Dharamshala—His Holiness the Dalai Lama urged Buddhists around the world not to follow Buddhism "on faith alone" during the first day of his four-day teachings at Gyuto Monastery in Dharamshala, India.
His Holiness taught on The Three Principal Aspects of the Path, The Concise Stages of the Path and Praise to Dependent Arising by Je Tsongkhapa to a full audience at Gyuto Monastery, .
Throughout the teaching, His Holiness stressed that a more concerted effort was required to sustain the essence of Buddhism. "Only if we study Buddhism critically will we become 21st century Buddhists," he said.
"If you can study Buddha's teachings and discern right from wrong, you will realise that Buddhism dispels the darkness of ignorance in sentient beings, just as the sun dispels the darkness in the world."
His Holiness argued Rinpoche's point that today, "many yogis do not have much knowledge and don't have the learning to understand scriptures." This, he says, has resulted in ignorant and superficial insights into what Buddhist teachings mean.
His Holiness also stated that better insights about the wider world are needed: "Today, Buddhists are able to come out into the world and interact with people. We need to be more informed about what is going on in such a world." He reaffirmed the need to approach world affairs with the same unbiased attitude with which Buddhists should approach their religion.
The teaching expanded on ignorance, explaining that all experiences of suffering are rooted in it. His Holiness offered an anecdote to explain the idea: "I was once in Hyderabad and I went to a park where lions roamed freely. There were also deer in the park, and I asked – 'Won't the lions harm the deer?' – and I was told that once the lions are full they won't harm other animals. Lions eat to survive. Yet although humans have a high functioning brain, and far greater critical faculties that allow them to make judgements, instead of using our intelligence to overcome suffering, we often decide to use it to cause pain because of an inability to see another person's point of view. Because of our inappropriate way of looking at things, we develop negative emotions."
His Holiness went on to example the act of killing in the name of religion, and the side effects of capitalism as products of ignorance: "Of course we need material development, but if it is used to add more suffering to the world then it is pointless."
"What we need to develop is wisdom that counters ignorance, that prioritises selflessness. As ignorance subsides, the understanding of emptiness grows."
Emptiness, His Holiness concluded, is only fully understood when you realise that all sentient beings are interdependent: "The fact that causality exists is because things are dependent on one another. If things were independent, we would not have causality. When this is realised, one can let go of nihilism and eternalism, and so truly understand the benefits of helping others."
His Holiness will give the Guhyasamaja initiation and commentary on the Five Stages of Guhyasamaja during the four-day teachings.