9 H.H. Dalai Lama ‘08: Teachings on Lamrim Chenmo

His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Geshe Pabongka Rinpoche says: “If one is capable, liberation can be found even while remaining as an householder”.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Geshe Pabongka Rinpoche says “If one is capable, liberation can be found even while remaining as an householder”.

9. Day Three, Afternoon Session, July 12, 2008 at Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, USA. Part one. Ten Types of Afflictions and Their Antidotes. How Afflictions Give Rise to Karmic Actions. Ten Questions for the Dalai Lama.

Ten Types of Afflictions and Their Antidotes

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So the next outline is “Identifying the afflictions,” and broadly, ten types of afflictions are identified: five of which belong to the category of ‘view,’ and five which are ‘non-view’ afflictions.But actually, experientially speaking, when it comes to afflictions— this is a category of phenomena which we are all very familiar with.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama: If we analyze carefully in our experience, then it’s quite clear. If we pay attention, then I think it’s quite clear most disturbances of mind are those negative emotions we call nyo mong…[continues in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So these klesas (or nyo mong in Tibetan), afflictions which (as Asanga defined) these are mental states whose arising…

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: … these are mental states arising…

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: these are mental states, the arising of which creates a disturbance within the mental continuum of the individual. So these are the afflictions or nyo mong.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So one important point to understand from the basic distinction that is drawn between those afflictions (those which belong to the class of ‘views’ and those afflictions which are classified as ‘non-view’) there is an important point that needs to be understood here. For example, if you look at afflictions such as attachment, aversion and so on which belong to the category of the ‘non-view’ class, there, the primary kind of modality of the emotions themselves is less cognitive. They are more affective states. Therefore the element of cognitive ascertainment is lesser.

Compared to them, those afflictions which belong to the category of ‘view’ are in fact described as distorted forms of intelligence or afflicted intelligence (shey rab nyo mong chen). So these, in a sense, are more serious forms of afflictions. And because of their kind of distorted nature as some form of distorted intelligence, they also tend to have a greater kind of, sense of, cognitive orientation and also ascertainment, false ascertainment, as well.

Similarly when you apply antidotes to these different emotions, for the ‘non-view’ type emotions like attachment or aversion, then there are specific antidotes that are presented in the teachings. For example, as an antidote to aversion or anger or hatred, cultivation of loving-kindness is recommended. As an antidote to dealing with attachment and particularly lust, meditation on the impurity of the body and so on is recommended. However these forms of antidotes are really understood more as a kind of antidote that acts more in the form of suppression rather than total eradication.

Whereas if you look at the ‘view’ type afflictions, which are afflicted forms of intelligence, given that they are forms of intelligence, their antidotes must also take a similar form of application of intelligence. So the principal antidotes here are more of a wisdom type of practice, and so these are antidotes which are ‘eliminating’ antidotes, ‘eradicating’ antidotes.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So in the Prasannapada, Chandrakirti, when commenting on the different functions of the antidotes of specific afflictions (although he may be speaking in the context of subtle understanding of afflictions according to the Madhyamaka-Prasangika system) but he makes the following point. He says that the antidotes against the individual afflictions such as attachment and aversion or anger that are presented in the sutras, if you analyze them, if you examine them carefully, then these antidotes are very specific to their corresponding afflictions. For example, like the antidote against attachment, which is the meditation on impurity of the human body, the antidote against lust, that antidote will work only against lust and that type of emotion, but not against aversion and anger.

Similarly, the meditation on loving-kindness is presented as the antidote against aversion and anger and hatred, but that type of meditation, antidote, will only work against emotions belonging to that class, but not against attachment. And in fact, if you examine carefully, it is also conceivable that for example, while conquering one’s lust and attachment (when one meditates upon impurity of the human body) there is at least in principle the possibility that this kind of meditation can in fact lead to a form of aversion to the body. So further, similarly, loving-kindness meditation focused upon a specific individual, although it may be helpful in dealing with aversion and anger and hatred, but there is also the possibility that as a result of that kind of cultivation it can enhance one’s attachment.

