His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Public Talk: Real Change Happens in the Heart, in Manchester Arena UK June 17, 2012. Trascript by Dr. Peter Lawrence-Roberts, first revision and editing by Dr. Luciano Villa within the project “Free Dalai Lama’s Teachings” for the benefit of all sentient beings. We apologize for possible errors and omissions.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Man has created his own problems by emphasizing different countries, languages, religions, races etc. These days, concerns about global warming or the global economy override national concerns. The only realistic approach to solving human problems is dialogue.
In ancient times countries were more isolated and independent, so war with other countries may have seemed an option. This is now no longer the case. All peoples and nations are interdependent. We must think on the level of humanity.
There is no distinction between positive and negative other than what relates to our own experience. We see things that give us pleasure and happiness as positive and vice versa.
The ultimate source of good health is peace of mind. It is never money or power.
We need to pay attention to our inner values – warm heartedness and compassion. We have experienced this from our own mother and been nurtured by her. Those who don’t have this have deep-seated dissatisfaction, loneliness and lack of confidence despite an external appearance of confidence and calm.
If we are truthful and honest then genuine trust will develop and from that true friendship. Trust is essential for friendship. It can’t exist without it.
We need unbiased compassion, without attachment. Biological compassion is limited by the attitude of others. It is hard to feel compassion for enemies. However, if we can mod beyond this and feel compassion for all without bias, we will see universal benefit for all.
Secularism is respect for all religions, making no distinction between one religion and another. It is also having respect for those with no religion.
Despite great difficulties never give up hope and optimism. I lost my freedom at 16 and my country at 24. I had then to listen to 53 years of heart breaking news from Tibet, but I never gave up hope. There can be tumultuous waves on the surface but we can still maintain a deep inner calm. Worry is self-torture. It never does any good. We can solve any problem with dialogue and no problems through using guns.
We can use tragedy to develop inner strength. Only to be sad is no help. It can never bring back a loved one. Instead, we can use sadness to strengthen our life and develop. We can focus on doing something that would bring happiness to the loved one we have lost. If we look very closely at a problem it seems insurmountable. If we put a bit of distance between us and the problem it can seem more bearable, although still sad.
It is natural for the imprint of a bad experience to remain with us for a long time. But we can use our intelligence – what is the use of hanging on to this negative feeling? Negative feelings will not harm others but only harm ourselves. We cannot always help physically, but keeping a calm mind will stop us developing hatred and anger.
There are two kinds of peace of mind:
1. sensory. This is based on seeing, hearing, tasting something good. If sensory pleasures disappear then happiness disappears.
2. mental. This will always remain if we have single- pointed faith or belief in the benefit of compassion and altruism. We can help others, serve others. The satisfaction from doing this is long lasting.
How does one love the unlovable? This is genuine love and true compassion. Love for those close to us can be attachment. Love for those we find it very difficult to love is real compassion. It may seem impossible at first, but if we are persistent it will change. Sometimes our practice seems against human nature, but with reflection and effort it will become our nature. Shaping our mental attitude takes time. Reasoning will bring about change.
We often cannot change our physical state, but we can always change our mental state.
I recite the final verse of Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’ https://www.sangye.it/altro/?p=513 each morning. Nagarjuna talks about the great quality of the Buddha, his realisation of great compassion. This is reinforced by wisdom. A fully enlightened Buddha is always under the power of great compassion – active compassion that seeks to relieve the suffering of others.
The Dharma the Buddha teaches seeks to dispel distorted knowledge and a distorted view of the world. This is further explained by Chandrakirti in ‘Entering the Middle Way’. He said that all afflictions stem from egoistic wrong view. To remove the afflictions we need to cultivate the perfect view, which directly counters the distorted way of knowing.
Distorted perceptions lie at the root of afflictions. This is on two levels, conventional and ultimate. Ignorance underlies our false perception. Based on appearance we take things as real and believe in the true existence of all phenomena.
This is covered very clearly in Kamalashila’s exposition of Shantarakshita’s text. Nagarjuna praises the Buddha for the teaching of Dependent Origination in terms of dependent designation. In our everyday experience we perceive cause and effect on a gross level. We see it as existing intrinsically, objectively in the things themselves.
If we examine closely where the causal process lies we won’t find it. Nagarjuna says that the more we search objectively for causal relations the easier it should be to discover them. The reality, however, is the reverse. It evades us completely. Nagarjuna showed that Dependent Origination doesn’t apply just to things, but also to relationships, designations etc.
The Buddha said that he who understands emptiness will remain in a peaceful state.
Once we recognize the unsubstantiated nature of reality there is no basis for attachment and grasping, and no basis for hopes and fears based on these things, so we can rest in a state of ease and peace. This realization is the nirvana and Buddhahood. When we understand these things we develop a goal to aspire to enlightenment. Without a goal these things are just words.
The elimination of destructive emotions is possible because all destructive emotions are based on wrong views.
The key to Buddhist practice is to root out self-centredness and self-cherishing. Meditating on emptiness, the non existence of the self, really helps to bring this about.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Manchester http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18473790 , The Dalai Lama Public Talk – Manchester MCR Arena, 17th June 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcfRPvJpHus , Dalailama in Manchester 2012http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQeUwxFCVTs , http://vimeo.com/44527907 ,https://www.facebook.com/events/304588946275669/ ,