Dalai Lama https://www.dalailama.com/ en-us Wed, 26 Sep 2018 11:43:56 +0000 Wed, 26 Sep 2018 11:43:56 +0000 ‘Human Values and Education’ at Zurich University of Applied Sciences https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/human-values-and-education-at-zurich-university-of-applied-sciences Sun, 23 Sep 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/human-values-and-education-at-zurich-university-of-applied-sciences Zurich, Switzerland - There was a chill in the air as His Holiness the Dalai Lama left his hotel to drive to Winterthur this morning. When he arrived at the Conference Centre he was received by Jean-Marc Piveteau, President of ZHAW University (Zurich University of Applied Sciences). Once His Holiness had sat down on the stage in the auditorium, Piveteau introduced the occasion. “We’re talking about tolerance, justice and freedom because it’s important to be aware of human values. A university is about more than just earning a degree, it’s about ideas and values and a commitment to responsibility. For us, Your Holiness, you represent many of these values and we’d like to hear from you.’

Jean-Marc Piveteau, President of ZHAW University (Zurich University of Applied Sciences) introducing the symposium at the University's Conference Center in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 24, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“Dear brothers and sisters,” His Holiness responded, “when I see a human face, I think, ‘O, another human brother or sister’. We focus too much on secondary differences between us—differences of community, religion, religious denomination, whether people are rich or poor—which gives rise to a sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’. In today’s world, besides natural disasters, many of the problems we face are of our own creation. As a result, people are not very happy.

“In the past, the human population was small, and people depended on each other in small communities. Now the population has increased and we make distinctions between this community and that, this country and another. In the 20th century there were two world wars; why? Nowadays, in the Middle East religion has become a cause for people to kill each other. They think in terms of ‘my religion’ and ‘their religion’. Since we create these conflicts, it’s our responsibility to resolve them.

“There are signs of hope; the latter part of the 20th century was different from the earlier years. I’m a great admirer of the spirit of the European Union and the way de Gaulle and Adenauer, after being enemies for long, decided it was better to live together and pursue a common interest. The British seem to be leaving for narrow-minded, selfish reasons.

A view from the back of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences' Conference Center during the symposium on "Human Values and Education" in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 24, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“There are differences between us, but at a deeper level we are the same in being human. We’re all born the same way and we die the same way. Some scientists say, as a result of their findings with young, pre-verbal infants that basic human nature is compassionate. At the same time, while constant anger, fear and hatred undermine our immune systems, peace of mind is good for our health.

“As human beings we are social animals. We survive in dependence on our community. In Barcelona, I met a Catholic monk who had been living as a hermit in the mountain mediating on love. He lived on bread and tea and was truly happy, but even he depended on the support of the local community.

“We need friends and friendship is based on trust. To earn trust, money and power aren’t enough; you have to show some concern for others. You can’t buy trust in the supermarket. In ancient times, you Swiss and we Tibetans may have been satisfied behind our mountains, but today human beings belong to one human community. Therefore, we have to integrate and since we are interdependent we have to show some global responsibility.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the symposium on "Human Values and Education" at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 24, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“If they believe we were all made by God, or if they simply believe in karma, that positive action give rise to happiness and harmful behaviour leads to sorrow, how can people kill each other? We need to think about peace of mind. About 200 years ago the church looked after inner values along with education. Today, inner values need to be incorporated into education, not on the basis of this religion or that, but from a secular point of view.

“And just as we teach physical hygiene to stay physically fit, we need to cultivate emotional hygiene, learning to tackle our destructive emotions, to achieve peace of mind. Wherever I am, I share these ideas with whoever wants to listen—was it clear?”

The room was filled with warm applause.

Moderator of the panel discussion, Swiss TV anchor Susanne Wille introduced the members of the panel: Dr. Christiane Hohenstein, Professor of Inter-Culturalism and Linguistics; Dr. Andreas Gerber-Grote, Professor of Public Health and Head of Research; Leanardo Huber, President of the Students' Association; and Dr. Rudolf Högger, Tibet-Institute Rikon.

Moderator Swiss TV anchor Susanne Wille asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during the panel discussion at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 24, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

She started the discussions by asking His Holiness if it was true that he was a lazy student. He replied that it was only natural. In Tibet education begins with memorization and at the age of seven he began to learn classical texts by heart and didn’t enjoy it very much. It wasn’t until he was older that he began to take an interest in what he was learning. When he was 16, he told her, he lost his freedom and when he was 24 he lost his country, but by that time he had discovered that what he’d learned before helped him keep his inner strength.

The panel discussion touched on self-discipline, listening to the other person’s point of view and sustainability. Dr Högger showed a picture of Tibetan monks in their monastery being taught to dissect fish. They took them apart, organ by organ, eventually lifting out the brain and spinal cord. At that point one of the students asked the teacher “Is this where consciousness begins?” She replied that Western science asserts that without such a basis there can be no consciousness. It was a moment when modern science and Buddhist science acknowledged their different approaches.

Dr. Rudolf Högger of Tibet-Institute Rikon using a photo to illustrate his presentation at the panel discussion at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 24, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Dr Hohenstein remarked that she wasn’t sure that universal human values exist yet, but that we should be prepared to change our stance or perspective. She observed that, given the continuing gender gap, equality is some way off. His Holiness explained that it is his understanding that early human beings gathered and shared what they needed. Only after they took up agriculture and began to stake claims to property was there a need for leadership. Since the criterion to be a leader was physical strength a male dominance emerged. Education has helped address that inequality to some extent, but there remains a need to work to improve equality by overturning entrenched customs and habits of mind.

Dr Hohenstein expressing her view on universal human values at the panel discussion at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 24, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

With regard to the question of universal human values in relation to investment banking, Leanardo Huber suggested that corporate responsibility would be a start, but, he added these are things that need to be talked about. His Holiness remarked that a materialistic way of life has materialistic goals, but we also have to ask what consciousness is. He recounted discussing this with Russian scientists who would not accept the notion of mental consciousness, dismissing it as a religious idea. He mentioned the value of ancient Indian psychology and its methods for training the mind through meditation. Today, the discovery of neuroplasticity has shown that meditative practice can change the brain.

Leanardo Huber, President of the Students' Association responding to a question on universal human values in relation to investment banking during the panel discussion at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 24, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“People are used only to considering sensory sources of pleasure and joy; little attention is paid to the mind. In Tibet, following the traditions of India’s Nalanda University we make extensive use of analytical meditation; always asking why? why? why? If we come across an explanation that contradicts reason, we reject it.”

Answering a few questions from the audience, His Holiness suggested that children can be trained with love and affection to learn to manage their emotions. He expressed doubt that artificial intelligence will ever fully replicate the sophistication of the human mind that designed it in the first place.

Asked how to find peace of mind, he replied that first you need to value it. You need to understand how emotions like anger and hatred are unhelpful because they disturb it, whereas cultivating their opposite, compassion, strengthens peace of mind. He pointed out that destructive emotions are rooted in a distorted view of reality. He quoted Aaron Beck, an American psychiatrist with long experience working with people troubled by anger, who told him that when people are angry, the object of their anger seems to be completely negative, but this is 90% mental projection.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during the panel discussion at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 24, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

He added that it useful to know that emotions do not belong to the nature of the mind. The mind is clear like water, but also like water it can become clouded by emotions. The natural clarity of the mind was something he stressed.

Moderator Susanne Wille asked the panel for one idea they were going to take away from the discussion. Dr Högger mentioned self-responsibility and the need for personal change. For Dr Hohenstein it was the idea of emotional hygiene and not focussing on secondary differences. Dr Gerber-Grote voiced an appreciation for empathy and Leanardo Huber said he was intrigued by the idea of analytical meditation.

Jean-Marc Piveteau expressed thanks to His Holiness and the other members of the panel on behalf of ZHAW University. Dr Karma Dolma Lobsang, on behalf of Tibet-Institute Rikon, also expressed gratitude, noting that this was the fourth and last event of the celebrations of the Tibet-Institute’s 50th anniversary. She wished His Holiness a long life, safe travels and told him that these days with him would not be forgotten. Once more, warm applause filled the hall.

His Holiness and the panellists were invited to lunch by the University. Afterwards His Holiness left for Berne, from where he will fly to India tomorrow.

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Buddhist Teachings as Part of Tibet-Institute Rikon’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/buddhist-teachings-as-part-of-tibet-institute-rikons-50th-anniversary-celebrations Sat, 22 Sep 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/buddhist-teachings-as-part-of-tibet-institute-rikons-50th-anniversary-celebrations Zurich, Switzerland - This morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama took a shorter drive to reach Zurich’s Hallenstadion where more than 9000 waited to listen to him. He took his seat on the throne against a backdrop of three colossal thangkas depicting the Buddha, Manjushri and Avalokiteshvara. Prayers were brief and he began to give an introduction to Buddhism.

A view of the stage at the Zurich Hallenstadion during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching in Zurich, Switzerland on September 23, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

He explained how in ancient India people who remembered their past lives prompted the idea that there is a permanent, single, autonomous self that carries on from one life to the next. Common to many Indian spiritual traditions were practices for achieving a calmly abiding mind and special insight.

“By cultivating calm abiding we try to eliminate the mind’s distractions,” His Holiness clarified. “Calming your mind and focussing it on a single point is developed in nine stages, which are explained in the middle volume of the ‘Stages of Meditation’. It’s necessary to avoid dullness and laxity on the one hand and excitement on the other. I know a meditator who emerged from a three year retreat and told me his mind was duller than before. He had allowed his mind to sink. The mind needs to be fully alert. It needs the intensity of alertness.

“Special insight is the mind that focuses on how things are. A calmly abiding mind and special insight are found in non-Buddhist traditions that also explore the meditative absorptions of the desire, form and formless realms.

Senior members of the Tibetan monastic community sitting on stage at His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Zurich Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland on September 23, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“Through the practice of meditation the Buddha discovered that it is clinging to a distorted view of self that is the source of all problems. He discovered that selflessness is the path to follow and became enlightened. Following his attainment he remained silent for 49 days, but in a verse attributed to him soon after enlightenment he reflected:

“Profound and peaceful, free from elaboration, uncompounded luminosity---
I have found a nectar-like Dharma.
Yet if I were to teach it, no-one would understand,
So I shall remain silent here in the forest.

“This indicates how his teachings would unfold. ‘Profound and peaceful’ indicates the nature of cyclic existence and cessation. ‘Free from elaboration,’ indicates the subtle selflessness and emptiness that would be the core of the perfection of wisdom teachings. ‘Uncompounded luminosity’ denotes the clear light described in the ‘Unravelling of Thought Sutra’ that was explained to people for whom ‘nothing has any inherent existence’ implies that there’s nothing there. Because they’d be inclined to fall into nihilism they were taught the three natures: imputed nature that implies no intrinsic existence; dependent nature that is not self-created and perfect nature that has no ultimate, independent existence.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama giving an introduction to Buddhism at his teaching at the Zurich Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland on September 23, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“When the Buddha’s first five disciples saw him approaching they requested him to tell them what he’d found out. He taught them the Four Noble Truths with their 16 characteristics. This is a clear summary of his entire teaching. Later, he explained the perfection of wisdom teachings that are recorded in 100,000 verses, 25,000 verses, 8,000 verses, 150 verses, the ‘Diamond Cutter Sutra’ and the ‘Heart Sutra’. The shortest version is represented by the letter ‘a’, which indicates the negation of the independent existence of things.”

Nyengön Sungrab distinguished between the general structure of the teachings, which includes the Four Noble Truths and the Perfection of Wisdom teachings, and specialized teachings intended for specific people. Such specialized teachings include the Tantras. Monastic discipline was also part of the general structure. The Buddha gave his monks vows governing such conduct as how to wear their robes. As monks made mistakes, further vows were added. Full ordination in the Mulasarvastavadin tradition upheld in Tibet consists of 253 vows. The Theravada ordination involves 227 vows, but essentially the two traditions reflect the same discipline.

His Holiness noted that there was a custom of honouring the ‘Six Ornaments and Two Supremes’, great Indian Buddhist masters of the past, which he considered incomplete. To rectify this he composed a ‘Praise to the 17 Nalanda Masters’ and commissioned a new thangka to illustrate it.

A view of many of the more than 9,000 people attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Zurich Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland on September 23, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

He gave a reading transmission of the Praise beginning with Buddha Shakyamuni and going on to extol the qualities of Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Buddhapalita, Bhavaviveka, Chandrakirti, Shantideva, Shantarakshita and Kamalashila of the profound lineage. Belonging to the lineage of extensive deeds was Asanga, who recorded the five texts of Maitreya, Vasubandhu, the logicians Dignaga & Dharmakirti, Vimuktisena, Haribhadra, the Vinaya masters Gunaprabha & Shakyaprabha, and Atisha.

His Holiness discussed the Two Truths, conventional and ultimate truth. “My experience of emptiness is such that if I make an effort I can understand it. Relying on Shantideva’s ‘Guide’ I can see the faults of the self-cherishing attitude—cultivating bodhichitta can overcome them. This is not just an intellectual exercise. These practices have a direct impact on my disturbing emotions.

“In the past, Western writers dismissed Tibetan Buddhism as Lamaism. Now, scholars recognise that it represents the authentic tradition of Nalanda.”

The Mongolian interpreter, one on seven languages translated, working during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching in Zurich, Switzerland on September 23, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

His Holiness began to explain Nagarjuna’s ‘Precious Garland’. In the first verses the work mentions high status, a favourable life, which enables you to practise the dharma. Such a life is secured by gathering its causes—thirteen activities to be avoided, the ten unwholesome deeds: killing, stealing and adultery; false, divisive, harsh, and senseless speech; covetousness, harmful intent, and wrong views. Three additional activities to be restrained include drinking alcohol, wrong livelihood and doing harm. There are three further activities to be adopted---respectful giving, honouring the honourable, and love.

His Holiness read rapidly through the first chapter of the ‘Precious Garland’. He then drew attention to twenty verses, starting with verse 466, that Nagarjuna recommends should be recited daily. He explained how the three volumes of the ‘Stages of Meditation’ came to be written at Trisong Detsen’s request after Kamalashila, Shantarakshita’s student, had defeated Chinese monks in debate. His Holiness advised his listeners to read and study the ‘Precious Garland’ and ‘Stages of Meditation’ and to read the ‘37 Practices of Bodhisattvas’ for guidance about day to day practice. After that he gave the Bodhisattva Vows.

A financial statement was read out in relation to this session of teachings organized by the Tibetan Community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein and the Tibet-Institute Rikon. It prompted His Holiness to point out that he takes no fee for teaching, having been impressed by the example of Tseley Rangdol, who made three pledges: not to ride animals from place to place, to eat only vegetarian food and not to take any payment for his teaching.

Daniel Aitken, President of Wisdom Books, requesting His Holiness to release the paperback edition of ‘The Life of My Teacher: A Biography of Kyabjé Ling Rinpoché’ at the conclusion of teachings at the Zurich Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland on September 23, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Finally, Daniel Aitken, President of Wisdom Books, requested His Holiness to release the paperback edition of ‘The Life of My Teacher: A Biography of Kyabjé Ling Rinpoché’, of which he was the author.

“Ling Rinpoché gave me Bhikshu ordination and encouraged me to study the great texts, for which I am very grateful,” His Holiness declared, before leaving the hall for lunch with six Swiss MPs, Mario Fehr and the President of the City of Zurich.

Later, he returned to the hall to talk to more than 6000 Tibetans and Tibet Supporters.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing more than 6,000 Tibetans and Tibet supporters during their meeting at the Zurich Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland on September 23, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“Wherever Tibetans are, whether born in Tibet or outside, we all have a body of blood, flesh and bone that is Tibetan. The name Tibetan cannot be obliterated from the world while we still live.”

