization. Key to this is making the determination to resolve conflict and other problems through dialogue. Following such steps, you who belong to the 21st century have the opportunity to build a better, more peaceful world. Thank you.”

The students posed eagerly for photographs with His Holiness, following which he walked back to his residence for lunch.       

]]>
Final Day of Teachings for Taiwanese Group https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/final-day-of-teachings-for-taiwanese-group Sat, 06 Oct 2018 02:30:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/final-day-of-teachings-for-taiwanese-group Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - At the start of the final day of teachings for students from Taiwan, His Holiness the Dalai Lama announced that he would first perform preliminary rituals in preparation for the Avalokiteshvara permission he was going to give. Once he was ready, he explained that he had decided that the permission of Avalokiteshvara Who Liberates from the Lower Realms would be an auspicious conclusion to several days of teachings. Besides this he said he would also give the lay-person’s precepts and the bodhisattva vows. He added that, whereas Chandrakirti’s ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ had been an introduction to the teachings of the Buddha, this morning he would read Je Tsongkhapa’s ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’, which serves as a summary.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama performing preparatory procedures for the permission of Avalokiteshvara Who Liberates from the Lower Realms on the final day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 6, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Aryadeva’s advice to overcome unwholesome deeds, to eliminate views of self and finally to eradicate all wrong views,” His Holiness observed, “refers to making progress on the path. After Buddhism was introduced to Tibet in the 7th and 8th centuries came a period of deep decline, a period when there were no longer any monks in Central Tibet. This was the context in which descendants of the Tibetan Emperors invited Atisha to Western Tibet. He composed the ‘Lamp for the Path’ and with Dromtönpa established the Kadam tradition that involved putting the whole teaching of the Buddha into practice within the framework of the three kinds of person.

“Je Tsongkhapa summarized these teachings under the heading of the Three Principal Aspects of the Path, which refer to the determination to be free, the altruistic spirit of enlightenment and a correct view of emptiness. Tsongkhapa was born in Amdo and later moved to Central Tibet where he studied at the Kadampa monastery of Sangphu.

“Initially he relied on his teacher Umapa Pawo Dorje as an intermediary in consulting Manjushri, but later experienced his own visions. On one occasion, in the course of a vision, Manjushri gave him a succinct explanation of emptiness. When Tsongkhapa told him he couldn’t understand it, Manjushri urged him to study further.

Members of the audience following the text on the final day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 6, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“As a result of his study and practice he became a teacher with many disciples. When Manjushri advised him to retire to the life of a hermit to accomplish purification and collection of merit, some rebuked him for abandoning these students. Manjushri retorted that he was aware of what would be the most benefit. Tsongkhapa went into retreat at the Olkha Cholung Hermitage.

“During a dream of Indian masters of the Prasangika Madhyamika School, Buddhapalita stepped forward and touched a copy of the commentary to Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom’ that bears his name to Tsongkhapa’s head. Next day he was offered a copy of that book and read it.

“At a certain point Tsongkhapa gained a realization of emptiness, which prompted him to compose his ‘Praise to the Buddha for Teaching Dependent Arising’. Addressing the Buddha he remarked, ‘Your teaching is such that in whosoever's ears it falls, they all attain peace,’ adding a specific appreciation of dependent arising, ‘When I saw this my mind found rest at last’. Tsongkhapa praised dependent arising as the reasoning that dispels the two extreme views—nihilism and permanence.”

A view of the crowd sitting in the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard on the final day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 6, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

The Three Principal Aspects of the Path was composed in response to a a letter of request from Tsako Ngawang Drakpa, a close disciple Tsongkhapa had sent to teach in Eastern Tibet. The first line of homage to ‘the venerable lamas’ prompted His Holiness to remark that in his ‘Great Stages of the Path to Enlightenment’ Je Rinpoche clearly elucidates how to rely on a spiritual master. He wrote that those who wish to tame the minds of others should first tame themselves. They should uphold the three trainings in ethics, concentration and wisdom, should be knowledgeable, eloquent and compassionate.

His Holiness added comments as he read the text. The first line of the first verse is a mark of humility. The subsequent lines refer to the three principles of the path. Verse two is an encouragement to make life meaningful. The third verse indicates how to cultivate a determination to be free, while verse five alludes to the measure of having done so. Verse six concerns the need to develop bodhichitta, while the following verses explain how to do so. His Holiness noted that by applying the meaning of verses seven and eight to yourself it can be used to strengthen the determination to be free.

Although practices like love may counter some mental afflictions, verse nine clarifies that only an understanding of emptiness and dependent arising will do away with the fundamental ignorance that is the root of cyclic existence.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama giving the permission of Avalokiteshvara Who Liberates from the Lower Realms on the final day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 6, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

In relation to verse ten, His Holiness reported that his debate partner Ngödrup Tsognyi emphasized the need for certainty about dependent arising both to understand the law of causality and to see all phenomena as lacking any objective existence. When you can do that, you have entered the path that pleases the Buddhas.

Verses 11 and 12 deal with whether your analysis is complete. Things appear to have objective existence; they appear to exist of their own accord. However, once you have realized the Middle Way view even if they appear to be self-existent, you know that they do not actually exist in that way.

In the final verse Tsongkhapa encourages his disciple to ‘depend on solitude and strong effort to quickly reach the final goal’. His Holiness urged his listeners to emulate that aspiration.

