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Tibet-India-Ladakh-world-2016Thiksey, Ladakh, J&K, India — Addressing a massive gathering of devotees in Ladakh, on Tuesday, August 9, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “most of the conflicts in today’s world are man-made. Discrimination on a basis of caste, creed, region, religion, literate, illiterate, rich, poor, etc. has been its major cause”. “Even the ecological imbalance and the consequences being faced by people are the results of ego and negligence”, he added.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate stressed on the need to think on an individual level, keeping human as base and urged upon everyone to keep cordial relationship with others starting right from one’s family, then neighbours, society, country and world at last.

Since we all want to be happy and avoid suffering we need to know what needs to be abandoned and what needs to be cultivated in order to fulfill these aspirations. To bring about a transformation we need to apply the teaching within ourselves and in order to do that we need to listen and learn what’s involved.

His Holiness went on to stress that Buddhists today need to be 21st century Buddhists: understanding the Buddha’s teachings even in the context of rapid material development.

He reiterated that 21st century Buddhist should base their religion on study, understanding, discipline, knowledge, experimentation and implementation. “Buddhism will not survive long if it remains dependent on blind faith and devotion but if it’s made study based then Buddhism has a very long way to go,” quipped His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

He said that compassion, respect and kindness are the foundations of every religion and our thoughts and actions should focus on the welfare of all sentient beings. “Today most of the conflicts are religion based which is a matter of great concern and my commitment is to promote religious harmony in the world”, he added.

The spiritual leader of Tibet consecrated the inaugural ceremony of the new temple hall and Thiksay Yarchos Chenmo at Thiksey monastery in Ladakh, J&K, India, 10 August 2016.

It is for the third consecutive year that Yarchos Chenmo, summer festival of Dharma debate, is being held in Leh, first by Likir monastery followed by Spituk monastery last year and Thiksey monastery this year. The festival has been initiated on the suggestion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to inculcate a habit of debate and discussion on Buddha Dharma among monks, nuns and school students for scientific understanding of Buddhist religion and its experimented implementation.

On Wednesday morning, August 10, His Holiness greeted the local people of Ladakh and told them that they should understand the word ‘Dharma’ refers to making a spiritual transformation within ourselves by putting the teaching into practice.

“Since you’ve gathered here to listen to a Buddhist discourse, you should understand that the word ‘Dharma’ refers to making a spiritual transformation within ourselves by putting the teaching into practice. You can’t expect to make such transformation just on the basis of wishes or prayers. It will only come about by integrating the teaching within ourselves. The source of our problems is our disturbing emotions.

“Usually, when I teach the Dharma, I do so in two steps. First, I give a general introduction and then I explain how to do the practice. Today, I have chosen to teach the exalted Nagarijuna’s text ‘A Commentary on the Awakening Mind’ (Skt: Bodhichittavivarana) by way of introduction, followed by Jowo Atisha Dipamkara Shrijnana’s ‘A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment’ (Skt: Bodhipathapradipa).”

His Holiness remarked that the main theme of the text is the generation of conventional and ultimate bodhichitta. He stressed their cultivation on a daily basis, for without them, our Dharma practice and deity yoga practice mean nothing.

If bodhichitta is our principal practice, all obstacles will be eliminated and all virtues accrued. Conventional bodhichitta must compliment our understanding of emptiness if we are to reach Buddhahood. Without the altruistic heart of bodhichitta we may be able to enter the path of Hearers, but not path of a Bodhisattva.

Having completed his reading of ‘Commentary on the Awakening Mind,’ His Holiness turned to the ‘Lamp for the Path’. He narrated the hardships endured by the later descendants of the ancient Tibetan Emperors, Lha Lama Yeshi Ö and his nephew Lha Lama Jangchub Ö, who were instrumental in inviting Atisha to restore Buddhism in Tibet in 11th century CE. When Jangchub Ö requested a teaching which would benefit all Tibetans, Atisha composed the ‘Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment’.

Subsequently, all Tibetan Buddhist traditions have composed texts that follow the pattern of the stages of the path. In the Nyingma tradition there is Longchen Rabjampa’s ‘Resting in the Nature of Mind’; in the Kagyu tradition there is the Gampopa’s ‘Jewel Ornament of Liberation’ ; and in the Sakya tradition, the ‘Three Visions’, and so forth. Je Tsongkhapa’s ‘Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment’ and its shorter editions follow Atisha’s style except in that he elaborated the Special Insight Section in both the Great and Medium Treatises.

His Holiness encouraged his listeners to study Tsongkhapa’s five major texts on the Middle Way view of emptiness thoroughly: the two Special Insight sections of his ‘Stages of the Path’ texts; the ‘Ocean of Reasoning: A Great Commentary on (Nagarjuna’s)’ ‘Fundamental Wisdom’; ‘Elucidation of Thought: An Extensive Commentary on ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ and ‘A Treatise Differentiating the Interpretable and Definitive Meanings of Sutra’.

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