Dalai Lama https://www.dalailama.com/ en-us Fri, 07 Oct 2022 16:55:10 +0000 Fri, 07 Oct 2022 16:55:10 +0000 Congratulating Recipients of This Year’s Nobel Prize in Physics https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/congratulating-recipients-of-this-years-nobel-prize-in-physics Tue, 04 Oct 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/congratulating-recipients-of-this-years-nobel-prize-in-physics Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - Following yesterday’s announcement of the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has issued the following statement of congratulations.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Anton Zeilinger together at a conference in Vienna, Austria May 26, 2012. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I am very pleased to learn that this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to three scientists, Alain Aspect, John Clauser and my friend, Anton Zeilinger for their work in developing experimental tools that have laid the foundation for a new era of quantum technology. I offer my congratulations to them for their pioneering research.

“In my discussions with scientists over almost four decades, I have had several fruitful conversations with Prof. Zeilinger in relation to quantum physics. We met first in 1997 here in Dharamsala, following which I visited his laboratory at the University of Innsbruck in 1998. We have subsequently met here in Dharamsala during meetings of the Mind & Life Institute.

“I have great respect for modern science and have thought long and deeply about it, not only with regard to what it has to tell us about reality, but also in terms of how it may influence human values. I rejoice that this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Anton Zeilinger and his colleagues for work that has so much potential to bring benefit to the whole of humanity.”

His Holiness has also written separately to Anton Zeilinger to convey his congratulations, as well as offering his prayers and good wishes.

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Chapter Two of Dharmakirti's 'Commentary on Valid Cognition' - Third Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/chapter-two-of-dharmakirtis-commentary-on-valid-cognition-third-day Tue, 04 Oct 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/chapter-two-of-dharmakirtis-commentary-on-valid-cognition-third-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama opened the third day of his current set of teachings by announcing that he thought he would give the Bodhisattva vows by way of an auspicious ending.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting members of the crowd attending the third day of teachings as he arrives at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 5, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I take these vows every day,” he explained. “There are 18 root vows and 46 lesser pledges to be kept. The Six Session Guru Yoga lists the 18 root downfalls and clarifies that, in the case a lapse of discipline, if the four binding factors are not complete, the vow is not lost. “

His Holiness first read the final verses of Chapter two of the ‘Commentary on Valid Cognition’ - Establishing the Reliable Guide.

“The Buddha is one who trained in the path,” he observed. “He made steady progress. By comparison we ordinary beings are obsessed with selfish attitudes. Shantideva makes this clear in his ‘Entering the Way of the Bodhisattva’.

Why say more? Observe this distinction: between the fool who longs for his own advantage and the sage who acts for the advantage of others. 8/130

“The key is to think of bringing happiness to all beings and of harming no one.

All those who suffer in the world do so because of their desire for their own happiness. All those happy in the world are so because of their desire for the happiness of others. 8/129

For those who fail to exchange their own happiness for the suffering of others, Buddhahood is certainly impossible - how could there even be happiness in cyclic existence? 8/31

Monks from Taiwan following the text on the third day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 5, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“If you only think of yourself, you’ll not be happy. Thinking of others and cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta helps purify negativities and accumulate merit. Cherishing others as you do yourself brings courage and inner strength.”

His Holiness took time to answer questions put to him by members of the audience on a range of topics. In his replies he told them that using reason and logic has its own special benefit because it can be used to dispel doubt about the main practice.

He noted that when Atisha came to Tibet, he taught the ‘Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment’. From this arose the genre of ‘Stages of the Path’ literature that include Jé Tsongkhapa’s ‘Great, Medium and Concise Treatises on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment’. His Holiness suggested that since there is a general affinity for the Geluk tradition in Taiwan, in addition to these books it would be good to study Chandrakirti’s ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ and Shantideva’s ‘Entering the Way of the Bodhisattva’. He then added that if there were the opportunity it would be good to study books belonging to the other Tibetan traditions too.

“When I was doing retreat in the Potala,” he recalled, “there were all sorts of thangka paintings hanging in my room. One depicted the great yogi Milarepa. I read the story of his life at that time and found it really inspiring.”

With regard to past and future lives, His Holiness observed that they depend on the continuity of the mind. When we die the gross elements of our physical being and coarse consciousness dissolve one into the other. Then there are experiences described as whitish appearance, reddish increase and black near attainment, following which the clarity and awareness of the most subtle mind manifests. This is what goes on to Buddhahood.

When another question was raised about the manifestation of innate clear light at the time of death, His Holiness clarified that we experience different states of mind. Our normal waking state, dominated by sense consciousness is relatively coarse. The dream state is subtler and deep sleep is subtler still. Finally, the breath stops and the subtlest mind of clear light manifests.

Members of the organizing committee reading questions submitted by members of the audience on the third day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings requested by Taiwanese Buddhists at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 5, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness mentioned the phenomenon of ‘thukdam’ when advanced meditators remain absorbed in that clear light. While that occurs, their physical body remains fresh. He reported that scientists from Moscow University have launched a project to investigate this phenomenon and explain what is going on from a scientific point of view.

His Holiness reiterated that one of the mental afflictions that most easily disrupts our peace of mind is anger. However, the more we work to cultivate bodhichitta, anger will be reduced and our peace of mind will be restored. When each of us is at peace, we’ll have a beneficial effect on our family and those around us.

Although we don’t ordinarily think of them this way, emotions like anger, pride and jealousy disturb our minds. All such disturbing emotions derive from self-centredness, as is stated in the ‘Offering to the Spiritual Master’ (Lama chöpa).

This chronic disease of self-centredness
Is the cause of unwanted suffering.
Perceiving this, may I be inspired to blame, begrudge
And destroy this monstrous demon of selfishness.

Since self-centredness is the doorway to all torment,
While caring for my mothers is the foundation for all that is good,
Inspire me to make the core of my practice
The yoga of exchanging myself for others.

Asked how to cultivate respect for a spiritual teacher, His Holiness referred to advice in the ‘Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment’, the gist of which is that those who are to discipline others need first to be disciplined themselves.

Members of the audience from Taiwan listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering their questions on the third day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 5, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

He confirmed that lay people are quite capable of doing Buddhist practice and that it is possible to present Buddhist teachings in an academic way. He pointed out that the more you practise and the more you integrate the teachings within you, the clearer their benefits will be.

His Holiness advised that perpetrators of great suffering in Xinjiang and Tibet, people who have destroyed monasteries and brutally killed practitioners have created such negative karma that they deserve to be deep objects of compassion rather than anger.

Having encouraged his listeners to work daily to cultivate the awakening mind of bodhichitta and an understanding of emptiness, His Holiness remarked that one of the qualities of our minds is that they can be readily made familiar with virtue.

“The more familiar we become with particular practices,” he said, “the greater the transformation we will see in ourselves. When I was a child, I knew nothing about bodhichitta or emptiness, but as I grew older, I came to appreciate how valuable they are. I discovered that these two practices are a real source of peace of mind.

“An example of familiarization is the way Tibetans learn from childhood not to harm but to protect even tiny creatures like insects. They do this on the basis that all sentient beings want to be happy and not to suffer.“

Addressing questions about the monastic community, His Holiness commented that those who have left the householder’s way of life keep the vows of individual liberation, which involve restraining their conduct of body and speech. One result is that they do no harm. He distinguished between those who joined a monastic community as a result of their own volition and interest and those who were placed in such a community by their parents when they were young. He suggested that it is perhaps understandable that the latter lose interest in such a way of life.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama giving Bodhisattva vows as an auspicious ending to three days of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 5, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Finally, His Holiness led the ceremony for giving the Bodhisattva Vows. He asked the congregation to repeat the relevant verses three times and then advised them to imagine receiving a set of vows identical to that held by the teacher.

“If you keep these vows, you’ll feel relaxed and at ease. You’ll sleep soundly and you’ll contribute to genuine peace in the world.”

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Chapter Two of Dharmakirti's 'Commentary on Valid Cognition' - Second Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/chapter-two-of-dharmakirtis-commentary-on-valid-cognition-second-day Mon, 03 Oct 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/chapter-two-of-dharmakirtis-commentary-on-valid-cognition-second-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - When His Holiness the Dalai Lama reached the Tsuglagkhang, the Main Tibetan Temple, this morning, before taking his own seat, he saluted the Jangtsé Chöjé, Ven Gosok Rinpoché, who is sitting to the left of the throne and the Sharpa Chöjé, Ven Lobsang Dorjé, who is sitting to the right.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama walking to the Main Tibetan Temple on the second day of teachings in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 4, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

The ‘Heart Sutra’ was chanted first in Chinese and then in Tibetan.

Before resuming his reading of the ‘Commentary on Valid Cognition’, His Holiness mentioned a verse from a tantric text about emptiness and the nature of the mind that indicates that cyclic existence is devoid of inherent existence.