One of several group photos with the more than 1,000 Budhdists from Taiwan who attended His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 6, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

As part of the ceremony for giving the permission of Avalokiteshvara Who Liberates from the Lower Realms His Holiness gave the precepts of a lay practitioner as well as the bodhisattva vows. At the end, the Taiwanese students applauded and recited together a prayer for His Holiness’s long life. He thanked them for coming and remained seated on the throne for some time while they gathered around him in smaller groups as photographs were taken. Finally, smiling and waving to members of the crowd as he went, His Holiness walked from the temple down to the yard, where he climbed into the car that would drive him back to his residence.

]]>
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Congratulates Nobel Peace Prize Winners https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-congratulates-nobel-peace-prize-winners Fri, 05 Oct 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-congratulates-nobel-peace-prize-winners Dharamsala, HP, India - In his letter to Ms. Nadia Murad from Iraq and Dr. Denis Mukwege from Congo His Holiness congratulated them for their being awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize for their dedicated struggle against the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.

He said, "This award is recognition of the formidable courage, determination and resilience you have shown in the face of great adversity to help and support fellow human beings, who have endured appalling pain and trauma. You have put compassion into action for which I commend you both. Working as you have to restore the well being of others in need demonstrates the strength of compassion. "

"I have great admiration for brothers and sisters like you who unflinchingly reach out to give comfort and protection to those in dire need of help"

He further added that he looked "forward to working with you in our common effort to do whatever we can towards making this world a better place for everyone."

]]>
Third Day of Chandrakirti's ‘Entering into the Middle Way' https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/third-day-of-chandrakirtis-entering-into-the-middle-way Thu, 04 Oct 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/third-day-of-chandrakirtis-entering-into-the-middle-way Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP - After reaching the Tsuglagkhang and greeting members of the audience this morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama stood on the throne and saluted the images of the Buddha, Avalokiteshvara and the Three Religious Kings of Tibet before sitting down. Chanting of the ‘Heart Sutra’ in Chinese followed the recitation of the Mangala Sutta in Pali.

Thai monks reciting the Mangala Sutta in Pali at the start of the third day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 5, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Years ago in Singapore,” His Holiness began, “I attended a ceremony at which elderly monks recited the ‘Heart Sutra’ in Chinese. I was much moved to think of how the teachings of the Buddha had once spread in China and wished to do whatever I could to help revive that tradition.

“More recently, I met Buddhist monks from several countries in Delhi. Having explained that I dislike formality and prefer to be open and straightforward, I told them I sometimes ask whether religion is still relevant in today’s world. My own feeling is that it is, because all religious traditions commend the virtues of compassion, something we all continue to need.

“Like animals we human beings have sensory consciousnesses, but we also have a marvellous intelligence on the basis of which we can achieve happiness. Most people, however, underestimate their mental potential and instead seek pleasure in sensory gratification. When the mind is disturbed, sensory pleasures will not set it at ease, but if you have peace of mind, whatever goes on outside you will be much less upsetting. We have to use our intelligence to the full.

Some of the more than 6,000 people attending the third day of teachngs listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Maiin Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 5, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“Cultivating concentration and insight resulting in wisdom is part of ancient Indian tradition. Other religious traditions recommend cultivating self-discipline, tolerance and so forth, but Buddhism specifically advises applying our intelligence to transform our minds. We all have the opportunity to use our intelligence to achieve happiness rather than making trouble.

“Meditation had a key role in ancient Indian psychology. There were spiritual practitioners who regarded the desire realm with its pains and pleasures as problematic, while the more rarefied form and formless realms accessed through meditative absorption were seen as peaceful and attractive. The Buddha saw the form and formless realms as being as problematic as the desire realm because beings within them were still subject to ignorance. He understood that realizing selflessness was the remedy. He saw that when ignorance is overcome, all remaining mental afflictions are overcome too.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama reading from Chandrakirti's "Entering into the Middle Way" on the third day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 5, 2018. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

His Holiness observed that there are specific meditations to counter specific mental afflictions—contemplating repulsiveness, for example, is an antidote to attachmen—but the antidote to all mental afflictions is the realization of selflessness. He cited verses 224-226 of chapter six of ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ in praise of conventional and ultimate bodhichitta, which Nagarjuna describes as the source for the accumulation of merit and wisdom that ultimately give rise to the Truth and Form bodies of a Buddha.

224
And though illumined in their wisdom's light, the Bodhisattvas see
As clearly as a myrobalan fruit that rests upon their palm
The triple world as, from the first, unborn,
In terms of truth conventional, they move into cessation.

225
And though their minds rest constantly therein,
For those who drift, protectorless, they cultivate compassion.
Those born from Buddha's speech and those halfway to Buddhahood
Are henceforth overshadowed by their wisdom.

226
And like  the king of swans, ahead of lesser birds they soar,
On broad white wings of relative and ultimate full spread.
And on the strength of virtue's mighty wind they fly
To gain the far and supreme shore, the oceanic qualities of Victory.

Taking up the text again, His Holiness resumed reading from where he stopped yesterday. Pausing here and there to comment and clarify he made steady progress. When he reached the end he urged his listeners to dedicate the merit of becoming acquainted with the profound view to enlightenment.

Before leaving the temple, His Holiness announced that tomorrow he will explain Je Tsongkhapa’s ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’ prior to giving the permission of Avalokiteshvara Who Liberates from the Lower Realms.

]]>