His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Inauguration of the New Tashi Lhunpo Assembly Hall
Dicembre 20th, 2015 by admin

Inauguration of the New Tashi Lhunpo Assembly Hall and Introduction to “Commentary on Valid Cognition”

Tashi Lhunpo, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India, 19 December 2015 – A grand inauguration ceremony was held this morning in full public view on the veranda of the new Tashi Lhunpo Assembly Hall. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama emerged into the sunshine, Tibetan opera dancers performed the Tashi Shölpa Long Life dance. Everyone stood as Tibetan Children’s Village Students played the Tibetan National Anthem.

Tibetan Children’s Village Students playing the Tibetan National Anthem at the start of the inauguration ceremony for Tashi Lhunpo Monastery’s new assembly hall in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India on December 19, 2015.
Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

Abbot of Tashi Lhunpo, Kachen Lobsang Tsetan welcomed His Holiness as the emanation of Avalokiteshvara, Ganden Tri Rinpoche, Sharpa Chöjey and Jangtse Chöjey, senior lamas, other dignitaries and guests. He thanked them all for attending this formal inauguration. He explained that Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Tibet was originally founded by Gendun Drup, the First Dalai Lama, when he was 57 in 1447. After Gendun Gyatso was recognised as Gendun Drup’s reincarnation he was enthroned at Tashi Lhunpo. Under the 4th Panchen Rinpoche, Lobsang Chökyi Gyaltsen, the Monastery became a seat of learning for studies of both Sutra and Tantra. Consequently it became a bastion of Tibetan culture in Central Tibet.

In the 1970s a few Tashi Lhunpo monks re-established the Monastery here in Bylakuppe. Since then, due to His Holiness’s kindness and with the support of the Dalai Lama Trust, all the traditions of Tashi Lhunpo have been completely restored.  The Gyalwang Karmapa has been unstinting in his interest and support too.

The Abbot pointed out that the statues in the new Assembly Hall were consecrated by Ganden Tri Rinpoche according to the rituals of 13 Deity Vajrabhairava. He also declared that with regard to the malignant spirit Dolgyal, Tashi Lhunpo, its monks and supporters have no connection with it whatsoever. What’s more, there are some in the guise of monks who have, particularly in Tibet, sought to propagate this bad practice in the name of the Panchen Rinpoche. He said, “We forthrightly oppose them.”
He added that Tashi Lhunpo supports the Middle Way Approach. While thanking all the guests for coming, many of them from distant parts of the world, the Abbot concluded with the wish that His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the 11th Panchen Rinpoche, Gendun Chökyi Nyima live long and healthy lives.
To mark His Holiness’s 80th birthday this year and as a token of gratitude, the Monastery presented him with a delightful sandalwood statue of Gyalwa Gendun Drup, a gold coin and a conch shell ornament.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama teasing Speaker Penpa Tsering and Sikyong Lobsang Sangay during the inauguration ceremony for Tashi Lhunpo Monastery’s new assembly hall in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India on December 19, 2015.
Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

In his speech Sikyong Lobsang Sangay paid his respects to his fellow guests and congratulated the Monastery on the achievement of re-establishing itself and building this new hall. He paid tribute to the 11th Panchen Rinpoche, who has not been seen since he was recognised by His Holiness. He said the CTA takes every opportunity to call for his release. He drew attention to the long-standing historical connection between Tashi Lhunpo and the people of the Himalayan region. Speaker Penpa Tsering also offered his congratulations.
In his address, Ganden Tri Rinpoche alluded to the Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas as Father and Son (Yabsey Nyi). He went on to say that Trijang Rinpoche had once remarked on the Drepung Loseling Debate Yard that wherever the teaching of the Buddha spreads there will be peace and happiness – and that depends on His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Since the Chief Guest, the Governor of Karnataka’s arrival was delayed, His Holiness began to address the crowd. He expressed appreciation of the monastery’s environmental setting and its being a centre of learning. He remarked that it’s important to engage in the study of the Dharma. He said that while Buddhism spread the length and breadth of Tibet, the public were still not very educated. In the Himalayan regions he has met people who recite the words for taking refuge, but who do not clearly know what the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha are.

Former and present abbots of Tibetan Monasteries listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the inauguration ceremony for the new Tashi Lhunpo Monastery Assembly Hall in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India on December 19, 2015. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

“Because we need to be 21st century Buddhists, with an understanding of what the Buddha taught, we have to promote more education. All religious traditions are good since they help people. China, Korea and Japan also follow the Nalanda tradition, but it’s only among Tibetans that you will find the kind of rigorous, detailed study that we follow in our centres of learning. Now, we need more people capable of communicating that knowledge to others. In India and elsewhere interest in Buddhism is growing.”
The Governor, Shri Vajubhai Rudhabhai Vala, arrived and His Holiness went down to meet him. Both climbed the steps together and then joined hands in lighting the lamp. His Holiness presented the Governor with a memento on the Monastery’s behalf.
“Brothers and sisters, I am very happy to be here,” the Governor said, speaking in Hindi. “It’s a great privilege. Best wishes to all of you.
“Tibetans have long been our guests here in Karnataka; you have built beautiful Buddhist temples, which attract interested tourists. India is the land of the Buddha and we have had links with Tibet since King Songtsen Gampo first took interest in Buddhism. I’m happy to see the fine statue of the Buddha here too.

