DALAI LAMA TEACHING JUNE 24 2024


TEACHING FOR TIBETAN YOUTH
MAIN TIBETAN TEMPLE, DHARMASALA, HP, INDIA,

JUNE 3 & 4, 2024, (DAYS 1 & 2),
OFFICE OF HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA



Below is a link to the teaching which can be found on: dalailama.com website.




DAY 1: SUMMARY OF TEACHING ON THE DALAILAMA.COM WEBSITE



A crowd of about 5500 had gathered in the temple and the courtyard. They included 1800 foreigners from 57 countries. However, the main focus of today’s teachings were young Tibetans. There were 900 TCV students from class nine and above, 161 college students, 40 young local Tibetans and 80 members of the Introduction to Buddhism Class.

Once His Holiness had taken his seat on the throne, children from Gopalpur TCV School recited ‘A Clear Mirror: The Compendium of Awareness’, a fundamental text, from memory. It opens with a verse of homage to Manjushri, then proceeds to explain the ways of knowing. Next, the children recited the single verse prayer for His Holiness’s long life followed by the Praise to Manjushri that begins:

Obeisance to my Guru and Protector, Manjushri,
Who holds to his heart a scriptural text symbolic of his seeing all things as they are,
Whose intelligence shines forth as the sun, unclouded by delusions or traces of ignorance
Who teaches in sixty ways, with the loving compassion of a father for his only son, all creatures caught in the prison of cyclic existence, confused in the darkness of their ignorance, overwhelmed by their suffering.

This they followed with verses of salutation from the ‘Ornament of Clear Realization’:

Through the knowledge-of-all, the Disciples seeking peace are led to true peace.
Through the knowledge-of-the-path, those intending to benefit wandering beings, fulfil the aims of the world.
Being perfectly endowed with the omniscient mind, the sages give various teachings with all kinds of aspects:
I bow down to the mother of all Buddhas together with the communities of Hearers and Bodhisattvas.

And the verse of homage from Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom’:

I prostrate to the perfect Buddha,
The best of teachers, who taught that
That which is dependently arisen is
Without cessation, without arising;
Without annihilation, without permanence;
Without coming; without going;
Without distinction, without identity
And peaceful—free from fabrications.

His Holiness asked if, in addition to the ‘The Compendium of Awareness’, the children had memorized the ‘Versified Compendium of Logic and Reasoning’, both texts having be written by Akya Yongdzin, Yangchen Gawai Lodro. Their teacher told him they were working on it.

“I memorized both these texts when I was a small child,” His Holiness declared. “It’s part of our approach to study that we memorize the text, without necessarily understanding what it’s about, and receive comprehensive explanations of it afterwards.

“We are refugees, living in exile, and we can see that in general people of the world are not very interested in studying the great treatises by masters of the past, but we Tibetans have kept this tradition alive for more than a thousand years. The Chinese and perhaps the Vietnamese studied the texts but didn’t immerse themselves in logic as we did.

“As I mentioned, I memorized both ‘The Compendium of Awareness’and the ‘Versified Compendium of Logic and Reasoning’ when I was young and recited them before both my tutors. I learned about definitions and synonyms and also how we have to employ logic.”

His Holiness gave a transmission of the ‘Praise to Manjushri’ and led the congregation in reciting Om ara patsa na dhi.

“As I’ve told you before, when I was very small, maybe three years old, I visited Kumbum Monastery near to where I lived. There I saw and heard very young monks reciting Om ara patsa na dhi. I naturally joined in. That was the first mantra I recited and I’ve relied on it ever since.

“In Tibet, someone told a tutor to a previous Dalai Lama, maybe it was Phurba Chok, that he was an incarnation of Manjushri. ‘I don’t know about that’ he replied, but perhaps we could say I’m Manjushri’s neighbour. Perhaps I could say that too. Not only have I studied the four schools of Buddhist thought, I’ve had the opportunity to acquaint myself with other religious traditions. Moreover, I’m blessed with the four types of wisdom: great wisdom, deep wisdom, quick wisdom and clear wisdom.

