His Holiness the Dalai Lama teaches on Chandrakirti’s Madyamykavatara or Entering in the Middle Way
Agosto 17th, 2022 by admin

His Holiness the Dalai Lama walking to the teaching pavilion in Padum, Zanskar, Ladakh, UT, India on August 12, 2022. Photo by Tenzin Choejor

His Holiness the Dalai Lama gives a short teaching including the Bodhisattva Vows followed by a Long Life Prayer.

August 12, 2022. Padum, Zanskar, Ladakh, UT, India. In Zanskar this morning, before he walked from his residence to the teaching pavilion, His Holiness the Dalai Lama met representatives of the Kargil District Authorities.

After the recitation for three times the Refuge into the three Jewels, His Holiness remembered the correct motivation to listen to the teachings.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Regarding the ceremony of the spirit of Enlightenment usually the disciples visualize the Guru in the form of buddha Sakyamuni. As a follower of Buddha, to be in daring, I’m someone whom all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have confidence and trust. I’m a follower of Buddha trough reason in teachings since my childhood. In the main temple in Lhasa in front of the statue of Buddha Sakyamuni I received the Upasaka vows and I also received the ordination novice and the fully ordination monk at the same place by Master Vajradhara Ling Rinpoche Dorje Chang and so. Even in my dreams I always identified myself as a monk, as someone following the teachings in the footsteps of Buddha in which I was thoroughly educated, as I memorized the different classic of texts as Abhisamayalamkara, Madhyamakāvatāra and so forth, as well as I studied the Collected Topics and also the presentation of Mind and Awareness as well as logic and reasoning. And so, I studied the Dharma quite extensively. Even these days, whenever I have time, I read the classic Indian Philosophical texts.

For example I read master Chandrakirti’s Madyamykavatara or Entering in the Middle Way, together with the Commentary by the same master Chandrakirti. So it’s a very good task to study about the philosophical views of emptiness and, being a monk, I also practiced the teachings on daily basis on the spirit of altruistic enlightenment: Bodhicitta. I also reflect on the teachings on emptiness. I recite from my heart the text Tendrup Tepa or Praise to the Buddha for the Teachings on Dependent Origination, the nature of things, and I reflect on emptiness trough that and reason. The purpose of doing these practice is not for myself but to be able to help others.

I’m a representative of the Buddha, the historical Buddha, so, thinking to the kindness of Buddha, I do my best to practice the teachings, that you need to follow, not just on basis of faith, but trough reason and logic, investigating the teachings trough reason and logic: the reality of the teaching of the Buddha, such as the philosophical understanding that things doesn’t exist objectively from their own side.

And, in regard to dependent origination, by dependance, emptiness isn’t rejected and, by origination, the conventionality of things is not rejected. And, therefore, the dependent origination is like the king of reasoning to prove the reality of things and beings. And therefore we can reflect both on the appearance and on the reality, or appearance as emptiness nature of things. So I reflect on this as much as I can.

Because of that I can have some experience of perceiving things like illusion, the things are devoid of how they appear to us.

And then, on regard to the altruistic spirit of enlightenment, unless you can switch your happiness and joy to the suffering of others, even in samsara there is no happiness living alone reaching Buddhahood. So, for your own interest to fulfill your own interest of benefitting others, as well as short and long term go, and be able to grew the merits to reach Buddhahood, all these can be achieved trough bodhicitta and then, because with your practice you have some experience, you can appeal that the omniscient state of Buddhahood is not very far away. And so, on daily basis, I do reflect on the principles of bodhicitta and emptiness. Because of this, I have strong imprint and also feeling of emptiness and bodhicitta.

I don’t mean that I’m someone very special and precious, but we are all same, we are human beings, I have the human brain melt with the teachings of the Buddha. And so all of us have the same potential. So from mine own experience I can tell that the teachings can make your experience. So, as follower of the Buddha Sakyamuni I train my mind that I should be determinate to become like a Buddha itself. I should see that, until this phase comes to an end, we should be determined to train ourself, our mind to become enlightened for the benefit of all sentient beings.

So as it is said, in the prayer is said “to fulfill the interest of oneself and others we should cultivate the mind of the spirit of enlightenment”. So I go trough this process of generating bodhicitta and taking bodhisattva vows on daily basis and if you have this kind of courage to work for others you will have the determination to work for others.

As I have become a monk, a follower of Buddha, and as a keeper of Vinaya, the monastic discipline, I’m also a student of Buddha Dharma, quite a lot. And also I have been engaged in the teachings of the Buddha.

Whenever understanding inside experience I have of the teaching of the buddha, I’m sharing with you.

If you have fait and trust in me you should not just pray to me, but you should know how, I have gone trough the process of studying, reflection and meditation and therefore developing experience of the teachings within myself and, understanding this, you should follow mine Buddha steps as well. Even though I make explanation of the teachings to you, you should not say so, without been able to keep teachings in your mind it will not help much.

So, in buddhism we don’t make discrimination between caste, man or women. We have this human brain, you have the potential to reflect on the teachings of the Buddha, whether you have faith in the teachings or not, this is a different case that depends on you.

