High Status and Definite Goodness

July 7th 2014

Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India, 7 July 2014 - Before leaving his residence to resume teachings preliminary to the 33rd Kalachakra Empowerment this morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with almost 200 Chinese. He began by congratulating them simply for being there, because of the difficulty of making the journey. He said that relations between Tibet and China were more than 1000 years old. In the 7th century, the powerful Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo married Princess Wencheng, who brought to Tibet the Jowo statue, which is now the main object of worship in Lhasa.

He said that historically Chinese are Buddhists and that he has often observed that Chinese are the senior disciples, while Tibetans are junior. However, he mentioned with a chuckle that in terms of training, the junior disciples haven’t done so badly. A few years ago, a survey conducted by the University of Beijing revealed that there were 300 million Buddhists in China and since then the number is thought to have grown to 400-500 million. His Holiness reported that recently in France, Xi Jinping had remarked that Buddhism was crucial to China’s cultural revival. He noted that in the Chinese canon there are more translated sutras than in the Kangyur, but the Tibetan Tengyur contains more volumes than the Chinese collection.

However that may be, His Holiness said that Buddhist teaching includes a complete description of reality and that to be a Buddhist it’s important to study.


A view of the over 100,000 people attending the second day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's 33rd Kalachakra Empowerment Preliminary Teachings in Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India on July 7, 2014. Photo/Manuel Bauer
“I often tease Chinese friends,” he said, “that repeating the name of Amitabha over and again is not sufficient. If you only rely on that, there’s little to differentiate your practice from Christians and Muslims who aspire to go to heaven. The Buddha made quite clear that enlightenment takes place within; in the heart.”

Laughing some more, His Holiness remembered being described by a Chinese official as a demon, but said it made no difference to him whether he was called a demon or Chenrezig. To him what is much more important is to be a follower of the Buddha.

His Holiness told his rapt listeners that he likes the idea of a People’s Republic, because the words themselves suggest a sense of equality. He mentioned meeting Mao Zedong many times, recalling that he had been a great advocate of equality who scorned nationalism and Han chauvinism. He said that true equality today would overcome most problems

Repeating a familiar theme, His Holiness asserted that 1.3 billion Chinese people have a right to know the truth. If they know reality, they have the ability and intelligence to judge right from wrong. The censorship imposed in China would be impossible to maintain in India or Japan. He said:

“Because it makes it very difficult for people to assess reality, censorship is immoral. What’s more it shows a basic lack of respect for the people. As China grows she has opportunities to make a positive contribution to the world, but to do so she must first earn the world’s trust and respect.”


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking during the second day of his 33rd Kalachakra Empowerment Preliminary Teachings in Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India on July 7, 2014. Photo/Manuel Bauer
Under warm sunshine, His Holiness once again walked to the pavilion from which he teaches and in which the Kalachakra Sand Mandala is steadily taking shape. On arrival he is greeted each day by a band of Ladakhi musicians playing drums and the local reed instrument the surna. After greeting Lamas and organizers who sit around the throne and saluting the audience, he took his seat and said:

“Whatever kind of discourse is being given, it’s very important that teacher and students generate a good motivation. We should take refuge in the Three Jewels unencumbered by such emotions as attachment and anger, and unsullied by the eight worldly concerns. For a Dharma to be Mahayana, the person must be Mahayana.”

His Holiness said that the way we are led out of cyclic existence involves the Buddha’s fundamental teaching of the Four Noble Truths, which entails cessation of the causes of suffering. Soon after his enlightenment the Buddha first presented this teaching in Varanasi. He taught the Noble Truth of Suffering, the Noble Truth of its Cause, the Noble Truth of Cessation and the Noble Truth of the Path. He explained that suffering must be known, its cause must be abandoned, cessation must be actualized and the path cultivated. However, once suffering is known there is nothing to be known, nothing to be abandoned, nothing to be actualized and nothing to be cultivated.

His Holiness explained that each of the Noble Truths has four attributes: they are impermanent, suffering, empty and selfless. Regarding impermanence he said there is gross and subtle impermanence. When something simply comes to an end, that is gross impermanence, but the momentary change that affects a thing is subtle impermanence, impelled by its own causes. Ignorance is, for example, to hold onto a permanent self although there is no such self.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking during the second day of his 33rd Kalachakra Empowerment Preliminary Teachings in Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India on July 7, 2014. Photo/Manuel Bauer
Entering into the path involves the Three Trainings in morality, concentration and wisdom, which lead to the practice of the Six Perfections and in due course to the practice of the Vajrayana. To start with Tantra will not be so effective. To understand what liberation is we need to understand the Perfection of Wisdom teachings. Meanwhile, as part of the Third Turning of the Wheel of Dharma the Tathagata-garbha-sutra reveals the subjective mind, the clear light mind, which is the essence of the Highest Yoga Tantra. In his teaching the Buddha first laid the foundations, then raised the walls of the structure, finally topping it with a roof. His Holiness remarked that Tibetans tend to begin with the roof.

He said that when the Three Trainings are developed on the basis of understanding selflessness, this renders them the Three Higher Trainings. The 37 factors of Enlightenment include the Four foundations of mindfulness; Four right exertions; Four bases of power; Five faculties; Five powers; Seven factors of Enlightenment and the Noble Eightfold Path. His Holiness explained that the Four Mindfulnesses included mindfulness of the body, mindfulness of feelings, mindfulness of the mind and mindfulness of phenomena.

“Understanding the nature of the mind is clarity and awareness,” he said, “we can see how disturbing emotions can be overcome. Buddhist teaching is not about threatening people with dire consequences if they don’t behave in a certain way. Instead, by understanding the advantages of liberation, they will be inspired to achieve it.”


Some of the thousands of monastics attending the second day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's 33rd Kalachakra Empowerment Preliminary Teachings in Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India on July 7, 2014. Photo/Manuel Bauer
His Holiness commented that in today’s world people are more interested in their physical comfort and sensory pleasure, and yet love and compassion are developed within and are more durable. Beginning to explain Nagarjuna’s text the ‘Precious Garland’ he spoke of high status or good rebirth and definite goodness or liberation. He reiterated that Dharma, to protect us from suffering, entails not harming others but helping them, often expressed as abandoning the ten unwholesome deeds and fulfilling the ten virtues. In this connection, all faults come from self-cherishing and coming under the sway of the mental factors known as the three poisons. Suffering is not dispelled by reciting prayers, only by overcoming ignorance, the misconception of self.

As he completed the first chapter of the ‘Precious Garland, His Holiness said:

“Although it can be difficult it is worth studying these texts, comparing them to each other and trying to understand what ideas like emptiness really mean.”

The teachings preliminary to the Kalachakra Empowerment will resume and continue tomorrow.
 

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