A Longevity Empowerment, ‘Lamp for the Path’ and a Long-Life Offering at Sherabling
Marzo 13th, 2015 by admin

A Longevity Empowerment, ‘Lamp for the Path’ and a Long-Life Offering at Sherabling

Upper Bhattu, Himachal Pradesh, India, 12 March 2015 – On his way to the Lungrik Jamphel Ling Institute at Palpung Sherabling this morning, His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited first the nuns’ retreat centre and then the Naro Meditation Centre, where monks are in retreat. In both places he recited brief consecration prayers. On reaching the newly constructed Lungrik Jamphel Ling Institute, with Tai Situ Rinpoche beside him, His Holiness cut the ribbon at the door and proceeded directly to the back of the hall where he recited consecrating verses before the statues of Marpa Lotsawa, Manjushri, Buddha Shakyamuni, Guru Rinpoche and Situ Panchen, Chökyi Jungney. Once seated on the throne, he said: It sometimes seems that Buddhists regard the Buddha as if he were a creator god, which is inappropriate. What we’re grateful for is that he taught the path to liberation, by revealing suchness. Therefore, before we get to the Long-Life Empowerment this morning I’d like to say something about his teachings. The 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. It is by teaching the truth of suchness that they lead beings to liberation.” His Holiness explained that he needed a little time to do the necessary preparatory rituals for the Amitayus Long-Life empowerment and he asked all those assembled to recite the Amitayus mantra while he did so. When he resumed teaching he told the estimated 9000 audience, which included 2500 schoolchildren, that the Buddha’s principal miracle was his teaching through which he dispelled the darkness of ignorance. A unique feature of this teaching, His Holiness pointed out, is that the Buddha advised his followers to examine for themselves what he said and to accept it only if they found it accorded with reason.

Members of the monastic community and special guests listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at Lungrik Jamphel Ling Institute at Palpung Sherabling Monastery in Upper Bhattu, HP, India on March 12, 2015. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

Followers of the Sanskrit tradition, such as the masters at Nalanda University, took the Buddha at his word, examined his teachings and declared that while some were definitive, others were provisional. An example is the Buddha’s explanation that the five psycho-physical aggregates are like a burden, while the person is the one carrying the burden, which seems to attribute a solid existence to the person. On the other hand, relating the Three Baskets or three collections of the Buddha’s teachings to the three trainings in ethics, concentration and wisdom is something both Pali and Sanskrit traditions have in common. His Holiness remarked that the there are not the same historical records of the perfection of wisdom teachings because they were not given in public.

He suggested that the Buddha’s first teachings, the Four Noble Truths and the Twelve Links of Dependent Arising were given at Sarnath, which seems to have been a place of learning. Later, more formal places of learning emerged in the Universities of Takshashila, Vikramashila and most famously at Nalanda. The masters of Nalanda were not only top scholars, they also wrote profusely, which is, of course, why we still know about them today. In India they would assert their own position, refute their opponents’ views and then rebut any rejoinders. While Nagarjuna and his disciples wrote about the wisdom understanding emptiness and dependent arising, Asanga and his followers dealt with skilful means. Shantarakshita brought both aspects of the teaching to Tibet.
He also introduced the Vinaya or monastic discipline after ordaining the first seven monks to seehow Tibetans kept the precepts. He was pleased. His Holiness explained that the Mulasarvastivadin Bhikshuni ordination was not introduced because bhikshunis are necessary to perform the ordination and none had come to Tibet. Nevertheless, Tibet was distinguished by the presence of people holding the three classes of vows: individual emancipation, bodhisattva and tantric vows.

“At the start of the 21st century we need to acknowledge that the 7 billion human beings alive today are social animals,” His Holiness remarked. “We depend on the societies in which we live. Therefore, we need to serve and help each other. We need to take responsibility for the welfare of all humanity. Many of the problems we face today are of our own making. They arise because our minds are not disciplined. Education is widespread, but modern education tends to focus only on material progress.
“In the past religious people may have thought in terms of there being only oe true religion that taught one truth. Today, however it’s clear that we have several religions revealing several aspects of the truth. And yet there are people who will kill others for their faith; it’s unconscionable.
“In our own tradition, in recent times, Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo took an open-minded non-sectarian approach. My own teacher Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche did so too. Another of my teachers, Trulshik Rinpoche was non-sectarian and a scrupulous practitioner of the Vinaya. These are the kind of examples we need to promote.”
His Holiness spoke of the value of the Tibetan language, written in its own script, which is presently the most accurate means of expressing the Nalanda tradition. But, he stressed, this does not mean that the scriptures should be treated only as objects of reverence, they are meant to be opened and read. He said that it is knowledge that will help us meet whatever challenges we face.
His Holiness then gave a brisk reading transmission of Atisha’s ‘Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment’, followed by an Amitayus Long-Life empowerment that he said he had received when he was very young from his Tutor Tagdrag Rinpoche. In the course of the empowerment he led the assembled crowd in generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta. When the empowerment was done, he remarked: “As soon as you wake up in the morning think of bodhichitta. During the day try to remember it. When you go to sleep in the evening, think of bodhichitta again. It takes effort, but if you do this you’ll gradually develop a sense of bodhichitta, which will grow and eventually arise spontaneously. As the ‘Lamp for the Path’ just showed us, transforming the mind requires a broad understanding of the Dharma, not just a close acquaintance with some pith instructions.”
Since there were still plans to make a Long-Life offering to His Holiness, he asked how long it would take and was assured it would be finished in time for monks to eat lunch before midday. Tai Situ Rinpoche made the ceremonial request to him to live long in a clear, firm voice.
After lunch, Tai Situ Rinpoche, Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche and a large crowd of Tibetans and people from the Himalayan Region saw His Holiness off as he drove back to Dharamsala in the spring sunshine. From the vicinity of Gangchen Kyishong up to the gates to his residence, smiling crowds of mostly Tibetans lined the street to give him an affectionate welcome home.

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