“Tibetans are quite bright and have a natural sense of right and wrong, but you schoolchildren would do well to develop these four kinds of wisdom and the abiliity to think logically. So, you should not only recite mantras, you should also learn how to analyze things.

“As far as keeping Buddhism alive is concerned, I’ve done my best and will continue to do so. Meanwhile, I feel the Buddha has taken care of me.”

His Holiness took up the text of the ‘Key to the Middle Way’, a book he composed himself. Noting a reference to mistaken consciousness as a source of suffering, he emphasized that it is not enough to read about such things, we have to learn to recognise them in ourselves and transform them.

He read steadily through pages that touched on the importance of dealing with the mind, briefly explained the Four Seals, outlined the Four Schools of Tenets, highlighted the difference between provisory and definitive teachings, and accentuated the Four Reliances.

With regard to the question, what is emptiness? His Holiness advised that we need to develop a conceptual understanding of emptiness through reasoning; we need to recognize the object of negation. We also need to appreciate that emptiness means emptiness of inherent existence. Ignorance of the emptiness of inherent existence is the root cause of all bad consciousnesses and the suffering that is a consequence of them.

He mentioned the Two Truths as well as the Middle Way between existence and non-existence, the crucial point being that emptiness doesn’t deny the possibility of valid conventional truths, laws, or sciences.

His Holiness stopped reading when he reached this verse from Nagarjuna’s ‘Precious Garland’:

A person is not earth, not water,
Not fire, not air and not space
Not consciousness, and not all them.
What else is a person?

He remarked that with regard to conventional phenomenon, what we are saying is that when we scrutinize things, we cannot find them. However, without critical analysis, examining what is good or bad, whether we’re dealing with ourselves or others, whether we or they are young or old—all these qualities exist and can be found. He clarified that things exist by way of mere appearance, but when examined under critical analysis they fall apart and are found not actually to exist the way they appear.





DAY 2: SUMMARY OF TEACHING ON THE DALAILAMA.COM WEBSITE


Next, members of the Introduction to Buddhism Course, adult women and men, engaged in an energetic demonstration of their debating skills. They discussed points of Tibetan grammar, as laid out in Thönmi Sambhota’s treatise known as ‘Sum-chu-pa’.

His Holiness then addressed the gathering:

“Today, although we are in exile, whether young or old, we take an interest in education. The mature students who have just debated before us have demonstrated their enthusiasm for education. In the monastic centres of learning such as Sera, Ganden and Drepung, monks have long studied and engaged in debate on the Nalanda model. Now laypeople are taking an interest in this approach as well. This all contributes to keeping our traditions alive. Students are also learning to debate at school. It seems we’re all involved.

“There are growing numbers of Chinese who are interested in learning more about Tibetan Buddhism. We should think about how we can help them. A key point to note is that our tradition is not only about prayers and rituals, it involves rigorous study and debate. Sharing these skills is how we can help interested Chinese uphold the Buddhadharma in study and practice.

“There are also people in other parts of the world where Buddhism was previously little known who are now taking an interest in what our traditions have to say about the workings of the mind and emotions, and so forth. I believe we have a responsibility to contribute to the good of the world by sharing what we know. I appreciate the example of debate that we’ve seen today.

“Among the refugee communities of the world, Tibetans are among the most successful in terms of keeping our spiritual traditions and culture alive. We should continue to make efforts in this direction.”

While the crowd enjoyed tea and bread His Holiness remarked that despite his age he has not lost a single tooth. He also mentioned a vivid dream he’d had of Palden Lhamo seated on his shoulders predicting that he would live to be 110 years old—the congregation applauded.

“What is most important,” His Holiness vouchsafed, “is the strong spiritual bond between us. I pray for everyone from the very moment I wake up. I pray that everyone should feel at ease.”

Taking up the ‘Key to the Middle Way’ once more, His Holiness spoke about the emptiness of body and mind. The body, he said, is a composite of different parts on the basis of which it is labelled—‘body’. The world too is a composite of different factors without which there would be no world. Things are dependently designated on the basis of their parts.

