H.H. Dalai Lama: Conference to Commemorate Je Tsongkhapa’s Appointing
Novembre 30th, 2014 by admin

Conference to Commemorate Je Tsongkhapa’s Appointing Jetsun Sherab Sengey as Heir to His Tantric Teachings

Gyuto Tantric College, Sidhbari, Himachal Pradesh, India – 29 November 2014 – Auspicious symbols drawn on the long driveway, freshly repainted buildings and long strings of Tibetan and Buddhist flags fluttering in the breeze all contributed to the grandeur at Gyuto Monastery this morning. As the sun caught the peaks of the majestic Dhauladhar Mountains in the backdrop, His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived to take part in the inaugural session of a conference to commemorate the 600th anniversary of Je Tsongkhapa’s giving the Fourfold Interwoven Commentary on Guhyasamaja Tantra at Sera Chöding and entrusting his tantric teachings to the care of Jetsun Sherab Sengey. Hundreds of monks, officials of the Central Tibetan Administration and ordinary Tibetans gathered to welcome His Holiness. He entered the extensive assembly hall, the well of which was hung with appliqué banners depicting the peaceful and wrathful deities of Guhyasamaja and, in the northern quarter, lamas of the lineage. After lighting the ceremonial lamp His Holiness took his seat on the throne and verses from the Guhyasamaja lineage prayer were chanted. Before any speeches were made, he was invited to release new reprints of the ‘Great Commentary on Guhyasamaja’ in Tibetan ‘pecha’ format and of the ‘Lamp Illuminating the Five Stages’ in book format. Copies were distributed among the guests.

In his introductory address, the Gyuto Abbot expressed his pleasure that His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Ganden Tri Rinpoche and other Gelugpa hierarchs were able to attend and offered them and all the other guests his greetings. He mentioned that Buddha Shakyamuni generated the awakening mind of bodhichitta, engaged in the practices of a bodhisattva and attained enlightenment. Thereafter he gave teachings including the 17 chapter Guhyasamaja Tantra. These teachings were originally brought to Tibet by Marpa Lotsawa. Later, Je Tsongkhapa, as prophesied by the Buddha, passed them on, entrusting them to the care of Je Sherab Sengey. The Abbot remarked that His Holiness has given the empowerments, teachings and commentaries to this tradition and so kept it alive. He added that since Gyuto Monastery was re-established in India, the monks have been able to maintain their practice and traditions, even improving some of them. He declared that the monks of Gyuto follow the traditions of Je Tsongkhapa purely, none of them propitiating the controversial spirit, Dolgyal.

Kalon for Religion & Culture, Mr Pema Chinjor, in his address noted that since 1959 Chinese leaders have spoken disparagingly of Tibetans’ blind faith and sought to obliterate Tibetan Buddhism. In the face of such threats, Tibetans have not only preserved their tradition but have caused it to attract respect and interest from across the world. This has entailed taking innovative measures among which he mentioned His Holiness’s promoting interest in science and encouraging women to study, which will shortly result in the graduation of the first 25 Geshemas. Ganden Tri Rinpoche, Rizong Rinpoche, the current successor to Tsongkhapa’s throne, declared that the survival of the Buddhist tradition depends on study of the scriptures and spiritual realization; if they decline, the tradition will decline too.

His Holiness opened his keynote address by acknowledging the presence of the Ganden Tri Rinpoche, the Jangtse and Sharpa Chojeys, Abbots and ex-Abbots and staff of the CTA. “Buddha Shakyamuni’s teachings have lasted for about 2600 years,” he said. “They have had their ups and downs as revealed by the current ruined state of the Taxila, Vikramashila and Nalanda universities. However, in Tibet we have copies of the writings of great masters such as Nagarjuna and the custom of establishing their meaning through study and analysis based on logic and reasoning. Tibetan Buddhism represents a complete teaching. I never say that Buddhism is the best religion, because it is like medicine, suited to cure one ailment but inadequate to treat another. However, the philosophy it expresses is profound.