In contrast, the antidote that is recommended against ignorance and delusion – which is the wisdom of emptiness—this antidote is applicable to all afflictions, whereas the other antidotes are effective only with respect to specific afflictions. So Chandrakirti makes this point. And, for example, even from our own personal point of view, sort of experiential point of view, if we try to understand the nature of the afflictions when they arise, we can at least make some estimation as to how delusion or grasping at true existence serves as the basis for their arising.

For example, when we have strong emotion towards an object, say an attachment or anger, underlying that emotion or emotional reaction is an assumption of some kind of solid reality which we are reacting to, which presupposes a notion of an independent or truly existing object. So here, therefore, the moment we are able to bring in the wisdom element and reveal the constructed nature of that object that we are reacting to, then the grip of our grasping tends to get released, lessened.

So for example, Nagarjuna, in his fifteenth chapter in the Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way, when defining the concept, the notion, of svabhava (intrinsic nature) he says, “Intrinsic nature presupposes something that is unconstructed and something that is independent.” And the implication here is that when we grasp, when we emotionally react to something, we tend to presuppose that object (to which we are reacting) to be independent and unconstructed, something that is solid and concrete. And therefore the moment we are able to lessen that grasping at the solidity and dissolve, dismantle, that concreteness, then it has the effect of loosening that grip.

So the wisdom which is presented as the antidote against delusion is the wisdom realizing dependant origination in terms of emptiness. And so here, in fact, an old scientist that I met a couple of years ago, in our discussion he told me that (and he’s a psychoanalyst), he told me that when someone, when an individual experiences a strong anger towards another person, at that moment he or she projects—especially when he experiences hatred—he or she perceives a quality of undesireableness in the object. And within that perception, 90% of the quality that he attributes to that object is a mental projection.

So, of course he’s not talking from the Buddhist understanding. He’s talking as a scientist. And this view fits really well with the basic Buddhist understanding of the arising of the afflictions, where underlying attachment and aversion are what are called false attention, false attentional processes, which then give rise to the emotional reactions. So the Buddhist understanding fits really well with the modern scientific understanding of these emotions as well.

How Afflictions Give Rise to Karmic Actions

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: Then in the lam-rim text, after having explained the nature of these afflictions, Tsongkhapa goes on to explain how these afflictions then give rise to the committing of volitional actions, the karmic actions.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: Then we read in Tsongkhapa’s text, he explains that:

Therefore the individual who is under the power of afflicted ignorance and the egoistic view of grasping at self through his three doors of body, speech and mind, when he commits, engages, in actions of the non-virtuous class such as taking the life of other sentient beings, then he or she will create de-meritorious karma. And, however, if the individual engages in actions of the virtuous class belonging to the desire realm such as giving charity and observing morality and so on, he will create meritorious karma. And on the other hand, if the individual engages in the meditative practices of cultivating tranquil abiding on the basis of which he or she cultivates the form and formless realms’ concentrative states, then he or she will accumulate the unwavering karma.”2 So this is on page 306.3

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So then Tsongkhapa writes in page 305 (it’s the final paragraph):

This being the case, you might not have acquired through extensive meditative analysis of the faults of cyclic existence the remedy that eradicates the craving for the wonders of cyclic existence. Also you might not have used discerning wisdom to properly analyze the meaning of selflessness, and might not have become familiar with the two spirits of enlightenment. Under such circumstances, your virtuous activities, with some exceptions on account of the power of field, would constitute typical origins of suffering and hence would fuel the process of cyclic existence.”

This is an important point. What Tsongkhapa is explaining here is that unless our virtuous activities (whether engaging in generosity or observance of morality and so on)… unless these virtuous activities are complemented by any of the three principal elements of the path (true renunciation, understanding of the correct view of emptiness, and the awakening mind) if our virtuous activities are not reinforced and complemented with any of these three principal elements of the path, then our virtuous activities will all become (except for some exceptions) further causes for our continued existence in samsara.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So the exceptions that he, Tsongkhapa, is referring to here, which he calls the power of the field—to give an example: Nagarjuna writes… I think this is in A Friendly Letter, (Suhrllekha) where Nagarjuna says that, citing from a sutra, “Even with relation to the form of the Tathagata where on a mural, if one relates to this, even in a state of mind that is disturbed and agitated…”

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: “…and then even though someone looks at this in a state of mind that is agitated, but he or she will create the karma to have visions of the Buddha in the future in many Buddha-fields.”

