Dharamshala: At the request of a group of Taiwanese Buddhist devotees, His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet, commenced the first of four days of teachings on 'Nagarjuna's Fundamental Wisdom Treatise of the Middle Way' to an audience from 62 countries at the main temple in Dharamshala, India.
Amid a buoyant atmosphere on the morning of Monday October 6th, the spiritual leader of Tibet" and the Nobel Peace Laureate led the teachings with a brief, yet insightful introduction into Buddhism itself. The main Tibetan temple, which numbered crowds surpassing 5000, was packed with a colourful array of Tibetans wearing traditional attire with all age groups, as well as foreign visitors, Indians and a group of 800 Taiwanese Buddhists devotees.
Welcoming the guests eagerly, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama drew smiles and adoration from the spiritual gathering. Drawing upon His profound knowledge of Buddhist teachings, especially the great Nalanda tradition of India which spread to China in the 7th Century.
"Tibetan Buddhism is the pure Nalanda tradition, generally sub-divided into four principal sects or schools: Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, and Gelug. There may be minor differences in rituals and the transmission of teachings. However, the root essence of all these sects are one and the same," said His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
"Due to over indulgence in one's own sect and rituals, we tend to forget the common essence of our practice sometimes. As a result, we see huge differences in our practice. Therefore, if we all focus on the Nalanda tradition, which is the root of Tibetan Buddhism, our common goals would be more unified," His Holiness said.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama urged Taiwanese devotees to deepen their understanding of the roots of Buddhism rather than cling on to the branches of Buddhist practices.
"We all are followers of Nagarjuna. We are all one in that sense. Even in the various sects of Tibetan Buddhism, though there may be several minor differences in the branches, the foundation is the same. So, we should emphasise more on the principles to attain a deeper and purer level of understanding."
"We are going to start teaching on the Middle Way treatises. The Middle Way treatises was available in Chinese language even before Buddhism flourished in Tibet. It is a scripture that has been passed on from generations in China. The Chinese are actually senior students and Tibetans are junior students of Nagarjuna. But due to circumstances, today, the junior students are more reliable and better equipped," His Holiness said.
Speaking on the common essence of all the major religions of the world, His Holiness said that consequently, all major religions talk about compassion, tolerance, contentment, and self-discipline.. "However, most of these religions command a strict adherence to their beliefs. In the case of Buddha's teaching, it allows us to form our own opinions based on reason and logic."
The second in the series of four day teachings will continue on October 7th 2014 in the Main Temple; Dharamshala. A live webcast, followed by translations into English, Chinese, Vietnamese and Russian languages available on: http://www.dalailama.com/liveweb