A person is designated on the basis of his or her body and mind. Without them there is no person. We all have a sense that ‘I am’; a notion of a self independent of body and mind; but there is no such self. To appreciate this, it is important to understand what is taught in the classic treatises.

“Examine yourself from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes,” His Holiness advised. “Ask yourself, Who am I? Where am I? Where is the person I think I am? Of course, when you try to dissect the different parts of your body and mind, you won’t find a person among them, but that doesn’t mean the person just doesn’t exist.

“A person exists only by way of designation on the basis of its parts. It’s important to realize that it’s only when body and mind come together that we can designate a person. Whatever appears to our mind seems to have a fixed, solid entity, an essential existence in and of itself, but that is not the case.

“When I meditate on emptiness, which I do every day, I recognize that it loosens the grip of the misapprehension of myself as an independent entity. Maybe that’s enough for me to say today.

“We are all happily gathered here and I would like to conduct the ceremony for granting the bodhisattva vows. Having a warm heart is a source of happiness. It involves being determined to help other sentient beings. It brings peace of mind, which is good for our physical well-being too.

“Today, I’m like a spokesman for the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Imagine them in the space before you. Recall that you have been born in a place where the Buddhadharma is alive and resolve that you will generate a warm-hearted attitude towards all sentient beings. Be an example to others.

“As soon as I wake up in the morning, I think about how I can fulfil the aims of others and myself. I generate the awakening mind of bodhichitta.

“Now, I’ll recite the relevant verses, you please repeat them after me.

I seek refuge in the Three Jewels;
Each and every wrongdoing I confess.
I rejoice in the virtues of all beings.
I take to heart the state of Buddhahood.

I go for refuge until I am enlightened
To the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Supreme Assembly,
In order to fulfil the aims of myself and others
I develop the awakening mind.

Having developed the aspiration for highest enlightenment,
I invite all sentient beings as my guests,
I shall enact the delightful supreme enlightening practices.
May I become a Buddha to benefit all sentient beings
.

“As I’ve said, I reflect on bodhichitta daily. This is the best medicine for all ailments. My Dharma friends, keep bodhichitta in your hearts.”

A thanksgiving mandala was offered by a number of senior TCV officials and the session concluded with a recitation of the ‘Words of Truth’.






[Transcription from translation.
(Please excuse any errors which are the transcribers own, if parts are not heard or missed, this will be indicated on the transcription)].



My guru and guardian, impeccable Manjushri, your intelligence clearly shines forth like the sun, free from the clouds. Homage to the Perfection of Wisdom, the Mother of All the Buddhas of the Three Times, which is beyond words, inconceivable, inexpressible, unproduced and unobstructed. It is in the nature of space, the objective domain of the self-awareness wisdom.

“TAYATA, GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODI SOHA!”

Then the words of salutation from the Abhisamayalankara, The Ornament of Clear Realization, [of Maitreya. In eight categories that naturally fall into three groups. The seventy topics are their subdivisions], through the knowledge of all the sravakas … are led …, through knowledge of the path. Those intending to benefit transmigratory beings fulfil the aims of the world. Beings perfectly endowed with the omniscient mind, the Munis or Sages, the Buddhas give various kinds of teachings, with all kinds of aspirations. I bow down to the Mother of All the Buddhas, together with the communities of Hearers and Bodhisattvas. And then the wisdom salutation verse from the Middle Way Treatise called wisdom… [The treatise on the Middle Way explains that phenomena have no self-nature and are empty, or without substance, because they arise and disappear only by virtue of their relationship with other phenomena (dependent origination). And once we have that kind of understanding, we can envision a true Buddha Jewel, who represents the perfection of the realization and knowledge of Dharma]. I prostrate to the Perfect Buddha, the best of all teachers who taught, that which arises through “dependent relationship,” is without cessation, without arising, without annihilation, without permanence, without coming, without going. Then without distinction, without identity, and peaceful, free from fabrications. This ground anointed with perfume, strewn with flowers, adorned with Mount Meru, the four continents, the sun and moon, I visualise, may all sentient beings enjoy this Buddha field.