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So this also touches upon the power of bodhisattvas as a field of merit because the bodhisattvas are practitioners who dedicate their entire being and adopt this perspective which looks into an infinite time frame, and dedicate their entire being towards the benefit of all
beings through an infinite time scale. And so, because of this power of aspiration of the bodhisattvas, they also become powerful fields of merit. So any interaction with bodhisattvas, whether by sight or through hearing or even mere reflection, contemplation, of the bodhisattvas becomes the basis for creation of merits. And, for example, in Shantideva’s
Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, he talks about how the bodhisattvas are those who, even when someone causes harm to them, the perpetrator of harm is ultimately led to goodness and happiness.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So the next outline is “How you die and are reborn,” and then this includes many further subdivisions including such as the “Causes of death,” “The mind at death,” and so on, and “Where the heat gathers,” “How you reach the intermediate state after death,” and “How you then take rebirth.”

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So I shall not comment upon any of these outlines, for example…

Ten Questions for the Dalai Lama

His Holiness: Questions… I forgot…

Thupten Jinpa: [in Tibetan then English] So, we’ll take the questions now.

[The questions below, in quotation marks, are from the audience]

Your Holiness, please tell us more about how the world’s religions can exist in harmony.”

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: “…how the world’s religions can exist in harmony. Can this harmony exist only if we all agree, if we agree that all religions ultimately lead their followers to the same place?”

His Holiness: The same place… [discusses with Thupten Jinpa in Tibetan]

Same place” means heaven, or these things? I don’t know. Or moksha, salvation? That is difficult. There are a lot of differences. But broadly speaking, all major religious traditions want the same purpose, and that is to bring more compassion in our mind—if you seriously practice and follow one’s own tradition.

One of my Muslim friends once told me, “If you are a genuine Islam practitioner, he or she should extend their love, as much as love to God, to Allah— that love extend to entire creatures as much as your love to Allah.” So usually we use the Buddhist term, mother sentient beings, where entire sentient beings are considered as dear as your own mother. And then naturally, I think, happier human society. And at such a level I think all traditions same. Same potential, same aim.

And after this life, then different views. Some say heaven or, I think, and for the time being,[continues in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: …coffin…

His Holiness: … in coffin, at least for some time, some rest. So there are differences.

So now here one thing I usually believe and also tell people: the concept of one truth, one religion; and the concept of several truths, several religions—these two things are contradictory. Now because in most cases in the past, and also in the present, the conflict in the name of religion in most cases is not about religion itself, but political sort of ambition…

Thupten Jinpa: …power…

His Holiness: …political power, or economic interest, or some cases even individual personal interest. So they manipulate religious faith or religious name. That’s something different.

Then another category: the sincere practitioner believes in one’s own religion and practices seriously, but then the problem is the concept of one truth, one religion—other religions are not genuine religion. So in that case, I think, out of ‘compassion,’ one deliberately destroys the followers of other religions. It happened in the past. Today I don’t know. Like that.

So therefore now the concept one religion, one truth and the concept of several truths, several religions, now these two contradictory things—now how to work on that? In the terms of individual, the concept of one truth, one religion, is very relevant. I am a Buddhist who finds Buddhist way of approach is most effective. Then in that case Buddhism, for that person, Buddhism is best way to transform the negative mind. One Christian, for one person or Christian, the concept of God or Christianity is most effective. So for that person, Christianity is the best. So only religion, only truth.

So like medicine, for each different illness we cannot say this one medicine is best. We cannot say. We have to judge what is best or not best according to the illness. So similarly, according to the individual mental dispositions, for this person Christianity is best. For this person, Islam is best. For this person, Buddhism is best. So okay. So in each case, their one truth, one religion, is their suitable, most effective religion.

Now in terms of three persons, or two persons, one Buddhist, one Christian, then already several truths, several religions already there. So in this hall, Buddhists there, Christians must be there, some Islamic practitioners must be there. Some Jews. So already it’s reality. Several truths, several religions there. So in terms of …

Thupten Jinpa: …society…

His Holiness: …society, several truths, several religions, I think that is a fact. So understand that.

