His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Dakthok Monastery
Agosto 8th, 2016 by admin

Tsog Offering, Consecration and Talk at Dakthok Monastery in Ladakh

Leh, Ladakh, J&K, 5 August 2016 – His Holiness the Dalai Lama departed early this morning to visit Dakthog Monastery located approximately 40 kilometers from Shewatsal Phodrang residence in Choglamsar, Leh, Ladakh. He was greeted on the way by devout Ladakhis and Tibetans, many enthusiastically displaying varieties of flowers on the side of the road next to their house and holding traditional greeting scarves in their hands.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama performing a special Tsog Offering at Dakthog Monastery in Ladakh, J&K, India on August 5, 2016. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

Upon arrival at Dakthok Monastery in Sertri (or Sakti) Village, His Holiness was received by the Lopon and former Lopon of the monastery. Before entering the newly built Temple, His Holiness and the monks of Dakthok and Namgyal Tantric College in McLeod Ganj recited auspicious verses invoking buddhas and bodhisattvas. Inside the Temple, the central image was of Guru Padmasambhava, flanked to his right and left, by Guru Dorje Droloe and Guru Padma Gyalpo respectively. Following the consecration of the triple Gurus one by one inside the temple, His Holiness was offered a mandala by the head monks of Dakthok Monastery.
Then, while His Holiness performed his special Tsog Offering to Guru Dorje Doloe based on some texts from Rinchen Terdzod, the monks recited the various prayers to Guru Rinpoche: Seven Line Prayer, Yearning Song of Prayer: An Invocation of Compassionate Guru Padmasambhava, Dispelling Obstacles Instantly and Achievement of Aspirations, and mantras of Guru Dorje Doloe.7

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to a large group locals and tourists gathered at Dakthog Monastery in Ladakh, J&K, India on August 5, 2016. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

When the Tsog Offering was over His Holiness gave this year’s first public talk in Ladakh at Dakthok to a large number of locals and westerners who had gathered on the grounds of the monastery. His Holiness began by introducing the Guru Dorje Doloe statue made by the late Taklung Tsetul Rinpoche, the previous head of the Nyingma Buddhist tradition of Tibet, at the behest of His Holiness himself. He said, “The Dorje Doloe statue here in Ladakh was built to help the spiritual and temporal affairs of the Tibetan cause. We have commissioned similar statues in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and somewhere in a border area.”
His Holiness went on to tell the public that he finished his weeklong retreat on Dorje Doloe yesterday and therefore as the concluding practice he had come to Dakthok to make a Ritual Feast Offering. Though at first His Holiness had no plans to meet the public, he mentioned that the reason for meeting them was, “because so many of you have come here I wished to say hello to you.”
“Your faith has brought you here. But in Buddhism mere faith is not sufficient. It emphasizes a faith borne of critical discerning faculty of intelligence!” His Holiness went on to say the Buddha himself emphasized the need for critical analysis of his teaching as he says:
Oh Bhikshus and wise people,
just as a gold is tested by burning, cutting and rubbing,
you should check my teaching thoroughly and then accept it.
But not because of your devotion to me!
Hence, His Holiness pointed out that it is only the Buddha who asked his followers to examine his teaching rather than accepting it on mere faith and devotion. Whereas the founders of the other world religions have all told their followers to believe in what they have revealed.

An elderly member of the local community listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at Dakthog Monastery in Ladakh, J&K, India on August 5, 2016.
Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

As logic is considered very important in the critical analysis of the Buddha’s  teaching, Nalanda masters like Nagarjuna and particularly Chandrakirti scrutinized the scriptures and clearly differentiated between the provisional teachings like Samdhinirmochana Sutra and the definite ones by resorting to reason and logic. In order to point out the importance of critical intellection in the Buddha’s teaching, His Holiness alluded to the term ‘wisdom’ in the ‘Perfection of Wisdom’, the ultimate wisdom mind of the buddhas, which is not referred by the other perfections such as generosity.
So, touching on the importance of using reason and logic to delve into the depths of the teaching of the Buddha, His Holiness spoke about the three aspects of phenomena—viz. the obvious/manifest, slightly hidden and very hidden objects of knowledge—and said that the inferential logic which is used to gain insight into the slightly hidden phenomena like emptiness, we need to base on the empirical experience of the obvious phenomenon such as the coarse level of cause and effect which is observed in the world with our sensory perception. And through the verification of the truth of the Buddha’s teaching pertaining to these two aspects of knowledge we could infer the truth and infallible nature of the teaching on the very hidden phenomena such as the very subtle workings of the law of cause and effect, or karma.
In connection with using reason and experiment to find the truth of the teaching of the Buddha, His Holiness referred to his fruitful dialogues with modern scientists—they are not religious but use rigorous methods of investigation to understand reality—which began more than 30 years ago. He said when he expressed his interest in discussions with scientists over 40 years ago some western friend warned him against such interaction. Nonetheless, he began discussions with western scientists and he said, “Today, after holding dialogues with modern scientists for over 30 years, I feel I have come out the winner!”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at Dakthog Monastery in Ladakh, J&K, India on August 5, 2016.
Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

His Holiness focused on the threefold understanding or wisdom gained through study, reflection and meditation which progress from the former to the latter. He advised the audience that the more than 300 volumes of Kagyur and Tengyur literature are meant for our pursuit of knowledge in order to build our conviction in the truth of the teaching, through inferential logic, into experience, through meditation. So, we could see how our faith in the teaching of the buddha, the teacher himself and so on is grounded in the correct knowledge of buddhist philosophy through critical examination and reason. His Holiness mentioned that the four schools of philosophy in the Nalanda tradition differed because of their interpretation of teaching of the same teacher, the Buddha. Because the Nalanda tradition emphasized reason over scriptural citation masters Dignaga and Dharmakirti wrote their books on epistemology all of which today are found only in Tibetan translation.

In conclusion, His Holiness told the audience, “I have reached 81 but I still study and contemplate on texts from the Kagyur and Tengyur and others whenever I have spare time”. His Holiness encouraged the young and old with this advice, “It goes without saying that the younger generation must study and learn the teaching of the Buddha. Even the older people must study the teaching as Sakya Pandita says:
You must learn knowledge even if you were to die tomorrow.
You may not become a scholar in this very life
But as if taking your own wealth deposited [in a bank]
You would be drawing on it in the next life.
He said he will be giving more detailed teaching in the days and weeks to come and said goodbye to the gathering. After shaking hands with the eager members of audience he returned to his residential palace in Shewatsal Phodrang.

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