Kyoto, Japan: - Describing the Buddha as a teacher, philosopher and scientist, the spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Thursday, April 10, urged Japnese people to study teachings of the Buddha.
On his fourth day visiting Japan His Holiness visited Shuchi-in University in Kyoto in central Japan. He was welcomed by Ven. Kouzui Suguri, President of the University and Chief Abbot of Nakayama Dera and Ven Chijun Suga, President of Dosokai and Chief Administrator (No.2) of Zentsuji Temple. The University was re-established in its current location in 1949.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate said esoteric Buddhism first evolved following the preaching of the four noble truths by Buddha. Presenting a statue of Buddha to the president to the university, His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Thursday, 10 April said: "I always mention that Buddha was a teacher, philosopher and scientist about more than 2,500 years ago."
Speaking to a packed auditorium at the university, the Tibetan spiritual leader spoke about the evolution of Tibetan Buddhism, particularly about its esoteric form, known as Mikkyo in Japanese. The Shuchin University follows Shingon Buddhism, a tantric Buddhist doctrine expounded by Kobo Daishi, a Japanese monk, civil servant, scholar, poet and artist around 7th century.
He explained in detail how Tibetan people's interest in Buddhism started when the two queens of the country's 33rd King Songsten Gampo during the 7th century, one from Nepal and another from China, brought two statues of the Buddha to Tibet. Later, Buddhism flourished in Tibet during king Trisong Deutsen after he invited masters of ancient India's Nalanda tradition from India such as Shantarakshita, Kamalashila and Guru Rinpoche. Shantarakshita introduced the esoteric Buddhism in its purest form in Tibet.
"Since the real nature of mind is illuminating, ignorance as the real source of negative afflictions can be eliminated through training the mind," His Holiness said. Adding: "The key lies in understanding the concept of dependent arising that every phenomena or matters do not exist on their own. Quantum physics is a means to study empty nature of every phenomena and many scientists are showing interest in studying the concept of dependent arising."
"You have requested me to talk about Tibetan secret mantra. Tibetans began to take an interest in Buddhism in the 7th century during the reign of Songtsen Gampo who had taken a Chinese and a Nepalese princess as wives. Both of them had brought statues of the Buddha with them, which were to inspire an interest in his teachings. Later, Trisong Deutsan recognised that Buddhism originated in India and that is where he turned to learn more," His Holiness said.
His Holiness said that Trisong Deutsan "invited Shantarakshita from Nalanda University and it was he who began the dissemination of Buddhism in Tibet. He also instigated the project to translate Indian Buddhist literature into Tibetan, which eventually formed the collections of the Kangyur and Tengyur. He wrote the 'Ornament of Madhyamaka', which we still study today, and the 'Compendium of Reality; the first a work of philosophy and the second a work of logic and epistemology."
His Holiness stressed that great Indian masters like Nagarjuna and Aryadeva have examined these issues with reason and logic and vouched for the authenticity of the Sanskrit tradition, the practice of the bodhisattva vehicle, the perfection of wisdom vehicle and the vehicle of tantra. He quoted Chandrakirti describing five stages of tantra:
1. The generation stage
2. The completion stage
4. The illusory body and clear light
His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that the generation stage involves the visualization of deities. In Highest Yoga Tantra this also involves taking the Buddha's three bodies, the Truth Body, Complete Enjoyment Body and Emanation Body into the path through the processes of death, intermediate state and rebirth respectively. Whereas the Sutra literature speaks of taking three countless aeons or more to reach Buddhahood, tantric texts speak of doing so in one life in the one body.