He reviewed the ups and downs of relations with China over nearly 70 years. He compared them to the weather. It may storm and hail may fall, but that lifts and the sun comes out for some time, only for the clouds to roll in once more. He referred to the eras of the different leaders since Mao Zedong and the changes that have taken place. He outlined the development of the Middle Way Approach that he initiated and that the Sikyong has also adopted. He passed on a report of a Chinese official’s suggestion that criticizing the Dalai Lama as a reactionary splittist hasn’t gained much support and since he’s popular it might be more effective to embrace him.

A member of the audience of more than 6,000 Tibetans and Tibet supporters, listening the His Holiness the Dalai Lama during their meeting at the Zurich Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland on September 23, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

In his words of thanks the President of the Tibetan Community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein led the assembly in reciting a prayer for His Holiness’s long life and the fulfilment of his wishes. His Holiness laughed, waved to the crowd and left the stage.

Tomorrow, he will take part in an event in Winterthur organized by the Zurich University of Applied Science, Tibet-Institute Rikon and the Ganden Phodrang Foundation of the Dalai Lama.

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Further Celebrations of Tibet-Institute Rikon’s 50th Anniversary https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/further-celebrations-of-tibet-institute-rikons-50th-anniversary Fri, 21 Sep 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/further-celebrations-of-tibet-institute-rikons-50th-anniversary Zurich, Switzerland - Before leaving for Winterthur to attend further celebrations of the Tibet-Institute Rikon’s 50th anniversary this morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave an interview to Swiss television conducted by Islamic scholar and journalist Amira Hafner-Al Jabaji. She began by asking the significance of the Tibet-Institute Rikon.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama preparing for his interview with Islamic scholar and journalist Amira Hafner-Al Jabaji in Zurich, Switzerland on September 22, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“To start with Swiss people offered to provide work and homes for 1000 Tibetan refugees,” His Holiness responded, “who formed a Tibetan community. Since Buddhism is at the heart of Tibetan culture, it seemed worthwhile to create a small monastery as a cultural institution. Monks there could teach about the human mind and emotions, which, of course, can also be studied from an academic point of view. The Kuhn brothers initially wanted to help Tibetans. Later, they realized that Tibetan culture was something unique and wanted to help preserve it.”

Hafner asked His Holiness for his impressions of Switzerland and he told her that like Tibet it is a mountainous country with pure, clean air, but is much more developed. He added that when he was in Tibet he mostly associated Switzerland with watches, particularly Rolex with its five-point crown symbol.

Hafner mentioned 156 Tibetan children who were fostered by Swiss families, some of whom faced difficulties adjusting. His Holiness explained that in the early days in exile, many Tibetans had few possessions and were working building roads. An offer of help for Tibetan children seemed like an offer to preserve their lives.

Islamic scholar and journalist Amira Hafner-Al Jabaji interviewing His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Swiss television in Zurich, Switzerland on September 22, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Referring to words attributed to him—sometimes we don’t reach the goal we aspire to, but other times reach something we didn’t expect—Hafner asked if that had happened to him. “Yes,” he replied, “as refugees we lost our country, but that has brought about other opportunities. If I had stayed in Tibet as it was, my life would have been much more restricted and isolated. Becoming refugees gave many Tibetans the opportunity to have a modern education. Meanwhile, we restored the training in the monastic institutions. As a result, in India we now have about 10,000 monks fully trained and able to teach, as well as a few thousand nuns.

“The world is passing through an emotional crisis, which only training the mind can solve. To complement the physical hygiene we observe to remain physically fit, we need emotional hygiene to strengthen the mind.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama paying his respects to the image of the Buddha as he arrives on stage at Eulachhalle in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 22, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Overnight rain had left the sky overcast and there was a chill in the air as His Holiness set out for Winterthur. Arriving at the Eulachhalle he was able to walk directly from the car to the stage, stopping for the ‘chema changpu’ and to tease the dancers on the way. Once His Holiness was seated prayers were recited: a Long-Life Prayer, a Prayer for the Eight Auspicious Omens and so forth.

The Rikon Abbot, Khenpo Thupten Legmon acknowledged the distinguished guests, His Holiness and representatives of the Zurich Canton Government among them. He explained how, under His Holiness’s compassionate guidance, he and the monks of the Tibet-Institute Rikon (TIR) have been trying to preserve Tibet’s religion and culture. He requested friends in the audience to continue their support for another 50 years. He also remarked that, in a year that the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has called ‘Thank You India Year’, he would like to thank the Swiss authorities for their consistent help and generosity. He ended with a prayer that His Holiness lives long and that the effect of his deeds may spread far and wide.

Rikon Abbot, Khenpo Thupten Legmon, delivering his opening address at Tibet Institute Rikon's 50th Anniversary Celebration in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 22, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

President of TIR, Dr Karma Dolma Lobsang spoke next, expressing gratitude to His Holiness for attending the occasion. She recalled that when plans were in hand to build the Institute and the ground-breaking ceremony was about to take place, the Chinese embassy registered a protest, which the Swiss government took no notice of. She stated that since the number of Tibetans in Switzerland has increased, the functions of TIR have changed. With representatives of all four Tibetan Buddhist Traditions at the Institute, it functions like a bridge between communities. She introduced the first of two local politicians, Mayor of Winterthur, Michael Kunzle.

After saluting His Holiness, Mayor Kunzle expressed the hope that TIR may be a place of peace and study for a further fifty years. He thanked His Holiness for his visit that has briefly put his town on the world map. The TIR fulfils a need and in its various teaching and study programs shows what can be done when you set your mind to it.

Mayor of Winterthur, Michael Kunzle, speaking at Tibet Institute Rikon's 50th Anniversary Celebration in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 22, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Mario Fehr, Member of the Council of the Canton of Zurich and a long time friend of Tibet, announced that the Zurich government congratulated TIR on its 50th anniversary. “Jacques and Henri Kuhn set an example,” he went on, “they not only gave Tibetans work, they established a cultural centre that is a symbol of Tibetans’ integration into Swiss life. They have become our friends and neighbours; we belong to each other as fellow citizens.

“Tibetans have achieved a great deal here through their own efforts, while the Zurich government has contributed in various ways to the development of TIR. It has provided drums that were made into prayer wheels, expanded the library and refurbished aspects of the Institute’s building. Tashi delek.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama thanking Mario Fehr, Member of the Council of the Canton of Zurich and a long time friend of Tibet for his speech at Tibet Institute Rikon's 50th Anniversary Celebration in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 22, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Dr Karma Dolma introduced a group of young Tibetans who were to perform a song, the lyrics of which were composed by Abbot Thupten Legmon. It was followed by a short video illustrating the foundation and development of the Institute.

Norbu Tsamda, President of the Tibetan Community of Switzerland and Liechtenstein,
was admiring of the classes being held at TIR that focus on Tibetan religion and culture, of the fact that monks from all four major Tibetan Buddhist traditions are part of the fabric of TIR and that the library consists of 120,000 books.

Young Tibetan performing a song composed by Rikon Abbot Khenpo Thupten Legmon at Tibet Institute Rikon's 50th Anniversary Celebration in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 22, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

For the Tibetan Women’s Association, Switzerland, Mrs Pema Lamdark informed His Holiness and the audience that the Swiss TWA will be 30 years old in October. Among its various activities the association organizes prayers and offerings for the welfare of all beings at Rikon Monastery. On this occasion they offered statues of the Protectors of the Three Families, Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri and Vajrapani to His Holiness.

Thomas Buchli, President of the Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Association, recalled that the association was founded 35 years ago and has become a strong participant in the Tibet support movement. He concluded his speech, “Bod-gyal-lo”. He was followed by President of the Tibetan Youth Association, Europe, Palden Tamnyen, who reported that his association is trying to increase interest among young people in Tibetan language, religion and culture.

Performers of another Tibetan song were wearing costumes representing the three provinces of Tibet.

Artists wearing traditional dress from the three provinces of Tibet performing at Tibet Institute Rikon's 50th Anniversary Celebration in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 22, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

A book entitled ‘Gifts for the Buddha’ that explores the symbolism of the wheel that in Buddhist tradition became the Wheel of Dharma, among the ‘Eight Symbols of Happiness’, compiled by Rudolph Högger and published by Tibet-Institute Rikon, was presented to His Holiness.

Finally, His Holiness addressed the gathering:

“I welcome all the distinguished guests, reminding you that supporters of Tibet are supporters of the truth. I’m very happy to be here. I have a special connection with both Rikon Monastery and with Winterthur. I used to come here for medical treatment.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the audience at at Tibet Institute Rikon's 50th Anniversary Celebration in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 22, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“At a time when Tibetans’ only friends were the sky above and the earth below, we received help in the form of the Swiss Red Cross’s invitation to 1000 Tibetans to Switzerland. Later on, I remember there was a Swiss man called Ludi who joined Tibetans working in the fields when the settlements were being established at Bylakuppe.

“Rikon Monastery was set up as a temple, but also as a place that could become a centre of learning, a place where people could study Buddhist philosophy. Geshe Ugyen Tseten, the first Abbot, laid a firm foundation for the future.

“I respect all spiritual traditions. I don’t try to proselytise or propagate Buddhism in non-Buddhist countries, because I think it is generally better for people to stick with the religions they are born to. However, I also recognise that there are aspects of our tradition that deal with logic and psychology that may be of more general interest.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during Tibet Institute Rikon's 50th Anniversary Celebration in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 22, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“For a long time Indians explored methods for establishing peace of mind that arose from their efforts to achieve a focussed, calmly abiding mind and analysis of reality (shamatha & vipashyana). The Buddha left home, employed such methods and gained experience. He realized selflessness, overcame destructive emotions and their imprints, and attained enlightenment at Bodhgaya. He saw that clinging to an intrinsically existent self was a mistake. Prior to that there was a broad consensus in India supporting the existence of a permanent, single self.

“The Buddha explained that just as a cart is designated on the basis of its assembled parts, so the self is designated on the basis of the aggregates, the body/mind combination. On Vulture’s Peak during the second turning of the wheel of dharma he gave the perfection of wisdom teachings. Many centuries later Shantarakshita brought these teachings to Tibet as the core of the Nalanda Tradition. Subsequently, for more than a thousand years, we have kept this tradition alive.

“During dialogues with scholars and scientists over the last forty years or so, I have distinguished and set aside what is only of interest to Buddhists. I haven’t talked to them about enlightenment, nirvana, or future lives, but we have discussed how to achieve peace of mind in ordinary life.

A view of the Eulachhalle arena as His Holiness the Dalai Lama addresses the audience during Tibet Institute Rikon's 50th Anniversary Celebration in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 22, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“The Tibetan spirit is firm because of our religion and culture. Even those who commit self-immolation, if they can carry that out, are capable of harming others and yet they restrain themselves from doing so because of their religion and culture. Young people in Tibet today have a strong, firm spirit. In the past committed Communists like Phuntsok Wangyal still maintained a strong Tibetan spirit. Tibetans have a passion to preserve their religion and culture.

“There are Chinese today taking an interest in the Buddhism of Tibet. They say that Tibetan religion and culture will be the basis for a future reconciliation.

“In 1959, I didn’t know if I would live to see another day. There were about 5000 monks to look after. We had to focus on how to keep our traditions alive. There were some among the Chinese then who asserted that all Tibetans could do was eat tsampa. As it turns out, we tsampa eaters have an intelligence comparable to that of Indian masters of the past.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the audience at at Tibet Institute Rikon's 50th Anniversary Celebration in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 22, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“I made two friends at Varanasi, Upadhyaya and Tripathi, both masters of Sanskrit. Tripathi translated Je Tsongkhapa’s ‘Essence of Eloquence’ into Hindi. I asked him how Je Rinpoche would be counted among the scholars of Nalanda. He answered that he could not only be counted among them; he’d be one of those at the top.”

His Holiness mentioned that it was at Shantarakshita’s initiative that Tibetans translated Indian Buddhist literature into Tibetan, resulting in the more than 300 volumes of the Kangyur and Tengyur. In his ‘Clear Meaning’, Haribadra refers to practitioners who are sharp and those who are, relatively, dull. The Buddhist Tradition will only survive if those with sharp faculties study and practise.

Philip Hepp, Managing Director of TIR, presenting His Holiness the Dalai Lama with a Swiss watch on behalf of the TIR foundation at the conclusion of Tibet Institute Rikon's 50th Anniversary Celebration in Winterthur, Switzerland on September 22, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Dr Karma Dolma offered words of thanks. The TIR foundation offered His Holiness a Swiss watch.

Tomorrow, he will teach from Nagarjuna’s ‘Precious Garland’, Kamalashila’s ‘Middle Volume of the Stages of Meditation’ and Thogme Sangpo’s ‘Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas’.

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50th Anniversary Celebrations of Tibet Institute Rikon Begin https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/50th-anniversary-celebrations-of-tibet-institute-rikon-begin Thu, 20 Sep 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/50th-anniversary-celebrations-of-tibet-institute-rikon-begin Zurich, Switzerland - When His Holiness the Dalai Lama met members of the media at his hotel in Zurich this morning Rudolf Högger, Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the Tibet Institute, Rikon, thanked him for coming.

“It’s my duty,” His Holiness replied, “both my tutors were involved with Rikon Monastery, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Europe.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to members of the media at his hotel in Zurich, Switzerland on September 21, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“Now, whenever I have the opportunity to talk to members of the media, I tell them about my main commitments. First of all, as I’m a human being, one of the 7 billion alive today, I try to share with others that our real source of joy is peace of mind. Secondly, for me as a Buddhist monk, the idea that our different religions are presently causing divisions that lead to people killing each other is unthinkable. Is it possible for different religions to live in harmony with one another? According to the Indian example, one thousand times, yes. Thirdly, as a Tibetan, I’m committed to keeping alive the ancient knowledge that Tibetans have preserved for more than a thousand years, as well as the Tibetan language in which it is expressed. In addition, I’m committed to encouraging the protection of Tibet’s fragile environment.

“You may report sensational stories when you can, but I request you also to inform people how much we need to uphold inner values.”

The first questioner from the floor wanted advice on sharing happiness with others when life is already so stressful. His Holiness answered:

A journalist asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his meeting with members of the media in Zurich, Switzerland on September 21, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“Look at my face; I was 16 when I lost my freedom, 24 when I lost my country. Since then news from Tibet has been distressing, but because I’ve trained my mind from childhood I’m able to keep my peace of mind. If you’re faced with a problem, analyse whether you can overcome it. If you can, that’s what you should do. If you can’t, worrying about it won’t help.

Another journalist asked whether Aung San Suu Kyi has lived up to her responsibilities in Burma. His Holiness replied that since the problems first broke out he had met Aung San Suu Kyi and appealed to her to take action. She told him that it is complicated and that it’s difficult for outsiders to understand the role of military leaders.

His Holiness was also able to explain that when people flee their homelands out of fear for their lives, we must give them shelter and support and help their children with education. When the situation improves they’re likely to want to return home to rebuild their countries. He cited the example of Tibetan refugees most of whom will wish to return to Tibet when they can, to take part in rebuilding and restoration there.

Cameras point towards His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his meeting with members of the media in Zurich, Switzerland on September 21, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

He described the Tibetan Institute’s importance in terms of preserving methods for tackling destructive emotions, cultivating positive attitudes and achieving peace of mind. Since this is his fifteenth visit, His Holiness was asked what he likes about Switzerland.

“For one thing, Switzerland is beautiful,” he replied, “for another there is a large number of Tibetans living here so I come to say ‘Hello’ to them and remind them not to forget the Tibetan language or our rich, cultural heritage.”

Finally, urged to give advice to young Swiss, his response was brief and clear—”Cultivate love and compassion; develop human values.”

