Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India – During a brief respite in the monsoon rains, His Holiness the Dalai Lama walked to the Tsuglagkhang this morning, greeting friends and members of the audience on the way, and took his seat on the throne. Monks from Thailand once again made a propitious start by chanting the Mangala Sutta in Pali. They were followed by a group of monks and laypeople who gave a poignant recitation of the ‘Heart of Wisdom Sutra’ in Vietnamese.
Speaking in Tibetan His Holiness repeated the ‘Praise for the Perfection Wisdom’, the verse of homage from ‘Ornament for Clear Realizations’,
I prostrate to the Sublime Mother of Buddhas and of the assembly of Hearers and Bodhisattvas
Who through the knower of bases leads Hearers seeking pacification to complete peace;
Who through the knower of paths causes those benefitting migrators to achieve the aims of the world;
And who through possession of which (i.e. through possession of the exalted knower of aspects/ the omniscient mind) the
Subduers set forth the varieties having all aspects.
and the verse of salutation from Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom’.
“As Buddhists,” His Holiness observed, “our ultimate aim is to develop the spirit of enlightenment, the wish to help others by becoming enlightened. Nagarjuna says to be enlightened is to be of ultimate service to sentient beings infinite as the expanse of space. Fully enlightened beings manifest a form body to serve others and a truth body that fulfils their own interests. These two bodies are the result of the accumulation of merit and wisdom.
“We create merit by cultivating love and compassion and the practice of the six perfections. First of these is generosity, which includes giving service and material resources, helping those in danger, which is called giving fearlessness, and giving Dharma enabling others to develop wisdom. Generosity is the way we start to give help, and this continues with the perfections of ethics, patience, effort, and concentration.
“When it comes to wisdom, we develop understanding of impermanence and other aspects of the sixteen characteristics of the Four Noble Truths like selflessness. These are the ways we accumulate merit and wisdom, which give rise to the two bodies of enlightenment.”
His Holiness took up Buddhapalita’s commentary to Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom’ and began to read Chapter Two, with its complex examination of coming and going. Chapter Three dealt with an examination of bases, Chapter Four focussed on an examination of aggregates, Chapter Five examined elements and Chapter Six considered attachment and someone who has attachment.
During an intermission His Holiness answered questions from the audience. Asked about property, he was prompted to announce that in terms of economic policy and the notion of equal distribution of wealth, he continues to consider himself a Marxist.
He explained that just as physical hygiene is an aspect of modern development that has resulted in improved public health, a similar move towards emotional hygiene would result in greater happiness and peace in the world.
In advising about bringing up children His Holiness emphasized the importance of parents, and mothers in particular, showing their daughters and sons affection. He made a point of stressing the natural physical and emotional benefits of breastfeeding. He also recommended seeking ways to preserve the natural openness and warm-heartedness of childhood into adulthood.
As he completed reading Chapter Six of Buddhapalita’s book, His Holiness remarked that he would conduct a ceremony for generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta during tomorrow’s session. He encouraged that audience to review their understanding of altruism.
“There are infinite sentient beings throughout the universe,” he said, “but the ones we can really help achieve happiness are the 7 billion human beings with whom we share this world. Of course, there are animals around us too, but there’s not a lot we can do for them. However, our human brothers and sisters can benefit from whatever help we give them.
“Generating bodhichitta is about developing an intention to attain enlightenment. Find your copy of Shantideva’s ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ and remind yourselves of the advantages of the awakening mind in Chapter One, patience in Chapter Six and bodhichitta itself in Chapter Eight.”
As usual, delighted faces met His Holiness on either side as he walked from the temple. He returned their smiles and extended his hand to many, exchanging friendly words here and there, before climbing into the car that would take him home.