Governor of Karnataka Shri Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala speaking at the inauguration ceremony for the new Tashi Lhunpo Monastery Assembly Hall in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India on December 19, 2015. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

“At the same time I regret that the Panchen Rinpoche is not here with us. He has not been seen since His Holiness announced his recognition in 1995. His predecessor, the 10th Panchen Rinpoche was someone who had worked tirelessly for the welfare of the Tibetan people.
“I’m happy to know that many students from the Himalayan regions have been made welcome here at Tashi Lhunpo. I want you to know that we Indians are always with you, Tibetans and Indians have to work together. Tibet will be free, and you have to keep up your non-violent approach just as Gandhi-ji did for us. Never lose heart; never lose hope.”
The crowd cheered and applauded as the Governor, smiling broadly, sat down. Responding to his rousing speech, His Holiness paid his respects to the His Excellency the Governor, monastics and other distinguished guests.
“Dharma friends, I’d like to thank you all for coming. In the 1960s, Pandit Nehru, the Prime Minister, wrote to the various state governments asking if any could provide land for Tibetans to settle on. The most fulsome response came from the then State of Mysore and its leader Mr Nijalingappa. We began settlements at Mundgod, Kollegal and here at Bylakuppe. We will not forget the kindness of Karnataka and remember Nijalingappa in our prayers.
“We’ve maintained our culture of compassion and non-violence alive for more than a thousand years and keeping it alive now is our priority. We set up schools in the settlements so Tibetan children could receive both a modern and a Tibetan education. Over the years the results have been good.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the inauguration ceremony for the new Tashi Lhunpo Monastery Assembly Hall in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India on December 19, 2015. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

“Tibetan Buddhism, with its roots in the Nalanda tradition, is the most comprehensive Buddhist tradition today. And although the practice of Buddhism is really only of interest to Buddhists, the traditions of logic and epistemology, as well as the science of mind, can be of interest to everyone. Several of our great seats of learning have been re-established here in Karnataka, with Sera, Tashi Lhunpo and Namdroling Monasteries here in Bylakuppe.
“I’d like to thank the Governor again for coming here today and for the concern you have shown for the young Panchen Rinpoche.”
Words of thanks followed and lunch was offered to all the guests.
Gathering together again in the new Assembly Hall after lunch the session began with prayers, including recitations of the ‘Heart of Wisdom Sutra’ and the ‘Praise to the 17 Nalanda Masters’.
“Whenever we are engaged in giving or listening to a Dharma discourse we should have a pure motivation,” His Holiness began. “The teachings are not about showing off, but seeking to help others. We need to learn how to act in practice, not mixed with the eight worldly concerns. If our practice is to become a Dharma practice, it must be based on taking refuge in the Three Jewels, which involves more than installing or paying respect to sacred images. Our minds should be tamed. When we recite the verse for taking refuge and generating the awakening mind, we need to take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, remembering that the Buddhas don’t wash beings’ unwholesome deeds away with water, nor do they remove their sufferings with their hands. Their kindness is to reveal reality and the path to liberation.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama teaching at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India on December 19, 2015. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

“We take refuge mostly in what they taught, the Jewel of Dharma, which reveals the true cessation, liberation, the state beyond suffering. We need to subdue our unruly minds that are full of disturbing emotions. Therefore, I pay homage to the Buddha who dispels the darkness of ignorance.
“Today, I’m going to give teachings related to logic and epistemology, which primarily belong to the Sanskrit tradition. The Buddha taught different things at different times and in different places. Among his teachings, the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras can be taken literally, but others, such as the ‘Unravelling of Thought Sutra’, are provisional and subject to interpretation. The Buddha was skilful and compassionate in teaching according to his disciple’s disposition. The use of logic and reasoning, as he advised, enables us to judge which teachings are definitive and which provisional.
“Dharmakirti composed seven key works of logic and epistemology. They and other texts by Tibetan masters like Sakya Pandita are available in Tibetan. The Chinese tradition preserves only one text by Dharmakirti.
“I received the explanation of Dharmakirti’s ‘Commentary on the Compendium of Valid Cognition’ (Pramanavartikkakarika) from Gyen Rigzin Tempa, a good lama from Kinnaur. Ling Rinpoche also gave me an outline. Rigzin Tempa got the transmission from a Shartse Geshe.

Some of the many friends and supporters of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery during His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings in the new Tashi Lhunpo Assembly Hall in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India on December 19, 2015. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

“Je Rinpoche encouraged Gendun Drup to focus on Pramana, so I thought that since we were gathered at Tashi Lhunpo, I could begin to teach it. I still have to finish the teaching of the Stages of the Path texts while I’m here, but if we begin this now, we can complete it another time.”
His Holiness began to read from Dignaga’s ‘Compendium of Valid Cognition’. He then turned to Dharmakirti’s ‘Commentary on the Compendium of Valid Cognition’. It opens with the author’s pledge to compose the text, which include the lines, ‘I do not entertain any thought that the text will be of any benefit.’ There is mention of the text’s title in the language of India and in the language of Tibet, followed by a homage to youthful Manjushri. The text consists of four chapters. At this point His Holiness chose to stop. Tomorrow, the teaching of the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, Jangchub Lam Rim, will resume.

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