From Zurich it was a twenty-five minute drive through the verdant Swiss countryside to the village of Rikon and the Tibet Institute. Joyful Tibetans, young and old, lined the road, eager to catch a glimpse of His Holiness. He greeted as many as he could and waved to others before walking down to the Institute where dancers and a traditional Tibetan welcome awaited him. He took part in a ceremony to inaugurate a new lamp house, before entering the Institute’s temple, saluting the principal image of the Buddha and taking his seat.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama waving to the crowd of Tibetans gathered to welcome him to Tibet Institute Rikon in Rikon, Switzerland on September 21, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

The Chandzö led the chanting of prayers for His Holiness’s long life that included verses of refuge, the four immeasurable wishes, an invocation of the Buddha, offering verses, prayers to the sixteen Arhats and a mandala offering in the course of which statues of the three long-life deities were presented to His Holiness. This was followed by a recitation of the Prayer for His Holiness’s Long Life composed by his two tutors and an invocation of the sixteen Arhats once more with, ‘Through the blessing of this, May the Lama live long and the Dharma spread far and wide,” appended to each verse.

Addressing the gathering, the Abbot of Rikon Monastery, Ven Thupten Legmon, welcomed representatives of the Swiss Government, His Holiness, sponsors and other guests. “We’ve completed the important ceremony of praying for His Holiness’s long life,” he said, “and we dedicate whatever merit we may have accumulated over the last 50 years to you for the benefit of all beings. As you have advised, we are giving young people an introduction to Buddhism, as well as teaching about love and compassion from a secular point of view.

The Abbot of Rikon Monastery Ven Thupten Legmon delivering the welcome during during the ceremony commemorating Tibet Institute Rikon's 50th anniversary in Rikon, Switzerland on September 21, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Dr Karma Dolma Lobsang, President of the Tibetan Institute Rikon (TIR), in her speech announced how happy the members of TIR were that His Holiness was able to come and join the 50th anniversary celebrations. She recalled that the two factory owners who had originally offered Tibetans employment, Henri and Jacques Kuhn, had asked what they could do to help preserve Tibetan culture and religion. That’s how the monastery came about. She also mentioned the Institute’s significant library and the steps that have been taken to make the Institute more of a centre of learning.

Dr Karma Dolma Lobsang, President of the Tibetan Institute Rikon (TIR) speaking at the ceremony commemorating the Institute's 50th anniversary in Rikon, Switzerland on September 21, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“Fifty years seems like a long time in the context of our life in exile,” His Holiness declared. “To begin with it was the Red Cross who invited 1000 Tibetans to resettle in Switzerland and they were then the largest group of Tibetan refugees outside India. We didn’t think only of our own livelihood when we came into exile, we wanted to keep our culture and religion alive. However, I can remember watching monks building roads. We requested the Indian Government’s help in finding somewhere for monks to stay.

“They provided the camp at Buxa, but we had to push to send 1500 monks there instead of the recommended 300. It was hot and humid, food easily went off and monks were exposed to TB against which they had little immunity. Eventually, however, they were able to shift to monasteries in the new settlements, where we now have Sakya, Kagyu, Geluk and Nyingma institutions.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the audience inside the temple and the crowd listening outside at the ceremony commemorating Tibet Institute Rikon's 50th anniversary in Rikon, Switzerland on September 21, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“In due course, we engaged in discussions between Buddhist science and modern science. We were able to point out that in addition to our five sense consciousnesses we have mental consciousness. Meanwhile, modern scientists’ explanation of cosmology made clear that Mt Meru as the axis of the universe simply didn’t exist.”

His Holiness referred to the old tradition of honouring the ‘Six Ornaments and Two Supremes’, great Indian Buddhist masters of the past. He realised that they were all a part of Nalanda University, but that the list was not exhaustive. It didn’t include several masters whose treatises are crucial to the Tibetan Buddhist course of study. Consequently, he commissioned a new thangka painting and composed a Praise to the Seventeen Masters of Nalanda.

Shantarakshita established Buddhism in Tibet in the 8th century, at the Tibetan Emperor’s invitation. What he brought was essentially the Nalanda Tradition, which is characterised by rigorous study of philosophy and psychology on the basis of reason and logic.

Members of the crowd watching His Holiness the Dalai Lama on a big screen outside the temple during the ceremony commemorating Tibet Institute Rikon's 50th anniversary in Rikon, Switzerland on September 21, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

We are deluded by attachment and anger, but we can learn to tackle these emotions. Anger can be reduced if we work to cultivate love and affection. However, we first have to come to terms with whatever benefits or disadvantages anger may bring. Primarily, anger destroys our peace of mind; loving-kindness earns us friends and eliminates the risk of being alone.

Looking into the crowd, His Holiness admitted, “I’ve known some of you a long time and I can see your age in your faces, but they remind me that I am growing older too. I’d like to thank all of you for the help you’ve given us.”

Philip Hepp, Managing Director of TIR offered words of thanks. He thanked His Holiness for visiting the Tibet Institute for the fifteenth time, remarking that each time is an inspiration.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama playfully commenting after Philip Hepp, Managing Director of TIR, offered words of thanks at the conclusion of the ceremony commemorating Tibet Institute Rikon's 50th anniversary in Rikon, Switzerland on September 21, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

His Holiness posed for photographs with the monks of the monastery and members of the TIR Board in the sunshine outside the Institute. They then gathered together inside once more to enjoy lunch together. Afterwards, as His Holiness walked out to his car to return to Zurich, several Tibetan mothers could be seen and heard urging babies and young children to look at him and catch his eye. He smiled and patted many of them on the head.

Tomorrow, there will be further celebrations of the TIR anniversary at the Eulachhalle in Winterthur.

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Happiness and Responsibility https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/happiness-and-responsibility Wed, 19 Sep 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/happiness-and-responsibility Zurich, Switzerland - This morning, leaving the tranquillity of Darmstadt, where the bicycle is a favoured mode of transport, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was driven rapidly to Heidelberg. Reaching this picturesque city on the River Neckar he was taken directly to the City Hall where he was received by Mayor Wolfgang Erichson. After greeting well-wishers gathered on the pavement, His Holiness turned to wave to people watching from surrounding windows.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting well-wishers as he arrives at Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany on September 20, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Inside City Hall His Holiness was given an official welcome and invited to sign the Golden Book inscribed by honoured visitors to the city. This was followed by an exchange of gifts. As His Holiness entered the auditorium and took the stage he received warm applause from the 1500 people in the audience.

In his welcoming speech Mayor Wolfgang Erichson extolled the virtues of the beautiful city of Heidelberg. The University of Heidelberg attracts an open-minded student body and is among the 50 top universities in the world. People from 160 nations live in the city, which sees diversity not as a threat but an asset. The Mayor noted that it is possible to learn how cultivate and achieve happiness and he was pleased to report that at least one pioneering school in the city is teaching just that.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and fellow panelists listening to Mayor Wolfgang Erichson deliver his welcoming speech at the start of the dialogue on Happiness and Responsibility in Heidelberg, Germany on September 20, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

During a short musical interlude a wind and string quintet played a delightful piece by Mozart.

Director of the German American Institute, Jakob Kollhofer told His Holiness it was a great honour to welcome him to Heidelberg, describing him as living reminder of peace and compassion, known for his warm smile. He observed that His Holiness has been a refugee for 60 years during which time his appearance and conduct have been consistent. Welcoming him to a festival of science in what has come to be known as a city of science, Kollhofer invited His Holiness to share his thoughts about happiness and responsibility.

Director of the German American Institute, Jakob Kollhofer introducing His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the start of the dialogue on Happiness and Responsibility in Heidelberg, Germany on September 20, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“Good morning, dear brothers and sisters. I make a point of clarifying that the 7 billion human beings living on this planet today are emotionally, mentally and physically the same. We all want to live a happy life and don’t want to suffer. We have a marvellous brain which is very helpful when it comes to analysing and investigating reality. Our intelligence can bring us peace of mind, or it can destroy it. Using our intelligence to understand moral principles we can learn to cultivate warm-heartedness and infinite altruism.

“As scientists have discovered, basic human nature is compassionate. Our mother gave birth to us, then cared for us with maximum affection. If she’d neglected us instead, we would likely have died.

“Anger and fear undermine our immune system, while warm-heartedness brings peace of mind. Therefore, just as we teach children to comply with physical hygiene for the good of their health, we should also counsel them in a kind of hygiene of the emotions. If they are to be both physically and mentally fit, they need to know how to tackle negative emotions and maintain their peace of mind. And to tackle the emotions it’s useful to have something like a map of the emotions, a map of the mind.

A view of the hall at Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's opening remarks at the dialogue on Happiness and Responsibility in Heidelberg, Germany on September 20, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“This is something we can learn from research conducted in ancient India through meditative practices to cultivate single-pointed concentration and analysis. The Buddha practised both, and although these practices are described in religious literature, they can be examined and employed in an academic context.

“I am a student of such ancient Indian knowledge as preserved in the Nalanda Tradition, which relies on reason and logic. The great Nalanda scholar Shantarakshita, who was invited to Tibet by the Emperor in the 8th century, established a mode of Buddhist training and practice in which reason and logic play an integral part.

“After I came to India I had opportunities to meet and hold discussions with scientists. I was inspired by the Buddha’s advice not to accept what he taught on the basis of faith alone, but to test and investigate it through reason. Consequently, the dialogue I’ve been conducting with scientists for more than thirty years has been mutually beneficial.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the dialogue on Happiness and Responsibility in Heidelberg, Germany on September 20, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Kollhofer introduced three scientists to take part in discussions with His Holiness this morning—neurobiologist Dr Hannah Monyer, gerontologist Dr Andreas Kruse, and astrophysicist Dr Matthias Bartelman.

Dr Monyer raised something she sees as a problem. “You emphasise that we are social animals and we are, but we are not so different from rats. Like them human beings naturally prefer to help members of their close family rather than others.”

Neurobiologist Dr Hannah Monyer during the dialogue on Happiness and Responsibility in Heidelberg, Germany on September 20, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“We are intelligent,” His Holiness replied, “we have seed of compassion from birth. Using reason and intelligence we can enhance our sense of compassion and come to understand how its opposite, anger, is harmful. Our biological compassionate instincts tend to be coloured by attachment. Such a biased attitude cannot be transformed into great compassion. That’s why we first develop equanimity. We can learn to extend loving kindness to the whole of humanity.

“One thing that needs to be clearly understood is that both compassion and anger are part of the mind, they belong to our mental consciousness. Some consciousnesses depend on our sense organs. In the dream state, the sense organs are dormant. In deep sleep, consciousness is subtler, while the subtlest consciousness manifests at the time of death, unrelated to the brain.”

Members of the audience listening to the speakers at the dialogue on Happiness and Responsibility at Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany on September 20, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“That’s a dualistic view,” was Dr Monyer’s response.

“In the early 20th century scientists considered consciousness was entirely dependent on the brain,” reported His Holiness. By the end of the century, neuroplasticity showed that changes in the brain could be attributed to changes in consciousness.”

Dr Matthias Bartelman asked if humility was important in the study of science. His Holiness answered “Yes”, and went on to discuss how we are all dependent on others; we depend on the community in which we live.

Astrophysicist Dr Matthias Bartelman asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama to comment on the need for humility in the study of science during the dialogue on Happiness and Responsibility in Heidelberg, Germany on September 20, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Gerontologist Dr Andreas Kruse told His Holiness he had three questions for him. “Do you think that the link between happiness and responsibility is meaning. His Holiness retorted that this sounded like a philosophical question like ‘why are we here?’ he said the religious answer would either be because it’s God’s will or because of karma.

Dr Kruse reported findings that older people derive meaning from being able to take care of younger members of the family. However, when they suffer degenerative conditions, such as dementia, they are excluded from such activities and younger people feel a responsibility to take care of them. Dr Kruse raised the notion of ‘border situations’ first mooted by Karl Jaspers a German-Swiss psychiatrist and philosopher educated at Heidelberg.

Gerontologist Dr Andreas Kruse speaking at the dialogue on Happiness and Responsibility in Heidelberg, Germany on September 20, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

His Holiness retorted that it seemed to be a complicated philosophical observation. Everything is relative; nothing has independent existence. He cited the example of time. “Does time exist? Where is the present when it is always moving on?”

Answering questions from the public His Holiness touched on the need to ensure that the 21st century does not repeat the experience of the 20th century, which was overwhelmingly violent. The 21st century should be an era of dialogue. Problems should be solved by talking them over, not through the use of force.

Challenged to say why he had not intervened in the Rohingya crisis in Burma, he replied that he is an outsider to that conflict. He reported having spoken and written to Aung San Suu Kyi, who could have done more. He counselled Burmese Buddhists when moved by anger to recall the face of the Buddha.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and fellow panelists at the conclusion of the dialogue on Happiness and Responsibility at Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany on September 20, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Kollhofer brought the session to an end telling His Holiness that everyone listening had been inspired by what he told them. He thanked him once again for coming to Heidelberg. His Holiness responded, “To bring about a happier, more peaceful world, we have to start on an individual level. Change begins with individuals and spreads out into the community.”

His Holiness was invited to lunch in the vaulted foyer of the City Hall at the end of which he drove to Mannheim from where he flew to Zurich. Tibetans had mounted a traditional welcome outside the hotel, whose driveway was lined with Tibetan flags. There were Tashi Shölpa dancers and Tibetan youngsters offering the ‘Chema Changpu’.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama interacting with members of the Tibetan community gathered at his hotel to welcome him on his arrival in Zurich, Switzerland on September 20, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

His Holiness interacted with all who had come to greet him, happily spotting several old friends among them. In the lobby he was greeted by the Abbot, President, and Director of the Tibet Institute Rikon as well as other monks and Lamas.

Tomorrow, he will attend celebrations at the Tibet Institute Rikon.

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Non-violence and Tibetan Resistance https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/non-violence-and-tibetan-resistance Tue, 18 Sep 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/non-violence-and-tibetan-resistance Darmstadt, German - Tibetans and other well-wishers gathered to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama off from Rotterdam yesterday morning. The flight to Frankfurt took barely an hour following which he drove into Darmstadt. Among those assembled in the warm sunshine to welcome him at his hotel in the ‘City of Science’ were Tibetans, activists and journalists. His Holiness took the time to interact with them all, especially the children, shaking hands with some, talking to others and occasionally responding to questions. He seemed to be pleased to be meeting several old friends again.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting a young boy as he arrives at his hotel in Darmstadt, Germany on September 18, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

This morning as the early sunlight caught the rooftops in the vicinity of Ernst Ludwig Place, His Holiness drove around the block to reach the Darmstadtium Congress Hall. He was welcomed by members of the morning’s panel, notably Lech Walesa, Wolfgang Grader of the Tibet Initiative De, Hessian Minister of Finance, Thomas Schäfer and the Lord Mayor Darmstadt, Jochen Partsch. Rousing applause greeted them as they walked onto the stage.

Wolfgang Grader gave a brief introduction. Thomas Schäfer told His Holiness, “You have been an inspiration to us; you have shown that non-violence is effective.” Grader expressed gratitude to the State of Hesse for its support and invited the Mayor of Darmstadt, Jochen Partsch, a prominent supporter of Tibet to speak.

Wolfgang Grader of the Tibet Initiative De introducing the program at the Darmstadtium Congress Hall in Darmstadt, Germany on September 19, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“It’s a significant event,” the Mayor remarked, “for our city to play host to three Nobel Peace Laureates. We’re honoured. At the same time, I’m aware that although we may experience a little diplomatic pressure, our support for Tibet doesn’t put us in danger of our lives as resistance does for people in Tibet.” He compared the German Basic Law, which is the German Constitution and the UN Charter for human rights and noted that the very first words of the Basic Law are, “Human dignity shall be inviolable”.

Grader completed his introduction by harking back to 1989—a year of change. It was the year of the Tiananmen Massacre in Beijing, the year the Berlin Wall fell and the year His Holiness the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He stressed the need to promote human rights and basic human dignity. Finally, he announced that Tibet Initiative De is mourning the loss of one of its dearest founder members, Tsewang Norbu, who passed away unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago.

