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Dalai Lama: Not rituals, but understanding Buddha’s teaching on ‘dependent arising’ can solve global problems

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(TibetanReview.net, Apr22’23) – “Rituals are not important,” HH the Dalai Lama has on Apr 21 told the Global Buddhist Summit on the second of the two-day event in New Delhi. “What we need is the cultivation of resting and analytical meditation, an understanding of reality and the practice of compassion.” Besides, paying attention to the courage of compassion enables you to transform adversity into opportunity, he has added.

Flanked by top Buddhist leaders from Mongolia, Nepal, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Bhutan, as well as Indian and other Tibetan Buddhist masters, the Dalai Lama has said understanding the core teachings of the Buddha can lead to solutions to the plethora of problems and conflicts that plague the world today.

Emphasizing the Buddhist view of “dependent arising” (which postulates that things arise in dependence on other factors; that since nothing is independent, everything comes about through dependent relationships), the Dalai Lama has explained how important understanding this is for solving global problems.

“Why is understanding dependent arising important? Because when we don’t have this insight, we grasp at self as something substantial and real. This in turn can lead to our drawing distinctions between ‘us’ and ‘them’ that feed conflict. We develop attachment to those like us and aversion to others who we see as different.”

He has also said: “Many of the problems we face are to do with how we view reality. We tend to accept that things exist in the way they appear. We project a sense of reality onto what appears before us. The Buddha’s teaching of emptiness helps us see that what we perceive does not reflect reality. Then we can overcome our feelings of attachment and craving. And when we do that, the mind becomes pure.”

* * *

Earlier, the summit’s second day opened with the Ven Dr Dhammapiya, Secretary General of New Delhi-based International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), which organized the event with India’s ministry of culture, emphasizing the sameness of all human beings. “We need to implement the universal values implicit in all religious traditions to help us all,” he has said.

He was followed by the Most Venerable Abhidhajamaharahthaaguru Sayadaw Dr Ashin Nyanissara (Burma), who, being unable to attend, had his message read on his behalf, and Prof Robert Thurman.

Responding to Dr Dhammapiya’s call on him to come back again and again in the future for the benefit of sentient beings, The Dalai Lama has spoken of his commitment to “help dispel the misery of the world” for “long as space endures, / And as long as sentient beings remain.”

Speaking on Tibet’s adoption of the Indian tradition of Buddhism, the Dalai Lama has recalled that in 8th century, Tibet’s King Trisong Detsen convened a debate between Chinese Hvashang meditators and the Indian master Kamalashila. When the king declared Kamalashila the winner and requested the Chinese monks to leave Tibet, he ensured that the Indian tradition became the mainstream presentation of Buddhism in the Land of Snows.

The Dalai Lama returned to Dharamshala on Apr 22 morning.

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