His Holiness the Dalai Lama Giving the Actual Guhyasamaja Empowerment
Dicembre 13th, 2015 by admin

Giving the Actual Guhyasamaja Empowerment at Gyumey

Hunsur, Karnataka, India, 11 December 2015 – His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s day began even earlier today. He descended to the Gyumey temple at 6 o’clock and once again sat with Gyumey monks and other senior lamas before the sand mandala to perform the preparatory rites for the Guhyasamaja Empowerment. The Gyumey monks chant with an energetic determination, with regular lulls for meditation, and the rite was complete by 9.30.

The Chant Master making a traditional mandala offering as the gathered monks chant praises at the start of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teaching at Gyumey Tantric College in Hunsur, Karnataka, India on December 11, 2015.
Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

His Holiness took a short break. When he returned, he took his seat on the throne and the body of monks launched into chanting the ‘Praise to Jetsun Sherab Sengey’. A huge thangka depicting him, surrounded by four disciples, hangs on the wall behind the mandala pavilion. The prelude complete, His Holiness began to teach.

A verse in the ‘General Secret Tantra’ says, ‘Someone who wishes to enter into tantra should be one who has entered the Buddhadharma.’ He or she has to be a member of the Sangha. There are different ways of counting them, but, I think, Abhayakara has written that there are monks and nuns, as well as laymen and laywomen with vows. The monastics have novice and full ordination vows and it is good if laypeople hold vows too. Amongst laypeople holding vows are those with one, some or all five. Gyalwa Dromtonpa took a vow of celibacy in addition, which is excellent if you can do it. In the word in Tibetan for a lay vow-holder, the first part refers to virtue that leads to true cessation. In other words, restraining wrong-doing is the path to liberation. It’s something good to do, but it’s not obligatory.

Recently in Nashik to attend the Kumbha Mela, I met a Swami I know, a scholarly person who is familiar with Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom’. He told me about vows in the Hindu tradition and that people who enter his ashram do so after first taking certain pledges.
“Here we are talking about vowing not to kill, steal, lie or engage in sexual misconduct, which entails having sex with someone else’s partner that can lead to a lot of trouble. These vows are at risk if you get drunk, so it’s better to avoid liquor too.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking during his teachings at Gyumey Tantric College in Hunsur, Karnataka, India on December 11, 2015. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

“The ‘General Secret Tantra’ says a disciple should be intelligent and a follower of the Mahayana. Whichever precepts you take, it should be on the basis of taking refuge in the Three Jewels. Transformation as a result of practising the Dharma doesn’t take place suddenly, but with patient persistence, seeing the Buddha as the teacher and the Sangha as supportive companions on the path. However many of the vows you decide to take, please feel assured you have taken them and have become a member of the Sangha.”

Much of this advice was aimed at Tibetans from Tibet in the audience for whom the opportunity to hear it may be rare. His Holiness explained that when there is more time it’s also customary, prior to giving an empowerment, to read the ‘Fifty Verses on the Guru;’, because relying on the guru is the root of the path, the ‘Twenty Verses on the Bodhisattva Vow’ and a text outlining the root and secondary tantric infractions.

He mentioned Atisha’s text ‘Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment’ composed explicitly for the Tibetan people at Jangchub Ö’s request. In it Atisha writes of following the stages of the path and entering into tantra. This is a pattern reflected in all four Tibetan Buddhist traditions. It is found in Longchenpa’s ‘Finding Comfort and Ease’ and in the Kagyu ‘Jewel Ornament of Liberation’. In the Sakya tradition they follow a similar pattern when explaining the Three Visions in the context of the ‘Path and Fruit’ teachings.

He said you can’t enter into tantric practice without some understanding of emptiness. Indeed, overcoming disturbing emotions and cognitive obscurations requires an understanding of emptiness and the awakening mind of bodhichitta. Aryadeva wrote to this effect in his ‘400 Verses’, as did Chandrakirti in his ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ and ‘Clear Words’. These are essential texts to read.

Monks rushing to serve tea to the gathered thousands attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings at Gyumey Tantric College in Hunsur, Karnataka, India on December 11, 2015. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

His Holiness remarked that although they didn’t use to study philosophy, nuns have now been studying for more than 20 years. It has been decided that next year, those who have earned them will be awarded Geshe-ma degrees, he said. He looked forward to more laywomen studying logic and philosophy and becoming professors too. He noted that Buddhism had spread the length and breadth of Tibet and yet most people were not learned. He said it gratifies him to hear that more and more laypeople in Tibet are taking interest in study.

“We have to be 21st century Buddhists with real understanding of the Dharma. Once you have such understanding, you’ll also be in a position to correct others. It’s important to go through the process of learning, reflecting and developing conviction and then thoroughly familiarising your mind with what you’ve understood. As far as the awakening mind is concerned, there is no better text than Shantideva’s ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ and it’s good to start with chapters 8 and 6. Similarly, chapter 26 of Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom’ explains how you go through rebirth because of ignorance, while chapter 18 shows how an understanding of dependent arising counters that ignorance.”

His Holiness then began the process giving the empowerment, completing the initial stages before breaking for lunch.

Some of the over 10,000 monastics wearing ritual blindfolds during His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s bestowing of the Actual Guhyasamaja Empowerment at Gyumey Tantric College in Hunsur, Karnataka, India on December 11, 2015.
Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

When everyone returned, His Holiness remarked that Shantideva says that having trained in awakening for countless aeons, all the Buddhas have seen and concurred that the most beneficial mind is the awakening mind of bodhichitta. He said that even from a common worldly point of view it’s clear that those who have an altruistic concern for others live happier lives. On the other hand, modern education has little to offer to counter hatred, suspicion and greed. What is missing is a warm-heart and an altruistic mind. He urged his listeners to contemplate the benefits of the awakening mind supported by an understanding of emptiness of intrinsic existence.

His Holiness then proceeded steadily to grant the complete actual empowerment of Guhyasamaja. When he had finished, he announced that there would be a concluding tsog offering and mentioned that today, the 30th day of the 10th month was the anniversary of the 13th Dalai Lama’s passing away.

As he was about to leave he advised all present to taking the opportunity to view the sand mandala. Hundreds of monks surged forward good-naturedly to be among the first to process around the mandala pavilion in the corner of the temple before spilling out laughing into the space outside.

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