Mayor of Darmstadt, Jochen Partsch, addressing the gathering at Darmstadtium Congress Hall in Darmstadt, Germany on September 19, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Moderator of the day’s discussions, reputed journalist Dunja Hayali, introduced herself explaining that violence and non-violence are themes she has taken close interest in, as well as the abuse of power. Declaring herself excited to meet His Holiness, she framed a general question for the panel—how can non-violence help? What is the proper way to put an end to violence?

Hayali first asked Sinisa Sikman, a Serb from Belgrade, to address the gathering. “Tashi delek to all of you,” he began. “I’m from Serbia and my friends and I resisted Milosevic with non-violence. We proved that if you have a clear idea and you try to put it into effect, you can succeed. We worked out three principles for success—clarity, planning and non-violent discipline. Planning means assessing what you can do, not what you wish for and non-violent discipline means restraining those idiots who might be inclined to throw stones. Another important factor is to maintain a sense of humour.”

Sinisa Sikman, a Serb from Belgrade, speaking about the resistance to  Milosevic in Serbia at the start of the program at Darmstadtium Congress Hall in Darmstadt, Germany on September 19, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Dardhon Sharling, Secretary of the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration (DIIR, CTA) explained that Tibet had been an independent nation until 1949 when it was invaded by the Communist Chinese and subject to military occupation. His Holiness escaped to India in 1959 after which the democratic CTA was set up. China, she said, wants complete control over Tibet, which provoked uprisings in 1959, the 1980s and 2008, followed by brutal crackdowns.

Sharling described how Tibetans continue to resist, citing the example of 32 protests held against mining in an area Tibetans consider sacred. She was clear that non-violent resistance involves action; it’s not about adopting a passive stance. Turning to a monk by her side she said, “Golok Jigme here hasn’t given up, nor can we. We have to use our freedom to support people like him. Let’s act to make a change—join us.”

Dardhon Sharling, Secretary of the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration (DIIR, CTA), speaking about the situation in Tibet at the discussion on non-violence in Darmstadt, Germany on September 19, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Remarking that Mahatma Gandhi said that non-violence is a weapon of the strong, Hayali asked His Holiness for his thoughts.

“Dear brothers and sisters,” he responded, “it’s a great honour to participate in this event. People are disturbed by violence and the desire for peace is increasing year by year. To achieve it we have to adopt a realistic approach, taking account of scientific findings that basic human nature is compassionate. After so much violence, what positive result has there been—none. Only more hatred. Violence is not the right method for solving problems.

“I often tell people I meet how much I admire the spirit of the European Union. My physics tutor Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker told me that during his childhood French and Germans only saw each other as enemies. After the Second World War, that completely changed. Violence arises when we divide people into ‘us’ and ‘them’, but in the case of Europeans, you all belong to one community. Since the EU was set up there have been decades of peace in Europe.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the discussion on non-violence at Darmstadtium Congress Hall in Darmstadt, Germany on September 19, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“Attitudes to war and violence changed a great deal between the beginning and the end of the 20th century. Towards the end, people matured and withdrew their support for violence and the use of force. Taking this forward we should make this century an era of dialogue; we should sort out our problems by talking them through. We should also set demilitarization as a real target.

“At a meeting of Nobel Peace Laureates transferred from South Africa to Rome, we discussed the reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons. I suggested that we set a timetable and hold the nuclear powers to it, but nothing happened. Our aim must be a demilitarized, nuclear free world, keeping in mind that external disarmament depends on internal disarmament. As human beings we all depend on the community we live in. Europe depends on the rest of the world. Crucial to peaceful relations are non-violence and secular ethics.

Karim Wasfi former conductor of the Iraqi National Orchestra and founder of the Peace Through Arts Foundation, has earned a name for himself by playing his cello at the sites of bombings and other acts of violence. Here he provided a special musical interlude.

Karim Wasfi former conductor of the Iraqi National Orchestra and founder of the Peace Through Arts Foundation performing a brief musical interlude at the discussion on non-violence in Darmstadt, Germany on September 19, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Hayali introduced the members of the panel, Rebecca Johnson, a lifelong campaigner for non-violence and the elimination of nuclear weapons, is a leader of the International Campaign Against Nuclear Arms (ICAN) which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Claudia Roth, Vice President of the German Bundestag, has represented the Alliance 90 / Green parties. She is a staunch supporter of the cause of Tibet and is active in campaigning against climate change. Lech Walesa was leader of the Solidarity movement and later became President of Poland.

Hayali recalled that on 21 September 1987 His Holiness the Dalai Lama revealed his Five Point Peace Plan for Tibet. She asked him if, in retrospect, he still feels it was the right way to go. He replied:

Journalist Dunja Hayali asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama to comment during the discussion on non-violence at Darmstadtium Congress Hall in Darmstadt, Germany on September 19, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“On a global level we’ve seen too much suffering. Before the second war with Iraq broke out, millions of people across the world demonstrated against further violence. I have been impressed too by the commitment of Germany and Japan, both of which rose from the ashes of the Second World War, to peace.

“In the case of Tibet—after signing the 17 point agreement, revolts broke out in Eastern Tibet in 1956, in the Northeast in 1957 and finally across the country in 1958-59. In March 1959 the whole population of Lhasa rose up in rebellion. Since there were threats to my life, I escaped, thinking to negotiate further with the Chinese from Southern Tibet. But once we’d left, they bombarded the city, so there was no longer any opportunity.

“Over the opposition of Pandit Nehru we raised the Tibet issue at the UN several times, to no avail. In early 1974 we decided not to seek independence and in 1978 Deng Xiaoping stated that everything but independence could be discussed. Out of this situation we developed a Middle Way Approach; a policy intent on mutual benefit. This approach, supported by Chinese intellectuals and Chinese Buddhists, is rooted in non-violence.”

His Holiness the Dala Lama reaching out to clasp the hand of Lech Walesa, leader of the Solidarity movement and former President of Poland, during the discussion on non-violence in Darmstadt, Germany on September 19, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Lech Walesa asked which people thought more unlikely, that Tibet would become free of China or that the power of the Soviet Union would collapse. In his opinion, the collapse of the Soviet Union was generally not even considered. And yet he recalls, in the midst of the Solidarity protests, warning Hans Dietrich Genscher, the capable German Foreign Minister that the Berlin Wall would come down.

“That era is over,” he said, “and the capitalist system we now have is profoundly unequal. At the same time, Poland is saddled with an unrepresentative government. What can be done? We have to wait for the next election.”

Rebecca Johnson remembered marching in the ‘70s to protect women’s rights. Later, women marched to support Solidarity. They marched to support Tibet. In due course they set up peace camps, such as that at Greenham Common to oppose the deployment of nuclear weapons.

Rebecca Johnson, a leader of the International Campaign Against Nuclear Arms (ICAN), speaking at the discussion on non-violence at Darmstadtium Congress Hall in Darmstadt, Germany on September 19, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

“We were determined,” she said, “just as the Tibetans still are. If we can make Tibet free, it will serve as a vivid example that non-violence succeeds. Non-violence is not passive, it’s active. It’s about doing what is right and we have employed it to oppose the continued possession of nuclear weapons—we still have to impel those countries that have them to give them up.”

Claudia Roth told the gathering that she had been introduced to His Holiness by Petra Kelly and had always thought of the cause of Tibet in terms of human rights. She said His Holiness has not given up on peace and non-violence, asserting that the world needs people like him with vision to establish peace and human rights and put an end to militarization and dependence on weapons.

“I’ve learned from His Holiness how effective is the power of love. We need to meet hatred with love; we need warm hearts where there is cold-heartedness and a sense of isolation.”

Claudia Roth, Vice President of the German Bundestag, addressing the gathering during the discussion on non-violence at Darmstadtium Congress Hall in Darmstadt, Germany on September 19, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Lech Walesa added that sometimes it’s necessary to ridicule your opponent to stop him being an opponent.

Dunja Hayali asked His Holiness what he thought about monks and other Buddhists using violence against the Rohingya people.

“When this crisis first broke,” he replied, “I was in Washington DC. Time magazine ran a cover with a picture of a Buddhist monk on it and the question, Buddhist Terrorist? I was shocked. I made clear my conviction that if he had been there, the Buddha would have given these Muslim brothers and sisters protection. I asked Burmese Buddhists involved in attacks on these people to remember the face of the Buddha.

“I know Aung San Suu Kyi and when we met I urged her to do something to stop what was going on. I wrote to her too. She told me the situation was very difficult and that the militant monks had strong links to the military. I think the Rohingya’s suffering is similar to what Palestinians have faced since 1948. The basis of these problems in seeing others in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama responding to questions from moderator Dunja Hayali during the discussion on non-violence at Darmstadtium Congress Hall in Darmstadt, Germany on September 19, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

Hayali asked His Holiness to clarify his views on refugees. He told her that when people escape danger in their own lands it’s right to take care of them. “Aren’t there about a million refugees in Germany at the moment? Haven’t they been taken care of at the initiative of Chancellor Merkel?

“You have your own culture, knowledge and way of life here and these refugees come from a different culture, climate and way of life. Give them shelter; give their children education and their young people practical training to equip them to rebuild their own countries when the time comes. There are 150,000 of us Tibetan refugees and in our heart of hearts we look forward to returning to rebuild our own country one day. So, another factor is to help restore peace in the countries these people have fled. I hope that by the end of this century national boundaries will anyway no longer seem so important.”

There was time for only one question from the audience—what advice do you have for us? His Holiness replied, “Be honest, truthful, and altruistic. If you concern yourself with taking care of others, there’ll be no room for lies, bullying and cheating. If you’re truthful you can live transparently, which will enable you to establish trust, the basis for making friends. We all tend to be driven by self-interest; the trick is to pursue wise self-interest, which takes other beings into account.”

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question at the discussion on non-violence in Darmstadt, Germany on September 19, 2018. Photo by Manuel Bauer

As the 1500 people in the hall erupted in applause, His Holiness expressed his gratitude to each of the speakers by giving them a white silk scarf. He and the panellists shared lunch together before he returned to his hotel.

Tomorrow, His Holiness will attend an event in Heidelberg before travelling on to Zurich.

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‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’ https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/eight-verses-for-training-the-mind Mon, 17 Sep 2018 22:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/eight-verses-for-training-the-mind Rotterdam, the Netherlands - When His Holiness the Dalai Lama met six Dutch Parliamentarians this morning he was swift to tell them how much he appreciates their concern for Tibet. As time goes on more and more people come to appreciate that Tibetan culture is sophisticated and useful, while it is being steadily destroyed in Tibet. He pointed out that Tibet has always been politically significant as a buffer between India and China.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama meeting with Dutch Parliamentarians in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on September 17, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adam

“We’re not seeking independence because it would likely be difficult to achieve, but if we did, we would remain poor. Tibetans are no more averse to prosperity than anyone else. If we remain with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) we can benefit from China’s powerful economy.

“The Chinese constitution recognises various Tibetan areas and we should have the freedom to preserve our language and culture in those regions. We can work together, the Chinese can provide us with material benefit, and we can offer them spiritual support. I greatly admire the spirit of the European Union which gives more importance to the common good than narrow national sovereignty. We could enter into a similar union with China.

“Historically Tibet was an independent state. Chinese documents record the existence in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries of three independent empires—China, Mongolia and Tibet. Subsequently, no Chinese records from the Tang dynasty until the Manchu dynasty refer to Tibet as part of China. However, the past is past and I note that members of the European Union remain sovereign states.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to a group of Dutch Parliamentarians in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on September 17, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adam

“In 1951 we raised the issue of Tibet at the UN—nothing happened. Again in 1959 and 1965 we appealed to the world body over India’s objections, but again nothing happened. Pandit Nehru told me that the USA would not go to war with China to liberate Tibet. He said we could only talk to the Chinese authorities. On one occasion he came to see me, bringing a copy of the 17 Point Agreement that refers to ‘the peaceful liberation of Tibet’ and pointed out which points we could usefully discuss.

“In 1956 Nehru insisted I return to Tibet after visiting India and I did. I tried to accommodate Chinese demands until the situation ran out of control. 6 million Tibetans are tough. The Chinese have used all kinds of means to crush the Tibetan spirit without success. Meanwhile, 340,000 have been killed, died of starvation or committed suicide.

“To begin with there was no racial animosity involved, but that changed after 1959 as tensions grew between Tibetans and Han. Throughout, Tibetan spirits remained strong. Now, it seems Chinese leaders can see that their policy of suppression has failed, so they are beginning to take a more realistic approach. Indeed, the Tibetan issue will not just go away until they address it realistically. It seems top leaders have started to realise it doesn’t help them to push the Dalai Lama away—we’ll see.”

Dutch Parliamentarians wearing traditional white scarves presented by His Holiness the Dalai Lama after their meeting in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on September 17, 2018. Photo by Jurjen Donkers

One of the Parliamentarians asked how educational systems could be made less materialistically oriented and His Holiness told him he thought it was more important to inculcate inner values and explain how to cultivate peace of mind. It should be possible for education to enhance the positive qualities students have from birth.

“Peace will only be established on the basis of individuals achieving peace of mind. Peace will not be achieved through anger or the use of weapons. We’ve already seen enough violence in the world; the 21st century should be an era of peace—a smile giving rise to a smiling response.”

Back in the Ahoy Arena for a second day, Paula de Wijs welcomed His Holiness, the members of the Sangha and everyone else in the hall. “Compassion is discussed in all religious traditions,” she said, “not just Buddhism. Everyone needs compassion, so these teachings will be useful for all of us. They will be an inspiration.”

Paula de Wijs welcoming His Holiness the the Ahoy Arena at the start of his teaching in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on September 17, 2018. Photo by Jurjen Donkers

His Holiness took up the theme. “Today, I’ll be teaching this small text, the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’, which is mainly about altruism. As Paula has just said, everyone can find it useful, not just Buddhists. Whether you’re Jewish, Christian or Muslim, genuine practitioners all value the practice of loving kindness. Sometimes if the book we’re looking at is thick it can become boring, but this one is small enough to slip into your pocket. I received this teaching when I was about 15 or 16 years old. I memorized the text, recite it daily and have found it useful.

“First of all I’ll go over the basic structure of the dharma. Buddhism is one of the major spiritual traditions to originate in India. Like Jainism and one of the branches of the Samkhya School, there is no place for a creator god. The founders of these traditions, such as Mahavira and the Buddha, were human beings who attained enlightenment. They employed practices prevalent in India such as methods for cultivating a calmly abiding mind and special insight (shamatha and vipashyana). In the case of the Buddha, as he delved deeper into the nature of the mind and investigated the nature of self, he concluded that there was no self independent of the body/mind combination.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking during his teaching at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on September 17, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adam

“The sutras say if you search for the self it turns out to be just a view. There is nothing more than the body/mind combination. Just as we see a combination of parts as a cart, so the conventional self is based on the body/mind combination—there is no independent self. In his ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’ Nagarjuna says:

“Through the elimination of karma and disturbing emotions there is cessation.
Karma and affliction come from conceptual thought.
These come from mental exaggeration or fabrication.
Fabrication ceases through emptiness.

“And in his ‘400 Verses’ Aryadeva states:

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

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

His Holiness remarked that after attaining enlightenment the Buddha expressed a reluctance to teach. He is quoted as saying:

Profound and peaceful, free from complexity, uncompounded luminosity-
I have found a nectar-like Dharma.
Yet if I were to teach it, no-one would understand,
So I shall remain silent here in the forest.

