As the morning rain receded, and the enormous crowd settled, fixing their attention to the great spiritual leader, His Holiness commenced the teachings by drawing upon the life of the Buddha Himself. The Dalai Lama began by drawing upon how the Buddha had accumulated merit and wisdom over countless aeons:
"If Buddha didn't exist after His death, only serving human beings over a few decades doesn't actually become compatible to the time He spent to reach that goal".
"According to Sanskrit tradition, there are five Buddha bodies. These are not actually taught at the first sermon of the Buddha. They came in the second turning of the wheel of Dharma".
The audience were again treated to the generous hospitality of Tibetan and Buddhist spirit, as tea was served from enormous pots with elegant skill from the resident monks, and bread was distributed to the entire gathering. With grace and speed, the monks had soon attended to everyone's needs.
His Holiness explained how we fall into Samsara, and how we can get out of it: "The first teaching of the four noble truths teaches this precisely".
"We have to know the mind which shows the true nature of things...defilements are temporary regarding the mind. In one day we go through these experiences where we see things with our eyes, and hear things with our ears; we cannot distinguish between good and bad things. This is done with thought".
Regarding the nature of the mind, and drawing upon His warm hearted wit and humour, His Holiness joked to the Southeast Asian delegation that perhaps: "While your eyes are fixed on me, your mind will be fixed on Singapore or Hong Kong".
His Holiness then spoke of the nature of the mind with inspiring depth and logic, bridging the gap between science and religion seamlessly:
"I have talked with scientists about these things; sensory perceptions, looking at which part of the mind works more with sensory perceptions...there is also thought in the awakening state, the dreaming state, and the deep thought state. Through the power of meditation, people can dissolve the states of mind".
The Dalai Lama then addressed the Tibetan laypeople of the gathering, asking those who wished to take the Bodhisattva vows to do so with His guidance. As His Holiness led the vows, Tibetan members of the audience followed their revered spiritual leader's guidance, and took the sacred oath.
The taking of the vows by the laypeople includes a vow to refrain from alcohol, for which His Holiness drew upon His past, highlighting the story of [Kyabje] Ling Rinpoche. The Dalai Lama stated that, regarding the vows, Ling Rinpoche once spoke to an elderly Tibetan man regarding the observance and keeping of the promise. He questioned the man on his commitment to the vows; however the old man replied that he was unable to give up alcohol. Ling Rinpoche replied: "If you cannot give it up, just take a little" His Holiness said, laughing. "These five precepts are not very difficult to take are they?" He asked, as audience laughed. Afterwards, His Holiness guided the vows carefully, stating:
"First get rid of non-merited actions, then get rid of self-grasping, then get rid of distorted views."
Following the vows of the laypeople, Bodhisattva vows for the entire delegation were offered.
Highlighting personal experience, the Dalai Lama confided: "I too take the vows every day, and it really helps my own mind". The White Tara permission initiation was commenced for the vows, for which His Holiness also guided and explained:
"Wisdom appears in the form of a deity in Tantra. You have to be able to see that deity in front of you. Tara is the purified state of wind energy."
Drawing upon vivid visual descriptions, His Holiness implied a focus on the body, the speech and the mind, and a need to meditate on the selflessness of the person:
"Absorb you mind in emptiness, dissolve yourself into emptiness".
Having concluded the vows, and as the morning drew to a close, the Seventh Chapter of Shantideva's ‘A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life' was carefully read and explained to the delegation. Before concluded the teachings, His Holiness Dalai Lama wisely cautioned:
"If you are self-centred with Tantric practice, you will not fulfil your goals".
Amid an atmosphere of revered respect, His Holiness blessed and smiled to the humbled audience of bowed heads and closed palms, as He left the temple complex for the final of the three days of teachings. The continuation of Shantideva's ‘A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life' teachings by the Dalai Lama, have certainly granted inspiring depth and wisdom into the lives of both believers and non-believers of the teachings. However it is the Southeast Asian guests who can certainly reflect with awe and amazement, as a light was shone onto one of the most important teachings for practicing Buddhists, by one of the most revered and respected spiritual leaders of our lifetime.