So, as long as you have this human brain in this life, if you only use this human brain for materialistic development and progress, like modern science and so forth it’s not so significant. So, the main important thing in the practice of dharma is to use your mind, not just the sensorial perception, the six senses, on the basis of this mind that we have, the stream or consciousness that we have, we can actualize all qualities that are in the Buddha as well. We have the potential for reaching enlightenment and to become a Buddha.

For this ceremony of bodhicitta imagine the buddha in the space before us, so as a sincere follower of the buddha himself, a monk, the buddha has the qualities of benefitting all sentient beings until the end of space infinitely, so the Buddha can serve infinitely. And around Buddha, imagine the bodhisattvas, masters and so forth you should visualize surrounded by the enlightened masters and bodhisattvas in this bodhicitta ceremony around your head.

There is a story of a monk at this ceremony, a bold monk, when it was told to the public to imagine the buddha and bodhisattva on your head, the lama fall asleep.

So, imagine all the objects of refuge, your meditation deities: all sentient beings desire happiness and refuse suffering and have the potential of becoming enlightened and so, like me, all sentient beings have the same potential to become a Buddha.

And we have the opportunity to reach this kind of state in this life, having found this human life, we have the opportunity of studying the Dharma, we have all the books and scriptures and you have to be determined to engage for the benefit of all sentient beings.

So as far as I’m concerned, I take the bodhisattva vows every day and so, because of this, I feel a very special kind of blissful experience that I renew on dealy basis and so, you can have the same kind of experience if you cultivate bodhicitta.

So you will have confidence, self confidence, joy and happiness in your life and, if you are able to cultivate bodhicitta in this life, you will be able to have a similar experience in the future life, as long as Buddhahood is reached. So we have already recited the settlement prayer,

Immagine Buddha Sakyamuni in the space in front of you, surrounded by the masters of the past, like Arya Nagarjuna and his disciples, as well as Asangha and his disciples, and also all the lineage masters of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition – Sakya, Nygma, Kargyu, Gelug and so for – and the pain of human life, as well as been able to meet the complete teachings of the Buddha, the sutra and tantra, and feeling determined to reflect on the Bodhisattva vows comprising primary and secondary infractions of Bodhisattva vows, that you will reflect on them on daily basis.

I take bodhisattva vows daily and also keeping the bodhisattva precepts.

So imagine in the space in front of you the enlightened lineage masters, visualize Buddha and Bodhisattva in front of you in the space and consider me as their messenger, of bodhisattvas, in particular of Avalokitesvara. So you will become enlightened cultivating this altruistic spirit of bodhicitta. And also all the great beings of the different traditions have been able to fulfill for eons the other’s welfare trough the bodhicitta by practicing in this. So feel fortunate that you have been able to take the bodhisattva vows now. Until your death feel determined to fulfill the best, not to cause decline to bodhisattva vows. So your ultimate goal should be to reach enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings.

From my side I have been able to cause all you gathered here, but not only human beings, but also deities, ghosts and others spirits gathered here, in order to receive the Bodhisattva vows.

So be compassionate, be determined that all the sentient beings that have come here to take the bodhisattva vows and also the local deities and also landlord spirits and so forth should not cause harm to anybody. So all locale deities and spirits should think to benefit others and not to cause any harm to them. This is my heartfelt advice to you.

I feel also fortunate to be able to give these bodhisattva vows to you and I take bodhisattva vows on daily basis and so here we are gathered monks and lay people and so with your firm devotion and faith, you are taking the bodhisattva vows, I feel that I have also accumulated merit and wisdom.

So, when you cultivate bodhicitta, the altruistic spirit of enlightenment you are thinking to become a Buddha for the benefit of all sentient beings. So, for that, you need to purify your negativities and develop the path and ground within your mind to reach that goal of enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings.

So, on the daily basis you should do your best to cultivate the good deeds, positive energies within yourself.

As Chandrakirti says in the end of sixth chapter of Entering in the Middle Way

Those bodhisattva who have reached the bodhisattva ground do understand things like illusion, the things do not have any objective existence yet and do function because cause and conditions. Therefore understanding the ultimate reality and conventional reality, they reach trough cessation, even the are exalted in the meditation of true cessation, they are still determined to work for the benefit of others with compassion and with the two wings of bodhicitta and the conventional understanding of ultimate reality, these bodhisattva leads like the king of swans across the ocean of samsara to the other side of the Buddhahood.

For the benefit of all sentient beings you will have this courage and determination to work for them until the space comes to an end.

Just as l generated bodhicitta, so you should generate bodhicitta for the benefit of all sentient beings. Immagine this bodhicitta that you have generated now transforming in a white moon disk at your heart.

As master Chandrakirti said in Madyamakavatara: “If you think along these reasoning you will find that things do not exist as they appear to us.

So in the conventional truth, everyday objects exist by designation. What means that the arise is stabilized? Because it depends on conventions.

So wherever we see or touch it looks that they have some kind of inherent existence, by their own side, but that is not the case. Things do not exists by way of their own existence, but they show that things are designated. So, from my side, I have some experience of Bodhicitta because I endeavored in cultivating bodhicitta within myself. Likewise I was able to have these kind of experience.