“In this world,” he continued, “things appear to be independently existent, but when we try to pinpoint their identity, we are unable to do so. Understanding that things lack any essential nature will free us from cyclic existence. Our misconception that things are inherently existent can be eliminated. We can observe that in day-to-day life, when we are angry or attached to something or someone, the object of our anger or attachment appears to be inherently existent.

“Attachment, anger and hatred are rooted in ignorance. They disturb our peace of mind. But when we are able to do away with clinging to the notion of inherent existence, we can make progress on the path.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the congregation on the second day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 4, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“In Chapter 22 of his ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’ Nagarjuna writes about how we cannot pinpoint the identity or independent existence even of the Buddha, the Tathagata, the One Thus Gone.”

Neither the aggregates, nor different from the aggregates,
The aggregates are not (dependent) on him, nor is he (dependent) on the aggregates.
The Tathagata does not possess the aggregates.
What else is the Tathagata? 22.1

His Holiness added that he often reworks this to refer to himself and reflects on it accordingly:

I am neither one with the aggregates, nor different from the aggregates,
The aggregates are not (dependent) on me, nor am I (dependent) on the aggregates.
I don't possess the aggregates.
What else am I?

“For hundreds of years human beings have fought and killed each other. They have developed ever more lethal weapons to do so, and yet if we ask what actually disturbs our peace of mind, it’s mental afflictions, disturbing emotions. The nature of the mind is clear and empty.

“All religions teach us to be kind to each other, but it’s a special feature of the Indian traditions to examine the nature of self. Some of them describe a self known as ‘atman’. Buddhism doesn’t recognize this. What Buddhism asserts in that a person only appears to exist inherently. If we look at it from the point of view of cause or effect, nothing can be found that is inherently existent. The way we misconceive the existence of self is the cause of all our problems. It contributes to our self-cherishing attitude and that means we have little concern for others.”

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the second day of teachings requested by Taiwanese Buddhists at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 4, 2022.

His Holiness mentioned the opening verses of Chandrakirti’s ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ which pay homage to compassion.

Sravakas and middle-level buddhas arise from sovereign sages.
Buddhas are born from bodhisattvas.
The compassionate mind and nondual cognition
as well the awakening mind: these are causes of bodhisattvas. 1.1

As compassion alone is accepted to be
the seed of the perfect harvest of Buddhahood,
the water that nourishes it, and the fruit that is long a source of enjoyment,
I will praise compassion at the start of all. 1.2

First, with the thought "I am," they cling to a self;
then, with the thought "mine," they become attached to thingslike buckets on a waterwheel, they turn without control;
I bow to the compassion that cares for such suffering beings. 1.3

We talk hopefully about achieving peace in the world, His Holiness observed, but what we need to do is to strengthen peace within ourselves by weakening the way we cling to things being independently existent. Until we defeat this misconception, we won’t fulfil our wish.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama reading from the ‘Commentary on Valid Cognition’ on the second day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 4, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

As he picked up the ‘Commentary on Valid Cognition’ from where he stopped yesterday, His Holiness made the point that all Tibetan Buddhist traditions use logic and reason. Similarly, although all Buddhist schools of thought discuss ignorance, it is the Prasangika Madhyamika that explains it precisely.

Today, His Holiness read up to verse 281 and stated that he will read the remaining verses tomorrow. In the meantime, he announced that he would like to conduct a ceremony to generate the All-encompassing Yoga Mind, something he practises every day. It involves generating conventional bodhichitta—the awakening mind, the aspiration to achieve enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings and then visualizing this aspiration as a moon disc at the heart. The second part of the practice is to generate ultimate bodhichitta—the wisdom understanding emptiness—and visualizing that as a five-pronged white vajra standing on the moon disc.

His Holiness led the congregation in reciting the All-encompassing Yoga Mind mantra: Om Sarva Yoga Chitta Utpadaya mi and remarked that these two practices, understanding emptiness and cultivating bodhichitta, are the ultimate cause of Buddhahood. He declared that although he has received many tantric empowerments, these two are the essence of his own practice and urged those who consider him to be their teacher to make them the essence of their practice too.

Finally, he spoke about conditions in Tibet.

“Currently, it is reported that Tibetans inside Tibet are facing severe restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s spreading in Tibet. The public is facing great difficulties.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking about the conditions in Tibet on the second day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 4, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“To some extent, the Tibet-China struggle is linked to the Buddha’s teaching. The Chinese can never change the mindset and behaviour of the Tibetan people, which are rooted in their religion and culture. Rather, the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and its associated culture will gradually spread further and further into China itself.
You do not need to feel disheartened when faced with temporary difficulties. We Tibetans have a unique karmic connection with Avalokiteshvara, who is our guardian deity. Therefore, you should pray to the three enlightened deities in Lhasa: Jowo Lokeshvara, Jowo Shakyamuni, and Jowo Akshobyavajra.

“Although you are physically distant from me, since we have an uncommon connection based on our karma and prayers, you can think of me, Gyalwa Rinpoche, the Dalai Lama.

“What is most important is that you should feel at ease and trust that the truth will eventually prevail.

“As for myself, I am now 87 years old and in good health. My doctors have assured me after examining me that I will live for another 15 to 20 years. So, you Tibetans in Tibet, please feel at ease and be happy.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama waving to members of the audience from Taiwan as he departs at the conclusion of the second day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 4, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“China is changing. The day will come when we, Tibetans in exile and Tibetans in Tibet, will be reunited and can meditate together on bodhichitta and the view of emptiness. I send you my greetings— “Tashi Delek”. Thank you.”

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Chapter Two of Dharmakirti’s ‘Commentary on Valid Cognition’ - First Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/chapter-two-of-dharmakirtis-commentary-on-valid-cognition-first-day Sun, 02 Oct 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/chapter-two-of-dharmakirtis-commentary-on-valid-cognition-first-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - As he walked through the yard to the Main Temple this morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama smiled and waved to members of the estimated 5000 strong crowd from 55 countries waiting to greet him. He seemed, today, to pay particular attention to the elderly, stopping for a quick word, an affectionate pat on a head or hand, before moving on.

The chant-master leading a recitation of the ‘Heart Sutra’ in Chinese at the start of the first day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 3, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Once His Holiness was seated on the throne, the chant-master led a recitation of the ‘Heart Sutra’ in Chinese in which the 570 disciples from Taiwan joined in. Spotting a cat adrift in the congregation, His Holiness asked that it be returned to its owner in case it was distressed.

The ‘Heart Sutra’ was recited again in Tibetan.

“Today,” His Holiness announced, “our Chinese Dharma friends have asked me to teach Dharmakirti’s ‘Commentary on Valid Cognition’. [Translations of the text can be found in the Live section of this website]

“In his pledge to compose the text, Dharmakirti wrote,

"The majority of people having attachment to ordinary
pursuits and lacking in the requisite strength of
intellect, not only have no interest in
and fail to appreciate the holy discourses, but being
covered with the dirt of malice, even hate them.

I do not therefore entertain the thought that this work
(of mine) will be of benefit to others, but my mind having
developed an obsession, fostered by prolonged study of
science and scripture, I'm bent upon this task."

“These days,” His Holiness continued, “people are absorbed in pursuing a materialistic way of life. While all religious traditions teach us to be kind, the Nalanda Tradition urges us to use our intelligence, to examine what disturbs our peace of mind. It is in this spirit that Dharmakirti reveals that after prolonged study of science and scripture, he is intent on composing this treatise, ‘Commentary on Valid Cognition’.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the congregation at the Main Tibetan Temple on the first day of teachings in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 3, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Some scholars in the past in Tibet criticized this book as being of little interest to those who seek liberation because it does not deal with the stages and paths. Jé Tsongkhapa refers to this in his verse account of his own study and practice, ‘Destiny Fulfilled’.

In this northern land, many speak out in unison,
Whether they have studied the texts on logic and epistemology or not, saying,
“There is no graduated practice of the path leading to enlightenment
In the Compendium of Valid Cognition (Pramanasamucchaya)
And the corpus of seven treatises [such as Commentary on Valid Cognition (Pramanavarttika) by Dharmakirti.”

But they also take as authoritative the actual revelation
Granted by Manjushri to Dignaga, saying explicitly,
“Write this book. It will in future
Become the eye for all wandering beings.

Seeing these [views] as absolutely absurd,
I especially scrutinized the system of logic.
The meaning of the Pramanasamucchaya’s salutation verse
Is established by the Pramanasiddhi chapter (of Dharmakirti’s Pramanavarttika)
Through the forward and reverse logical procedures,

Thereby proving the Bhagawan Buddha was an authoritative person
For those seeking liberation;
And then I found deep conviction
That only his Teaching is the haven
For those in pursuit of total freedom,

And I found a special joy
In clarifying all the keys to the paths extending to [the Lesser and Greater Vehicles
Which unfolded through the path of reasoning.

Thinking this over, how well my destiny was fulfilled
Thank you so much, O Noble Lord Wisdom Treasure.

