Bylakuppe, Karnataka — Over thirty thousand devotees assembled at the main assembly hall premises of the Tashi Lhunpo monastic university for the nine-day teachings on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (the Jangchub Lam Rim) by the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
In his remarks prior to the final day of the teachings, the Tibetan leader said he feels privileged to be giving the sermon to over thirty thousand devotees including monks from the four monastic universities.
"Today, we'll hold a ceremony for generating aspiring bodhichitta, followed by the ceremonial taking of the Bodhisattva Vows. But before all that I'll offer the lay person's vow. First, we'll say the Seven Limb Prayer together at an easy pace. You need to put your hands together. Let's do it respectfully. When we're obsessed with some worldly pursuit we are really excited. Let's be that eager about our spiritual affairs too.
"One of the sections or limbs of the prayer involves requesting the Buddhas to turn the wheel of Dharma. However, if we were to meet the Buddha and make the request face to face, he might say I've already turned the wheel and what I taught is contained in the scriptures. You need to read them.
"You should use your eyes not just for trivial pursuits, but to imbibe the Dharma. You could also listen to recorded teachings by great masters rather than songs from movies. Let's say the prayer sincerely."
His Holiness explained the lay person's vow, observing that you could be like Dromtonpa and take all five precepts to avoid killing, taking what's not given, lying, sexual misconduct and drinking liquor, as well as the vow of celibacy. He said it was up to the individual to judge what he or she could keep.
He told the story of Ling Rinpoche's having given these lay vows and an elderly man dismayed to hear that he had promised to give up liquor told Rinpoche, 'I can't do that'. In kindness, Ling Rinpoche told him that if he couldn't stop drinking altogether he could at least cut back and avoid getting drunk.
His Holiness mentioned that the 'Precious Garland' (Ratnavali) recommends avoiding the ten unwholesome actions and adds six more, such as not drinking liquor, not engaging in wrong livelihood and not harming others. He said this last precept, not to do others harm is very important. He counselled his listeners to take refuge in the Buddha, his teaching and those who have already acquired its qualities.
"Be determined to generate the Dharma within yourself," he said. "The first Dalai Lama, Gendun Drup, advised 'Crush this enemy, the disturbing emotions, within you'. Aspire for liberation, which is freedom from negative emotions. It's not easy, but do your best. Since the goal is liberation and enlightenment we need to overcome disturbing emotions step by step."
Turning to the last pages of Zhamar Pandita's 'Treatise on Special Insight', His Holiness noted the importance of Atisha's 'Lamp for the Path' in all Tibetan Stages of the Path literature. He also observed the roles of the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 7th Dalai Lamas in the Lam Rim lineage and that he is also a member of that lineage.
He remarked on the kindness of the 5th, 7th and 13th Dalai Lamas to Tibet, highlighting the efforts of the 13th to bring about reform. He added, however, that his wishes were thwarted and largely unfulfilled. Lungshar was critical of the way Lamas were conducting Tibet's affairs and tried to implement modernization. He was not successful. His Holiness said Tibetans cannot blame the Chinese for everything, Tibetans themselves were negligent.
Regarding the Lam Rim texts he said: "I've received the eight major texts and other Lam Rim treatises, so the current Ling Rinpoche and the Ganden Shartse Abbot requested me to teach them. We are now coming to the end of the fourth season of those teachings."
At the end of the text, the 'King of Concentration Sutra' (Samadhirajasutra) is quoted, 'All things are like foam, a plantain tree and a flash of lightning.' This is to say that all things are insubstantial, without essence and without duration. His Holiness read the verses of the colophon in which the author expresses his aspiration to have shed light on the difficult points of the special insight section of the Great Stages of the Path.
Reminded by Ling Rinpoche, His Holiness also gave the transmission of Je Tsongkhapa's 'Foundation of All Qualities' and 'Three Principles of the Path'. And, since this final teaching had been given at Tashi Lhunpo, he also read Gendun Drup's praise to Je Rinpoche entitled 'Song of the Eastern Snow Mountain.'
His Holiness met about 60 old and infirm Tibetans from the Dekyi Larso and Lugsam Settlements. "You elderly people are nearing the end of your lives," he told them, "Buddha Shakyamuni passed away at the age of 80 and even Nagarjuna eventually had to go. The point is to have lived a meaningful life.
Outside on the steps of the temple His Holiness also conducted a photo session with visitors from Europe, Australia, North America, and South America. Makeshift signs saying Germany, Swiss, Aussies, USA, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Canada dotted the crowd of several hundred people. His Holiness spoke during the end of the morning session about how westerners had taken well to the teachings of the Dharma.
His Holiness held a separate meeting in the new prayer hall with visitors from Asia.
He suggested that one of the reasons so many of the problems we face are of our own creation and that our education system, focused on material goals, is inadequate.
There is a need, he said, to improve the sense of inner values in education. He asserted his confidence that if this change were made, starting now, by the end of the century, the world could be a happier more peaceful place.
"That's all I have to say," he said. "Thank you for coming, despite the difficulties you face. I felt it was my duty to see you and for us to take photographs together. Thank you and good night."