OM YIDAM GURU RATNA MANDALAKAM NIRIYATIAMI.

“To the Buddha, Dharma, and the supreme assembly, I take refuge until I am Enlightened. Whatever merit and wisdom I gain through listening to the teachings, may I become a Buddha to benefit all sentient beings”. (x3)


THE TRADITION OF DEBATE


So today, though we are exiles [the Tibetan people]; everyone here, young and old are taking interest in education. So here we have people, students debating, which is an indication of their constant interest in the study of Indian Education. This debate is not something that is done by everyone. In the monastic institutions, alongside the study of philosophy and logic, they do this kind of debate. Here we have younger generations taking interest in debate (dialectical debate). So in Tibet, the tradition of debate, which is a Nalanda Buddhist tradition has spread. Inside Tibet, also in the monastic institutions like Sera, Ganden, Drepung and so forth, they have the tradition of debate, as part of their curriculum of study. Whereas the lay people didn’t have this kind of means of pursuing their studies of Buddhism. But after coming into exile, everyone young and old, lay people and monastics, have started taking interest in debate, which is a very good practice. So Tibetan spirituality and culture is not just about preservation of it, but we are able to show it to the world at large. So right from the beginning of our traditional study, we start with the “Collected Topics,” and then go on with the rest of the studies, which is very beneficial. So the students of the schools also are getting into the habit of using debate as part of their curriculum of studies, which is very good. So this is how we preserve and protect our spirituality, our spiritual tradition and culture. So you are all involved in this.

So we are only a few in number in exile, but this tradition of debate that we have, can also be spread to China proper as well, we have to keep this in mind. In the past, Chinese people have joined our monastic institutions. There were a few of them there in the past, but now today, there is an increasing number of Chinese [people] who take interest in the study of Buddhism. So we need to keep in mind how we could serve them, and to spread this tradition in China proper. So though we are living in exile, Tibetan heritage, its religion and culture has become something which people the world over have taken interest in. And so we are making good strides in the spread of this tradition that we have. Inside Tibet, inside China, people are increasingly taking more interest in the study of Buddha Dharma, and also in other parts of the world, the same. Therefore it is very important for us to keep up with this tradition of debate, (the dialectical debate), so we can become their role models.



BUDDHIST CULTURE & TRADITION


So our tradition is not only about prayers and rituals, but in depth study of Buddhist Philosophy, through logical process and debate. So amongst us exiles, through this kind of debate, if we could keep up with our effort of preserving and promoting the Buddhist culture and tradition, we could help the Chinese [people], in China proper, to also take up this tradition, so that they can preserve the Dharma, through both study and practice. So there is an indication I think, that in China proper also, people would take up this tradition of debate; to study Buddhism and its philosophy. So with regard to that, we may be able to make contribution to the Chinese communities, through our own example. Therefore, if we could expand this tradition of debate in the study of Buddhist Philosophy and Logic it would be helpful and beneficial to them. And then there are people in other parts of the world, where Buddhism didn’t use to be a tradition, religion. And therefore, if we could also try to spread this tradition of debate to them as well, it would be very beneficial [to them]. So this tradition that we are talking about, has come from the Nalanda monastic institution […] of Ancient India. So [in spreading this tradition of debate, other], people are able to also take interest, in this tradition. And this is our responsibility, to be able to contribute to the world, through our spirituality and cultural tradition. And the debate that the children presented was very good, I appreciated it. In the past, Tibetans may not have appreciated this kind of [presentation with] school children debating. In the worst case scenario, people may even [have] spit on the children for debating, but that is not happening. So this tradition of Buddhism that we have kept, is now being taught in the schools, so that young children become accustomed to it. [Then follows the blessing for the tea].