“It is important to study the Commentary on Valid Cognition because it uses reason and logic to show that the Buddha is a reliable guide. Therefore, Jé Rinpoché studied it.”

Some of the disciple from Taiwan listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on the first day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 3, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness remarked that we live in a scientific era and that scientists are showing increasing interest in what the Buddha taught about the workings of the mind and emotions and how related insights help us achieve peace of mind. He pointed out that the principal factor contributing to such inner peace is training in altruism—love and compassion. He noted that when you have peace of mind, you sleep well without recourse to sleeping pills.

His Holiness mentioned his long-standing plan to hold discussions with educationists in Delhi to discover ways to introduce the cultivation of warm-heartedness into the general education curriculum. He is convinced it’s possible because karuna and ahimsa, compassion and doing no harm, have been upheld in India for thousands of years. It was on this basis that Mahatma Gandhi was able to promote non-violence as the underlying theme of India’s Freedom Struggle.

“As soon as I wake up in the morning,” His Holiness disclosed, “I cultivate bodhichitta, rooted as it is in love and compassion and it is from this that I find the courage to work for others.

“We say the Buddha is worth paying attention to, not because of miracles he performed, but because of what he taught. If we are to bring about peace in the world, we need to pay attention to how to achieve peace of mind within ourselves.”

His Holiness began to read Chapter Two of the Commentary on Valid Cognition, Establishing the Reliable Guide. He touched on the explanation of the degrees of subtlety of the mind recounted in Highest Yoga Tantra, divulging that two separate teams of scientists are examining these phenomena.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama reading from chapter two of Dharmakirti’s ‘Commentary on Valid Cognition’ on the first day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on October 3, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejo

Having reached verse 152, His Holiness advised that the more we study the Buddha’s teaching, the better we’ll understand it. He conceded that if we want to know more about the use of logic and reason, the Commentary on Valid Cognition is the book to rely on. However, for an accurate philosophical view, we need to turn to Chandrakirti’s Entering into the Middle Way and its presentation of Prasangika Madhyamika thought.

“Having studied the teachings,” His Holiness observed, “if you are able to reflect on them and make yourself familiar with them, they will become part of your own experience.”

He cited verses 34-38 from Chapter Six of Entering into the Middle Way that expose the four logical absurdities that ensue if you assert that things exist independently. Although things do not have any independent, objective existence from their own side, this does not mean they do not exist at all. They exist by way of dependence and designation.

His Holiness suggested that if we make ourselves steadily more familiar with this understanding, we’ll be able to weaken our sense that things exist independently. And when we understand that we are all overwhelmed by grasping at the true existence of things, we’ll be moved by compassion for sentient beings extensive as space.

“That’s it for today,” he concluded, “We’ll resume tomorrow.”

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Second Day of Dialogue with United States Institute of Peace Youth Leaders https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/second-day-of-dialogue-with-united-states-institute-of-peace-youth-leaders Thu, 22 Sep 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/second-day-of-dialogue-with-united-states-institute-of-peace-youth-leaders Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - This morning the meeting between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and United States Institute of Peace youth leaders resumed. David Yang, the moderator, reminded everyone that yesterday they had discussed how children of war can become leaders for peace. He asserted that peace-building is a spiritual effort and that after exploring belonging and compassion yesterday, the themes for discussion today would be inner peace and a commitment to equality and justice.

The moderator David Yang opening the second day of dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and United States Insitute of Peace (USIP) youth leaders in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 23, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

To start with, Angie from Colombia, a psychologist who is passionate about social challenges, diversity and multiculturalism spoke of her love of education and learning. In her work she tries to make education more attractive to more people.

Esra from Sudan is deeply involved with content creation and using it to make a difference, helping individuals and organizations fulfil their vision. She tries to make a positive impact on society and is active in education and peace-building through her writings and educational courses. It’s by engaging in education that Esra’s students learn about inner peace.

Patrick from South Sudan takes a special interest in youth, peace and security. He strongly advocates youth participation in policy development and decision making for positive change. He explained how in 2016 he found himself stranded in another country and realized how tired he was of not being able to contribute to salvaging his own country. This prompted him to engage in peace-building with other young people.

Arij from Tunisia is a debate facilitator. When she began to speak in public, she was nervous, but has acquired strong public speaking skills that have enabled her to deliver workshops on different themes related to peace and make a positive influence. Having gained confidence herself, she has learned to train others to speak out too. She remarked that some people lose hope that Tunisia will ever find peace, but she is determined not to despair.

Hazhir is a Kurd from Iraq. He is a political and economic analyst and journalist who covered the ISIS war. Since then, he has been involved with providing shelter and food to refugees. He says that when he asked himself what he wanted, he realized that, most of all, he and the people of Kurdistan wanted equality. He stated that it’s difficult to feel inner peace when others routinely deceive you and deny your rights. It’s in such a context that Kurds are trying to preserve their identity.

Hazar, a Kurd from Irag sharing his story on the second day of the dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and United States Insitute of Peace (USIP) youth leaders in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 23, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Roya from Libya, is focussed on leading and supporting projects that drive peace and reconciliation, arts and cultural engagement, development, economic stability and education. She says that having realized that she had the ability to bring about change, she makes a point of encouraging others likewise to understand that each one of us can help others. We can make a difference.

Sophia from Venezuela recounted that she and her best friend ran for election as Secretary General of their school United Nations organization. The students first gave the impression that Sophia’s friend would be most suited and that she would be least suited to the role. However, everyone was taken by surprise when she was actually elected. She said she learned that if you’re going to be a leader you have to be confident.

David Yang told His Holiness that he is regarded as a leader with regard to inner peace. He asked him to describe how he felt when he had to leave Tibet.

“First of all, there was a danger to my community and to my own life,” His Holiness replied. “I escaped because the situation had become urgent. When the Chinese military officers wanted to know where the Dalai Lama was staying within the Norbulingka Palace, we didn’t know if it was so they could provide protection from bombardment, as they claimed, or so they could more readily target me. Once I’d become a refugee, I felt happier because I was free.

“In today’s circumstances, all seven billion human beings alive today want equality. As I’ve said, we are all the same. No one is better or more deserving than anyone else. The UN should not only involve political leaders but representatives of ordinary human beings. We need to look realistically at the situation we find ourselves in because we all have to live together.

A view of the meeting room at His Holiness the Dalai Lama's residence on the second day of the dialogue with United States Insitute of Peace (USIP) youth leaders in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 23, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“We need to think more about what the common interest is, much like the European Union. We need a Union of Humanity.”

In answering questions put to him by the youth leaders His Holiness talked about reaching decisions. He explained that, although he has resigned from all political activity, whenever there is a decision to be made, he always consults the people involved.

His Holiness was asked whether some of his people may have wanted to fight back against the Chinese. He agreed that some did. However, he described it as an emotional response rather than the result of thinking things through in a realistic way. Thirty years ago, he said, world opinion counted for less. Today, it can make a difference. Now, he reaffirmed, is a time when problems should be resolved through dialogue.

He reiterated that it’s basic human nature to be compassionate. He said we can see this among children who don’t concern themselves with superficial differences. To discriminate between this or that race, nationality or religion is an old way of thinking.

“When we left Tibet,” His Holiness clarified, “we did think in terms of differences between Tibetans and Chinese Communists. If we had considered what we had in common as human beings and that the land belongs to humanity in general the outcome might have been different.

“I feel we shouldn’t focus too much on what is past. We have to look at things from different angles. As it’s turned out, I’ve found it helpful to have become a refugee.”

His Holiness the Dali Lama answering a question from one of the United States Insitute of Peace (USIP) youth leaders during their dialogue at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 23, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Asked whether there will be a fifteenth Dalai Lama and if there is, where will he be born, His Holiness replied with a chuckle that that was his business.

“I’m now 87 and I think I can live for another 15 or 20 years, so whether or not there will be a fifteenth Dalai Lama is not my main concern right now. Probably I’ll be born on this planet because I have a connection to this world. The first Dalai Lama said he wanted to be born in Tibet so he could continue to serve the Tibetan people and the Buddhadharma.

“My determination is to serve sentient beings, but I’m especially familiar with this planet and its people. But where I’ll be born, I don’t know. I have a connection to the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. I’m something like his representative, so it may be a matter of his wish.

“There is a famous lake in Tibet and three letters were revealed on its surface which indicated where I had been born. A for Amdo, Ka for Kumbum and Ma referring to my name Lhamo Dhondup. Employing such mysterious forces can help us see further ahead.”

David Yang introduced five more youth leaders who would talk about equality and justice.

Gloria from South Sudan is deeply concerned about human rights and civic rights issues. She pushed for tax exemptions on sanitary products to scale down gender inequality, especially in schools. She told the story of a school friend who was taken by surprise when she had her first period at school. Despite her friends’ help she felt shamed by the jeering comments of other classmates. Next day she didn’t come to school.