Here, ‘profound and peaceful’ can refer to the cause and effect of suffering and its origin within the cycle of existence, as well as the cause and effect of cessation and the path that are factors of liberation—in other words the Four Noble Truths of the first turning of the wheel of dharma. ‘Free from complexity’ refers to emptiness and the Perfection of Wisdom teachings of the second turning of the wheel. ‘Uncompounded luminosity’ refers to the subjective clear light explained in the third turning of the wheel. This subjective mind of clear light is essential to Highest Yoga Tantra.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his teaching at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on September 17, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adam

“In this first statement after attaining enlightenment, the Buddha refers to what he would teach in the future. Subsequently, at the request of his disciple Kaundinya and non-human agents he did teach. The first teaching that took place in the Deer Park outside Varanasi entailed an explanation of the Four Noble Truths. The cause and effect of suffering and its origin is described as afflictive cause and effect, while the cause and effect of cessation and the path is non-afflictive cause and effect.

“Each of the Four Noble Truths can be understood in relation to four characteristics. The truth of suffering, for example, can be understood as being impermanent, in the nature of suffering, empty and selfless. The characteristics of the truth of the cause of suffering are causes, origin, strong production and recurrence. The truth of cessation can be understood in terms of cessation, pacification, being superb and definite release, while the truth of the path is characterized in terms of path, awareness, achievement and deliverance. Reflecting on these is a powerful practice.

“No matter how strong afflictive emotions may be,” His Holiness remarked, “so long as they are rooted in a distorted view of reality they have no solid support and can be removed.”

His Holiness observed that ignorance and wisdom are states of mind that are opposed to each other. Just as when there is light, darkness is gone, so the wisdom of no-self and emptiness utterly uproot ignorance. The Perfection of Wisdom teachings explain the Four Noble Truths thoroughly, especially the truth of cessation and the truth of the path. Nagarjuna says it’s by understanding dependent arising that we really come to grips with the Four Noble Truths.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his teaching on 'Eight Verses for Training the Mind' in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on September 17, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adam

When the Heart Sutra says, ‘Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness,’ it is not asserting that nothing exists; rather that things don’t exist as they appear. Form exists, but only as a designation. Aspects of the mind too only exist by way of designation. Nagarjuna asserts that the Buddha taught:

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

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

If you understand this, you will understand the importance of the Two Truths, the conventional reality that things exist, and their ultimate reality in emptiness.

His Holiness went on to discuss the explicit and implicit content of the Perfection of Wisdom teachings as outlined in the ‘Ornament for Clear Realization’ of Maitreya/Asanga. The explicit content is the explanation of emptiness, but what is implicit is the stages of the path. According to the latter, the path begins with the Two Truths, goes on to explore the Four Noble Truths, leading to a proper understanding of the Three Jewels, who the Buddha is, what he taught and the role of the Sangha.

A view of the stage during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on September 17, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adam

He explained that the style and order of the ‘Lamp for the Path’ that Atisha taught, and which was the pattern for the subsequent Stages of the Path genre, presupposes that readers already have some understanding of the dharma.

In the context of practice, His Holiness referred to the need for high status or a good rebirth in order to be able to keep it up. Nagarjuna’s ‘Precious Garland’ lists sixteen causes of high status. Thirteen are activities to be stopped. Of the ten unwholesome deeds to be avoided, three are physical - killing, stealing and adultery; four are verbal - false, divisive, harsh, and senseless speech; and three are mental - covetousness, harmful intent, and wrong views. Three additional activities to be restrained include drinking alcohol, wrong livelihood and doing harm. There are three further activities to be adopted - respectful giving, honouring the honourable, and love.
Aryadeva advises:

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

Taking up the text of the ‘Eight Verses’, His Holiness began to read. He explained that the first verse highlights how we are all dependent on others and shows how to cultivate the awakening mind. There are two principal methods: the Seven Point Cause and Effect and Equalizing and Exchanging of Self with Others.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his teaching at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on September 17, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adam

The second verse advises regarding others as superior to you. The third counsels being wary of disturbing emotions, while the fourth speaks of the value of holding troublesome beings dear. The fifth verse recommends offering the victory to others, and the sixth recommends seeing enemies as spiritual friends. The seventh verse explicitly expounds the practice of giving and taking in which imagining taking on others' suffering accords with great compassion, while giving happiness in return accords with loving kindness. Referring to this practice as secret indicates that it may not be appropriate for everyone.

Finally, the first two lines of the eighth verse warn against giving in to the eight worldly concerns for praise and blame and so forth. Noting that the last two lines refer to seeing all things as like an illusion, His Holiness mentioned that you don’t have to be a Buddhist to understand emptiness.

“Training the mind makes a difference,” he declared. “Until I was about 13 years old, I had little interest in what I was studying. Gradually I developed an appreciation that it could be useful. After I reached India I reviewed what I had studied before, but my target was now the attainment of enlightenment not just passing an exam. I’ve found that trying to understand emptiness and extending a sense of altruism has the effect of loosening the grip of self-centredness. I believe that if I have benefited from doing this, if you study and practise, you can benefit from it too.”

For the Dalai Lama Foundation, Reinier Tilanus announced that 21,000 people had participated in the public talk and teachings, 400,000 had viewed the live stream and 250 volunteers had been of great help. The account for the last three days’ events in the Netherlands had produced a surplus of 70,000 Euros. His Holiness requested that 20,000 be donated to supporting teaching Tibetan language to Tibetan children in the Netherlands. The balance will be donated to the work being developed at Emory University to promote social, emotional, and ethical development.

Tomorrow, His Holiness will travel to Germany.

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His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Response to a Question about Refugees https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/his-holiness-the-dalai-lamas-response-to-a-question-about-refugees Mon, 17 Sep 2018 13:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/his-holiness-the-dalai-lamas-response-to-a-question-about-refugees Recent reporting of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s views on refugees has been taken out of context.

Kindly see His Holiness’s response to a question about refugees during his public talk in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on 16 September 2018.
   
Answer:

"When refugees from other countries have come to Europe, it’s wonderful that Germany and other European countries have given them help. However, I think that most of those refugees think of their own lands as home, but just now there is lots of killing, bullying and suffering there. That’s why they escaped. So, in the short term, European countries should provide them with shelter, and should particularly provide children with facilities for education and training, including mechanical training, for the young people. The aim is that they should eventually be able to return to rebuild their own countries. That has been my view right from the beginning.

"For example, we Tibetans took shelter in India, but most Tibetans want to return to Tibet when the situation there has changed. Each country has its own culture, language, way of life, and it is better for people to live in their own country. That is my view."

Video of the question and His Holiness’s answer can be viewed a here.

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His Holiness the Dalai Lama Congratulates Indian Prime Minister on his Birthday https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-congratulates-indian-prime-minister-on-his-birthday Sun, 16 Sep 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-congratulates-indian-prime-minister-on-his-birthday Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP - His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote to the Indian Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, to offer his good wishes on his 68th birthday with prayers for his continued good health.

He wrote: “I would like to take this opportunity to also share my thoughts with you that India is not only the world's largest democratic nation but also has unique gifts to offer to the world. I am confident that India will be able to play an active role in sharing treasures such as stability, religious harmony, karuna and ahimsa for the greater good of humanity. Under your able leadership the people of India will continue to prosper.

“I consider myself a messenger of India, and wherever I go I speak in praise of this country’s longstanding tradition of tolerance and inter-religious harmony. In recent years, I have also committed myself to revive interest in ancient Indian thought. I believe this can be of immense value in transforming our destructive emotions and promoting basic inner qualities. As necessary as physical hygiene is to maintaining our physical fitness, cultivating emotional hygiene and learning to tackle our destructive emotions is essential to mental fitness. In this connection, I believe that elements of ancient Indian wisdom can be immensely helpful.

“India is the only country with the potential to combine ancient knowledge with modern education in order to develop peace of mind. I am very encouraged by the growing interest in India, especially among young people, in restoring ancient Indian wisdom.”

His Holiness concluded, “India has been our home for more than 59 years. On behalf of my fellow Tibetans, I take this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude for the generosity of the Government and people of India. It is due to the kindness and generosity of India that we are able to preserve our ancient cultural heritage in exile.”

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Meeting Tibetans, in Conversation with Richard Gere, and a Public Talk https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/meeting-tibetans-in-conversation-with-richard-gere-and-a-public-talk Sat, 15 Sep 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/meeting-tibetans-in-conversation-with-richard-gere-and-a-public-talk Rotterdam, the Netherlands - This morning the high blue skies were laced with dispersing vapour trails as His Holiness the Dalai Lama drove to the Ahoy convention centre. In the first hall more than 5000 Tibetans from the Netherlands, Belgium, Britain, Spain and Austria had gathered to listen to him. He waved to them from the stage before taking his seat. Meanwhile, a delightful group of young Tibetan children sang a prayer for his long life.

A group of young children singing a prayer for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the start of his meeting with members of the Tibetan community at the Ahoy convention centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands on September 16, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

Karma Ngawang, Vice President of the Tibetan Community in the Netherlands welcomed His Holiness and Lobsang Choedar the President offered him a brief report.

“We’ve been in exile almost sixty years,” His Holiness began, “and some of you here are in a second exile. In our homeland, our own people and culture are on the verge of extinction. Historically we’ve faced all kinds of ups and downs, but now we’re at a crucial juncture where the very Tibetan identity is under threat. Tibetans are blessed by Avalokiteshvara and we are a naturally compassionate people.

“Songtsen Gampo initiated the formulation of a Tibetan literary language based on the letters, vowels and consonants of Indian Devanagari and Shantarakshita encouraged the translation of Indian Buddhist literature into it. During Trisong Detsen’s reign, Buddhism was established on Tibetan soil. Today, Buddhism is in decline while a wider interest in it is growing. Our spirit is undimmed, despite the deaths of thousands.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing more than 5,000 members of the Tibetan community from the Netherlands, Belgium, Britain, Spain and Austria gathered at the Ahoy convention centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands on September 16, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adams

“I’ve heard about the tutor of the All-knowing Jamyang Sheyba who during the Cultural Revolution was among a hundred or so condemned to death. On the way to the execution ground he asked for a moment’s rest and uttered a prayer before he was shot:

O venerable compassionate gurus,
Bless me that all the obstructions from misdeeds, and sufferings
Of mother beings ripen upon me right now,
And that I may give my happiness and virtues to others
In order that all sentient beings have bliss.

“Only a Tibetan would make such a prayer. Whatever oppression the Chinese have applied, they have been unable to crush the Tibetan spirit. Even young children sent to a school in Shanghai where they were forbidden to speak their native language proudly assert that they are Tibetan. Similarly, Phuntsok Wangyal and others were committed to the Communist ideal, but that didn’t diminish their sense of being Tibetan.

Elderly members of the Tibetan community listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during their meeting at the Ahoy convention centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands on September 16, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adams

“At a time when we left Tibet with no friends, Pandit Nehru in India gave us great help. He supported the setting up of English medium Tibetan schools where our children could also learn Tibetan. He supported the reestablishment of the great Monastic Seats of Learning, Sera, Drepung and Ganden and eventually Namdroling.

We can be proud of the knowledge we have kept alive.

“I recently met a Thai Abbot who told me he’d heard about shunyata - emptiness - but hadn’t understood it. Another Korean Abbot told me that in his tradition they talk about bodhichitta and emptiness, but until he met Tibetans he hadn’t understood what they meant. The Nalanda Tradition we uphold explains profound psychology and philosophy through reason and logic. Today, ours is the only Buddhist tradition that employs reason and logic. Therefore, although we have lost our country, we should not be demoralized because we have much to be proud of.”

The Tibetan Community in the Netherlands presenting His Holiness the Dalai Lama with elaborate silver Dharma Wheel as token of gratitude at the conclusion of his meeting with Tibetans at the Ahoy convention centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands on September 16, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adams

His Holiness recalled appealing in vain to the UN and Nehru’s advice that nothing would come of it. Since 1974, he said, Tibetans have no longer sought independence but aimed to achieve the rights and privileges mentioned in the Chinese constitution. The Middle Way Approach grew from this.

The Tibetan Community in the Netherlands presented His Holiness with elaborate silver Dharma Wheel as token of gratitude for his qualities of body, speech and mind. They expressed the wish that his aspirations be fulfilled. His Holiness responded that he would pray for their well-being in life after life.

In another hall in the complex a capacity crowd of 12,000 were assembled for an event organized by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) to honour its 30th anniversary. Executive Director Tsering Jhampa introduced the occasion. ICT, she told His Holiness, was founded 30 years ago to fulfil his vision. It has grown from the original office in Washington to having offices in Brussels, Amsterdam and Berlin and a field office in Dharamsala. ICT works to keep the Tibetan cause alive while aiming for a negotiated solution. She added that there is a need to find new ways to tell Tibet’s story and build stronger support amongst like-minded individuals and organizations.

International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) Executive Director Tsering Jhampa introducing His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Richard Gere at the start of their conversation at the Ahoy convention centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands on September 16, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adams

Tsering Jhampa invited His Holiness to engage in conversation with Richard Gere, Chairman of ICT. Richard Gere began by welcoming everyone present and expressing surprise that they were so many. His Holiness pointed out that it was Sunday, so they had sacrificed their sleep to come. Gere quoted a line from a Japanese poem: ‘Under cherry trees there are no strangers’. He compared His Holiness to a cherry tree because he has noted before his ability to gather people together as friends. “Let’s talk about the situation in China and Tibet and how it’s changed. Your Holiness,” Gere continued, “do you remember the beginning of ICT with Lodi Gyari, Michael van Walt and Michelle Bohana around the time Bob Thurman and I had started Tibet House in New York?”

“The Tibetan struggle is not just political,” His Holiness replied, “the knowledge we have kept alive originated in India, mainly from Nalanda. It involves a logical approach to philosophy and psychology that is now only found amongst Tibetans. It’s a store of knowledge that is among the world’s treasures. I retired from political responsibility in 2001, passing that authority on to an elected leadership. However, preserving the Nalanda Tradition and making it more available to my fellow human beings remains a major concern.”

Richard Gere recalled His Holiness telling him in Bodhgaya in 1986 that Tibetans needed a lot of help. He asked if he could remember what he’d had in mind in relation to what was happening in Tibet. His Holiness reached back to the open revolt that broke out in eastern Tibet in 1956. This spread to Amdo in 1958 as a result of which many were killed. In the 1980s fact-finding delegations went into Tibet and reported villages and communities where the male population had been drastically reduced.

International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) Chairman Richard Gere and His Holiness the Dalai Lama in conversation at the Ahoy convention centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands on September 16, 2018. Photo by Jurjen Donkers

After the Cultural Revolution, when Hu Yaobang was Party Secretary, the situation eased in Tibet. It was followed by the Tiananmen incident and a renewed crackdown. During the time of Jiang Zemin, direct contacts were renewed again.

“Another of my main concerns,” His Holiness told Gere, “is the protection of Tibet’s natural environment. A Chinese ecologist compared Tibet’s effect on the earth’s climate to the North and South Pole and suggested it could be called a Third Pole. Indian ecologists have also pointed out that when such a fragile high-altitude ecological system is damaged it takes longer than elsewhere to recover, so it requires special care and attention. Meanwhile Tibet is the source of water for much of Asia.”

Richard Gere and His Holiness discussed the great positive effect Nalanda University had had on Tibet, which had contributed to His Holiness and other Tibetan scholars being able to engage in mutually fruitful dialogue with modern scientists over recent decades. The Mind & Life Institute has grown out of these interactions and has contributed to greater awareness of neuroplasticity, which indicates that factors such as changes in consciousness can affect the brain.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and members of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) holding a certificate denoting the financial grant ICT will give to the Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education as a gift of gratitude to His Holiness during their program at the Ahoy convention centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands on September 16, 2018. Photo by Jurjen Donkers

Richard Gere concluded his conversation with His Holiness by making an appeal to the audience, “Please remember the people of Tibet and look into how you can help them.” Matteo Mecacci, President of ICT stepped forward to announce that ICT would offer a financial grant as a commemorative gift of gratitude to His Holiness to be made available to the Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education. A certificate denoting this offer mounted like a thangka painting was presented to His Holiness. In bringing the ICT event to a close, Christa Meindersma observed that ICT attempts to reveal what’s happening in Tibet and called on others to do their part to protect the country’s language and beautiful culture.

