Tokyo, Japan — Sunday April 12th, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama gave the first of two teachings on the Heart Sutra in Tokyo, Japan. His Holiness began his talk in Memorial Hall at 9:30 before an audience of 2100, consisting of Japanese, in addition to 370 Koreans, 120 Mongolians and 1000 Chinese, mostly from Taiwan.
The Heart of Wisdom Sutra, the topic of His Holiness's two day teaching, belongs to a collection of texts known as the Perfection of Wisdom teachings that in their most extensive form comprise a sutra of 100,000 lines in 12 volumes. The Heart of Wisdom is generally regarded as consisting of 25 lines. The explicit meaning of the Perfection of Wisdom is emptiness of intrinsic existence.
His Holiness began by welcoming the audience. He said, "I'm pleased to see Japanese, Koreans, Mongolians, Taiwanese and Chinese here for these two days of teachings. This hall is part of the Showa Joshi Women's University, which seems an appropriate setting to explain Perfection of Wisdom teachings, since they are often referred to as the mother of all Buddhas."
After a brief introduction to Buddhism, His Holiness jumped into addressing one of the key parts of the Heart of Wisdom; cessation and liberation. "Nagarjuna describes the meaning of cessation as occurring when emptiness overcomes the destructive emotions. Khunu Lama Rinpoche on the other hand explained, and I prefer this, that the destructive emotions dissolve into emptiness. Whereas the Buddha expounded the meaning of emptiness during the second Turning of the Wheel, during the third, he introduced the clear light nature of the mind."
In conclusion he cited the Heart of Wisdom itself: "All the Buddhas of the past, present and future have depended, do and will depend upon the perfection of wisdom. Thereby they became, are becoming and will become unsurpassably, perfectly and completely awakened Buddhas.'
The second day of His Holiness's teachings began with a recitation of the Heart of Wisdom Sutra in Japanese. Before beginning the empowerment, His Holiness explained the importance of empowerment when practicing tantra.
"Although other tantric traditions employ similar techniques, what distinguishes Buddhist tantric practice is that it is done in the context of an understanding of emptiness and the awakening mind. It is also an opportunity to employ subtler levels of consciousness, the most subtle being the primordial mind of clear light. This is what is sometimes referred to as Buddha nature. It is the extraordinary mind that is eventually transformed into the body of the Buddha at enlightenment."
After lunch, His Holiness explained what is implied by the word beginningless when we say that sentient beings have been caught in cyclic existence for beginningless time. The substantial cause of consciousness is another consciousness and it is the continuum of moments of consciousness that is beginningless. He touched on the nature of suffering, noting that while the basic pain of what we acknowledge as suffering is obvious, what is described as the suffering of change and the all-pervasive suffering of conditioning we often mistake for pleasure.
His Holiness concluded the session with a short account of the 'Three Essential Moments' by Gendun Gyatso, the 2nd Dalai Lama. It is based on a teaching originating with the Indian Avalokiteshvara adept, Maitriyogi. It describes practices to do in life, at the time of death and in the intermediate state.
With the conclusion of the teaching, His Holiness's trip to Japan is finished and he flies back to India today.