Gloria from South Sudan delivering her presentation on the second day of the dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and United States Insitute of Peace (USIP) youth leaders in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 23, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Gloria asked herself why a natural bodily function would bring such shame. She resolved that she had to do something to help girls understand their bodies and reduce the stigma of menstruation. She was keenly aware that girls also have a right to education.

His Holiness commented that decisions should not be made under threat of force or as a result of bullying. That’s an old way of thinking. Now, we’re all equal and have a right to decide things for ourselves.

Mamdouh from Syria led two peace-building and development projects during wartime helping war casualties, people with disabilities, local communities and internal refugees. He described being frustrated trying to bring about change. He said he’s been banging on doors for ten years—sometimes they open, sometimes they don’t. We are trying, he declared, and we can all help.

Mohamed from Somalia has hands-on experience in areas of post-conflict justice, local government and peace-building. He spoke of meeting a woman whose legal case had been dragging on for years. He saw this as a case of justice delayed being justice denied. He observed that although rights are laid out in the constitution, people can’t exercise them. Many have left the country in search of other options, but he feels that if he doesn’t stay, who will stay to build a more peaceful Somalia?

His Holiness remarked that the world is becoming more democratic, so people can raise their voices and their voices can be heard.

Isabela from Colombia is moved to defend human dignity and fundamental rights. She told of her shock when her mother told her that her father had shown her how to use a gun when she was only four years old and placed a gun under her pillow by way of defence. Isabela asked herself why people should live in fear like that and decided to become a lawyer. She is concerned to protect human dignity and to see that all children have access to education.

Isabela from Colombia sharing her story on the second day of the dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and United States Insitute of Peace (USIP) youth leaders in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 23, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Nissa from Libya announced that she is a climate change activist. She described being moved by the film, An Inconvenient Truth, which woke her up to facts about pollution and climate change. She decided to teach children about these things and was baffled to find that children can readily understand what global leaders apparently cannot.

“Climate change is serious,” His Holiness agreed. “We have to take steps to green the world by planting and taking care of more trees. I was recently in Ladakh where the dry, sandy environment is changing because there are more trees. Faced with a crisis like climate change we cannot afford to fight among ourselves. We have to work together.”

Responding to questions again, His Holiness repeated that we need to look at things from a wider perspective. With regard to Tibet, he mentioned Tibetans’ deep cultural heritage, which includes a profound understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions. This culture has been kept alive. He noted wryly that very few Tibetans had become Communists, but quite a number of Chinese had become Buddhists.

His Holiness reported that professors in Chinese universities have read books published by Tibetans in exile on science and philosophy in Buddhist literature. They have acknowledged that Tibetan Buddhism has indeed preserved the Nalanda Tradition, which adopts a scientific, investigative approach.

Asked how to achieve justice without losing compassion, His Holiness observed that the important thing was to avoid doing harm. He added that helping sentient beings can be a source of great satisfaction.

“All of us,” he added, “animals as well, have basic rights that we need to protect.”

Asked to say how you make your voice heard, His Holiness replied that first you should be honest and second you should act out of compassion. That’s the right thing to do. The main thing is to forgive and practise compassion.

David Yang thanked members of His Holiness’s office, his attendants, and the audio-visual team. He thanked the 26 youth leaders who represent hope for the future. And finally, he thanked His Holiness for his inspiring contribution.

His Holiness responded, “Thank you. As part of the seven billion human beings alive today we have a responsibility to work to create a happy humanity and a peaceful world.”

He then invited the youth leaders and supporting USIP staff to join him for lunch.

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First Day of Dialogue with United States Institute of Peace Youth Leaders https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/first-day-of-dialogue-with-united-states-institute-of-peace-youth-leaders Wed, 21 Sep 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/first-day-of-dialogue-with-united-states-institute-of-peace-youth-leaders Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP - When His Holiness the Dalai Lama entered the audience room at his residence this morning to meet young leaders and peace-builders from the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), he carefully scanned their faces and warmly wished them, “Good morning.”

A view of the meeting room on the first day of dialogue with United States Institute of Peace (USIP) Youth leaders at His Holiness the Dalai Lama's residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 22, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

David Yang, Vice President for Applied Conflict Transformation at USIP, as the moderator announced that this was the seventh interaction between His Holiness and USIP delegates. He explained that today and tomorrow His Holiness would engage with 26 young leaders from 12 conflict affected regions. He mentioned that over the last two years the meeting had taken the form of an online virtual dialogue, but that they were now happy to be back in person.

Part of the young leaders training has involved story-telling and Yang made clear that they wanted to share with His Holiness how children of war can become leaders for peace. There would be four themes: belonging, compassion, inner peace, as well as equality and justice.

Kuol from South Sudan, who is using his bitter experience of being a child soldier to build peace and make sure no child carries guns at a tender age, opened the conversation. He spoke of the time when war was at its peak in his country, when there were no men left in the villages, only women and children. Whenever a family had two boys, one was taken to become a soldier. Now he wants to give them access to education and other opportunities.

Ruby from Syria realized that achieving peace requires anthropological and ethnographic sensitivity and studied accordingly. She has been working on projects related to peace-building, justice, women’s rights, and climate issues. She talked about her realization that men and women are equally capable, but both need to be powerful and strong.

Angela from Colombia is a psychologist who has focussed on non-formal education methodologies, workshops, leadership and soft-skills development with teenagers and adults. She too stressed the need for people in conflict affected areas to be strong and brave, and to become part of the solution.

Mohamed from Somalia, whose work focusses on social innovation, education, employment and entrepreneurship as tools for eradicating poverty and building sustainable peace, spoke of a turning point when he encountered two men with guns. One was a former classmate. He resolved to become an educator to impart skills that would enable such people to get jobs and contribute to building a peaceful Somalia.

Mohamed from Somalia sharing his experiences on the first day of dialogue with United States Institute of Peace (USIP) Youth leaders at His Holiness the Dalai Lama's residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 22, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Mojisola from Nigeria actively engages in the fields of gender, peace-building and human rights. She facilitates workshops on women, youth, peace and security, using story-telling, role play and dialogue. She described the troubles her mother faced and her efforts to create a club for women to support each other and help each other withstand prejudice and pressure.

Leonardo from Colombia works in the arts, alternative development and constant learning. He has brought together former FARC combatants and ordinary citizens through the exchange of hand-written letters. Finding himself alone in a school room brought home to him the importance of ensuring that no one feels left behind or left out. It is important, he says, to make sure people feel they belong.

Responding to the first set of presentations, His Holiness declared:

“We have to make an effort to create a more peaceful world and a happier humanity. We can identify differences between us in terms of race, nationality, and religion, but we would be better instead to think of humanity as a whole. We all have equal rights. We are all born from a mother and most of us drink her milk. We depend on her kindness from the start of our lives. Warm-heartedness is an appropriate response.

“Modern education tends to focus on material goals rather than inner values. It seems to encourage a sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’, instead of emphasising that we are essentially the same and we have to live together.

“Each of us has two eyes, one nose, one mouth. If one of us were to have three eyes, that would be a surprise. If we examine our brains, they are equally complex. Therefore, we have to encourage a strong sense of brotherhood and sisterhood.

“As I said we’re all born the same way, and in the end we all die the same way. When that happens, it’s not ceremony that’s important, but whether we have the warm affection of relatives and friends around us. As I told former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, I expect to live another 15 or 20 years, but when I die, I’d prefer to be free and surrounded by friends in India not hard-hearted Chinese Communist officials.

David Yang, Vice President for Applied Conflict Transformation at USIP, listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama responding to the first set of presentations on the first day of dialogue with USIP Youth leaders in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 22, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Freedom is important in our lives. We need to be free to be able to exercise our brains, to be able always to ask, “Why?” From this point of view totalitarian systems are wholly unfavourable. It’s freedom that fosters warm-heartedness and compassion, which in turn lead to inner peace. When you’re warm-hearted there’s no basis to be afraid. Fear is bad for the mind and too easily leads to anger. And anger is the real foe of peace of mind.

“I practise compassion, so wherever I go, I smile and feel happy. As human beings we have to find how to live together in peace.”

Questioned about what makes a good leader, His Holiness stressed the advantages of elected leadership. Asked how to overcome anger, he suggested examining the circumstances that prompt those who make you angry to do so. He recommended taking a wider, longer-term view. Invited to suggest how men and women can learn to live together, he simply observed that men need women and women need men, and everyone laughed.

A second set of story-tellers spoke about compassion. Sebastian from Colombia, who has contributed to issues of peace-making, problem solving, government and strengthening democracy in different parts of the world, recalled confronting a combatant. He described how his own hostile feelings dissolved when a small girl appeared and his opponent picked her up and hugged her.

Sebastian from Colombia sharing is story on the first day of dialogue with United States Institute of Peace (USIP) Youth leaders at His Holiness the Dalai Lama's residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 22, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Helina from Ethiopia, who wants to make a difference by empowering young leaders to participate in peace projects and reduce risk and inequity in vulnerable communities, suggested that to bring about change, we have to appreciate humanity.

