Akshobhya Empowerment to Complete Teachings for Russian Buddhists

December 23rd 2013

New Delhi, India, 23 December 2013 - When His Holiness the Dalai Lama entered the hall to undertake the preparatory rituals for the Akshobhya empowerment he was going to give this morning, several hundred Russian students were waiting for him. Sitting before the mandala enclosure and an array of offerings he spent about an hour fulfilling the necessary preparatory rituals. By the time he finished, the hall was nearly full. He told his audience that he would like to continue reading Chapter 6 of the ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ until the end of the current section, which meant verse 10, which he often cites for the realistic and practical advice it provides.

Why be unhappy about something
If it can be remedied?
And what is the use of being unhappy about something
If it cannot be remedied?

His Holiness the Dalai Lama undertaking preparatory rituals for the Akshobya empowerment before his teaching in New Delhi, India on December 23, 2013. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL
He quoted Je Tsongkhapa’s saying, “...having covered what is necessary to practise both sutra and tantra, even if you have not yet achieved an uncontrived experience of the path to enlightenment, it will serve as the basis for entering the tantric path and making your life meaningful.” He further said in his biography that it is well known that there are two vehicles, the perfection vehicle and the vajra vehicle, and that tantra is very profound, but there are some who have no idea how to practise it.

His Holiness remarked that in the Tibetan community, there are those who claim to be practitioners of tantra yet look down on the discipline of the Vinaya, which the Kadampa masters considered a grave mistake. Meanwhile, there are others who observe the Vinaya but have only disdain for tantra. He mentioned Professor Joshi of Patiala University who wrote about the history of Buddhism in India and explained to him his understanding of the reasons for its eventual decline. Firstly, people lost their respect for Buddhism. Secondly, there were people who misused tantra, flaunting the taking of consorts and employing the five meats and five nectars and thirdly, royal patronage declined. His Holiness suggested that something like these conditions, particularly the second, could be said to prevail today too.

After noting that all classes of tantra include the practice of deity yoga, His Holiness spent some time exploring the nature of the mind. He pointed out that Buddha nature is the empty nature of the mind that the nature of the mind is clarity and awareness, and that mental defilements, being temporary, can be removed. By practising tantra, he said it’s possible to create the causes for the form and truth bodies of a Buddha. His Holiness took some time to elaborate on the significance of tantra and how its practice works, because, he said, “I think it is important that you understand the context and background before I begin the empowerment.”

Many of the over 1,300 audience members from Russia attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching in New Delhi, India on December 23, 2013. Photo/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL
He mentioned that this practice of Akshobhya belongs to Kriya or Action Tantra, and within that to the vajra lineage. One of its main applications is to purify the circumstances when someone has died. His Holiness said he had done so for his mother when she died and he employs it on behalf of those who die as a result of natural disasters. The lineage derives from the Mahasiddha Jetari and His Holiness received it from Chopgye Trichen Rinpoche.

He cautioned his listeners to adopt a proper motivation, the benefit of all sentient beings. Because it is said that recipients of tantra should be holders of vows, he led the assembly first through a ceremony for taking the lay person’s individual emancipation vows and then the bodhisattva vows. He remarked that you cannot help someone just by making a wish to do so, you have to take action. He commended those who undertake to do no harm and to help other beings in whatever way they can.

Once he had completed the empowerment, His Holiness posed for photographs with all the Russians in a series of small groups. After lunch, he drove to the airport to fly to Bengaluru, from where he will tomorrow drive to the Tibetan settlement at Bylakuppe and Sera Monastery, where he is to resume the grand Stages of the Path teaching he began last year.

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