Author Topic: Read How Dalai Lama talk to Mongolians on DS issues!  (Read 2958 times)

christine V

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Read How Dalai Lama talk to Mongolians on DS issues!
« on: December 06, 2014, 05:49:21 AM »
From EIN News  :


Mongolians Gather to Hear a Teaching of the ‘Great Stages of the Path to Enlightenment’

Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India, 2 December 2014 - An audience of about 4000, including Tibetans, visitors from 49 countries and almost 600 Mongolians awaited His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Theckchen Chöling Tsuglagkhang this morning at the start of four days of teachings. Among the Lamas and dignitaries sitting around the throne were the Ganden Tri Rinpoche and the Jangtse Chöjey.

“Today we’re going to look at the ‘Great Stages of the Path to Enlightenment’, the ‘Lam-rim Chen-mo’.” His Holiness declared. “Many of you have made a great effort to come here and I’m glad to see you. You have also published an edition of the book in your own language, for which I’d like to congratulate you.

“I often refer to Tibet, Mongolia and China as three great Asian empires of the ancient world. We Tibetans and Mongolians have a longstanding historical connection, a link that extends beyond our common Buddhist interests. As for the connection with the Dalai Lamas, the Omniscient Sonam Gyatso, the Third Dalai Lama, visited Mongolia and built strong relationships there. Nowadays, I sign myself ‘Dalai Lama’ and when people ask I explain that it is a Mongolian name, which was given at that time.”
His Holiness went on to talk about the ethnic Mongolians who belong to the Russian Federation, the people from Tuva, Buryatia and Kalmykia. They all use Tibetan in their religious studies. Among them have been some great scholars and His Holiness mentioned reading many great texts by Mongolians. He said, however, that the 20th century had seen a tremendous decline in Buddhism in Mongolian areas and yet faith in the Dharma had survived. Visiting Mongolia His Holiness witnessed the restrictions of communist times, but saw that underneath it all faith remained strong.

“Now that you are free to learn and practise again, you should develop an understanding based on study. Don’t think of this book of the ‘Great Stages of the Path’ just as an object of reverence. Read it and found your faith on reason and understanding.”

When it came to the time to make a mandala offering to the teacher, His Holiness teasingly encouraged the Mongolians to chant as loud as they could. He recalled his first visit to their country in 1979 and how the monks chanted so loud and with such zeal that their already rosy faces became even redder. He said that observing their enthusiasm and thinking back to the times of Sonam Gyatso he felt very moved.

“Whatever Dharma teaching we’re engaging in,” he said, “it’s important that both the teacher and the listeners should cultivate a good motivation. They shouldn’t think of acquiring wealth and fame, nor should they attend just to be able to say I’ve heard this teaching so many times. The point is that what we don’t want is suffering and what we do want is happiness. We need to avoid the causes of suffering and cultivate the causes of happiness. What governs our physical and verbal misdeeds is our misconception of true existence. We can only overcome this misconception by developing an understanding of selflessness, of emptiness. And no one but the Buddha taught that. You need to listen and study, reflect on what you’ve learned and then meditate on that understanding until you generate experience of it and so transform yourself within.”

Discussing the four line verse for taking refuge and generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta, His Holiness quoted Chandrakirti’s saying that the Buddha is the object of refuge for those who seek liberation. He said that cessation, liberation, comes about by following the true path of Dharma. Those achieving this goal are known as Sangha. He remarked that the prayer includes the word ‘I’, saying ‘I go for refuge’ and ‘may I attain Buddhahood’. Although there appears to be a solid concrete ‘I’, we need to examine it because there actually is no such autonomous self.

Opening the text, His Holiness explained that the first four verses consist of salutations. They pay homage to the Buddha, the chief of the Shakyas, to the two bodhisattvas who passed on the perfection of wisdom teachings, Manjushri and Maitreya and to the two principal human beings who blazed the trail, Nagarjuna and Asanga. These lineages came together in Atisha. His Holiness commented that although other beings may have been present, the main disciples of the Buddha’s explanation of the Four Noble Truths were human beings. The main disciples of the perfection of wisdom teachings, however, included bodhisattva deities such as Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Maitreya. Tsongkhapa pays respect to all of them too.