His Holiness intervened to voice his well-known admiration for the spirit of the European Union (EU). He remains impressed that after centuries of conflict between France and Germany, following the Second World War Adenauer and de Gaulle founded the EU. Since then, there has been no violence among the Union’s members. He suggested that the rest of the world would do well to follow this example in pursuit of peace. What’s crucial, he said, is to achieve inner peace, but you can’t buy peace of mind in a shop. It’s not something that can be produced in a factory.

Anna from Venezuela reported her indignation at seeing tanks on the streets of her country. She challenged them with only a wooden shield for protection. She felt quite alone, distressed to see so much destruction. Once back in a safe place she asked herself how this could happen and is now dedicated to helping young people, especially women, work to build peace.

Wonderful, His Holiness replied. We all want to be happy and to live in peace. But we have to work for it taking the whole of humanity into account.

“We need to aim for a completely demilitarized world,” he added. “I’m from Tibet where Chinese Communists have everything under tight control. But the Tibetan spirit is strong and we have preserved the Nalanda Tradition. Instead of relying on guns, we cultivate compassion. Six million Tibetans put their faith in what the Buddha taught about forgiveness and compassion.

“And because climate change is so serious, we must also pay attention to ecology.”

Denis from South Sudan works as a journalist reporting on the environment and peace-building—including water management, pollution, and climate change. He reported that he has seen so many violations of human rights, but what inspires him is the example of people like Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi who worked to create peaceful societies free from hatred and grief.

Denis from South Sudan delivering his presentation on the first day of dialogue with United States Institute of Peace (USIP) Youth leaders at His Holiness the Dalai Lama's residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 22, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Nyaboth, also from South Sudan, speaks about social issues with specific focus on peace, gender, culture and history. She is trying to transform lives through evidence-based advocacy and campaigning for peaceful change. When conflict broke out in 2013, she crossed the border into Uganda and met an old man who told her how he felt he’d always been running away. When she returned, she was very moved by the story of a woman beaten to death by her brother for refusing to marry a man her family had chosen for her. She felt a strong need to do something about it—not to run away any more. She is determined that women and girls should have a choice.

Noral from Nigeria, recalled his ninth birthday, when his mother had prepared his favourite rice dish for him. That very day three men broke in and raped and murdered his mother in front of him. He described how hard it is to get over what happened even 20 years later, but he is committed to seeing that women are no longer subject to violence and rape.

Responding to David Yang’s asking how he has been able to sustain compassion in his own life, His Holiness declared:

“I believe that as human beings we are all fundamentally compassionate. We have to build a world founded on human values—a demilitarized world, a world no longer dependent on the use of weapons. When people fight and die, their minds are not at peace, but we can imagine building a world based on compassion.”

Asked what qualities are required to bring about peace, His Holiness remarked:

“I’m a Buddhist and as soon as I wake every morning, I remind myself that all human beings are the same as me—we all want to be happy. I resolve to use my life to ensure that other beings are happy. It’s compassion that brings about peace of mind, not anger and hatred, so we need to focus on the whole of humanity as being our brothers and sisters.”

His Holiness recommended putting negative experiences behind us and setting positive goals. He said it’s possible to teach people to be more compassionate because we all have a seed of compassion from the start of our lives—we just have to nurture it. The key factor is to cultivate warm-heartedness.

David Yang summarized a session that had touched on belonging and the warmth of family and community bonds.

“I’m honoured to be meeting with people who have their future ahead of them,” His Holiness remarked. “How we live from day to day affects our future. I repeat, warm-heartedness is the key factor. I think about it always because it’s warm-heartedness that brings us peace of mind. See you tomorrow.”

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Wishing Prime Minister Modi a Happy Birthday https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/wishing-prime-minister-modi-a-happy-birthday Fri, 16 Sep 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/wishing-prime-minister-modi-a-happy-birthday Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - On the occasion of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s seventy-second birthday His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to him to offer his warmest good wishes and prayers for his continued good health.

“It’s wonderful,” His Holiness wrote, “that India has successfully met the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Although we have not seen the complete end to it, India today is better placed to address similar challenges in the future.

“As the longest-staying guest in India I have observed its development first hand. Now the country is also a rising economic power and a leader in science and technology.

“India’s strong democratic foundation is an example of peace and stability. Having one of the youngest populations is an asset that will enable further development and the fulfilment of positive aspirations. I am delighted to say India is poised to assume its rightful place in the world.

“I have great admiration for the way Mahatma Gandhi made the age-old practice of ‘ahimsa’ appreciated across the world,” His Holiness continued. “May I reiterate that on my part, in addition to seeking to promote this principle wherever possible, I am deeply committed to creating greater awareness of the power of ‘karuna’ to help us all lead a happy and meaningful life. These values are treasures from the Indian tradition.

His Holiness ended his letter with thanks. “Once again, I would like to take this opportunity to express deep gratitude to the government and people of India for the warm and generous hospitality we Tibetans have enjoyed since we were forced into exile in 1959.”

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Entering into the Middle Way (2022) - Second Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/entering-into-the-middle-way-2022-second-day Thu, 15 Sep 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/entering-into-the-middle-way-2022-second-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - When His Holiness the Dalai Lama stepped into the yard this morning on his way to the temple, he paused to pay attention to a great array of objects that people had placed on several tables to be blessed. Then, walking on, he looked repeatedly to either side of the path to smile and wave to members of the public.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama waving to people gathered on the street below as makes his way around the Kalachakra Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 16, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

As he walked round the Kalachakra Temple he stopped to lean on the railing, look down and wave to people gathered on the street below. Likewise, from behind the back of the Main Temple he laughed and waved to people waiting to catch a glimpse of him from the road up to McLeod Ganj. Inside the temple, before sitting down, he greeted and saluted the Thai monks who are sitting around the throne.

The ‘Heart Sutra’ was chanted first at a steady pace by Vietnamese monks and nuns who followed the rhythm of a wooden fish. Next, it was recited by a group from Indonesia.

Addressing the audience estimated to number 6100 from 57 countries, including the specific patrons of the teaching, 650 Buddhists from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, His Holiness observed that this was the second day of the teachings.

“All of us are the same in not wanting to suffer, but wishing to be happy. On this planet,” he went on, “there have been several founding teachers of various religious traditions, but it was the Buddha’s observation that suffering is not without causes. These causes arise from our actions and mental afflictions. He advised that we know suffering, get rid of its origin, achieve cessation and cultivate the path.

“We need to understand the nature and extent of suffering. Something may appear to be pleasurable, but is actually of the nature of suffering. Suffering and dissatisfaction are not outside us, they’re something we experience within. However, we can achieve their cessation by cultivating the path that consists of the Three Higher Trainings—ethics, concentration and wisdom.

A group from Indonesia reciting the 'Heart Sutra' in Indonesian as the start of the second day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple Dharamsala, HP, India on September 16, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“The Buddha taught that suffering must be known, but that there is nothing to be known. Its origin must be overcome, but there is nothing to be overcome. And the same is true of cessation and the path. These Four Noble Truths are the basis of the Buddha’s teaching, key to which is that the ultimate cause of suffering is a distorted state of mind. One way to counter this is to take account of the Four Seals:

All conditioned phenomena are transient.
All polluted phenomena are unsatisfactory or in the nature of suffering.
All phenomena are empty and selfless.
Nirvana is true peace,

“The Buddha’s teaching is logical and based on cause and effect. Practising it is not a question of praying to the Buddha. It’s about overcoming ignorance and distorted views by following the true path. When you reach the path of preparation you achieve some cessation, and on the path of seeing, you actualize cessation.

“Overcoming ignorance involves understanding what suffering is and that its cause is karma and mental affliction. It entails understanding that things do not exist as they appear. Nothing exists that is not dependent. Things are merely designated. Achieving cessation requires strength of mind. When you understand that it is possible to achieve cessation, you’ll follow the path.”

At this point His Holiness recited a verse from Jé Tsongkhapa’s ‘In Praise of Dependent Arising’:

Becoming ordained in the way of the Buddha
by not being lax in study of his words,
and by yoga practice of great resolve,
this monk devotes himself to that great purveyor of truth.

And he applied what it says to his own experience, noting that he had taken novice and fully-ordained monk’s vows in his youth. Since that time, having become a renunciant, he studied the teaching of the Buddha. The essence of this is to cultivate the awakening mind of bodhichitta and an understanding of emptiness. He stated that like Tsongkhapa, ‘by yoga practice of great resolve, this monk devotes himself to that great purveyor of truth—the Buddha.’

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the congregation at the Main Tibetan Temple Dharamsala, HP, India on September 16, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness announced that he’d be happy to answer questions from the audience. In doing so he explained that since grasping at the true existence of phenomena serves as the basis for grasping at the true existence of a person, it would be difficult to understand the selflessness of a person without realizing the lack of true existence of phenomena.

