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Empowerment and Visits to Ugyen Ling & the Dorje Khandu Memorial Museum

Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India, 9 April 2017 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama reached Yiga Choezin earlier today in order to do the preparatory rituals required for him to give an Avalokiteshvara Empowerment.

At the request of local MLA Jambey Tashi he signed placards concerning projects in other places. One related to the Dolma Lhakhang that has been built at Lumla, another depicted a statue of Guru Padmasambhava at Lunpo Zemithang near the Tibetan border. He also unveiled a foundation stone for a statue of Maitreya to be constructed near the border with Bhutan.

“The Buddha was someone who taught about dependent arising from his own experience,’ His Holiness explained when he was ready. “It’s important not only to try to be good people, but also good followers of the Buddha. What is unique about his teaching, his explanation of dependent arising free of extremes, is highlighted in the opening verses of Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’.

I prostrate to the Perfect Buddha,
The best of teachers, who taught that
Whatever is dependently arisen is
Unceasing, unborn,
Unannihilated, not permanent,
Not coming, not going,
Without distinction, without identity,
And peaceful - free from fabrications.

“Things exist in conventional terms but are dependent on other factors, causes and conditions.

“We say I take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, but what does this mean. The Buddha is not just someone who appeared at a moment in history 2600 years ago. What is extraordinary about him is the Dharma Jewel within him. This refers to his achievement of the true path and true cessation it gives rise to.


A view of many of the 50,000 people attending the second day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings at the Yiga Choezin teaching ground in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India on April 9, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“What he has seen as free from the eight extremes of arising and ceasing, being non-existent and being permanent, coming and going, being multiple and being singular, he has seen as a result of his own effort. He has achieved cessation by overcoming the defilements of his own mind through realizing the suchness of how things are. This corresponds to the quantum physics observation that nothing has objective existence. His achievement of true cessation and the true path qualifies him as a Sangha Jewel.

“The Buddha is the teacher; the Dharma is the actual refuge and the Sangha are those who assist on the path. The Buddha is called a teacher not a refuge because he shows the path through teaching. He teaches the truth that leads us to liberation. He is not someone who washes away unwholesomeness, or removes sufferings with his hand, or who transfers his realization to others. We too should practise the teaching in order to attain the path and cessation. To understand what the Dharma jewel is we need to understand what emptiness is and we can do this by understanding dependent arising.”

Before starting the ritual procedures for the empowerment, His Holiness gave a reading transmission of a Guru Yoga he composed in the 60s called the ‘Inseparability of the Spiritual Master from Avalokiteshvara’. When it came to the name mantra he remarked that one of his names, Jampel or Manjushri, was given to him at his first ordination by Reting Rinpoche and was later dropped. In due course he chose to restore it.

His Holiness distinguished the perfection vehicle from the resultant vehicle of tantra; the sutra system and the tantric system. Of the four classes of tantra, he said the empowerment of the 1000 Armed 1000 Eyed Avalokiteshvara belongs to kriya tantra and the lotus lineage. It came from the transmission of Bhikshuni Lakshmi in India. He said he received it first from Tagdag Rinpoche and again later from his Senior Tutor Ling Rinpoche. He also affirmed that he has completed the required retreat.


A young member of the crowd listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on the second day of his teachings at the Yiga Choezin teaching ground in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India on April 9, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Before continuing with the empowerment, His Holiness said he would read the ‘37 Practices of Bodhisattvas’ without stopping to explain much because of a shortage of time.

“The author Thogme Sangpo of Ngulchu was a contemporary of Buton Rinpoche, a great scholar and renowned as a bodhisattva. His realization of bodhichitta was such that birds and wild animals, a fox among them, gathered around him. He composed this work to encourage his disciples to practise too. I received it from Khunu Lama Rinpoche.

“Practice of the Dharma is about transforming the mind such that it becomes the mind of a Buddha. We have a pristine awareness, a primordially pure mind, that is our Buddha nature. Drawbacks occur because we have not been able to tame our minds. Suffering arises fundamentally from ignorance. Not just not knowing, but a distorted view that is the opposite of reality as it is. As we appreciate reality, ignorance diminishes. It’s like seeing something in the distance that looks like a human being. The closer we get the more obvious it is that it’s a scarecrow or cairn.”

