Dharamshala: - At the request of a group of South-east Asian devotees, His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet concluded his 3-day teachings (September 26) on Shantideva's ‘A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life’.
Warmly greeting over 5000 devotees from 66 countries, including 700 from south-east Asian countries, as well as local residents, His Holiness on 24 September led the first of three days of teachings in the Main Temple (Tsuklakang) in Dharamshala, North India.
Drawing upon a mixture of His own past experiences and wisdom, as well as Dharma teachings and the Shantideva’s guide itself, His Holiness enthralled a rapt audience with His vast knowledge, patience and humour.
Continuing from previous teachings of the Buddhist script, His Holiness commenced from the remaining Chapters from Shantideva's ‘A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life’. However, for the new visitors, His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave a brief engaging introduction into Buddhism and religion itself; a masterful stroke by one the most revered spiritual leaders on earth.
His Holiness said that under prevailing world circumstances, the Buddha’s teaching, particularly that which focusses on inter-dependence is extremely relevant. “When we were born, we were all equals."
Explaning 'there were no friends nor enemies,' the Buddhist leader said that 'the notion of enemies are all creations of our attitude. The essence of all religions in the world is love and compassion towards one another.'
His Holiness reiterated to the audience His message on the importance of the oneness of humanity. He said: “I am just one person among the seven billion human beings in the world. Human beings are social animals. We are dependent on each other for our survival. Even for our daily livelihoods, we are dependent on others. However strong, intelligent or wealthy a person is, it is not possible to survive solely on his own."
"The economic stability of the whole world is inter-connected, particularly in this day and age. When one country is in crisis, the effects of that crisis can be felt in other places as well. Therefore, we should think of the world as one and move forward together,” he added.
Focusing on the disastrous impacts of environmental destruction, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that the world is facing serious implications of natural disasters due to global warming. “The destructions caused by natural calamities are being faced by the whole world. Nature doesn’t divide us on the lines of religion or whether we are believers or non-believers. Therefore, we should think of each other and be unified in our approach,” His Holiness said.
“A major part of the problems we are facing today in this world are man-made. Therefore, man-made problems should be solved by men themselves. Particularly, in the 20th century and the beginning of this century, there was a lot of war and bloodshed," His Holiness said, adding: "These problems were created by man. "
"It would not be correct to say that man created these problems intentionally, because most of these problems were a result of differences in opinion and clash of cultures. However, we could avert such problems in the future if we just adopt a holistic attitude and accommodate other’s well-being along with our desire for personal happiness,” His Holiness added.
The second day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings on Shantideva's ‘A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life' were about to commence, and a hushed silence filled the sacred building before the arrival of the spiritual leader for day two of the event.
Drawing upon the Buddhist scriptures, His Holiness addressed the audience for a morning session, discussing emptiness from the ninth chapter.
Opening with prayers and recitations, His Holiness emphasised that it is extremely important for practitioners to think about emptiness, while referring to his own experience. "There is a great impact on our mind through thinking again and again about no-self, or emptiness and particularly wisdom is the best tool to achieve the impact on mind," he added.
According to the Buddha's teachings, His Holiness said that "emptiness is effective in overcoming all our negative emotions. In order to help sentient beings, the Buddha taught emptiness through various means, such as liberation.'
His Holiness said, 'we understand that all the religious traditions do acknowledge that we are ruined by negative emotions, such as anger and hatred. Therefore, the practices of the cultivation of love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness is essential. In order to counter our greed, there is the practice of contemplation in all the religious tradition.'
According to the Buddhist teachings, emptiness is the basic nature of reality—ignorance of which is the root of cyclic existence—the wisdom realizing emptiness is the eye that allows us to see reality’s true nature. It is only by transcending the deluded perspective of ignorance and generating its opposite, the perspective of emptiness, that we can eliminate it.
On the concluding day of teachings to the South-east Asian devotees, His Holiness also drew upon the need to develop one’s concentration on practice of Buddhism, drawing upon the physical, verbal and mental powers of the individual.
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 His Holiness the Dalai Lama, have certainly granted inspiring depth and wisdom into the lives of both believers and non-believers of the teachings.
There was a live webcast, in English, Chinese, Hindi, Tibetan, Vietnamese, and Russian languages as well as a video link to the teachings, is available on: New Livestream