Invited to address the public, His Holiness laughed and said he’d already said much of what he wanted to say. He raised a question he recently put to a gathering of monks from the Pali Traditions—is religion still relevant today? In answering his own question he remarked,

“The material development we can see in the USA and Europe is wonderful, but it brings no guarantee that people who experience it are happy. Indeed they struggle with stress, greed, jealousy and extreme competitiveness. Recent evidence that basic human nature is compassionate is a source of hope; however it also suggests that the existing education system with its materialistic goals is inadequate. Greater attention needs to be paid to inner values.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the capacity crowd of 12,000 at the Ahoy convention centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands on September 16, 2018. Photo by Jurjen Donkers

“We need to learn how to tackle our destructive emotions, not through prayer but by employing reason. Since we all depend on the rest of the community, warm-heartedness is essential. We need to examine how anger provokes problems and understand how one of the principal remedies, loving-kindness is a reflection of basic human nature.

“We are all the same in being human. Physically, emotionally and mentally we are the same. We all want to live a happy life, which is why it’s important to acknowledge the oneness of humanity, and religious practice can help us do that. On such a basis we may be able to make the 21st century an era of peace and compassion.”

Among the several questions from the audience His Holiness answered, he touched on the importance that coming to understand emptiness and altruism, as described in Shantideva’s ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’, had been in tackling his own emotions. He agreed with a questioner that while he has great admiration for the Jewish people, who he sees as an able people, relations between Palestinians and Israelis are very sad. He suggested that the custom of recognising reincarnations can sometimes involve vested interests.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his talk at the Ahoy convention centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands on September 16, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adams

Asked what advice he has for taking care of young children, he replied that he had none so had no experience. However, he confirmed that what is most important is for parents to provide their children with as much love as they can.

He clarified his view that it is wonderful that European countries have given shelter to refugees from other countries. These people have fled violence and killing in their homelands. Ultimately, those countries remain their home and eventually, when peace is restored, they may want to return to rebuild their societies there. For that reason it will be good if their European hosts can educate and train children and young people to equip them for that rebuilding.

A woman in distress requested His Holiness’s blessings to help her and her family heal and recover from damage as a result of associating with the practice of Shukden or Dolgyal. His Holiness told her, “Yes, I’ll pray for you. I did this practice myself until I understood it was improper. The 5th Dalai Lama recognised how destructive the practice could be. Shukden worshippers were not allowed to practice Nyingma or Kagyu teachings, so I restricted the practice to protect religious harmony in Tibetan monasteries.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering a question from the audience during his talk at the Ahoy convention centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands on September 16, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adams

“Don’t worry,” he told her, “your real refuge is to develop warm-heartedness. If you cultivate bodhichitta everyone appears as a friend. Recite the mantra of Arya Tara.”

Finally, a questioner who wanted to know what His Holiness thinks of romantic love was told, “Wrong person to ask; better to ask an expert.”

Paula de Wijs, chair of the Dalai Lama Foundation offered words of thanks. Waving to the audience on the way, His Holiness left the stage, posed for photographs with volunteers and climbed into a car to return to his hotel.

Tomorrow, back at the Ahoy, His Holiness will teach the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’.

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Compassion & Technology and the Life of the Buddha at the Nieuwe Kerk https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/compassion-technology-and-the-life-of-the-buddha-at-the-nieuwe-kirk Fri, 14 Sep 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/compassion-technology-and-the-life-of-the-buddha-at-the-nieuwe-kirk Amsterdam, the Netherlands - Yesterday morning, under sunny blue skies, His Holiness the Dalai Lama flew from Malmö to Rotterdam. He was received at the airport by members of the Dalai Lama Foundation who have organized his visit to the Netherlands and drove into the city of Rotterdam. About 200 Tibetans, many of them children, and other well-wishers were gathered in front of the hotel to greet him as he arrived. His Holiness walked the entire length of the barriers on which they leaned to return their greetings. Tibetan dancers performed on the hotel forecourt. He was offered a traditional Tibetan welcome just by the door to the hotel. More people were gathered in the lobby inside.

Members of the Tibetan community offering His Holiness the Dalai Lama a traditional welcome on his arrival at his hotel in Rotterdam, Netherlands on September 14, 2018. Photo by Jeppe Schilder

Once His Holiness reached his room, the Indian Ambassador to the Netherlands, H.E. Venu Rajamony and his wife paid him a brief courtesy call. His Holiness also met with four people representing a larger group of 12 alleged victims who say Tibetan Buddhist teachers have abused them physically or psychologically. They presented him with written accounts of what they say happened to them and appealed to him to address the problem.

Early this morning His Holiness drove more than 80 kms from Rotterdam to Amsterdam where he was received at the Nieuwe Kerk by the Director Cathelijne Broers. She escorted him into the 600 year old building before a congregation of 450. In her welcome address she mentioned that there were people from all walks of life, including the royal family, in the church and they were joined by many more around the world through live streaming of the event. “Let’s connect through compassion and technology,” she said, “and celebrate the life of the Buddha through works of art, ancient and modern, including Ai Wei Wei’s ‘Tree’, beneath which you’re sitting. We have assembled young people and scientists to have discussions with you.”

Escorted by the Nieuwe Kerk Director Cathelijne Broers His Holiness the Dalai Lama greets members of the audience on his arrival at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, Netherlands on September 15, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

Moderator Christa Meindersma explained that there would be two panel discussions of about 40 minutes each—the first would focus on ‘Robotics and Telepresence’, while the second would deal with ‘Sickness, Aging and Death’.

After a short video about ‘Robotics and Telepresence’, she introduced a young girl from Britain, Tilly Lockey, who, as a result of meningitis when she was 15 months old, had lost her hands. She was expected to die, but survived. “I lost my hands so young, I have no memory of having had them,” Tilly told His Holiness, “but I’ve been working with technologists who are developing these bionic limbs. I don’t mind being different and I know that other people lose their limbs suddenly and the work we are doing can give them support.”

Tilly asked His Holiness how technology and compassion could be of help to other people around the world. He answered,

His Holiness the Dalai Lama looking at Tilly Lockey's prosthetic hands during the discussion on ‘Robotics and Telepresence’ at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, Netherlands on September 15, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adam

“Machines are very important, but they are controlled by human beings. We human beings are not only physical entities, we also have minds. When we are motivated by positive emotions our physical actions will be constructive. Modern psychology knows about sensory consciousnesses, but doesn’t distinguish them clearly from mental consciousness, which involves emotions like anger. I’m very appreciative of the comfort and relief that technology can provide, but I’d like to see its effects implemented in less developed countries where there is still great suffering.”

Christa Meindersma introduced scholar Prof Martin Steinbuch, who holds the Chair of Robotics at Singularity University, and practitioner Karen Dolva, the developer of AV1, the world’s first telepresence robot. A short video introduced Jade, in Britain, who suffers a chronic medical condition that prevents her leaving home for extended periods. The telepresence robot, which consists of a mobile head and shoulders, allows her to participate in classes at school even when she can’t go and enables her to stay in the loop with her friends. It has a two way audio connection, but only Jade, the operator, has access to a video feed. Her question to His Holiness was about whether there has been a female Dalai Lama and if not, could there be one in the future?

His Holiness the Dalai Lama interacting with AV1, the world’s first telepresence robot, during the discussion on ‘Robotics and Telepresence’ at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, Netherlands on September 15, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adam

His Holiness replied that he had been asked this repeatedly over the years and has answered that if a female body would be more useful, why not? He qualified this by adding that whether or not there will continue to be a Dalai Lama in the future is something Tibetans, Mongolians and people of the Himalayan Region will decide.

When Christa Meindersma asked Jade what AV1 means to her, she was clear that it gives her freedom to go to school and keep up with her friends. Karen Dolva added that the telepresence robot, which can also be helpful to elderly people suffering Alzheimer’s syndrome, doesn’t replace human contact, but augments it and keeps it alive.

“Sophisticated machine,” His Holiness asked leaning over the robot, “can you read my mind? This technology is wonderful, but I don’t believe it can reproduce the human mind. Still, you may yet prove me wrong.”

Martin Steinbuch had brought a play robot with him, a dinosaur the size of a small baby.

Martin Steinbuch demonstrating his play dinosaur robot during the discussion on ‘Robotics and Telepresence’ at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, Netherlands on September 15, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adam

“These machines are material devices,” His Holiness observed, “but we also have to think about consciousness. Our waking consciousness depends on our brain and sensory organs and is relatively coarse. When we dream the senses are at rest. In deep sleep, consciousness is subtler, as it is when we faint and so forth, but the subtlest, deepest consciousness manifests at the time of death. There are cases of practitioners, like my own tutor, whose body remained fresh for thirteen days after clinical death---the stopping of the heartbeat and death of the brain---because that subtle consciousness remained.”

His Holiness explained that psychologist Richie Davidson of University of Wisconsin–Madison has undertaken a project to investigate what is going on. He pointed out that while technology can improve eye and ear consciousness, it has little effect on the subtler level of mental consciousness that nevertheless can be extended infinitely. Inner values involve the mind and ancient India was rich in understanding the mind’s workings as a result of the practices for cultivating a calmly abiding mind (shamatha) and analytical insight (vipashyana). The Buddha’s attainment was a product of such practices.

Members of the audience attending listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as speaks during the discussion on ‘Robotics and Telepresence’ at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, Netherlands on September 15, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adam

Asked to talk about self-learning robots and whether they could develop empathy, Martin Steinbuch explained that they can learn rapidly about human behaviour and can develop acute intelligence. His Holiness asked if they could comfort someone who was sad and demoralized and he declared they could, somewhat to His Holiness’s surprise. As the first panel came to an end, His Holiness blew kisses to Jade via her AV1 telepresence robot.

For the second discussion of ‘Sickness, Aging and Death’ the moderator introduced members of the panel: scholar Kris Verburgh, a doctor and medical researcher, practitioner Liz Parrish, CEO of Bioviva Sciences, scholar Jeantine Lunshof, a philosopher and bio-ethicist and youngster Selma Boulmalf, a religious student at Amsterdam University and alumni of IMC Weekend School. The challenging question raised was, “Would you like to live to be 1000 years old?”

Moderator Christa Meindersma introducing the second discussion on ‘Sickness, Aging and Death’ at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, Netherlands on September 15, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adam

His Holiness retorted that it’s necessary to be realistic and the question represented unrealistic thinking. He observed that Indian Sadhus and others have tried to achieve such a goal through yoga and breath control, but none have lived more than 200 years. “Our earth will eventually disappear, our sun will disappear, even our galaxy will ultimately disappear, so it’s unrealistic to think we will avoid death.” Verburgh agreed that the prospect of living beyond 120 was small, but recent work with mice has seen them convincingly rejuvenated.

His Holiness speculated that the world’s human population would expand beyond 10 billion, which would anyway be too big for natural resources to provide for. He stirred a laugh from the audience when he suggested that a non-violent method of population control would be for more people to become monks and nuns.

Selma Boulmalf declared that she would not want to live to be more than 150, which would eliminate the choice that a limited lifespan affords. “What’s more,” she said, “as a Muslim, why would I want to remain in this temporary world?” She asked His Holiness if sickness had any meaningful role in life. He told her he thought that facing pain and difficulty reminds believers of God and their religious path. He added that at her age he was a lazy student, but that just as Muslims memorize scripture, Tibetan Buddhists learn their texts by heart and study them word by word. He explained three levels of knowledge: basic understanding gained by hearing or reading, conviction that derives from critical thinking and experience arising from deeper acquaintance in meditation.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama responding to Selma Boulmalf's question during the discussion on ‘Sickness, Aging and Death’ at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, Netherlands on September 15, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adam

Liz Parrish explained that gene therapy need not extend life but by overcoming tendencies towards sickness can improve its quality. Jeantine Lunshof wanted to know why human beings want to live longer. His Holiness told her that even animals love life and move to defend it. “We all naturally love life and death brings an end to it. We tend to fear death because it is a mystery, but through training we can develop confidence in the next life.”

Christa Meindersma announced that the discussion was running out of time. His Holiness took the opportunity to look back on the 20th century and the great violence that had taken place in various wars. “However,” he noted, “towards the end of the century there seems to have been a change of attitude as people exhibited an opposition to further violence and the suffering it entails. If we can extend this trend into the 21st century, there’s hope for the future. We need to focus on a sense of the oneness of humanity and maintaining religious harmony, which India vividly exemplifies. If religious harmony can flourish there, why not elsewhere?”

Diederick Croese of Singularity University offered words of thanks to the panellists, the  staff of the church, the organist and everyone who contributed to the morning’s stimulating event. His Holiness presented the various participants with white silk scarves, as is the Tibetan custom.

Diederick Croese of Singularity University offering words of thanks at the conclusion of the dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, Netherlands on September 15, 2018. Photo by Olivier Adam

During a meeting with members of the media immediately afterwards His Holiness remarked that technology can clearly play a significant role in alleviating physical distress, but that peace of mind and the role of moral principles cannot be overlooked. He commented that existing education sets material goals, resulting in aspirations for a more materialistic way of life with little attention to inner values.

He acknowledged that the Buddha’s strictures regarding sexual behaviour are not limited to members of the monastic community, but relate to the laity too. He said he had recommended that the question of abusive Buddhist teachers be raised at a conference of religious leaders in November.

He expressed disapproval of the use of technology for oppressive surveillance, but noted that the problem lies with the motivation of perpetrators and the way it is used rather than the technology by itself. He repeated that moral principles lay the basis for individuals, families and communities to live a happy life.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to members of the media at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, Netherlands on September 15, 2018. Photo by Jurjen Jonkers

Challenged to say why, in the face of climate change and global warming, we continue to fly, he suggested that education about climate change is essential. He also lamented America’s withdrawal from the Paris accords. While accepting that aircraft flight is a cause of pollution, he suggested that to ban flying altogether or to ban all cars would be an extreme step. He recommended instead the adoption of a more balanced, broad-minded and far-sighted solution.

His Holiness reviewed the various works of art, mostly statues and paintings, that made up the exhibition illustrating the ‘Life of the Buddha’. He took particular interest in a statue of the fasting Buddha and a thangka painting of the twelve deeds of the Buddha’s life. At the end, in a small alcove, his old friend Erica Terpstra presented him with a copy of her children’s book about the Buddha’s life, to which he had contributed a foreword. When she requested him to sign her own copy, he did so on the condition that she sign the copy she had given him.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama looking at a thangka painting of the twelve deeds of the Buddha’s life, part of the exhibit illustrating the ‘Life of the Buddha’ at Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, Netherlands on September 15, 2018. Photo by Jeppe Schilder

He was then entertained to lunch with old friends and supporters of Tibet. Eventually emerging from the church into bright sunshine he found upwards of 300 Tibetans and other friends waiting to see him off. They included many children and His Holiness reached out to as many of them as he could, shaking their hands, patting their cheeks and laughing with them before climbing into a car to return to his hotel.

Tomorrow, he will meet with Tibetans and give a talk explaining ‘Why Compassion is Essential in Our Troubled World’.