The text speaks of cherishing your spiritual teachers which His Holiness observed means appreciating their qualities. He remarked that he’d heard that in parts of Kham the greatness of a Lama is measured by the number of horses in his caravan, which he said is just ignorant. He was reminded of the story of someone visiting an Abbot in Kham, finding him away and being told that he’d gone to the village to scare the old people. His Holiness said that since Buddhism is to do with liberation and omniscience it is not to be used to scare people. It should be about generating confidence and inspiration that we have the opportunity of a human life to practise.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama granting the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment at the Yiga Choezin teaching ground in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India on April 9, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Responding to the line ‘What worldly god can give you protection?’ His Holiness spoke about the worship of Shugden. He said that from 1951 he too had done it, but stopped after having strange experiences. He mentioned that he discovered that historically the 5th Dalai Lama had tried to appease the spirit and had resorted to wrathful means to subdue it. He’d written about how Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen was not the actual reincarnation of Tulku Gelek Palsang, the successor to Panchen Sonam Drakpa. He had also described Gyalpo Shugden as a spirit arisen through wrong prayers who harmed the Dharma and sentient beings. His Holiness talked about how all this emerged from investigating trouble that took place in Ganden Jangtse, how he stopped the practice and investigated whether to encourage others to stop it too.

His Holiness suggested that regarding the protector chapel on the side as more important than the statue of the Buddha in the front as indicating mistaken priorities. In his brisk continued reading of the text, he pointed out where the verses outline the practice of the six perfections.

After giving the upasaka and upasaki precepts of lay practitioners in the course of the empowerment, he remarked that the fourfold Sangha was complete. He noted that although Bhikshuni ordination had not been established in the Tibetan tradition, now there were Geshemas as well as Getsulmas.

From the Yiga Choezin teaching ground His Holiness drove to Ugyen Ling where the birthplace of Gyalwa Tsangyang Gyatso, the 6th Dalai Lama, is preserved. After participating in a brief tsog offering, he had lunch with invited guests in the temple upstairs. After lunch he drove on, stopping on the way to greet children and staff of the Manjushri School, to the Dorje Khandu Memorial Museum.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama, accompanied by Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu, viewing exhibits at the Dorjee Khandu Memorial Museum in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India on April 9, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
He was invited to inaugurate the Museum and Jangchub Chorten established in tribute to the present Chief Minister’s late father, who had also been Chief Minister and someone His Holiness counted as a friend. He unveiled the plaque recording the consecration, inaugurated the innovative and well-appointed Museum and took a brief tour inside. His Holiness showed a keen interest in the materials related to Dorje Khandu’s life, and also in the account of his own escape from Tibet and arrival in Tawang in 1959. He recorded his own testimonial to his late friend and willingly complied with a request to leave his handprints on a picture on the wall. He planted a tree in the garden outside.

Back at Tawang Monastery once more, the monks had assembled in the temple. The new Abbot modestly requested His Holiness to give some words of advice to the monks. He said that he was trying to do his best to fulfil what he understood to be His Holiness’s wishes and build on what his predecessors had done to improve education. He reported that there are currently nearly 400 monks resident and more than 100 studying elsewhere.

His Holiness reminded them that the Tibetan Buddhist tradition had been established by Abbot Shantarakshita, but that in Tibet people were no longer free to study and practice as they chose. He recalled that when he took his Geshe exams there were 10,000 monks at Drepung Monastery and several thousand at Sera. He said he’s been told that these days in Drepung there are barely 40 monks. He stressed how valuable it is that throughout the Himalayan region there is a freedom to study and practice and he urged the monks to take advantage of it.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to the monks of Tawang Monastery in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India on April 9, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
He asked about the monastery routine and hearing that the day starts at 4 or 5 o’clock with prayers suggested that the younger monks need more time to sleep. He dwelt on the importance of monasteries and nunneries being of good quality, which he clarified did not mean having big buildings, but study and practice of good quality going on inside.

When it was pointed out to him that there are also two nunneries under the auspices of Tawang Monastery he encouraged the nuns too. He told them that now the first group of nuns have qualified as Geshemas it should be possible for other grades of degree to be awarded to nuns. For example, on completion of the Perfection of Wisdom and Middle Way classes they could perhaps earn a Rabjampa degree.

