Bylakuppe, Kamataka, India 1 January 2014 - From the teaching throne at Sera Jey Monastery His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet wished everyone a happy new year and urged them to be a more sincere, compassionate, warm-hearted and non-violent human being in order to make our world a more equal place.
His Holiness pointed out that today is the 80th anniversary of the 13th Dalai Lama passing away and asked them to keep this in mind when praying for his long life and that of Ganden Tri Rinpoche and the Geshes, Lamas, Tulkus and all those dedicated to the welfare of others.
His Holiness said that the group who organised this ceremony were from Markham and he had recently met a Khampa who told him of his ordeal in a Chinese prison and reminded everyone to pray for those imprisoned in Tibet, had passed away in prison or were suffering from imprisonment. He also urged them to pray for those who had the courage to give up their lives through self-immolation which had avoided doing harm to anyone else.
He reminded them that China is said to have 400 million Buddhists, more than anywhere else, and asked them to pray for transformation in China.
His Holiness explained that among the prayers was a Prayer to the 25 Pioneers of Tibet composed by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. Also the Words of Truth, the Supplication to the 17 Scholars of Nalanda and the Supplication to the Series of Births.
He noted that the people of Markham region were participating in this Long Life Offering today and praised their long bond with the Tibetan government and their pledge to follow the advice of the Dalai Lama's.
The culmination of the prayers was the offering of tsog, the mandala and three representations of the enlightened body, speech and mind. The Markham people presented the Markham Tenshug Award to His Holiness, made of silver it included a Tibetan table reflecting the 5th Dalai Lama's kindness to them, a globe to represent His Holiness' international efforts to promote secular ethics and inter-religious harmony, and a map of Tibet. A eulogy was read out with a request for His Holiness to live long and reiterating their wish to abide by his advice.
Whilst reading the Lam Rim texts His Holiness reached the explanation of the last of the six perfections that are part of the bodhisattva's practice. He remarked that concentration and special insight need to be practiced in combination. Many practitioners seem unable to distinguish calm abiding and excitement, he continued and urged them not to mistake laxity for meditative equipoise and noted that excitement disturbs our peace of mind but without being entirely destructive. His Holiness said that when focusing on the development of calm abiding it was common to settle on the image of a Buddha and to retain only that first image.
He said that people are inclined to think that realisation can be achieved as quickly and easily as pressing a button and pointed out that although change in the material world takes time, changing your attitude seems easier.
His Holiness urged those who wished to practice calm abiding to sit cross-legged on a cushion which is slightly higher at the back and place the hands in a meditative posture with the right palm resting in that of the left, with the tip of the nose above the navel. Then breathe naturally and gently, if agitated count your breaths and develop a delight in concentration. He advised a small image to be visualised at the level of your forehead on which to focus the mind. Do not make your mind tight, he advised as this induces tension in the upper part of your body.