So, things, as they appear, do they have some sort of independent existence? So in the way of emptiness the things do not have any intrinsic existence.

And imagine that these things that do not have any intrinsic existence transform in a white vajra on the moon disk that represent your bodhicitta and altruistic spirit of enlightenment and inside emptiness, represented by the vajra standing on it, represents the wisdom of emptiness. These together represent the yoga mind and should become your main practice.

Of course we have the sense of me, I: my body, my hand, my, my. When you think like that, there is a possessor of the body and of the mind. This is my body, my mind.

There is a possessor of my body, my mind? Where is that I? There isn’t such a possessor, neither your body, your hand, your mind. As you don’t pinpoint that I, it doesn’t mean that you don’t exist as such.

So the mind that you have now will ultimate become the mind of a Buddha and your sense of I or self is also to continue until you will become a Buddha.

At the time of Buddhahood there is also a sense of I, but the I or the self being something concrete, solid, independent, doesn’t exist at all.

And so, meditate on this lack of intrinsic or independent I, which is merely designated. Meditate on emptiness of this independent I or self. I do exist, but you can’t pinpoint with your finger anything in yourself, the mind in your body. So meditate just on that: lack of independent I.

So you have already visualized a moon disk on your heart which represent your bodhicitta.

Down to sentient beings, yourself, other and so forth cannot be pinpointed: you, me, others, Buddha and so forth.

So that wisdom realizing emptiness should be imagined as a white vajra standing over the moon disc which represent the bodhicitta, the altruistic spirit of awakening. These together compose the so called yoga mind. So reflect on the principles of bodhicitta represented by the moon disc and the vajra standing on it.

These are the two principle practice: the bodhicitta and inside emptiness. Of course there are others practices as well, but these two should become your main practice, because your ultimate goal is Buddhahood and when you reach this state there is Dharmakaya and Rupakaya, respectively the wisdom dimension of the Buddha and the physical dimension of the Buddha. And these two principles that you meditate on, lead to these two goals: Dharmakaya and Rupakaya, for the benefit of oneself and others.

So I do cultivate these two principles on a daily basis and you, being devoted to me, and trusted to me, make also these two practices, daily practice: the bodhicitta, the altruistic way of awakening, and the inside emptiness. Master Nagarjuna says in

The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way” an and to karma and delusions, to reach liberation. Karma and delusions arise form misconception construct and these concern arise from the wrong perception of extrinsic existence of things and that are overcome trough the wisdom of emptiness.”

So today we have done the all encompassing yoga mind and also bodhisattva vows. Be not just satisfied by hearing my voice but make the teachings practical for yourself, integrating the teachings within yourself. What I do are practices, the instructions which come down from the lineage masters and so, these two, bodhicitta and wisdom of emptiness are my main practices on a daily basis. And so, as long as you have devotion and trust and confidence in me, make also these two practices on a daily basis.

So here in Zanskar I had this opportunity to give teachings to you and I feel very fortunate to be able to do so, and also the local deities as well the land spirit and so forth I can feel that they are also very happy being able to be satisfied by this ceremony. So everybody including human beings and gods and spirits should have good heart, so that we will have peace of mind, that we feel at ease with others in our life.

Because the people of Zanskar and Ladakh have placed their faith and trust in me, I have a responsibility to do whatever I can to help them. And the best way I can do that is by giving teachings for their benefit. However, listening to teachings is only helpful if we also try to put them into practice, which is what I have tried to do throughout my life. The key point is to cultivate a warm heart and achieve peace of mind.”

Next is the offering of Long Life Prayer.

His Holiness gave bodhisattva vows to all those present and led them through the visualisations of the all-encompassing yoga mind, which focuses on combining a warm heart and the awakening mind of bodhichitta with insight into emptiness. He emphasized the importance of acquiring a good understanding of what the Buddha taught by examining it in the light of reasoning.

His Holiness disclosed that the teachings today were being attended not only by human beings, but also by other invisible beings: gods and goddess, local deities, landlord spirits and even ghosts, who are generally considered to be harmful. He encouraged those beings too to develop bodhichitta and the wisdom understanding emptiness and urged them to be kind to human beings and to avoid doing them harm.

His Holiness made clear that the Buddhism does not accept segregation in terms of race, caste or gender.

He declared that in terms of Buddha nature and our potential to become a Buddha, we are all equal.

As human beings we have the wherewithal to cultivate a good heart and an understanding that being dependent on other factors everything is empty of inherent existence.

As he came to the end of his brief talk, His Holiness advised the audience again to practise as he has taught.

He mentioned how pleased he was to be back in Zanskar and acknowledged the presence of benevolent protector deities. In conclusion he stated that his principal advice was to be warm-hearted and of benefit to others.

Finally, the Abbot of Gyutö Tantric Monastery, Geshé Lobsang Khedrup, led a brief prayer ceremony for His Holiness’s on behalf of the Zanskar Buddhist Association and the All Zanskar Gonpa Association, District Kargil. Among the prayers recited were the Invocation of the Sixteen Arhats and the Long-Life Prayer composed by His Holiness’s Senior and Junior Tutors.,

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