H.H. Dalai Lama Begins Teaching the Tree of Faith
Giugno 1st, 2016 by admin

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Begins Teaching the ‘Tree of Faith – a Self-Exhortation’ to Young Tibetan Students

Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India, 1 June 2016 – The Tsuglagkhang, the Main Tibetan Temple, and the surrounding yard were packed with 10,000 people today for the first of three days’ public teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. They included 2500 school students from Upper and Lower TCVs, as well as class 10-12 students from TCVs at Gopalpur, Suja, Selakui and Chauntra. In addition, students were invited from the Sherab Gatsel Ling (Transit) School, the Men-tsee-khang and Sarah. They were joined by 600 college students, approximately 2000 foreigners from 66 countries and another 5000 members of the Tibetan public.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting students as he arrives at the start of his teaching for Tibetan youth at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 1, 2016.
Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

The event is organized by the Tibetan Children’s Village School and the local Introductory Buddhist Study Group. As he emerged through the gates of his residence, His Holiness was offered the traditional ‘chema changpu’. The aisle up the middle of the yard was lined by about 40 Tibetan girls, each holding flowers and incense in their hands, who, singing a school song, escorted His Holiness up to the door of the temple. He saluted the statue of the Buddha and greeted several Lamas before taking his seat on the throne.

The Heart of Wisdom Sutra was recited in Tibetan, followed by verses in homage to the Buddha. Members of the local Introductory Buddhist Study Group, who are mostly lay people, then displayed their debating skills and were followed by students from the Sherab Gatsel Ling School.
His Holiness began by explaining that although it had become customary to hold this annual series of teachings at Upper TCV, this year it was decided that it would be more convenient at the Tsuglagkhang. He expressed pleasure that after centuries in which dialectics and debate were the sole preserve of the monasteries, its use among students and other lay-people is taking root. He also remarked that studying subjects like maths has little effect on our inner development, whereas if we study what the Buddha taught we gain the conviction necessary to transform our minds. He mentioned that there had been some exercise of debate in schools in the early days in exile, but it faded away. Now that it has been revived he has suggested referring to the concerned instructors as teachers of philosophy rather than as religious teachers.
“As human beings we have a marvellous brain and an intellect that enables us to investigate and understand how things are.” He said, “But it’s very important to put it to positive use. We have 100 or so volumes of the Kangyur and 220 or so volumes of treatises in the Tengyur. The Kangyur contain the words of the Buddha and although we don’t find explicit use of syllogisms and reductio ad absurdam logic in them, the meaning is implicit. After all the Buddha is unique among religious teachers in encouraging his followers to examine and investigate what he taught without just accepting it at face value.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking during the first day of his three day teaching for Tibetan youth and the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 1, 2016.
Photo/Tenzin Phuntsok/OHHDL

“Later Dignaga and Dharmakirti elaborated on logic and epistemology. The relevant texts were translated into Tibetan and are still studied, but they were not translated into Chinese. However, the crucial thing is to read and study these books. Just as there’s no point having a good cook book at home, but only keeping it on the shelf instead of using it, so there’s no point in paying respect to these scriptures on your altar, but not trying to read them.
“Since the time of Trisong Detsen, Guru Padmasambhava and Shantarakshita Tibetans have had a complete transmission of the Buddha’s teachings from those found in the Pali tradition up to Highest Yoga Tantra. Yet understanding these teachings is far more effective than just having faith in them. If all 6 million Tibetans were able to study the Dharma extensively, that would really be something to be proud of, wouldn’t it?”
His Holiness observed that there seems to be a general lack of moral principles in the world today, which affects individuals, families and nations. He noted that the essential message of our various religious traditions is to serve others, adding that whether we look at Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or Judaism, each has produced exemplary and sincere practitioners. Warm-heartedness is not only good for the health, it’s good for society. There is a need to understand the advantages of moral principles and the drawbacks of a lack of discipline. Buddhism, with a sceptical outlook akin to science and an understanding of how to deal with destructive emotions, has a contribution to make to the world.
“Scientific findings suggest that basic human nature is compassionate, so there is hope. We can change ourselves and we can hope to create a more compassionate world. But we need to take a more universal and holistic approach to educating the heart as well as educating the mind. These are still the early years of the 21st century, but I believe that if we make an effort now we can look forward to positive change in the world in the future. I am encouraged to hear on the BBC that increasing numbers of young people today consider themselves global citizens.”

Some of the more than 3000 Tibetan students attending the teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 1, 2016.
Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

His Holiness referred to the Buddha’s quandary after attaining enlightenment that no one would understand his profound and peaceful insight. But after the celestials requested him to teach he sought out his five former companions in ascetic practice and explained the Four Noble Truths to them. He showed them that the causes of suffering can be overcome and that if you put an end to those causes you’ll have lasting happiness. His Holiness remarked:
“If you don’t like suffering, you have to eliminate the causes. Chief among them are karma and destructive emotions—and they are rooted in ignorance. The nature of the mind is clarity and awareness. Ignorance has no part in that; it’s adventitious and can be eliminated. It is possible to develop true cessation within you and to do that it’s necessary to cultivate the three trainings in ethics, concentration and wisdom.”
In a second session after a short break, the serving of more tea and the recitation of the ‘Praise to the 17 Nalanda Masters’, His Holiness referred to the three Turnings of the Wheel of Dharma. He pointed out that in the first, the Four Noble Truths were revealed, in the second, the Perfection of Wisdom teachings clarified the nature of true cessation. The third Turning of the Wheel explained the path and the nature of the mind.
Regarding the ‘Tree of Faith – a Self-Exhortation’, the text he was going to teach, His Holiness said it comes from the 16 Drops of Kadam, a special teaching that emerged from the interaction of Atisha, Dromtonpa, Ngok Legpai Sherab, Nagtso Lotsawa and Geshe Kawa at Yerpa Lhari Nyingpo. Ngok requested Atisha to tell them about Dromtonpa’s previous lives and when Drom expressed reluctance, only repeated his request.

Many of the over 10,000 people attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings waiting for him to come down the stairs at the conclusion of the first day at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 1, 2016.
Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

His Holiness reported that he had received this teaching from Ling Rinpoche in Tibet and when he asked Trijang Rinpoche to give it to him again, Rinpoche undertook the retreat before doing so. This text is read as part of the empowerment. Once he had received the teaching His Holiness also undertook the retreat. In this connection there are five recollections: taking refuge in the Lama; visualizing yourself as a deity; reciting mantras; cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta and an understanding of emptiness. His Holiness mentioned that when he granted the empowerment in South India last winter at the end of the Stages of the Path teachings, it occurred to him to teach this text on this occasion.
His Holiness read the first verses before concluding for the day. Observing that they all had copies of the book, he encouraged his listeners to read it again, to reflect on what he had explained and to discuss it among themselves.
As he left the temple and walked back to his residence His Holiness stopped frequently to exchange words with members of the audience, to shake hands with them, or simply smile and wave. The teachings will resume tomorrow.—a-self-exhortation-to-young-tibetan-students

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