Then, now generally, pluralism (the idea of pluralism of religion) now is already increasing. So that’s a healthy sign. So, I think it is possible. Still we need more effort.

Thupten Jinpa: “Your Holiness, with regard to the three persons of different scope, initial, medium and great capacity, how does one know at what level one’s own capacity is? Is it an innate capacity, or is it influenced by an individual’s practice, commitment or desire?”

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So in the section where Tsongkhapa explains the distinctions between the three persons of three levels of capacity, one of the points he raises is that by understanding the different levels of capacity then an individual may avoid the error of (despite not having even the kind of the motivation of the initial capacity) having the arrogance of thinking that, “I belong to the practitioner of the great capacity.”

His Holiness: Many years ago in India, I think in the sixties, my friend, one lady, she told me (one European lady, I think English lady) that in her dreams some different sort of bodhisattvas’ images happened…[continues in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: This was in the sixties. There was this British woman who in our conversation told me that she was experiencing these very unusual dreams where she was having visions of these bodhisattvas and great beings. And because in the text, one of the kind of indications of a bodhisattva having reached the first level of bodhisattva bhumi is listed as having visions of various buddhas and bodhisattvas, so she told me that maybe she had reached that level.

So of course, as this text says that another individual cannot completely determine the level of realization of another person, and also I didn’t want to be too blunt to her, so I politely pointed out to her that the indications of someone having reached that level also include other signs as well such as the hundred buddha fields will be shaken, so all of these I told her. So…

His Holiness: So externally, from the outside, by another person, unless…[continues in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: …unless you have some kind of superior cognition…

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: … superior cognition that can perceive other people’s minds directly…

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So even in the case of superior cognition that is at the ordinary level, one cannot – even though one may be able to intuit certain aspects of others’ minds – but one cannot still perceive another person’s levels of realization.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So therefore it’s very difficult to determine the level of capacity of a practitioner from the external means. It’s really something that needs to be attested to from within one’s own personal experience. So in one’s own case, by examining oneself carefully, if you still have strong attachment to money, fame, food, good life and so on, then you still haven’t reached the initial capacity practice.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So similarly if you find out that your attachment to the concerns of next immediate life is very strong, then…

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: …which includes having admiration for the joys of cyclic existence, the excellence of cyclic existence, then that means you haven’t reached the middle, intermediate level of capacity.

His Holiness: So you yourself examine what is your way of thinking. Then you will know what is your stage, mental stage.

Thupten Jinpa: “Can one be a practicing Buddhist (this is something to do with Buddhism in America) can one be a practicing Buddhist and still be an active participant in the American system of materialistic rewards, career advancement? These sometimes seem to be in contradiction.”

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So…

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So it really depends upon one’s own state of mind and attitude. For example if one’s attitude is primarily that motivated by wanting to bring about others’ welfare, to work for others’ benefit, then many of these other facilities become an important part of the factors that would help you fulfill that aspiration.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So for example, in the lam-rim text there is a section dealing with…

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: …the preciousness of human existence, there is a description of an extraordinary form of human existence, and eight characteristics of that are listed in which there is power included, there is credibility of one’s words and so on, so these are included in the qualities as well.

How does one find a teacher, one that has the qualities Tsongkhapa is speaking of? Does that teacher need to be a monk or a nun to be on…. sorry. Does one need to be a monk or a nun to be on the path? What if teachers are far away? Does one need to move, or are there ways at a distance for intense learning from a teacher?”

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: This reminds me of a story from the Kadampa period when the Kadampa master Dromtönpa was passing away. He was lying with his head on the lap of his student, Potowa, and as he was dying Potowa was feeling very sad. And he wept, and the tear, one of the drops of his tears fell on Dromtönpa’s cheek and he looked up and he said, “Why are you crying?”

And Potowa said that, “Up to now you have been my teacher, and I’ve had someone to ask, seek counsel from, and ask questions and so on. And now that you are dying I will have no one to rely on, so that’s why I’m feeling sad.”

