New, Delhi, India: - The spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching for the Russian Buddhists, a four-day Buddhist Initiation and Teaching event at request of the Russian Buddhists lead by spiritual leaders Telo Rinpoche and Yelo Rinpoche, began Monday morning at Kempinski Ambience Hotel in the Indian capital. The teaching will continue till 27th December 2012.
His Holiness explained that his voice was hoarse because he had recently spoken for more than 50 hours over two weeks while giving an important teaching in South India. “In my hurry to finish the texts I caught a cold and that’s why my voice is croaky today.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Monday morning initially gave a brief introduction on basic Buddhism to the new devotees from Russia and Tibet. His Holiness will continue a four day teaching on Shantideva's "Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life" at the request of a Buddhist group from Russia.
The spiritual leader of Tibet said, many people from Russia, including Moscow and Saint Petersburg are becoming increasingly interested in the Buddhism. "Buddhism is not your home religion, you are belong to the Russian Orthodox. I always say that people should not rush to change their religions. It is much more stable with keeping your home religion. So merely changing formal religious affiliations will often not help much," His Holiness told the crowd.
"On the other hand, many people in America and European countries are becoming increasingly interested in the Buddhism, which did not previously exist in the West." His Holiness said as same as the Russians are interested in Buddhism, particularly in particularly Buddhist philosophical studies.
"However, for those who are seriously thinking of converting to Buddhism, that is, of changing your religion, it is very important to take every precaution. of-course you have freedom of choice, but this must not be done lightly. Indeed, if one converts without having thought about it in a mature way, this often creates difficulties and leads to great inner confusion. I would therefore advise all who would like to convert to Buddhism to think carefully before doing so," said His Holiness.
The Nobel Peace Laureate said that religion will continue to bring immense good to millions of people in the world. For this reason, His Holiness urged the crowd to show their respect to all religions. "All major religious traditions try to advise and benefit people, with carrying the same basic message of the need for love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, and self-discipline, it is absolutely essential to be aware of the need to respect other religions," His Holiness the Dalai Lama added.
His Holiness has quoted a recent newspaper article, said that one seventh of the world's population approximately 1.1 billion people are non-religious, rest of them reportedly considered as religious. However, His Holiness said we must think how many people are there in the world who misuse of religion, these are also not religious, but create more conflicts.
Human beings are social animals. Each human being's happy life and survival depends on community, said His Holiness. "An affectionate disposition not only makes the mind more peaceful and calm, but it affects our body in a positive way too, even from some scientific point of views. On the other hand, hatred, jealousy and fear upset our peace of mind, make us agitated and affect our body adversely."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama said he is promoting secular values and different philosophy of humanities. "Secularism means respect for all religions and even respect for non-believers, but it does not mean disrespect and rejection of religion." The spiritual leader said that he promotes the Indian secularism which hundreds of religions can exist harmoniously for thousands of years.
Speaking to the Tibetans from Tibet who are attending the teaching. the Buddhist leader said "the spirit and strength of the Tibetans inside Tibet have remained very strong and their devotions to the teachings of Buddha also remained very strong."
Regarding the development of Buddhism in Tibet, His Holiness said despite that it is always very difficult to find a right place to pursue study Buddhism and Buddhist philosophy," the spiritual leader told Tibetans who came from Tibet.
"It is also extremely difficult to find properly qualified teachers to receive the teachings of Buddha, except some rural areas in Kham and Amdho regions of Tibet. There are so many problems in Tibet, almost there is no religious instructors for the general public," His Holiness urged them to listen carefully about His teachings on brief introductions to Buddhism.
Before embarking on his explanation of Shantideva’s Buddhist text, he invited the assembly to recite the Heart Sutra in Russian. He explained how the Buddhism of Tibet derives almost wholly from the tradition of Nalanda University, whose principal masters were depicted in the large painting behind him. He spoke of the great abbot Shantarakshita’s coming to Tibet at the invitation of the Tibetan Emperor and his establishment of monastic ordination, the translation of Buddhist scriptures and the study of Buddhism.
To eliminate negative forces the same Emperor invited the Precious Guru, Padmasambhava. Later, Shantarakshita’s disciple Kamalashila also came to Tibet and many Tibetans went to India to study. Later, Atisha, who studied at Vikramashila, but had strong links to Nalanda, came to Tibet. Both the Sakya and Kagyu traditions trace the lineages of their teachings to Nalanda masters too.
His Holiness explained that Tibetan Buddhism includes the complete range of the Buddha’s teachings. It is founded on the monastic discipline of the Vinaya that is essentially the same as that upheld in the Pali tradition. He mentioned recently meeting with Thai masters and that they learned how similar their practices were. And although Tibetan Buddhism also includes the Perfection of Wisdom traditions and Highest Yoga Tantra, these are both founded on the Vinaya.
There will also be Medicine Buddha Empowerment on the morning of December 26th. Around three thousand Buddhist devotees, including 1300 Buddhists from Russia Kalmykia, Buryatia, Tuva, are attending the teaching, according to the teaching organizers.
His Holiness will speak mostly in Tibetan with English, Chinese, Russian and Mongolian translations available. Live audio and video webcast in Tibetan, Russian and English languages is also available on www.dalailama.com