Some texts in the Kangyur collection were translated from Chinese, but the majority originated in Indian languages like Pali and Sanskrit. The teaching of the Buddha is intended to lead to liberation, to freeing the mind of defilement. It includes instructions on how to tame the mind, discipline the mind. However, the Buddhas cannot simply pass on their realization, you have to develop it yourself. You have to be your own master.“

His Holiness suggested that while the texts in the Kangyur can be categorised as dealing with science, philosophy and religion, the science and philosophy can be followed by anyone. He said he often speaks about introducing secular ethics into the modern school curriculum. If, along with this, the psychology inherent in Buddhist science could also be studied, it could lead to widespread benefit.

With regard to tantra, in the clarity of his writings Je Tsongkhapa made it easy for us to study. Today, Gyuto Tantric College is commemorating this, which is admirable. The tradition of the Fourfold Interwoven Commentary has been kept alive in the Tantric Colleges.” His Holiness noted the role of the lineage of profound view and the lineage of extensive conduct and questioned what is meant by the third ‘lineage of blessing’. In addition, he mentioned the Segyu lineage and the ‘ear-whispered lineage’ of Ensapa, appreciating that they have been maintained. He said that the five paths of preparation, accumulation, seeing and so forth are developed on the basis of the mind. When you come to understand what cessation is and that it can be attained, you see that the path is feasible too, and that practice of it makes sense. He noted that Je Tsongkhapa had pursued great learning and engaged in practice. He entirely abandoned the eight worldly concerns and made his life meaningful.

If we admire Je Rinpoche, we should follow his example. That’s the way to repay his kindness.”

The Gyuto Abbot then initiated discussions in the course of which the assembled scholar-adepts touched on the role of the energy winds and various aspects of the generation of the illusory body. His Holiness intervened: “We talk about people sitting in meditation after clinical death has taken place. Since we came into exile there have been about 30 cases of people remaining in ‘thukdam’. Since it is something that is observably taking place we have discussed the phenomenon with scientists. We are able to explain it in the context of the mind, but they don’t. We say that as long as the mind is present, the body remains fresh. Once the mind departs, the body decomposes. We need to examine this, whether it is the case that the body doesn’t decay while the mind remains and what the role is of the pervasive wind-energy you were just talking about. “When Thubten Rinpoche passed away a couple of years ago in New Zealand, although hospitals do not usually permit keeping the body, because his remained fresh it was allowed to remain. On the fourth day after he died, whatever position his hands had previously been in, it was observed that they had moved and his left hand tightly clasped the ring finger of his right hand. This could only have taken place if the pervasive wind-energy was still present, and yet one of the presentations just now asserted that at death it departs. This is something we need to look into.”

The scholars continued to present summaries of the main points of their papers during this inaugural session. When their brief time was up, they were informed by the striking of a resounding bell. His Holiness again commented that to gain certainty about something we ordinarily engage in analysis. In tantra, however, as the experience of great bliss increases the mind becomes subtler. And with the increase in subtlety comes an increase in certainty. So in Highest Yoga Tantra, there is no need to employ analysis to improve clarity.

After all the guests had been entertained to a nourishing lunch, discussions resumed. At the conclusion, the Lama Umzey offered words of thanks. He thanked His Holiness and the Ganden Tri Rinpoche for accepting the invitation to come. He expressed gratitude to all the scholars and monks who took part in the discussions and to all the other guests and supporters.

His Holiness is the one on whom the survival of the Dharma depends.” He said. “May we have the opportunity to receive teachings from him again and again. May the monks of this monastery be free from obstacles to their study and practice.”

The session closed with a recitation of the Prayer for the Flourishing of Je Tsongkhapa’s teachings by Gungthang Tenpai Drönme and auspicious verses from Guhyasamaja.

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