He also looked forward to more nuns taking up teaching and recounted watching school children skilfully debating in a settlement near Nagpur. He had asked who their teacher and was pleasantly surprised that she was a nun. He said he had praised her good work.

Tomorrow, at Yiga Choezin again, His Holiness will give the Rinzin Dhondup Empowerments in the morning. This will be followed in the afternoon by a public talk at the Kala Wangpo Convention Centre.

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His Holiness the Dalai Lama Gives Buddhist Teachings to 50,000 in Tawang

Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India, 8 April 2017 - Despite forecasts of thunderstorms in the vicinity, this morning the sun shone on the distant hills and there were large patches of blue in the skies over Tawang. His Holiness the Dalai Lama too was in a jovial mood when he emerged from his rooms at the top of the Dukhang, the main temple of the 17th century Tawang Monastery. He stopped frequently to greet well-wishers on his way to a waiting car that would carry him to the Yiga Choezin teaching ground lower down the hill. His first task on reaching there, accompanied by Chief Minister Pema Khandu, was to unveil a plaque inaugurating the Gyalwa Tsangyang Gyatso High Altitude Sports Complex and the foundation stone for a prospective Government Degree College.

His Holiness greeted the crowd, estimated to number 50,000, as he walked to the throne that had been set up at the front of a temple pavilion. He paid particular attention to the senior citizens who had been accommodated in the front rows, leaning over the rail to speak to them directly.

The Chief Minister spoke first, thanking His Holiness on behalf of the people of Mönyul not only for coming to Tawang once again, but also for enduring the long journey by road that brought him to the threshold of many people’s homes. He recalled that after His Holiness crossed the border at Kenzamani in early April 1959 Tawang was the first Indian soil to receive the blessings of his presence. Tawang Monastery was also then the first place where he gave a Buddhist teaching. He praised His Holiness as an ambassador of non-violence, who is to the 21st century what Gandhi-ji was to the twentieth. Noting that Tawang was the birthplace of the Sixth Dalai Lama, the Chief Minister requested His Holiness to consider giving the Kalachakra Empowerment there. He ended with prayers for His Holiness‘s good health and long life.

His Holiness began his address by acknowledging how touched he is by the faith and devotion the Mönpa people show him. He told them how fondly he remembers passing through this region in 1959. He added how pleased he was to have just unveiled the foundation stone for a new educational institution.

“Human happiness arises from affection,” he said. “The greater the love and compassion there is among you, the happier and more contented you feel. When someone among you is angry, it disturbs you all. I believe we can ensure that the 21st century is an era of peace by more widely cultivating compassion. I was due to reach here by helicopter, but as it turned out I came by road with the added benefit of making contact with far more people on the way. I’d like to thank every one of you who came out to welcome me.


Some of the more than 50,000 people attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Yiga Choezin teaching ground in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India on April 8, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“In 1959, the situation in Lhasa was desperate and slipping out of control. I tried to resolve the situation without success. Since 1956 the PLA had used military force to effect change in Do-mey and Do-kham and we had run out of means to mollify them. Prime Minister Nehru organized help from the point where I crossed the border. I met him first in Beijing and later in India in 1956 had discussions with him about the situation in Tibet. When I had to flee Lhasa in 1959, it was only once I crossed the border into India here that I felt free of risk and danger. The local people showered me with respect and devotion and treated the many Tibetans who came after me with immense kindness.

“The Chief Minister has requested me to give a Kalachakra Empowerment here. I can’t promise anything now, but I’ll keep it in mind. The main purpose would be for you all to become more acquainted with the Dharma. Right now I’m going to read through the ‘Stages of Meditation’, which explains the basis, path and result, and also touches on how to develop calm abiding and special insight meditation.

“Nyengön Sungrab draws a distinction between Buddhist teachings that belong to the general structure and those that have been framed with particular disciples in mind. The Four Noble Truths and 37 Factors Aligned with Enlightenment that we find in the Pali tradition and the Perfection of Wisdom teachings of the Sanskrit tradition belong to the general structure. Whether the Buddha taught them in the guise of a monk or having arisen as the deity of the mandala, the Tantras are teachings framed for specific disciples. In Tibet teachings of the general structure spread far and wide, there are the 18 treatises of the Sakyas and the 13 classic texts of the Nyingmas, but there seems to have been much more eager interest in tantric instructions.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his teaching at the Yiga Choezin teaching ground in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India on April 8, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“No matter how long you spend in retreat and no matter how many mantras you recite, if your mind is not transformed the practice isn’t of much help. However, if you think about love and compassion and try to understand emptiness over several years, you’ll see a change in yourself. I myself do deity-yoga practices, but what has really enabled me to transform my mind has been meditating on emptiness and dependent arising, as well as on love and compassion.