And Dromtönpa said, “Yes, up to now I have been your teacher but now, from now on, you should make the text be your spiritual teacher.” This is a beautiful instruction. So there is no need to be physically near to a teacher. You can seek counsel from the text.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So if it is necessary to have certain clarifications of certain points of the practices, then you can discuss with some other people, but initially you don’t need to relate to that person as your spiritual teacher but rather more as a colleague, a Dharma colleague.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: Of course if one wants to receive vows or take a Vajrayana empowerment, then one has to relate to that person in the form of a teacher, spiritual teacher.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So here it is very important to first examine whether or not that person is someone that is qualified for you.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: For example, in the sutra the Buddha states that the compassionate qualities of the bodhisattva can be inferred on the basis of observing his behavioral expressions. So the Buddha nature, the inclination towards buddhahood of the bodhisattva, can be determined, inferred, from his external expressions. So here one needs to observe the way in which the teacher conducts himself or herself, his behavior, his speech and so on, and on that basis one can test.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: And these examinations and observations should not be based simply on doing it once or twice. For example, in the tantra, in some of the tantric texts, there is even a mention of, if necessary, taking twelve years to test your teacher.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So as to the second question, you don’t need to be a monastic member, a monk or a nun, to be on the path.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: Geshe Pabongka Rinpoche, for example, wrote the following, he says that, “If one is capable, liberation can be found even while remaining as an householder. But if one is not capable, even though one might be remaining in the wilderness as a meditator, one may be creating causes for one’s own future rebirth in the unfortunate realms.”

This is a question about what is meant by the term ‘sentient beings’. “Does this include only the mammals or does it include insects? Where is the line between what is a sentient being and what is not a sentient being?”

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So here the kind of determinant line is really understood to be whether or not that being has the capacity to experience suffering and happiness.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So in fact we had this discussion many years ago, and Francisco Varela, the late Chilean scientist, was part of the discussion about what can be empirically identified as a sentient being or not, and so finally one consensus that emerged is that any form of organism that has a kind of a self-propelling ability to move from…

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: …on its own, an ability to move across space from one point to another point, that was the consensus that emerged. And the smallest level of organism that we can identify as a sentient being, at that time when we were discussing, we decided was an amoeba that could be included as a sentient being.

His Holiness: So mosquitoes and bed bugs show they are sentient beings. We must respect them. Except occasionally. When we are, you see, in a very peaceful sleep, then when a mosquito comes, then for a short moment, we forget about it being a sentient being.

Thupten Jinpa: “In our country many schools focus time, energy and personal staff solely, only, on teaching the intellect. How can we encourage and instill the seeds of compassion and wisdom in our children?”

His Holiness: Now that’s a serious matter. Now there are people at some universities and some scientists, now for the last several years there is a serious discussion how to teach a student from kindergarten up to university level—not as a religious sort of matter—but usually I call this secular ethics, through a secular way. So that’s very, very important.

So we are really lacking. Just mere knowledge with a lack of sense of responsibility, a sense of compassion, then knowledge can be destructive. That’s very clear. So there’s no guarantee. External rules, laws, these things also limited. So self-discipline is the key thing. So for that, a sense of responsibility based on compassion is very essential, hmm? Next. I think my public talk will touch on these things.

Thupten Jinpa: “Your Holiness, since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to know how is it that there are more and more people on the planet if we have all been here since beginningless time?”

His Holiness: [discusses with Thupten Jinpa in Tibetan] Of course I think it is natural, [if we] multiply, two parents, at least then a few children, and children again have a few children, I think that’s nature of sentient beings…[continues in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: Of course we have to take into account, from the Buddhist understanding, multiple world systems, so there are sentient beings in other world systems as well.

Is it possible that a buddha or a bodhisattva may be a regular person, just an ordinary person such as one of us, one of the lay persons in the audience, or must a buddha or bodhisattva manifest or reincarnate into an individual who is chosen or found as a lama and chooses to become a monk or a nun?”

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So the external forms of the manifestations of the buddhas and bodhisattvas can be of many different kinds, in fact including animals as well, so the external appearances are not fixed.

How can a person achieve inner peace?”

