Summer Seminar on the Perfection of Wisdom and Consecrating a Statue of the Buddha

June 30th 2014

Likir Gompa, Ladakh, India, 30 June 2014 - The Summer Seminar on the Perfection of Wisdom opened for the first time at Likir Monastery with the assembly of monks reciting verses of homage to the Buddha and the first chapter of Maitreya’s ‘Ornament of Clear Realization’. Geshe Lobsang Samten, Ngari Rinpoche’s Manager, welcomed His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Ganden Tri Rinpoche among other dignitaries and guests. He spoke about the re-establishment of the Tibetan monasteries in India and the opportunity this has provided for Ladakhis to study. He also mentioned the value of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and that it deserves to be preserved for the good of humanity.

 
Monks debating during the Summer Seminar on the Perfection of Wisdom at Likir Monastery in Likir, Ladakh, J&K, India on June 30, 2014. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“But,” he said, “such preservation will be achieved not by recitation of prayers and mantras, but through study. And this is one of our motivations for establishing this seminar.”

There followed a demonstration of Buddhist dialectical debate focussing on different modes of the awakening mind of Bodhichitta and questions such as whether the Buddha has any sense of self-interest.

President of the Ladakh Gompa Association, Geshe Konchok Namgyal spoke and expressed the general appreciation of the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Ganden Tri Rinpoche and Ministers of the State Government. He mentioned the re-establishment of Tibetan centres of learning in such places as Dehra Dun and South India. This has enabled Ladakhis to study once more, much as they did in Tibet. He concluded with the wish that His Holiness lives very long and that the sun of the Dharma shines once more over Tibet.

Chapel Sopa, in his capacity as advisor to the Ngari Tsang Monastic Cultural & Educational Society, greeted His Holiness, Tri Rinpoche, and the Sangha, Abbots, Ministers and other guests. On behalf of the Likir Monastery Education Committee he thanked everyone who had made the event possible. Noting that previous speakers had praised the new Perfection of Wisdom Seminar, he also remarked that the re-establishment of Tibetan monasteries in exile, under the inspiration and encouragement of His Holiness, had, to some extent, countered the disaster that befell Tibet in 1959.


Monks from the Ngari region monasteries receiving degrees as His Holiness the Dalai Lama looks on at LikirMonastery in Likir, Ladakh, J&K, India on June 30, 2014.
Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

Degrees of Geshe, Kachen and Ngagrampa were awarded by Ganden Tri Rinpoche, Rizong Rinpoche, to successful candidates from the seven monasteries of the Ngari community: Phuktar, Lingshey, Garsha, Muni, Rangdom, Tongdey and Likir. Each graduate was given a certificate and a statue of the Buddha. Tri Rinpoche then offered counsel to the assembled monks including advice on how to approach the forthcoming Kalachakra Empowerment.

In his address, His Holiness the Dalai Lama joked that while Ladakh was sometimes too cold, today it was too hot. He remarked that when he first came to India more than 50 years ago not much was going on. Great development has taken place since then, including widespread study of the Nalanda tradition for which he congratulated everyone involved.

“All the classical Buddhist treatises studied in Tibet were primarily composed by scholars at Nalanda University. Being unaware of the roots of Tibetan Buddhism in Indian literature and tradition, some Western writers have erroneously described it as Lamaism. Nevertheless, the Perfection of Wisdom studied in Tibet is also studied in China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam and Nagarjuna principal proponent of the Madhyamaka or Middle Way is admired in them all too.”

His Holiness said that it is important to distinguish between teachings that were originally intended for particular individuals, citng the visions received by the Indian adept Virwapa that are essential to the Sakya lineage and the many teachings that follow the model of those Milarepa received from Marpa that make up the Kagyu tradition. On the other hand, teachings belonging to the Nalanda tradition are not only observed among the four major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, but also in all the Buddhist countries of the Northern transmission. He said:


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking during the inauguration of the first Summer Seminar on the Perfection of Wisdom at Likir Monastery in Likir, Ladakh, J&K, India on June 30, 2014. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“If you don’t want to be like a white crow, you should study the commonly accepted texts of the Buddhist tradition and become part of the mainstream. If you don’t understand these commonly accepted treatises, you won’t be much good when it comes to teachings intended for particular individuals.”