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Talking to Students of Malmö University https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/talking-to-students-of-malmö-university Wed, 12 Sep 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/talking-to-students-of-malmö-university Malmö, Sweden - After two days of rain and grey skies, this morning the sun shone on the buildings and seascapes around His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s hotel. His first engagement was to meet approximately 100 Tibetans resident in Scandinavia and about 60 members of Tibet Support Groups. Before taking his seat in the room where they were waiting for him, he took time to laugh and play with the children sitting in the front.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama playfully greeting young children as he arrives for his meeting with members of the Tibetan community and Tibet support groups in Malmö, Sweden on September 13, 2018. Photo by Tseten Samdup

“When I arrived here in Sweden the day before yesterday,” he told the gathering, “I was tired so I took a shower and slept for 12 hours. Tagdrak Rinpoche, from whom I received many teachings, was in his 70s when I knew him and he used to complain about not getting enough sleep. It’s not a problem I have.

“I’m happy to meet you all here today, Tibetans and our friends and supporters. I often point out that since the cause of Tibet is a just cause, Tibet supporters are not so much pro-Tibet as pro-justice. We continue to keep up our struggle on the basis of non-violence. Since 1974 we have not been seeking independence, but we have been seeking the rights mentioned in the Chinese constitution, rights to be implemented on the ground, not only in the Tibet Autonomous Region but in all Tibetan areas, to preserve Tibetan language and culture. In China today there are 400 million Buddhists, many of whom recognize Tibetan Buddhism as the authentic Nalanda Tradition.

“Tibet, also known as the Land of Snow, is the source of water for much of Asia. Besides this, it is a place where archaeologists have found stone tools that indicate human communities lived there 35,000 years ago.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to members of the Tibetan community and Tibet support groups in Malmö, Sweden on September 13, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

“In the 7th century, when Songtsen Gampo married the Tang Princess Wenchen she brought the Jowo statue as a gift and it was placed in the Ramoche temple. When he married the Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti, she brought the Jowo Mikyo Dorje statue with her, which was placed in the Jokhang. Later, Tibetans reversed where they had been placed.

“The Tibetan script that was refined at this time was based on an Indian model and as interest in Buddhism grew, Trisong Detsen looked to India for support. He invited Shantarakshita from Nalanda University to establish Buddhism in Tibet. This is how we came to adopt the Nalanda Tradition, which involves intense study of philosophy using reason and logic. Crucial to this was the translation of almost all Dignaga’s and Dharmakirti’s writings on logic and epistemology, books only preserved in Tibetan. Indeed it was Shantarakshita who encouraged the translation of Buddhist literature, mostly from Sanskrit, into Tibetan. It’s on this basis that we Tibetans have kept the Nalanda Tradition alive for more than 1000 years.

“I recently had the opportunity to ask some Thai scholars how they go about teaching the Four Noble Truths, whether they rely on scriptural authority or on reason. Their unequivocal answer was that they rely on scriptural authority and I thought to myself, ‘but we depend on reason and logic’. Our approach to investigating reality through reason and logic is what has enabled Tibetan scholars to engage usefully in discussions with modern scientists in recent years.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama posing for a group photos with members of the Tibetan community and Tibet support groups after their meeting in Malmö, Sweden on September 13, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

His Holiness reminded the gathering that Tibetans in Tibet live in fear and anxiety. The Chinese authorities have employed all means to eliminate the Tibetan identity and to crush the Tibetan spirit, but in 70 years they have not succeeded. They talk about establishing harmony and stability, but these have to come from the heart not as a result of threats and oppression. He mentioned that Tibetans enjoy the blessings of the Protectors of the Three Families, Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri and Vajrapani. In a final remark he stressed the importance of parents ensuring their children learn to speak Tibetan, which is crucial to their developing pride in their culture.

A short drive brought His Holiness to Malmö University where he was received and introduced by Birthe Müller. The Deputy Vice Chancellor, the President of the Student Union and the Pro Vice Chancellor each spoke briefly to welcome him to the University, which was described as an institution founded on human values and critical thinking.

After welcoming the Lord Mayor of Malmö and his wife, Birthe Müller confirmed that it is 80 years since IM was founded and that it is presently working in 12 countries with the support of 40,000 donors. She recalled that after 12 Tibetan boys came to Denmark in 1963, 32 Tibetan girls came to IM in 1964. All of them returned to India when they had completed their training.

Vice Chancellor Cecilia Christersson introducing His Holiness the Dalai Lama before his talk at Malmö University in Malmö, Sweden on September 13, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

“As you’ve mentioned, our relations have been long and useful,” His Holiness responded.”It’s now nearly 60 years since we became refugees and the 150,000 of us outside Tibet are but a handful. Nevertheless, we’ve been quite successful keeping our thousand year old traditions alive. We also engage in critical thinking. We analyse why the Buddha said what he said and if we find there is a contradiction in it we have the liberty to reject even the Buddha’s words. In preserving the knowledge that originated in India we have received immense help from the Government of India, especially from its first Prime Minister, Pandit Nehru.

“We have our own language with its own script and we have a rich understanding of the workings of the mind. We’ve also preserved philosophical ideas similar to those expressed in quantum physics, which state that nothing exists objectively and all things depend on the observer. However, I’ve found that quantum physics has little to tell us about the observer although our Buddhist traditions have plenty to say.

“Recently I’ve made a commitment to reviving ancient Indian knowledge, especially about the mind, in contemporary India. I believe India has the potential to combine this ancient knowledge about how to achieve peace of mind with modern education.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing students at Malmö University in Malmö, Sweden on September 13, 2018. Photo by Erik Törner/IM

His Holiness explained that where basic human values have been neglected by an education system with materialistic goals, we need secular ethics. He pointed out that many problems facing human beings today are of our own making. He observed that while he and the audience were comfortably at peace, elsewhere in the world people were fighting and killing each other in the name of religion. Meanwhile, one billion of the seven billion people alive today declare they have no interest in religion. He asserted that there was a clear need to restore respect for basic human values, without reference to any specific religious tradition, if we want to create a more peaceful world.

“Secular doesn’t imply disrespect for religious traditions,” His Holiness remarked. “I use the word secular according to the Indian understanding of unbiased respect for all religious traditions. But we live in times when we need a means of inspiring interest in basic human values that has a universal appeal to all human beings. We are proposing to introduce secular ethics into the education system from kindergarten to graduation and next April will have decisive discussions about curriculums that have been developed.”

In answering questions from the audience His Holiness confirmed that change begins with individuals. He spoke of his hopes that the qualities he admires in the European Union of putting the common interest ahead of narrow national concerns could be repeated in Africa with the aim of developing agriculture and education. He voiced a dream he has of using solar power in the Sahara Desert to drive desalination plants to produce clean water from the sea that could be used to green the desert. He described another dream of the demilitarization of the world, noting that Sweden is one of several countries involved in the arms trade and that weapons have no other use than to kill and maim.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama posing for photos with members of the audience after his talk to students at Malmö University in Malmö, Sweden on September 13, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

In relation to intolerance His Holiness observed that negative emotions like anger cloud our ability to use our intelligence clearly. When asked who defines ethics he replied that in general actions that result in misery are regarded as unwholesome and negative, while those that give rise to joy are considered positive and wholesome.

The session came to an end with Birthe Müller thanking the students for their questions and expressing gratitude to His Holiness for spending time with them.

From the University it was a short drive to Malmö City Hall where His Holiness gave two short interviews before lunch. The first was with Fredrik Skavlan, the most prominent talk show host on Scandinavian television. He asked His Holiness to describe what he does after waking up early in the morning.

“I’m a Buddhist monk,” His Holiness told him, “so first of all I make a salutation to the Buddha, then I reflect on altruism, infinite concern for others, after which I think about how nothing exists as it appears—analytical meditation. I think about this person called the Dalai Lama and investigate where is the ‘I’. I spend about one and a half hours in meditation then take a shower. Since, as a Buddhist monk, I don’t eat dinner, by that time I’m hungry and enjoy a good breakfast. If I have time, I’ll do another three hours of meditation after that.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama talking with Scandinavian talk show host Fredrik Skavlan at Malmö City Hall in Malmö, Sweden on September 13, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

His Holiness told him that for Tibetans in exile education has been very important. Not only have schools been established, but in the monastic institutions education has ensured that new generations of scholars have been trained, including scholarly nuns too, who preserve the ancient knowledge that Tibetans received from India.

His Holiness explained how, when he was young, his curiosity led him to dismantle his toys to see how they worked and to reassemble a movie projector to make it work. He conceded, however, that he does not have a mobile phone.

Skavlan asked whether he feared death and His Holiness replied,

“Death is a part of life. Where there is birth, death follows. I don’t fear it, because I believe we live life after life and I rehearse the process of death every day in meditation.”

The second interview was conducted by Johanna Saldert who writes for a feature magazine called DI-Weekend. She began by asking His Holiness to tell her about his brothers and sisters and how many were still living. He added to his answers that he considers all human beings to be his brothers and sisters and that differences between them of nationality, race and faith are only of secondary importance. On that basis he feels close to everyone, so he does not feel lonely. Saldert asked him why he is so popular and he speculated that it may be because he comes from the mysterious land of Tibet.

Johanna Saldert of DI-Weekend magazine interviewing His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Malmö City Hall in Malmö, Sweden on September 13, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

When she asked if he had ever wanted to live an ordinary life, His Holiness told her that, although he was treated with great formality when placed on the throne, he appreciated that when it came to his studies he was treated like any other monk. He confirmed that he told the editor of Paris Vogue magazine that it was quite possible for the next Dalai Lama to be a woman if that’s what would be most effective. But he cautioned that it was not yet clear that the institution of Dalai Lamas would continue. A meeting of Tibetan spiritual leaders is to take place in late November to discuss this very question.

Saldert wanted to know if His Holiness cries and he told he does, especially when he thinks about great compassion. He told her that every day when thinks about the awakening mind of bodhichitta it moves him in a way that brings happiness and courage.

After a brief meeting with the Mayor of Malmö, city councillors and IM board members, they and His Holiness were invited to lunch to celebrate IM’s 80th anniversary. At the end Birthe Müller presented a gift from IM’s fair-trade catalogue to the Mayor and a humanium metal watch to His Holiness.

Lord Mayor of Malmö with His Holiness the Dalai Lama during a luncheon at Malmö City Hall in Malmö, Sweden on September 13, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

“I’ve really enjoyed my two days here,” His Holiness told the gathering, “I love smiles and everywhere I’ve been people smiled. The audiences I’ve addressed gave me a positive response and showed appreciation of what I’ve been talking about. The main purpose of my visiting different places is to share the idea of achieving peace of mind by cultivating a compassionate, warm heart. I’m determined to serve others as much as I can—you please try to do the same.”

After posing for photographs with various groups of people, His Holiness returned to his hotel. Tomorrow, he will travel to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

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Speaking about ‘Art of Happiness and Peace’ at Invitation of IM https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/speaking-about-art-of-happiness-and-peace-at-invitation-of-im Tue, 11 Sep 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/speaking-about-art-of-happiness-and-peace-at-invitation-of-im Malmö, Sweden - Yesterday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama flew directly from Delhi to Sweden. The weather on arrival at Malmö airport was windy and wet; nevertheless he was given a warm welcome by Birthe Müller and Ann Svensén, Chair and Secretary General of IM respectively before driving into the city. IM is a development organisation fighting and exposing poverty and exclusion. It was founded in 1938 by Britta Holmström and now works in thirteen countries worldwide focussing on people´s right to education, good health and the ability to sustain a life in dignity.

Secretary General of IM Ann Svensén looks on as His Holiness the Dalai Lama addresses members of the press in Malmö, Sweden on September 12, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

During a brief meeting with members of the media this morning, His Holiness was introduced by Ann Svensén, who pointed out that this year sees the 80th anniversary of IM’s founding, but also 50 years of partnership with Tibetans. She mentioned IM’s launch in 2016 of Humanium Metal, a metal made from recycled illegal weapons. “We are very happy to have you here,” she said, “and look forward to hearing what you have to say.”

“Firstly our relations are neither political, nor related to money,” His Holiness began. “Our relations began in the way that when human beings find themselves in difficulties, others come to their aid. As scientists say, basic human nature is compassionate and IM is an organization that puts compassion into action. When we Tibetans first came into exile the future looked dark, but many individuals and organizations offered us help—IM was among them, which I appreciate.

“One of my goals is to create a better world by encouraging humanity to be more compassionate. On a mental level we can generate compassion, but if on a physical level we limit the availability of weapons it will be effective in reducing violence and harm. Therefore, our goal should be a demilitarized world. If we adopt a vision and make an effort at the start of the 21st century we can make this a happier era than came before without war and killing. Problems will still arise, but we need to address them differently. We need to engage in dialogue to resolve them rather than resorting to the use of force.”

A member of the press asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during their meeting in Malmö, Sweden on September 12, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

The first question put to His Holiness sought his advice following the recent polarized election result in Sweden. He replied that to give such advice he would have to study the situation more deeply which he has been unable to do. He hoped that the impression of Sweden as a prosperous, peaceful country where the gap between rich and poor is relatively small would continue to prevail.

“I don’t admire the USA for its nuclear weapons but for its advocacy of democracy, freedom and liberty, I hope here in Sweden you can keep these values alive.

“Recently large numbers of refugees, many from the Middle East, have fled to Europe in fear for their lives. They have been given shelter and support, but the long-term solution should include providing training and education, particularly for their children, so they can return to rebuild their own countries when peace has been restored.”

Asked about the hate dispersed through social media His Holiness remarked, “We are all the same as human beings and I am trying to educate people in understanding that the ultimate source of happiness is a warm heart and a calm mind. We need to pay more attention to peace of mind.”

Another questioner wanted to know if His Holiness was disappointed that fewer Presidents and Prime Ministers were prepared to meet him as China has grown as an economic power. He answered that on the one hand he is not disappointed because his main interest is to meet ordinary people and on the other, since 2001, when Tibetans first achieved an elected leadership, he has retired from political responsibility. What’s more he has put an end to the tradition whereby Dalai Lamas serve as political as well as spiritual leaders.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his meeting with members of the press in Malmö, Sweden on September 12, 2018. Photo by Malin Kihlström/IM

Asked if he worries about climate change, His Holiness replied that he has observed the decline in snowfall where he lives. Challenged to say what we can do, he noted that at one time the river running through Stockholm no longer supported any fish because of pollution by factories. He pointed out that we can make a difference if we change our behaviour. Once the factories ceased polluting the river, fish returned. He stated that working together, as stipulated in the Paris accord, is essential.

His Holiness agreed with another questioner that cutting back on the manufacture and sale of weapons is crucial to world peace. He expressed the hope that Nobel Peace Laureates would give this their support. However, he recalled a resolution by fellow Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome several years ago to eliminate nuclear weapons and his own suggestion that a timetable be set and countries possessing these weapons held to it, but nothing happened. His Holiness mentioned that he has asked President Obama and Indian Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi to take up the cause.

In an auditorium known as Malmö Live His Holiness was welcomed and introduced to the audience of 1200 by Kattis Ahlstrom, a Swedish journalist and television presenter. She invited him first to listen to songs performed gently by Lisa Ekdal and with great zest by Rickard Soderberg, which he enjoyed. Before beginning his talk, he asked for more light on the audience so he could see the faces of the people he was talking to.

Swedish journalist and television presenter Kattis Ahlstrom introducing His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the start of the program at the Malmö Live in Malmö, Sweden on September 12, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

“Brothers and sisters, we are all the same in being human. Whether we are Swedish or Tibetan is of secondary value. We are physically, mentally and emotionally the same. We all want to live a happy life and yet many of the problems we face, bullying, cheating and poverty, are made by human beings. At the same time, as social animals, we depend on the community to survive. Therefore, we have a responsibility to solve such problems and have to work to ensure the well-being of others.

“We need friends and friendship is based on trust, which comes about when you show concern for others’ welfare. From the simple point of view of self-interest we need to develop greater concern for others.