Though I am quite old now, I have not lost a single tooth. […] Amongst the many different refugees, exiles, in the world today, Tibetans seem to be the most successful people. And we have done our best to keep up with our tradition, heritage. And we should still, feel determined to keep up with our spiritual, and other traditions. So, even as a child I used to take lots of candies, but I have not lost, [to this present day] even a single tooth. Therefore I can bite on bread like this. I dreamt of Palden Lhamo, (Dharma Protector, Goddess), sitting on my neck. And prophetised to me, that I would live to be a hundred and ten. So I had this kind of vivid dream. So just as the verse prophetised in the dream, my physical condition also, (from my physical condition I can say that), I may live to be a hundred and ten, or so. The most important thing, is to have a strong spiritual bond between us, keeping our faith, our commitment, and the spiritual bond firm. So I generate, right from the beginning of my day, as soon as I wake up, I pray for everyone, particularly Tibetans, and therefore you should feel at ease.



WHAT IS A PERSON?


As Nagarjuna says in his [text the] “Precious Garland,” (just going up [in the text] a little bit). “The person is not earth, not water, not fire, not wind, not space, not consciousness, and if not them all, what else is a person?” And then further with respect to the statement… “I saw […the] body. Seeing, merely the external skin, from among the many parts of the body; flesh, skin, bones and so forth; functions as seeing this body. Even if the body, the blood, bones and so forth are not seen, [however] it does not mean that the body is not seen. To see a body, it is not necessary to see all the body, (seeing even a small part of it, can function as seeing the body). However, sometimes by the force of general custom, if a certain amount is not seen, [then] it cannot function as seeing the body. As above, if the body is [then] divided into its individual parts, legs, arms and so on. So the body is made up of these different parts, like our legs, hands, torso and so forth, but if you try to say… try to pinpoint the “body,” you will not be able to do that. Of course, the body is made up of all these different parts, (the head, the legs, hands, torso, and so forth). So, the body is a composite of, all these parts, that come together, (and therefore, the composite of the different parts). It is on the basis of that, then we give the label, “body,” and then we have a body. And on a larger scale, the world is a composite of many different factors, that have come together, on the basis of which, we give the label the “world,” or the “earth”. So there is no earth, apart from these different composite parts.

And, as in the Madhyamaka tradition, it says, “that things are dependently designated”. Whereas, if you try to pinpoint a thing, you cannot do that, without the parts. So we give certain labels to things, on the basis of its different parts coming together, in a certain fashion. And then that functions, as that thing, otherwise not. So through that labelling designation, things conventionally work for us. So again, the person is neither the earth, water, nor fire, nor wind, nor space, nor consciousness. If not them all, then what else is a person? So, what is a person, if you are asked? A person, is someone who is labelled on the basis of his or her mind, and body components, that have come together. So, apart from the mind and body component factors coming together, and being labelled as a person, there is no “person” as such. So, of course we have a sense of “I am”. And then, together with that, “I am,” you also have a notion of a “self,” which is independent from the body and mind. But there is no such a self. So, therefore it is important for us to understand what is taught in the classic texts.

So, of course, you have to do this analysis into yourself. Where am “I,” who am “I”, (from your crown of your head, down to the tip of your toes). Where is this person? Of course, when you try to dissect yourself into different parts, whether it is the body, or the mind; you cannot find the person as such. But that doesn’t mean the person does not exist. The person exists, only by way of designation, on the basis of the different parts. (The different component factors, that have come together). Therefore, it is important to understand, keep in mind the fact, that the body, (on the basis of the body, and the mind coming together), you are labelled, as a person, as this or that. So, dependently designated nature of yourself; to understand that is very important. So, whatever things appear to our mind, they appear as if they have some kind of a fixated entity, or nature. But things do not exist that way. It is very clear, that things do not have any essential existence in and of themselves. Taking the example of myself. When I meditate on emptiness, (of course, I do meditate on emptiness on a daily basis). So, apart from being designated, (dependently designated; on the basis of the different parts, I am labelled. So what that helps us to understand, that helps us to loosen that grip on yourself, as if you are some kind of concretely existing entity.


(to be continued…)
Supreme gratitude for these most precious teachings.
(Any errors in the transcription, are the transcriber’s)