He added that other traditions and schools of thought assert a soul or self that is not dependent on the mental and physical aggregates, whereas the Buddha denied the existence of such a self.

His Holiness clarified that although developing single-pointed concentration is important, it is possible to understand through analysis that things have no essential existence. He recalled that the great Indian master Kamalashila, a student of Shantarakshita, was invited to Tibet by the then King, Trisong Detsen. He took part in the Samye Debate with Chinese teaches who advocated the importance of concentrated and non-conceptual meditation. The King decided that taking an analytical approach was more suitable for Tibetans.

His Holiness commented that by applying the sevenfold reasoning it would be possible to focus on the empty nature of an object, but that subsequently it would also be useful to analyse the mind that performed the analysis.

He told a woman who spoke of her dreams of people who have died that sometimes such dreams occur because of past connections and other circumstances. However, he counselled that dreams are not reliable.

His Holiness remarked that we all have a general sense of ‘I’, but that it’s when we think of that ‘I’ as not dependent on the aggregates and as their owner or controller that we grasp at the self of a person. There is a mere ‘I’ on the one hand and a grasping at an independent self on the other.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question on the second day of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple Dharamsala, HP, India on September 16, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

He recommended greater interaction between religious traditions that would lead to a clearer understanding of other ways of thinking and practice. He noted that the Buddha was not alone in adopting the homeless life, followers of other traditions do this too.

As far as spiritual practice is concerned, he suggested that thinking only of yourself doesn’t bring happiness. It gives rise instead to anxiety and suspicion. If, however, you concern yourself with the well-being of sentient beings extensive as space, you’ll find yourself calm and at ease. He quoted Shantideva’s advice:

For those who fail to exchange their own happiness for the suffering of others, Buddhahood is certainly impossible - how could there even be happiness in cyclic existence? 8/131

His Holiness conceded that saying prayers for your teacher’s long life can have some benefits, but far more effective is to practise the teaching he’s given, which, in the case of a Buddhist, involves bodhichitta and an understanding of emptiness. This gift of practice is what will really prolong the lama’s longevity.

His Holiness observed that a simple first step when coming to terms with suffering is to look at it from a wider perspective. On the one side think of yourself as just one among many human beings alive on this earth, on the other it can help to take other unforeseen circumstances into account. So long as we are steeped in self-cherishing attitudes we’ll encounter disturbances, but developing insight into selflessness can help us counter our negative emotions.

He reiterated that when we grasp at the self with attachment or anger, as something solid that seems to possess the aggregates, that is the object to be negated.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering a question from a member fo the audience on the second day of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple Dharamsala, HP, India on September 16, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

He recommended that a psycho-therapist might find it more effective to share her own experience than to prescribe practices borrowed from Buddhism for her patients. Asked to explain the easiest way to develop bodhichitta he mentioned both the seven-point cause and effect approach and the method of equalizing and exchanging self and others. The book that describes this latter method most vividly is Shantideva’s ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’, from which he cited the following verses:

All those who suffer in the world do so because of their desire for their own happiness. All those happy in the world are so because of their desire for the happiness of others. 8/129

Why say more? Observe this distinction: between the fool who longs for his own advantage and the sage who acts for the advantage of others. 8/130

This same book encourages us to reappraise how we view someone who seeks to harm us. Although they appear to be hostile, with a wish to harm, it’s possible to see them as an object of compassion. Because this transforms our own attitude, we can view such an ‘enemy’ as a teacher.

Finally, a mother wanted to know how to bring her son up as a Buddhist. His Holiness told her, “Rather than trying to impose this or that set of ideas on your son, it would be better to offer him books to read, maybe even books I’ve written,” and he laughed, “so he can come to his own conclusions.”

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Entering into the Middle Way (2022) - First Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/entering-into-the-middle-way-2022-first-day Wed, 14 Sep 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/entering-into-the-middle-way-2022-first-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - This morning, a group of Thai Buddhist monks recited the Mangala Sutta in Pali as His Holiness the Dalai Lama took his seat on the throne in the Tsuglagkhang, the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala. There followed the chanting of the ‘Heart Sutra’ in Chinese, including the prayer that Chinese recite at the end that encapsulates the practice of the Dharma:

A group of Thai Buddhist monks reciting the Mangala Sutta in Pali as His Holiness the Dalai Lama takes his seat at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 15, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

May we be able to dispel the three poisons
May the light of insight shine brightly
May we be able to overcome all obstacles
May we be able to engage in the deeds of Bodhisattvas.

His Holiness began by reciting the final verse of homage from Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’:

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

“Since we suffer because of ignorance,” he explained, “we have to eliminate all distorted views and develop the correct view. If we are to do this, we need to study, reflect on what we’ve learned and meditate on what we’ve understood.

“When I first heard about emptiness, I felt it was good, but it was only after I had studied ‘Fundamental Wisdom’, ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ and its ‘Auto-commentary’ and thought deeply about it that I gained conviction.

“If you think carefully, you’ll see that things don’t exist from their own side. As quantum physicists have observed, things do not exist as they appear. They have no objective existence whatsoever.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the congregation at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 15, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I memorized the ‘Ornament for Clear Realization’ and ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ when I was a boy. The ‘Ornament’ deals mostly with the Bodhisattva paths and grounds, the method aspect of the path. ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ reveals the wisdom understanding emptiness. Distorted views are not dispelled by saying mantras, but by developing understanding. There are different sets of reasonings used to disprove the objective existence of things: the reasoning known as Diamond Slivers, the reasoning refuting existent or non-existent effects, the reasoning refuting the four permutations of arising, the reasoning refuting existence as ‘neither one nor many' and the great reasoning of dependent arising.

“The verse I recited at the start is powerful because it makes clear that the Buddha taught to help beings eliminate their distorted views. When I reflect on emptiness, I focus on three verses from chapter six of ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ which disclose absurd consequences that would prevail if things were to exist objectively.”

His Holiness noted that the Buddha undertook six years of austere practice and discovered that single-pointed concentration alone did not overcome distorted views. Later, masters like Nagarjuna examined what he taught in the light of logic and reasoning. They made clear that things do not exist as they appear. The Nalanda Tradition emerged from their findings and this tradition survives today.

“As human beings,” His Holiness remarked, “we have the opportunity to study the Dharma, to understand and experience it. When I was young, I memorized important texts, listened to my tutors’ explanations of them and thought about them deeply. In exile, I was able to really reflect on what I’d learned, so, from that point of view, coming into exile was like a blessing in disguise. It’s through study, reflection and meditation that transformation takes place.

“I may not claim to have gained genuine experience, but I’m confident that my efforts have brought me peace of mind. I’m quite relaxed. The key is to tackle our emotions, examining how, for example, anger arises and how it can be subdued. The important thing is not to concern yourself with the next life or achieving omniscience, it’s about learning to deal with negative emotions here and now.

Members of the audience from Southeast Asia listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 15, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Relying on the Buddha’s advice that things have no objective existence and the altruistic awakening mind we can bring about change within us. We can learn not to harm others but to help them—we can learn to be warm-hearted,”

His Holiness turned to ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ and its ‘Auto-commentary’. He pointed out that their author, Chandrakirti, was a leading disciple of Nagarjuna. He mentioned that he had received the transmission of the root text from his Abbot, Ling Rinpoché, and the transmission of the auto-commentary from Sakya Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk.

He observed that at the start of his treatise Chandrakirti pays homage to great compassion, alluding to the fact that Buddhas become enlightened through a combination of the awakening mind of bodhichitta that is rooted in compassion and an insight into emptiness.

His Holiness declared that compassion, love and affection are important because life is so much better if we cultivate these qualities. Our mother’s care as soon as we’re born gives us an early lesson in these responses, but we seem to lose interest in them when we go to school because little attention is given to them there. He mentioned his plans to hold discussions with educationists on ways to restore an admiration for love and compassion in the education system.

Recalling that Mahatma Gandhi made the age-old principle of ‘ahimsa’, the idea of non-violence and doing no harm, widely known, His Holiness revealed that today the world needs to learn about compassion.

His Holiness began to read from verse 12 of the first chapter that highlights giving. Reading to the end of the chapter he noted that bodhisattvas are entirely dedicated to the well-being of others. He read on to the fourth verse of the second chapter and announced that he wanted to introduce the all-encompassing yoga mind.

 His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on the first day of his teaching on Chandrakirti's "Entering into the Middle Way" at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 15, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“If you think only of yourself,” he suggested, “you’re only concerned with one person. This is a narrow perspective in the context that all other sentient beings are just like you in wanting to avoid suffering and find happiness. A wiser approach to self-interest is to take other beings into account, to think of doing others no harm and helping them as much as possible.