“In the course of serious talks with scientists over the last nearly 40 years about cosmology, physics, neurobiology and psychology, I have seen experiments involving pre-verbal infants. They are shown animations illustrating someone helping another person and someone else obstructing another’s efforts. The infants show clear approval of the helpful behaviour and regret when they see someone being harmful or obstructive. From this it is concluded that basic human nature is compassionate.

“The warm-heartedness of compassion dispels any sense of suspicion and instils that confidence that allows you to conduct yourself honestly and truthfully. All 7 billion human beings owed their birth to their mother and then depended on her kindness to survive. In my own case my first teacher of compassion was my mother.

A view of the Malmö Live auditorium during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's talk in Malmö, Sweden on September 12, 2018. Photo by Erik Törner/IM

“I always think of myself as just another human being, not as someone special or as the 14th Dalai Lama. Whoever I meet, I greet with a smile. In my day to day practice I think of all beings as dear to me, which is why I start my talks—‘Brothers and sisters...’ To emphasize differences of nationality, race or religion between us, just leads to problems, when we are fundamentally all the same.

“I also highlight the importance of inter-religious harmony. The fighting and killing we see today in the name of religion is unthinkable. In India, despite great diversity, we see religious harmony thrives.

“We can look to our own experience. Families whose members love and trust each other are happy, even if they are not well-off. Families whose members are suspicious of each other are unhappy even if they are wealthy. I’ve noticed that young women spend time and money on cosmetics to enhance their looks, but no matter how well made up, if your face is angry no one will find it attractive.

“In our early days in exile a Tibetan monk official I knew well disrobed and married. I once teased him about his new wife’s plain looks and he told me that her face might not be special, but her inner beauty was remarkable. I was left with nothing to say, but I learned that inner beauty, warm-heartedness, is the real key to a sound marriage.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from the audience during his talk in Malmö, Sweden on September 12, 2018. Photo by Erik Törner/IM

Kattis Ahlstrom read out questions submitted by members of the audience to His Holiness. The first concerned refugees coming to Europe and he reiterated what he had said earlier to members of the media that it is good to offer help in the short term. However, in the longer term most refugees want to return to the countries they have fled. What’s important is the restoration of peace there and giving them, especially the youth, training to be able to rebuild their countries, but also being realistic about what help you can give.

“We Tibetan refugees have been 60 years in exile, but our ambition is to return and restore our country. In exile in India we have worked to educate our children and to keep our language, identity and culture alive with the hope of restoring them in our homeland when conditions allow.”

Asked how to deal with hatred in society, His Holiness noted that human beings with their sophisticated language and marvellous intelligence are the only beings who engage in war, which is systematic violence. Predators like lions and tigers only attack other creatures when they are hungry. If, as in a zoo, they are well fed they are no threat to other animals.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from the audience during his talk in Malmö, Sweden on September 12, 2018. Photo by Malin Kihlström/IM

He remarked that one of the inadequacies of modern education is its inability to teach how to achieve peace of mind. Since physical hygiene is taught to preserve physical health, learning to tackle our negative emotions by implementing emotional hygiene would help students become mentally fit and establish inner peace. He said the education system should take responsibility for inculcating inner values and moral principles in a secular way. He added that it is his belief that India has great potential for combining modern education with ancient Indian understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions.

Answering a question about optimism His Holiness declared that if efforts to create a better, more peaceful world were begun now with the education and training of the next generation real change might be seen in about 30 years. With regard to Tibet he mentioned that he is not seeking independence although in the past it was one among three independent empires—China, Mongolia and Tibet. Tibetans could benefit from remaining with the People’s Republic of China if the Chinese authorities respected Tibetan identity, culture and language as specified in the Chinese constitution.

Birthe Müller thanked His Holiness for coming, presented him with a gift and invited him to wave to her grandchildren watching from the balcony.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama waving to the grandchildren of the Chair of IM Birthe Müller as they stand together on stage at the conclusion of his talk in Malmö, Sweden on September 12, 2018. Photo by Jeremy Russell

His Holiness joined supporters of IM for lunch. Ann Svensén spoke again about humanium metal and the beautiful things—bracelets and such ornaments, watches, spinning tops and other toys—it is being used to create. She also mentioned the symbol of non-violence, a pistol with a barrel tied in a knot that is to be made in various sizes from humanium metal. She welcomed His Holiness and all the guests.

In his final remarks His Holiness thanked his hosts for lunch. “Food generates physical energy,” he pointed out, “but physical energy without the guidance of inner peace can be dangerous. Since external disarmament needs to be accompanied by inner disarmament I really appreciate the efforts this organization, IM, is taking to bring about peace in the world.”

After posing for photographs with friends and supporters of IM, His Holiness retired for the day. Tomorrow, he will address students of Malmö University.

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Teachings for East and Southeast Asians - Fourth Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/teachings-for-east-and-southeast-asians-fourth-day Thu, 06 Sep 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/teachings-for-east-and-southeast-asians-fourth-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - In the final session of this year’s teachings for Buddhists from East and Southeast Asia His Holiness the Dalai Lama sat on a chair in front of the throne in the Tsuglagkhang and invited the audience to put questions to him.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering question from the audience on the final day of his teachings for Buddhists from East and Southeast Asia at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 7, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

He began by explaining that the real meaning of the Dharma is warm-heartedness.

“If you can, serve others, but at least avoid doing them harm. That’s possible whatever your occupation. It’s important to make your Dharma practice part of your daily life. It’s not about just closing your eyes and remaining in isolation. There’s nothing wrong with making money; it’s something we need. And there are many people who are both poor and lack an education who you can help. So, try to be warm-hearted, honest and truthful, while helping others as much as you can.

“To maintain energy in your practice you have to remind yourself that it’s up to you. The Buddha made clear that the Enlightened Ones don’t wash unwholesome deeds away with water, nor do they remove the sufferings of beings with their hands, neither do they transplant their own realization into others. It is through teaching the truth of suchness that they help beings find freedom. The key is to transform your own mind and emotions. Of course, if you believe in God, you can pray to him, but the Buddha made his followers responsible for bringing about change in themselves.”

His Holiness told someone who wanted to know how you could be of great help to others if you just stay in one place that among her acquaintances there are probably some people who make her uncomfortable.

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during a question and answer session on the final day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 7, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Remind yourself that like you they also want to be happy. Then you’ll be more inclined to be more compassionate towards them. By such means you can extend a positive concern to all 7 billion human beings alive today and eventually to all the sentient beings in the universe.

“Let me give you an example. On 10th March 2008, the day Tibetans commemorate the Lhasa Uprising of 1959, I received a message that Tibetans in Lhasa and other parts of Tibet were going to hold demonstrations. I was filled with misapprehension that this would lead to a harsh response. I feared demonstrations would be suppressed, resulting in more suffering.

“On my part I visualized the Chinese officials in charge and reflected that they too wanted happiness not suffering, but due to anger and ignorance they were likely to respond harshly to any demonstrations. I imagined taking away their anger, hatred and ignorance and giving them peace and happiness. Of course, this made no difference to the actual situation on the ground, but it restored my peace of mind. So, just as I did on that occasion, it’s helpful to remember that even trouble-makers are human like us.”

Another questioner explained that in the face of disturbing news there’s a tendency to look the other way to maintain your peace of mind. She wanted to know what else you could do. His Holiness agreed that reports of suffering are upsetting, but that it’s a mistake to think you can do nothing about it. Many of the problems we face are of our own making. Since we are social animals who need friends, His Holiness remarked, the least we can do is to smile and respond to others warm-heartedly—even that will make a difference.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering question from the audience on the final day of his teachings for Buddhists from East and Southeast Asia at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 7, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“Modern education is oriented towards material goals, so from infancy children grow up seeking sensual gratification and the fulfilment of material aspirations,” His Holiness noted, “but they don’t know how to achieve peace of mind. Ancient India saw the development of an effective understanding of the workings of the mind, derived from the practices for developing a calmly abiding mind and penetrative insight (shamatha and vipashyana) that remains acutely relevant today.

“I have great respect for the Judeo-Christian traditions in which so much depends on God the creator to whom you direct your prayers, but here in India there developed several different traditions, including Buddhism, according to which what happens depends on what we do. Therefore, we have to take responsibility for tackling our own destructive emotions. We have to train and transform our own minds.

“We all know people who tend to be angry, but even they are not angry all the time because anger is not actually part of our minds. If it were, there’d be little we could do. Anger is often closely related to attachment and both anger and attachment arise because of ignorance and distorted views. We can uproot them by using our human intelligence. From a wider perspective educationists agree that we have to start work now to bring up a new generation with a fresh point of view and secular, human values.

“I tell my Indian friends that in the past Indians were the gurus and Tibetans were the disciples or chelas. However, we have proved to be reliable and have kept alive the knowledge we received. Partly as a result of an education system imposed by the British, Indians have neglected this store of knowledge. That’s why I am encouraging a revival of these traditions in the country today. The ideal result would be a combination of modern education with ancient Indian knowledge. Earlier this year I met with 150 Vice-Chancellors of Indian Universities who showed genuine interest in this idea.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering question from the audience on the final day of his teachings for Buddhists from East and Southeast Asia at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 7, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“If we succeed in restoring interest in ancient knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions here in India, the next target could be China, a traditionally Buddhist country. When Xuanzang came to India, he studied at Nalanda. Today, many Chinese feel close to Buddhism, in fact a Beijing university a few years ago estimated there were 300 million Buddhists in China, since when I’ve heard the number has grown. Efforts to eliminate corruption in China would be more productive if people were simply more honest and disciplined.

“If the 2.5 billion people of India and China were influenced by a combination of modern education and ancient learning they would affect the whole world for the better. But this is to look into a future I won’t live to see. Nevertheless, I believe it’s important to try. Since the use of force is both out of date and ineffective we should aim for a demilitarized world. Weapons are designed to maim and kill, they don’t lead to constructive solutions. We have to learn to solve our conflicts and problems properly through talk and engaging in dialogue.”

A Korean nun asked His Holiness to speak more about ultimate bodhichitta. He replied that if you are interested, you have to study. You have to pay attention to what Nagarjuna has written:

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

And,

Through the elimination of karma and mental afflictions there is liberation;
Karma and mental afflictions come from conceptual thoughts;
These come from mental fabrication;
Fabrication ceases through emptiness.

“I first began to develop an interest in emptiness when I was about 14 or 15 years old and engaged in rigorous study. However, I only gained some experience of understanding it when I was about 30. Cultivating altruism and a thorough understanding of emptiness are my main practices. Fulfilling them requires study, reflection and meditation. I bear the name of the Dalai Lama, but whatever insight I have achieved is the result of my own efforts. Therefore, my blessing to you is to encourage you to study, study, study.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama posing for one of many group photos with members of the audience from East and Southeast Asia at the conclusion of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 7, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

To conclude this session, as well as this year’s series of teachings for East and Southeast Asians, His Holiness continued to sit for some time posing for photographs with members of the audience in their various groups. He then returned to his residence. On Monday he will leave Dharamsala for a visit to Europe that will include events in Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.

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Second Set of Buddhapalita Teachings - Third Day https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/second-set-of-buddhapalita-teachings-third-day Wed, 05 Sep 2018 23:00:00 +0000 hhdloffice https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/second-set-of-buddhapalita-teachings-third-day Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - Once seated on the throne this morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama announced that he had decided to give the permission of Avalokiteshvara, Liberating Beings from the Lower Realms. In conjunction with that, he said he would also conduct a ceremony for taking the layperson’s and bodhisattva vows. However, first of all, while the prayers and recitations were being done, he would conduct the necessary preparations.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama performing preparatory procedures for the Avalokiteshvara Permission while a group chants the 'Heart Sutra' in Vietnamese on the third day of his teachings in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 6, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

Thai monks first chanted auspicious verses in Pali. They were followed by a mixed group of monks, nuns and laypeople who chanted the ‘Heart Sutra’ liltingly in Vietnamese. The ‘Heart Sutra’ was then recited again in Indonesian and was finally declaimed once more in English by a group from Singapore.

His Holiness began by quoting from Aryadeva’s ‘400 Verses’ as a guideline for the day’s discourse.

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

“The demeritorious refers to unwholesome conduct to be avoided. On the basis of that get rid of all distorted views, including grasping at true existence. Bodhichitta, rooted in love and compassion, is focussed on sentient beings; wisdom is focussed on enlightenment. Cultivating the practice of bodhichitta along with the six perfections, which include wisdom, will yield insight into emptiness.”

Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the third day of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 6, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness referred to the three or four bodies of the Buddha, which can only be attained by cultivating the appropriate causes. He explained that the path taught in the Sutras can give rise to the Truth Body of the Buddha, but that the path resulting in the Form Body is only found in the Tantras.

“Understanding things as they are is an antidote to ignorance. Understanding dependent arising gives rise to an understanding of emptiness and uproots ignorance. The Form Body, which is of service to others, emerges from within emptiness. Without attaining the Truth Body, you can’t achieve the Form Body, so first aim for the Truth Body.

“In the past, there were people who asserted that the Perfection of Wisdom teachings were not taught by the Buddha. Similarly, others asserted that the teachings of the Sanskrit tradition as a whole were not the teachings of the Buddha. These assertions are challenged in Nagarjuna’s ‘Precious Garland’, which maintains that bodhichitta, the six perfections and emptiness were taught directly by the Buddha.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the audience on the third day of his teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 6, 2018. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

“The Four Noble Truths, their sixteen characteristics and the 37 Wings of Enlightenment, revealed in the foundational teachings of the Pali Tradition and held in common by all Buddhist traditions, are explained in elaborate detail in the Sanskrit Tradition. Nevertheless, it is not enough to declare that the teachings of the Sanskrit Tradition can be attributed directly to the Buddha; the real question is whether they stand the test of reason and logic.

“Since some Indian scholars have suggested that the Tantras were not taught by the Buddha, because similar practices, fire rituals and so forth, are observed in Buddhist and non-Buddhist tantras, I asked my teacher Khunu Lama Rinpoche to explain how the traditions may be distinguished. He clarified that it is not whether the practices involve the use of the channels, energies and drops that makes the difference. The distinguishing factor is that In Buddhist Tantras they are employed in the context of understanding emptiness.

“I’ve heard of Indian Sadhus who, living naked high in the mountains, cultivate the practice of Inner Heat. They also practise transference of consciousness. It is my hope and wish to meet some of these accomplished meditators to discuss their experiences with them.

Some of the more than 6000 people listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 6, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“Nagarjuna, his disciples Aryadeva and Chandrakirti, each wrote extensively about emptiness, but also composed treatises about tantra. They explained that deity yoga is based on an understanding of emptiness.”

His Holiness remarked that he did not know if Shantarakshita and Kamalashila wrote about tantra, but subsequent Tibetan translators who visited India did. Among them was Marpa Lotsawa who studied and trained with the adept Naropa. He had previously been a scholar at Nalanda University where he was gatekeeper of the northern door.

As he began to give the permission of Avalokiteshvara Sarvadugati Parishodana, Avalokiteshvara who Liberates Beings from the Lower Realms, His Holiness observed that the practice came from Mitrayogi, who received it directly from Avalokiteshvara, via the collection of visions of Thagphu Dorje Chang. His Holiness told the audience that he had received it from Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang and that during the retreat he had undertaken in connection with it he had recited 600,000 six syllable mantras.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama giving the permission of Avalokiteshvara Sarvadugati Parishodana, Avalokiteshvara who Liberates Beings from the Lower Realms, at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on September 6, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

In the course of the ceremony His Holiness gave the layperson’s vows and the bodhisattva vows. When the permission was complete he took up the ‘Buddhapalitavrtti’ and requested the members of the audience to remember where he had reached in reading the text.

“You may feel disappointed that we didn’t get very far into Buddhapalita’s treatise this time. I am determined to finish it, even it takes until I’m 90 years old. Tomorrow, I’ll explain the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’ and there will be an opportunity to discuss any questions you may have.”

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