(TibetanReview.net, Nov26’22) – Around 5,000 people from some 65 countries attended two days of religious teaching given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the Tsuglakhang, the main Buddhist temple in Dharamshala, which is located in his Thekchen Choeling residential complex, over Nov 25-26.
The teaching – which was on Nagarjuna’s Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way – was requested by Buddhists from South Korea, from which a group of 350 monks, nuns and laypeople attended.
The Dalai Lama was accompanied to his teaching throne by the Korean Abbot Ven Jungwook Kim. He called the latter a friend for many years and with whom he had exchanged several Dharma discourses.
Those who greeted him inside the temple included top Tibetan Buddhist leaders that included the Ganden Tri Rinpoché, the Sharpa Chöjé and the Jangtsé Chöjé, as well as the Abbots of several of the south India-re-established great Buddhist monasteries of Tibet.
After a brisk recitation of the Heart Sutra by Korean monks and nuns, the Dalai Lama began by making it clear that everyone should feel free to follow whatever religion they wished. “Our different religious traditions have different philosophical points of view, but all convey a common message to do no harm and to help others as best we can,” he said.
Then, after dwelling on the Buddhist philosophical concept of emptiness, the Dalai Lama said: “All sentient beings are the same in wanting happiness and joy, while seeking to avoid suffering. By cultivating compassion for sentient beings wandering in cyclic existence, along with an understanding of emptiness, you’ll experience method and wisdom. You will embark on and ascend the five paths of accumulation, preparation, seeing, meditation and no-more-learning. In this way you’ll make your life fruitful and ultimately reach enlightenment.”
He also said: “My practice is twofold—cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta (ie, the mind [citta] that is aimed at awakening [Bodhi], with wisdom and compassion for the benefit of all sentient beings) and insight into emptiness. Emptiness reduces anger; bodhichitta reduces self-cherishing. If your sense of self-cherishing is less, you’ll have more space in your mind for others. You’ll be at ease and full of joy. Peace of mind brings inner strength. Therefore, bodhichitta is a source of happiness for self and others. When you help others, you fulfil your own goals too.”
And he went on: “All eight billion people alive today are the same in wanting happiness and not seeking suffering. But although we are the same in this way, our unruly minds create friction between us. What disturbs our peace of mind is attachment and greed, anger and hatred. There’s much talk about peace in the world, but it has to be rooted in peace within ourselves. From this point of view, we can see that relying on weapons and the use of force is useless.”
He said his advice to his “Dharma brothers and sisters” was to ask them “to cultivate a good heart and remember that things lack any inherent existence and, in these ways, dedicate yourselves to the benefit of others.”
He also referred to the modern, scientific relevance of the teachings of the Buddha, saying: “These days many people are taking a new-found interest in the teaching of the Buddha. Scientists are intrigued both by the psychology he taught, as well as the philosophical idea of ‘dependent arising’. We too should pay attention to the teaching, and then reflect and meditate on it.”