“Next, reflect on how things are empty of objective existence, of independent existence. Chandrakirti describes this realization as follows:

Thus, illuminated by the rays of wisdom’s light,
the bodhisattva sees as clearly as a gooseberry on his open palm
that the three realms in their entirety are unborn from their very start,
and through the force of conventional truth, he journeys to cessation. 6.224

“He goes on to narrate how the bodhisattva, like a king of swans soaring ahead of other accomplished swans, with white wings of conventional and ultimate truths spread wide, propelled by the powerful winds of virtue, cruises to the excellent far shore, the oceanic qualities of the conquerors.

“If you check who you are, your body is not you. Your mind is not you, and yet you have a strong sense of cherishing yourself. Think about how, whether you are going somewhere or simply resting, you cannot pin-point a self in connection with your body or mind. Consequently, you may conclude that the idea of a self is merely designated on the collection of psycho-physical aggregates.”

His Holiness advised his listeners to imagine the awakening mind of bodhichitta appearing as a moon disc at their heart and an understanding of a lack of independent existence as a white vajra standing on the moon. He recommended they recite Om Sarva Yoga Chitta Utpadaya mi three times.

His Holiness divulged that he has seen a change in himself as a result of thinking of bodhichitta and emptiness first thing on waking in the morning for years. He urged his listeners to do the same, to be happy, and to share their experience with others.

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Offering Congratulations to His Majesty King Charles III https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/offering-congratulations-to-his-majesty-king-charles-iii Fri, 09 Sep 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/offering-congratulations-to-his-majesty-king-charles-iii Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - Today, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to His Majesty King Charles III to offer his congratulations on the latter’s accession to the throne.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with then Britain's Prince Charles at Clarence House in London, UK on June 20, 2012. Photo by Ian Cumming

“I am confident,” His Holiness wrote, “that you will fulfil this great responsibility with kindness and affection, dedicated to the service of others.

“Since I have the honour of counting Your Majesty as a dear and respected friend, it is a joy for me to see your being proclaimed King of the United Kingdom.

His Holiness concluded, “I wish you every success in meeting whatever challenges lie ahead in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the British people, and contributing to the creation of a more peaceful world.”

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Condolences for Queen Elizabeth II https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/condolences-for-queen-elizabeth-ii Thu, 08 Sep 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/condolences-for-queen-elizabeth-ii Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - On learning this morning that Queen Elizabeth II had passed away, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote to her son, His Majesty King Charles III, to express his deep sadness and to offer heartfelt condolences to His Majesty, the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom.

“I remember seeing photographs of her coronation in magazines when I was young in Tibet,” His Holiness wrote. “Her reign, as Britain’s longest serving monarch, represented celebration, inspiration and a reassuring sense of continuity for so many people alive today.

“Your mother lived a meaningful life with dignity, grace, a strong sense of service and a warm heart, qualities we all should treasure.”

His Holiness’s letter concluded with his offering his prayers and good wishes.

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A Prayer for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Long Life https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/a-prayer-for-his-holiness-the-dalai-lamas-long-life Wed, 07 Sep 2022 12:33:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/a-prayer-for-his-holiness-the-dalai-lamas-long-life Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - This morning five organizations, the Tendhong Cultural Preservation Society (Mön), the International Jonang Well-being Association, the Domey-Mang-Bha-Ja-Sum Association, the alumni of Namgyal Higher Secondary School, Nepal, and the Sydney Tibetan Association came together to offer a prayer for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s long life at the Tsuglagkhang, the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala. His Holiness met their representatives at the gate to his residence and they escorted him as he walked through the temple yard, smiling and waving at well-wishers on the way. He was presented with the traditional Chema Changpu from which he took a pinch. Further on a group of dancers performed for his delight.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama receiving a traditional welcome on his arrival at the Main Tibetan Temple courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 7, 2022. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

In the temple, facing His Holiness as he sat on the throne before the statue of Buddha Shakyamuni was a line of lamas who led the prayer—Gyabong Rinpoché, Abbot of Tawang Monastery, the Dorjé Löbpön of Namgyal Monastery, Jonang Gyaltsab Rinpoché, Ganden Tri Rinpoché, Ling Rinpoché, Guru Tulku Rinpoché and Khenpo Nyima Tashi, Abbot of the Kagyu Monastery in Jang, Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh.

Ganden Tri Rinpoché came forward to welcome His Holiness as proceedings began with the recitation of a tribute to the various incarnations of Avalokiteshvara who have appeared in India and Tibet.

Addressing the congregation His Holiness told them, “I am familiar with the experience of the awakening mind of bodhichitta. I renew the wish expressed in this verse every day,

As long as space endures,
And as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then, may I too remain
To help dispel the misery of the world.

“I belong to the lineage of Dalai Lamas and have a strong link to the people of the Himalayan region. I was recently in Ladakh and I hope to make a visit to Mön Tawang again soon.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the congregation during the Long Life Prayer at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 7, 2022. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“In this life alone I’ve been able to serve the Dharma and sentient beings and I make a determination to live long in order that I may continue to do so. I feel I can live for another 10 to 20 years or so. I’m not concerned with money or fame, only with being able to benefit others. And for that reason, I pray to live long. The prayer that is being performed today involves Arya Tara and I say her mantra for longevity every day.

“During my recent visit to Ladakh and Zanskar I was moved by the faith and trust of the people there. Tibetans in Tibet are also unflinching in their devotion, but they are living under oppressive conditions. Meanwhile, an increasing number of people in China are taking an interest in Buddhism and even Chinese officials are beginning to acknowledge that I’m not the reactionary they make me out to be. In fact, it's not just human beings who take an interest in the Dharma, I have dreamt of spirits and deities who have faith in me and I've urged them too to cultivate the awakening mind of bodhichitta for the benefit of others.”

At a certain point the Chantmaster made a mandala offering and a procession of people carrying gifts began to file through the temple. Ganden Tri Rinpoché approached the throne to recite the eulogy and request to His Holiness to live long.

The Chant Master reciting a mandala offering during the Long Life Prayer for His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 7, 2022. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“You are the leader of the Tibetan people,” he declared. “We, members of five organizations, including people from Arunachal Pradesh, the Jonang tradition and so on, pay our respects at your feet.

“It was prophesied that Avalokiteshvara would appear in Tibet, which he did. Nyetri Tsanpo was followed by others, the line of Dalai Lamas among them, most especially the 13th Dalai Lama, whose reincarnation, born in Amdo near Kumbum, you are. You studied rigorously in the traditional way.

“With undaunted courage you have served others without tiring. With fortitude and skilful means, you have discharged spiritual and temporal responsibilities in leading the Tibetan people. You introduced democracy so we can elect our representatives.

“The award of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Congressional Gold Medal acknowledged your contribution to humanity.

“369 years after the Great Fifth Dalai Lama you devolved your political responsibilities to Tibetans’ elected leaders.

Ganden Tri Rinpoché reciting praises to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the Long Life Prayer at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 7, 2022. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

“You have also taken steps to protect the environment.

“These are just some of your achievements—there are many more.

“We pray that, like Thangtong Gyalpo, you may live to be 125 years old. We pray that we may be taken care of by you and pledge that we will abide by your instructions. Therefore, we make these offerings to you.”

Tri Rinpoché then offered a statue of White Tara, a copy of the ‘8000 Verse Perfection of Wisdom Sutra’ and a chörten to His Holiness. He presented a vase containing the nectar of long life. His Holiness took a drop and then offered it to Tri Rinpoché in turn. Likewise, when long life pills and the elixir of immortality were presented to His Holiness, he also offered them to Tri Rinpoché.

Jonang Gyaltsab Rinpoché was in the middle of offering emblems of the eight auspicious substances when the Nechung Oracle appeared in spontaneous trance and came forward to pay his respects to His Holiness.

 The Nechung Oracle in a spontaneous trance during the Long Life Prayer offered to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 7, 2022. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

Representatives of the patrons of today’s ceremony filed past the throne and received a silk scarf and protection cord from His Holiness. Guru Tulku Rinpoché offered a silver statue of Thangtong Gyalpo.

“As I said earlier,” His Holiness remarked, “I have strong links with the people of Arunachal Pradesh and the Himalayan region. Because of karma and past prayers, I have been able to serve them as well the Dharma and other sentient beings. And because I have this opportunity, I firmly aspire to live another two decades. I’d like to thank all of you, members of these five different organizations, for conducting this ritual for my long life today.

“I understand the Covid pandemic is rife in Arunachal Pradesh and also in Tibet. I will make prayers that it may be subdued. In China too the situation is serious. Let’s pray to Arya Tara to help Tibetans and Chinese at this time, to relieve their suffering and alleviate the fear in their minds. We also need to remember the people of Xinjiang with love and compassion.

“In addition, I pray that we may continue to preserve and promote the teaching of the Buddha through study, reflection and meditation.”