His Holiness mentioned that during the conversations he has had with scientists and other thinkers over more than 30 years he has not discussed topics like the next life, but practical issues like how to achieve inner peace here and now. These can be discussed on the basis of reasoning and logic. He said that of the five Buddhist Sciences the most important are the Perfection of Wisdom and the view of the Middle Way, supported by logic and epistemology. He added that while there has been great development in India since he first visited in 1956, there should also be corresponding spiritual development.

“Although I don’t personally know much about the Buddha Dharma,” His Holiness remarked, “I’ve already forgotten many of the details I learned when I was young. But since I’ve kept up my studies since then I remain familiar with the key points. And I am quite prepared to employ these in other contexts such as science, which I view through the Nalanda tradition.

“Some scholars have described Buddhism not so much as a religion but as a science of the mind, which is true. In my discussions with scientists and philosophers we have agreed that the destroyer of inner peace is our destructive emotions. Some medical experts have shown that constant anger and fear undermine our health by eating into our immune system. Meanwhile, they find that the compassionate mind is good for our physical well-being. More and more scientists are showing an interest in learning from ancient Indian and particularly Buddhist psychology. You monks here are investigating the mind by using human intelligence to transform our human emotions.


View of the courtyard during the inaguration of the first Summer Seminar on Perfection of Wisdom at Likir Monastery in Likir, Ladakh, J&K, India on June 30, 2014.
Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

“We can think of the Buddha as a thinker and philosopher. He cautioned his monks and followers not to accept what he had taught at face value on the basis of faith alone, but to examine and investigate it for consistency and only then accept it.”

His Holiness expressed appreciation of the foreign guests for their interest and support. He told the Indian guests that he often points out that Tibetans regard ancient Indian scholars and practitioners as their gurus. Adding that Tibetans are not merely disciples but reliable disciples because they have scrupulously preserved traditions that have faded away from the land of their birth. As a result growing numbers of Indians are showing interest in Buddhist knowledge of the mind and dependent origination.

A short musical performance took place in which a local man sang sweetly to the accompaniment of pipe and drum. Following this, Geshe Lobsang Gyaltsen offered words of thanks and the assembly dispersed for lunch.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama arriving at the Buddha statue in Ney Village in Ladakh, J&K, India on June 30, 2014.
Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

In the afternoon, His Holiness drove down the road to Leh some way and back up into the hills to the village of Ney, where he had been invited by the Buddha Shakyamuni Statue Construction Committee. The colossal statue of the Buddha, whose foundation stone he laid in 2002 was now complete. Walking round the base he visited the temple within and admired the paintings of several meditation deities. Taking his seat and gazing up at the tall image he recited consecration prayers.

Addressing the crowd he said:

“This magnificent statue of the Buddha, the fourth Buddha of this fortunate aeon, stands before us complete. Well done; congratulations to everyone involved. You should pray that the merit you have created will benefit all sentient beings and bring them to enlightenment.

“However, of the Buddha’s three spheres of miraculous activity, the main one was his teaching. Of the activities of body, speech and mind the most important is speech. He said:

Buddhas do not wash unwholesome deeds away with water,
Nor do they remove the sufferings of beings with their hands,
Neither do they transplant their own realization into others.
Teaching the truth of suchness they liberate (beings).


Local Ladakhi women listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking is visit to Ney Village in Ladakh, J&K, India on June 30, 2014. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“The Buddha taught a path that puts an end to the process of dependent arising. Although we earn merit by gazing at such a body, as I told devotees in TsoPema who asked for the consecration of a huge statue of Guru Padmasambhava, these great images may last 1000 years but they will never speak. What we also need is the speech of the Buddha as contained in the more than 100 volumes of the Kangyur. The verse expressing the essence of dependent arising includes the essence of the Four Noble Truths that are the root of all the Buddha’s teaching.

Of those things that arise from causes,
The Tathagata has taught those causes,
And also what their cessation is:
This is the doctrine of the Great Sage.”

His Holiness concluded by giving a short transmission related to Buddha Shakyamuni that included a verse and the mantra. He drove back to Likir Gompa. Tomorrow, starting early in the morning, he will give an explanation of the Heart Sutra.
 

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