(TibetanReview.net, Sep05, 2018) – Some 6,000 devotees are attending four days of religious teaching being given by Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, at the Tsugklakhang, Dharamshala, beginning Sep 4. The teaching has been requested by devotees from South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore, both ordained and lay-people.
While 1200 of those attending the teaching are from those countries, some 1700 are from 71 other countries, with the largest contingent being from Israel. The rest are mainly Tibetans.
The teaching was preceded by a recitation of the Mangala Sutta in Pali by a group of Thai monks and then the Heart Sutra in Chinese. And the Dalai Lama began by reciting verses of salutation to the Buddha from Ornament for Clear Realization and Nagarjuna’s Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way.
In his teaching, which was on Buddhapalita’s Commentary (Buddhapalitavrtti), the Dalai Lama explained that Buddhism originated in India and that its Pali tradition spread to Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Laos and Cambodia, where the Vinaya (rules of discipline) continues to be strictly upheld. The Sanskrit tradition, meanwhile, fostered in the universities of Takshashila, Nalanda and Vikramashila, spread to China and from there to Korea, Japan and Vietnam. He noted that when the Chinese monk and scholar Xuanzang came to India, Nagabodhi, a disciple of Nagarjuna, was still alive. The Chinese adopted Nagarjuna’s ideas but not the system of logic and reason that supported them.
He also explained that the great scholar, logician and philosopher Shantarakshita established the Nalanda Tradition in Tibet in the 8th century. He continued that from Tibet, this approach to study and training spread to Mongolia and the Mongolian Russian Republics. Crucial to this tradition, he said, were the Perfection of Wisdom teachings of the Buddha’s second turning of the wheel of dharma that assert that things have no objective existence, contrary to the way they appear to us.
The Dalai Lama remarked that Buddhapalita, having declared that dependent arising is the main cause for gaining insight into emptiness, appeared to have received both the explanation and transmission of this doctrine. However, he added, his co-disciple Bhavaviveka seemed only to have been given the transmission.