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So in the case of the Tibetan term “lama” which is a Tibetan translation of the Sanskrit term “guru,” if you look at the etymology of the meaning of this term, it refers to someone who is unexcelled, someone who could be unexcelled in terms of knowledge, in terms of understanding, in terms of realization. So this is something that one has to bear in mind. There is no meaning of the concept of “a living buddha” in the Tibetan word “lama.”

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So the term “lama” is actually…

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So in fact the Tibetan term “lama,” a teacher, is a relative term, and it can make sense only in relation to a student. So when there is a student, there is a teacher. So unfortunately, you know, later, within the Tibetan society, the term acquired a different meaning of a certain hierarchy. So then you end up having labrangs, lama households which have lamas but no students.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So therefore I often point out that there can be four kinds of permutations of relationships between “lama” on the one side and reincarnate person on the other. So there can be someone who is both a lama (teacher) and a reincarnate monk. There can be someone who is a reincarnate monk but not a lama. There can be a lama who is not a…

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: …reincarnate person. And then there can be someone who is neither of the two. So there can be four permutations, possibilities, here.

Your Holiness, how can a person achieve inner peace when he or she is sensitive and compassionate of the suffering and pain of other human beings?”

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So this actually relates to a question that is raised in Shantideva’s text, Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, where Shantideva raises the following point. He says that as a result of cultivating compassion, and when you experience compassion, isn’t it the case that sometimes you take on additional suffering and pain, and that creates a disturbance within you?

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: So Shantideva responds to this by acknowledging that it is true that when you take up someone’s pain in the experience of compassion, you do experience a sense of disequilibrium, disturbance, inside you. But he says that this is qualitatively different from someone experiencing his or her own pain, because when you experience your own suffering there is an element of involuntariness. There is no control in your experience. There is a lack of control, and there are involuntary aspects to this.

Whereas when you experience suffering or pain as a result of cultivating compassion for others there is, although a disturbance, but there is a voluntary, voluntariness, in this aspect. And of course, part of that comes from the application of wisdom but also it is because you have chosen to share in others’ pain. So Shantideva says that these two are qualitatively different states.

His Holiness: [in Tibetan]

Thupten Jinpa: Also one could possibly say that when you experience your own suffering, and in relation to your own suffering and pain, there might be a greater tendency towards experiencing of fear and a kind of insecurity. Whereas when you cultivate compassion in relation to others’ pain and suffering, instead of fear and insecurity, in fact it may increase courage. For example some scientific experiments seem to suggest that when someone deliberately cultivates compassion, those regions of the brain that are involved in motor activity tend to be more active, so this seems to suggest that there is a willingness to reach out and do something.

His Holiness: Next.

Thupten Jinpa: “Would Your Holiness speak to the question of the language one uses in his or her prayers, in Buddhist prayers? I feel sometimes so lost when trying to say my prayers in Tibetan, and I feel that when I use English, it reaches my heart with a clearer intent and understanding.”

His Holiness: It’s much better. In our case, you see, if we recite Sanskrit words without knowing the meaning, it is much better to recite in Tibetan so you get the meaning, understanding or the meaning. So similarly for those English speaking…

His Holiness: … in English, or in French or German, in one’s own language it is much better. [continues in Tibetan]. Okay

Thupten Jinpa: …Buddhists…

In July 2008, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama gave a historic six-day teaching on The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (Lam-rim Chen-mo), Tsongkhapa’s classic text on the stages of spiritual evolution. Translator for His Holiness was Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D.

This event at Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, marked the culmination of a 12-year effort by the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center (TBLC), New Jersey, to translate the Great Treatise into English.

These transcripts were kindly provided to LYWA by the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center, which holds the copyright. The audio files are available from the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center’s Resources and Linkspage.

The transcripts have been published in a wonderful book, From Here to Enlightenment, edited by Guy Newland and published by Shambhala Publications. We encourage you to buy the book from your local Dharma center, bookstore, or directly from Shambhala. It is available in both hardcover and as an ebook from Amazon, Apple, B&N, Google, and Kobo. http://www.lamayeshe.com/article/chapter/day-one-afternoon-session-july-10-2008