His Holiness said that the explicit meaning of the perfection of wisdom teachings is emptiness. However, that does not imply that there is emptiness without there being something that is empty. As the Heart Sutra makes clear, form is a basis of emptiness. He repeated that Nagarjuna was the trailblazer for the explanation of the perfect view, while Asanga performed that role for the explanation of extensive conduct. Atisha was a receptacle of both lines of teaching. And from him descend the three lineages of the Kadam tradition. The scriptural lineage focused on six texts: ‘The Compendium of Training’ and ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ by Shantideva; the ‘Bodhisattva Grounds’ by Asanga and the ‘Ornament for Mahayana Sutras’ by Maitreya; Aryasura’s ‘Garland of Birth Stories’ and the ‘Collected Sayings of the Buddha’.

The oral transmission or stages of the path lineage dealt with the stages of the spiritual path from that of a beginner up to the stage of enlightenment. The lineage of pith instructions consisted of short pithy teachings that a disciple could easily put into practice.

Having touched on the greatness of the teacher and his teaching, His Holiness recommended his listeners take a short break in the middle of the four hour session. When they returned he invited the Mongolians to ask questions. The first related to the Bön tradition. His Holiness acknowledged that Bönpos worshipped spirits and did practices to generate wealth, customs that have survived. He quoted Thuken Chökyi Nyima’s saying that Buddhism and Bön have influenced each other and become intermixed to some extent. However, in Buddhist practice spirit worship is not sufficient; you need to study the profound teachings that are available. These include explanations that today even scientists are finding interesting.

The next question was about Dolgyal. His Holiness said that the story begins at the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama and he was someone who knew how it went. In his autobiography he recounts that the so-called Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen was not the true incarnation of Tulku Gelek Palsang. Drakpa Gyaltsen’s mother Lha-agyal through cunning prevailed on Panchen Lobsang Chögyan to recognise her son as such. The Fifth Dalai Lama did not accept this recognition. He writes that Dolgyal arose from distorted prayers, manifesting as a perfidious spirit doing harm to beings and the Dharma. His Holiness explained further

My precept master, Kyabje Ling Dorje Chang, the master from whom I received my bhikshu vows, was not at all pleased about the practice of Dolgyal, but because Trijang Rinpoche, my Junior Tutor, practised it strongly, he refrained from criticising it openly. However, he instructed his close disciples not to do the practice. I began to do it because of Trijang Rinpoche. Later, I became suspicious of the practice and investigated its history. This is how I came to know Dolgyal’s real nature and the controversy connected with it. I stopped the practice. Ling Rinpoche was my main teacher, the teacher from whom I received the main philosophical instructions and so forth. When I told him I’d stopped the Dolgyal practice, he was very pleased. He said: “That’s excellent”. I also told Trijang Rinpoche that I’d stopped doing it and explained to him the steps I’d taken to investigate the issue, which led me to that conclusion. He concurred that those procedures were infallible and stated that there was no error in what I had done.

“I didn’t go public with this information to begin with. But eventually I began to advise people about Dolgyal, making clear that how they responded was up to them. I did not insist on what others might do. Many Tibetans and Westerners understood the history of the practice and stopped doing it. There were several great masters who staunchly opposed the Dolgyal practice in the past, Trichen Ngawang Chokden at the time of the Seventh Dalai Lama and Khangsar Dorje Chang in the 13th Dalai Lama’s time, for example. Dolgyal expressed elation over the 13th Dalai Lama’s death. Although I have explained the situation to people, how they respond is up to them. Nevertheless, there are practitioners of Dolgyal now who are waiting for my death.

“If you Mongolians want to stop this practice, do so on the basis of understanding. Find out about Dolgyal’s nature. If you feel worried that he may harm you if you stop, tell him you’re innocent and if he has any complaints he can bring them to me. If you take my advice and stop, nothing bad will happen to you.”

His Holiness mentioned that under the Ganden Tri Rinpoche’s guidance the Gelugpa Association has produced a book that investigates the whole issue very thoroughly. He recommended that it would be good to translate it into Mongolian. In relation to a later question His Holiness explained that the sectarianism associated with Dolgyal practice that forbids Gelugpas from even keeping a Nyingma text in their house amounts to a restriction of religious freedom. He said it is much better to adopt a non-sectarian approach, while at the same time being true to the tradition you belong to. He recommended taking interest in and studying the texts of all traditions.

Returning to the ‘Great Stages of the Path’, His Holiness quoted Je Tsongkhapa’s saying that there were many people who want to practise, but who have done very little study. To follow the path and achieve cessation, you have to know what they are. His Holiness then embarked on the rapid reading of the text that grants the oral transmission. He will continue his transmission and explanation over the coming days.