Koyasan, Japan — Traveling from Osaka to the mountains of Koyasan, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, arrived at the founding place of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, where he was greeted by the head priest of the main temple on the mountain, Keihan Nakanishi-sensei.
Koyasan is the 1200 year-old mountain of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, founded by Kobo Daishi and given over now to 117 temples.
In discussion with the Japanese priests, His Holiness began by saying, “In this world, everyone want to be free of suffering—to be happy—yet so many of our sufferings come from our own minds... If there can be a greater sense of oneness in the world, then violence and killing will end.”
"Basic human nature is compassion. Therefore, I see great potential in promoting love and compassion through education. I’m not trying to propagate Buddhism; I only want to spread the message of the fundamentally compassionate nature of human beings. Every different religion has different ideas and philosophies, but all of them agree on the importance of love and compassion.”
Rising to his theme, His Holiness mentioned a Tibetan saying that nobility should never undermine learning, nor learning undermine nobility. A great 13th century Tibetan scholar, he said, declared that even if you’re about to die tomorrow, you should keep learning. It’s almost like an investment for your next life.
After an entirely vegan lunch to prepare for the day’s empowerment, His Holiness went to Koyasan’s main hall, where he sat on a stage, flanked by rows of chanting monks on both sides, and opened his empowerment for Achala, the deity of protection and unwaveringness, with thirty minutes of chants.
In preparing his audience for the empowerment, he stressed that the truth of the Buddha is not to be found by faith, but by using one’s intelligence. Theistic religions have always been beneficial and will always remain so, he stressed, but Buddhism has to be practiced with wisdom and intelligence. “Taking the Buddha on faith,” His Holiness said, “does not make one fit for following the path of wisdom. One must know what emptiness means.”
He then went into the specifics of the Achala empowerment, the ultimate aim, he said, was to realize deep selflessness. “As Shantideva pointed out, people don’t want suffering, yet cause their own suffering. They attack their own happiness as if it were an enemy.
“If you devote yourself to serving other sentient beings,” His Holiness stressed, “you will find your own realization. Always have the altruistic motivation to help sentient beings. Consider others to be more important than yourself. And remember that until you attain Buddhahood, you can help others only partially.
“So be determined to become Buddhas for the sake of all beings.”
Sharing the mantras and chants for the empowerment, His Holiness concluded the session.
On November 17, His Holiness will give a public talk in Yokohama entitled, Compassion - The Key to Happiness. He will be visiting Japan until November 26th.