(TibetanReview.net, Jun14’22) – Some 8500 people from 56 countries, including 700 monks, nuns and laypeople attended religious teachings and empowerment given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama over Jun 13-14. Jun 14 coincided with the Tibetan Buddhists’ most important festival of Sakadawa, the full moon day of the fourth Tibetan month marking the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha Shakyamuni some 2,600 years ago.
The teaching on ‘Concise Stages for the Path to Enlightenment’ and the Empowerment of Avalokiteshvara Jinasagara were requested by Tai Situ Rinpoché, whom an exuberant Dalai Lama described as a long-time friend. Rinpoché made to him a mandala offering of the three representations of the body, speech and mind of enlightenment.
During the course of the teaching, the Dalai Lama said, “The teaching of the Buddha doesn’t just depend on faith, it’s based on reason. What the Buddha said can be put to the test of reason. Later, the masters of Nalanda, such as Nagarjuna, showed how important it is to examine the Buddha’s teaching in the light of reason and establish that he was an incomparable teacher.”
He also said, “India has a good, longstanding tradition of showing respect for all spiritual traditions and many different traditions have flourished in this land.”
Speaking about the richness of the Tibetan Buddhist culture, the Dalai Lama said, “Chinese communists have tried unsuccessfully to restrict Tibetan Buddhist culture, and it is clear that Tibetan Buddhist philosophy is more profound than Chinese communism. In contrast to that ideology, Tibetans exercise a kind of Buddhist democracy in their monasteries and nunneries. Tibet’s traditions are vast, deep and profound and have the potential to be combined with modern science.”
The Dalai Lama also said his decision to leave Tibet when it was occupied by China turned out to be correct. He said that if he had remained in Tibet, he wouldn’t have been able to deepen and extend his understanding of the world. In exile he met all kinds of people from all walks of life and learned from them, he said. Moreover, technological innovations, such as the internet and mobile phones, had meant that he could exchange views with people everywhere, he added.
In this connection he recalled comments made by Appa Pant, former Political Officer for India in the Kingdom of Sikkim, when the latter visited him at Swarg Ashram. He said that looking out over the distant view, Pant told him, “It’s very good that you’ll stay here from where the light of your words will spread throughout the world.”
The Dalai Lama also said that on another occasion, a Congressional representative in the US pointed out that although the Chinese People’s Liberation Army was made up of a million soldiers, they could not outdo the lone Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama also spoke about his personal health and said his physicians had assessed his pulse, examined his urine, and so forth and judged him to be completely fit that Monday morning.
The Dalai Lama ended the first day’s teaching with the preliminary rites of the Avalokiteshvara empowerment that he was going to give the next day.