Zurich, Switzerland — After his arrival in Switzerland, His Holiness the Dalai Lama graced Zurich Hallenstadion on October 14th, where he was greeted by a long line of beaming Tibetan children, some with flowers in their hands.
Entering the hall seating 9000 eager audience members, His Holiness began, "Today, Tibetans living in Switzerland have organized this Long Life Offering with faith and devotion. I'd like to thank you all. Whether the Lama lives long is not dependent on the ritual so much as on the strength of the spiritual bond between the Lama and the disciples.
"We Tibetans have a culture rooted in the Nalanda tradition that emphasizes study, reflection and meditation. We've preserved it for more than 1000 years. In Tibet, Tibetans have kept their spirit alive. We in exile are their representatives."
His Holiness mentioned that Buddhism is one of the world's major religions and within it the Tibetan tradition is the most comprehensive, including as it does the works on logic and epistemology by Dignaga and Dharmakirti, which are found nowhere else. Tibetan language, with its own mode of writing, was evolved to express Buddhist ideas. The words of the Buddha and commentaries to them were translated into Tibetan in order that others could understand their wisdom. And yet the Buddha himself advised his followers to examine what he said as a goldsmith examines gold and not to simply accept it on the basis of faith. Therefore, study is crucial.
"I thought I would teach the first chapter of Nagarjuna's 'Precious Garland' which explains how to attain the high status of good rebirth. Then I'd like to read volume two of 'Stages of Meditation' composed by Shantarakshita's disciple Kamalashila in Tibet."
"Nagarjuna's 'Fundamental Wisdom' focusses on what was taught in the Perfection of Wisdom teachings. I teach it and study it myself and find it helpful. This 'Precious Garland' was written for a patron of Nagarjuna's who was a king."
"Finally, I will read '37 Practices of a Bodhisattva' by Ngulchu Thogme Sangpo, a contemporary of Buton Rinchen Drub, who was thought to be a real Bodhisattva. I won't be able to read all these texts in their entirety, I'll read selections. You each have your own copy, keep it at home and read it as often as you can. I received the 'Precious Garland' from Serkhong Tsenshab Rinpoche and the '37 Practices' from Khunnu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen."
After lunch with members of the Swiss Parliamentarian Group for Tibet, the President of the Zurich Canton, the President of the Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association and elected Tibetan representatives, His Holiness resumed his teaching.
His Holiness began to read 'Stages of Meditation' which explains what the mind is, developing equanimity, the two kinds of bodhichitta and so on. He paused to pay attention to children playing in front of the stage and offered them sweets saying, "These children are our hope for the future".
His Holiness noted the strong links Tibetans have had with Switzerland—the first country after India to allow Tibetans to settle. He also gratefully recalled the great help Tibetans had received early on from the Swiss Red Cross. His final advice to his listeners was that they should be 21st century Buddhists, not relying on blind faith alone, but developing an understanding of the profundity of what the Buddha taught.
His Holiness is scheduled to leave Switzerland for Slovakia on the 16th where he will continue his five-country tour of Europe.