Dharamshala – His Holiness the Dalai Lama attended a Long Life Prayer offered to him by the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, on Wednesday. His Holiness said," I am determined to live a long life and am passionate about letting people, especially those who are not religious or interested in spiritual matters, know the importance of cultivating love and compassion and achieving peace of mind."
The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) offered a long life prayer to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the main Tibetan temple in Dharamsala, India on May 24, 2023. There were 350 members of the FPMT members, including 150 from abroad, participated in the long life prayer ceremony. This Long-Life Offering was based on the ritual of the ‘Offering to the Spiritual Master’ known as ‘Indivisible Bliss and Emptiness: The Ritual of the Profound Path of Lama Chöpa’.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama said to the assembly,“Today, you are offering prayers for my long life. In this world, people who have faith in the teachings of the Buddha, particularly people from the Himalayan region who feel a special connection to Avalokiteshvara also consider they have a link to me. If I am able to live long, there is the benefit that I will be able to serve the teaching and sentient beings."
“Buddhism originated in India, but eventually its circumstances changed. In due course the Buddha’s teaching spread to Tibet and the circumstances have changed there too. Although Buddhist traditions were not widely known in the West, these days there is growing interest in them there," His Holiness explained.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “I am determined to work for the flourishing of the Buddha’s teachings and welfare of all sentient beings, as Jé Tsongkhapa wrote in a verse at the end of his 'Great Treatise on the Stages to the Path to Enlightenment':
Wherever the Buddha's teaching has not spread
And wherever it has spread but has declined
May I, moved by great compassion, clearly elucidate
This treasury of excellent benefit and happiness for all.
“So, if these prayers today are effective, everyone will benefit. Tibet and the neighbouring lands of the Himalayan region have a long-standing connection to the Dalai Lamas. I am determined to work for the benefit of the people who live in these places, but in addition there are now scientists across the world who are interested in what the Buddha’s teaching have to say about the workings of the mind and emotions. I would like to help them as much as I can too," the spiritual leader of Tibet said.
“For these purposes, supported by your prayers and dedication, I feel I may be able to live another twenty years or so. I’m keen to let people, especially those who have no religious allegiance or interest in spiritual affairs, know the importance of cultivating love and compassion and achieving peace of mind," His Holiness added.
“However, it is also good to remind ourselves of what the Arhat Sagala says in the Vinaya scriptures— ”Do not be contented merely to wear monastic robes. Study the content of the Three Baskets and engage in the Three Trainings in ethics, meditative concentration and wisdom. Practise the teaching with enthusiasm,” he mentioned.
“These long-life prayers are being offered today by the FPMT, an organization with many centres around the world that has for quite some time been led by the late Zopa Rinpoché. A very trustworthy person, Rinpoché has recently passed away and I pray that his reincarnation will be able to serve the Dharma and sentient beings in his next life," His Holiness said.
“If we all practise, Buddhism will not vanish soon, but will survive for several centuries more. We follow great and learned masters like Nagarjuna who upheld the teachings of the Buddha not merely on the basis of faith, but by relying on reason. This is the unique quality of the Nalanda Tradition. We examine the words of the teaching in the light of reason and accept them accordingly," His Holiness added.
“Zopa Rinpoché really did his best. He worked immensely hard for the teaching and to benefit sentient beings. I hope his reincarnation will also be a proper custodian of the Dharma and pray that that may be so. You should do the same,” His Holiness concluded his speech and the ceremony continued with a long life prayer to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.