Finally, His Holiness was requested to give the oral transmission of the six-syllable mantra, Om mani padme hung, which he did. He revealed that he recites this mantra, along with the ‘Praise to the Buddha for Teaching Dependent Arising’, every morning and prays to Avalokiteshvara that there may be peace in the world. He led the crowd in reciting a full rosary of Om mani padme hung.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama waving to the crowd as he departs for his residence at the conclusion of the Long Life Prayer at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 7, 2022. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel

As he left the temple and made his way down to the yard where his car awaited, His Holiness looked right and left, up and down, and wherever he could see people he smiled and waved to them—and they smiled and waved back.

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Congratulating Prime Minister Liz Truss https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/congratulating-liz-truss Mon, 05 Sep 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/congratulating-liz-truss Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to Liz Truss to offer his congratulations on her election as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

“Historically, we Tibetans have enjoyed a long and unique relationship with Great Britain,” he wrote. “To this day we maintain close contacts with members of the families of British Government officials who were posted in Tibet prior to 1959.

“I am also very appreciative of our British friends’ strong interest in and support for the Tibetan people's aspirations for freedom and dignity.”

His Holiness concluded, “These are very challenging times. It is my hope that the U.K. will continue to prosper and make a significant contribution to the peace and stability of our ever more interdependent world.”

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Condolences Regarding Mikhail Gorbachev https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/condolences-regarding-mikhail-gorbachev Tue, 30 Aug 2022 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/condolences-regarding-mikhail-gorbachev Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - After learning this morning that Mikhail Gorbachev, former leader of the Soviet Union and Nobel Peace Laureate had passed away, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote to the Gorbachev Foundation to express his sadness.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and former leader of the Soviet Union and Nobel Peace Laureate Mikhail Gorbachev participate in a panel discussion during the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Chicago, Illinois, USA on April 25th, 2012.

“I make heartfelt prayers for my friend and offer condolences to his daughter, Irina Virganskaya and members of his family, his friends and supporters,” he wrote.

“I had enormous respect for him and his efforts to introduce greater openness and transformation, as well as for his opposition to nuclear war. He worked actively to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world.

“Over the years I had the great honour to meet him on many occasions when we both took part in peace forums in different parts of the world. We have remained in close contact.

“Mikhail Gorbachev was a man of vision and an exemplary statesman. Even after his retirement he continued to be committed to promoting peace and reconciliation in the world. His initiation of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates has allowed Nobel Peace Laureates and their respective organizations to come together regularly to apply their collective thoughts to bringing about a more caring, peaceful world.

“He lived a meaningful life,” His Holiness concluded. “We should continue to keep his spirit alive by emulating the enthusiasm and determination with which he encouraged freedom and worked to create a demilitarised world.”

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Visiting the LGA Dharma Centre and Lunch at Abi Pang Spituk https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/visiting-the-lga-dharma-centre-and-lunch-at-abi-pang-spituk Thu, 25 Aug 2022 17:17:54 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2022/visiting-the-lga-dharma-centre-and-lunch-at-abi-pang-spituk Shewatsel, Leh, Ladakh, UT, India - When His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived at the Ladakh Gonpa Association's Dharma Centre, a huge community prayer hall at Choglamsar, Mr. Thupstan Chhewang, President of the Ladakh Buddhist Association and Acharya Tenzin Wangtak, President of the All Ladakh Gonpa Association and other representatives were there to greet him.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the congregation during his visit to the Ladakh Gonpa Association community prayer hall in Leh, Ladakh, UT, India on August 25, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“During my recent travels across Ladakh and Zanskar,” he told them, “I was very touched by the deep reverence and affection shown to me by people from all sections of the community. It made me feel that I must live long to serve people with such a sense of devotion. Such a display of brotherhood and sisterhood among people belonging to different spiritual traditions is admirable.

“People from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh share the same Tibetan Buddhist culture, a culture of peace and compassion. I'd like to express my deep appreciation of the way you are contributing to the preservation of this Buddhist culture. It is derived from the historic Nalanda University, where learning was based on reasoned investigation.

“Since Ladakh is a border region, my travels will not go unnoticed across the frontier. A smiling Dalai Lama meeting people who show such deep faith and trust in him not only gives inspiration to Tibetans in Tibet, but for them is also a source of pride. Despite some rigid communist officials labelling me a reactionary, when they see a perpetually smiling Dalai Lama doing his best to serve humanity, they might doubt the harsh policies they have imposed on Tibetans.

“What’s more, even among Chinese people, there is a growing interest in Buddhism, particularly the Nalanda tradition that Tibetans have kept alive. Although Chairman Mao told me in 1955 that religion is the opium of the people, I feel that if he were alive today, he might retract that judgement.

“Cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta, has long been my daily practice. And this morning too, as I was coming to meet you, I was doing that practice as we passed the long Manthang-an at Choglamsar, the wall heaped with thousands of stones inscribed with mantras, including the six-syllable mantra of Avalokiteshvara.

“As I have said time and again, all the major religions teach about love and compassion, despite adopting different philosophical points of view. And this is the reason I make a point of praying at the places of worship of different faiths.

Members of the local community in the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking during his visit to the Ladakh Gonpa Association community prayer hall in Leh, Ladakh, UT, India on August 25, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“I was born in a remote part of north-eastern Tibet. When the Regent, Reting Rinpoché and other dignitaries including Kewtsang Rinpoché offered prayers at Lhamoi Latso, the lake sacred to Palden Lhamo, not far from Lhasa, seeking signs of where to look for the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, they saw three Tibetan syllables on the surface of the water: A, KA, and MA, They also the likeness of a house and its surroundings.

“As it turned out, from early in the morning that Kewtsang Rinpoché and his delegation were due to arrive at my birthplace, seeking my predecessor's reincarnation, I’ve been told that I was very excited and expecting guests. When Kewtsang Rinpoché reached Taktser, my village near Kumbum, he felt that it was the very place he had seen in Lake Lhamoi Latso.

“Moments after the search party entered our house, this two-year-old boy asked Kewtsang Rinpoché to give him the rosary he had round his neck claiming it as his own. In fact, it had belonged to the Great 13th Dalai Lama. When Rinpoché asked the child if he recognized him, he instantly called out, "Sera Aka!", which means Lama from Sera Monastery.

“In due course, I reached Lhasa and took the three vows: Upasaka (the vows of a Buddhist lay person), the novice and Bhikshu—fully ordained monk—vows in front of the Chenrezig statue in the Jokhang, the main temple in Lhasa. In addition, as a child I began to study Buddhism with my tutors, chief of whom was Yongzin Ling Rinpoché.

“I’ve had the opportunity to memorize classic Buddhist texts and study them in great detail. I am also grateful that these studies prepared me for deep discussions with scientists, particularly in regard to Buddhist philosophy, but also Buddhist psychology, which, I’m convinced, has much to contribute to a better understanding of how to train the mind and emotions from a secular, academic point of view.”

As he came to an end, His Holiness advised his listeners to think about cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta, and recommended them to be warm-hearted, to live in harmony with others and help them whenever they can.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama exchanging greetings with former Gaden Tripa, His Eminence Rizong Rinpoché, on his arrival at Rinpoché's residence in Leh, Ladakh, UT, India on August 25, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Next, His Holiness paid a brief farewell visit to the former Gaden Tripa, His Eminence Rizong Rinpoché, who is 96 years old, at his residence in Leh. He is someone from whom His Holiness has received many teachings.

His Holiness attended a farewell luncheon offered by the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) and the Ladakh Gonpa Association in his honour at Abi Pang Spituk, a huge park on the outskirts of Leh. Among those present were eminent officials, as well as elected representatives of the LAHDC, district officials, representatives of religious communities, and members of the public.

Mr. Thupstan Chhewang, President of LBA gave a brief welcome address, in which he expressed deep gratitude for His Holiness’s visit to Ladakh, before requesting His Holiness to address the gathering.

He began by declaring how pleased he was to see so many people, lay-people and monastics. He mentioned once again that the Himalayan region from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh shares a common Buddhist culture with the people of the "Snow Land of Tibet". He thanked them for their deep interest in it and their support for efforts to keep it alive. He thanked them too for their devotion and the trust they have shown in the person of the Dalai Lama.

“We have been able to keep the Nalanda tradition of Buddhism alive for centuries,” he observed, “because it has such potential to help individuals develop happiness and peace of mind. The main advice of this tradition is to do no harm to any being. We have all been aware of compassion from our childhood, therefore we have to help others and avoid doing them harm. This simple advice can be of benefit to the whole of humanity.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the gathering organized by the Ladakh Buddhist Association and Ladakh Gonpa Association at Abi Pang Spituk in Leh, Ladakh, UT, India on August 25, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness also recalled his friendship with members of the Muslim community in Lhasa when he was young. And he reiterated his appreciation that as neighbours of Tibet, the people of the Himalayan region have kept the Tibetan Buddhist cultural heritage alive, while Tibetans in Tibet have been under the control of a repressive communist party.

Finally, His Holiness advised all those gathered around him to be happy and to keep in mind the importance of being warm-hearted. His last words, "See you next year", were received with joyful applause.

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