“The Nyingma tradition speaks of the Nine Yanas or Vehicles, the three outer vehicles of the Hearers, Solitary Realizers and Bodhisattvas; the three inner vehicles of Vedic-like asceticism, the kriya, ubhaya and yoga tantras and the three secret vehicles of powerful transformative methods maha, anu and ati yoga.”

His Holiness explained that the ‘Stages of Meditation’ was composed in Tibet at the request of Trisong Detsen, while ‘37 Practices of Bodhisattvas’ was written by a Tibetan master, acclaimed as a Bodhisattva, who was known as Gyalsay—Son of the Conqueror—Thogme Sangpo. It teaches about the awakening mind of bodhichitta. His Holiness reminded his listeners that before beginning to read these texts, both teacher and disciples should examine their motivation.

He reported how impressed he had been when he read of a lama called Tseley Rangdol who made three pledges in relation to his teaching: not to ride animals from place to place, to eat only vegetarian food and not to take any payment for his teaching. The hermit Gotshangpa also said that lamas should not teach for material gain. His Holiness added that disciples too should have a proper motivation, quoting Aryadeva’s ‘400 Verses’ as saying, “get rid of unwholesome deeds, get rid of wrong view, and get rid of all distorted views of objectification.” His Holiness recommended looking into the faults of destructive emotions, developing a determination to be free and cultivating the aspiration for enlightenment of the Bodhisattva ideal.


Some of the more than 50,000 people listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching at the Yiga Choezin teaching ground in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India on April 8, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Mentioning that his second commitment is to encourage the development of religious harmony, His Holiness remarked that just as it’s absurd to suggest that there is one medicine that is the best for treating all ailments, it’s absurd to suggest that there is a religion that is best for everyone.

As he began to read Kamalashila’s ‘Stages of Meditation’, His Holiness disclosed that he received it from Sakya Abbot Sangye Tenzin, who had received it at Samye from a Khampa Lama who may have been a student of Khenpo Shenga. He went through it rapidly touching on what the mind is, training the mind, compassion and developing equanimity, the root of loving-kindness. The text also referred to the practice of calm-abiding and how to actualize special insight, the notion that it is not that things don’t exist, it’s just that they don’t exist as they appear to do.

After lunch His Holiness met with members of the press. He started by telling them about his commitment to promoting human values, principally compassion. He told them that scientists’ conclusion that basic human nature is compassionate is a sign of hope that would be absent if it was anger instead. He lamented that modern education is too oriented to material goals and insufficiently concerned with inner values. He announced that later this month he will meet with co-compilers of a curriculum for inculcating secular ethics in school and university students. He also voiced his support for religious harmony and his admiration for the way it has long flourished here in India. Finally, he mentioned having devolved all his political responsibilities to an elected leadership, but remaining keenly concerned about Tibetan ecology and keeping Tibetan culture and language alive.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking with members of the press at Yiga Choezin in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India on April 8, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Interest in his successor led to His Holiness being asked directly where the 15th Dalai Lama will be born. He replied, “Nobody knows. I pray I’ll continue to be able to be of service to sentient beings, but I sometimes doubt if I’m even the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama.” When another journalist mentioned that the Chinese government has asserted it is their right to make a decision about his successor, His Holiness called it nonsense. He conceded that in the past the Chinese Emperor had taken an interest in the recognition of the Dalai Lama, but that was when the Emperors considered themselves spiritual disciples.

“If the Chinese government wants to be involved in this they should first announce their acceptance of the theory of reincarnation. Then they should recognise reincarnations of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping for their claim to have any legitimacy.”

When it was suggested that the people of Tawang would dearly love to have a Dalai Lama born amongst them again, His Holiness responded that there are people who say the same thing in Ladakh and even in Europe too. He reiterated that as early as 1969, in his March 10th statement, he had made it clear that whether or not there should be another Dalai Lama was up to the Tibetan peoples. He accepts that if they decide that it is an institution that is no longer relevant, it will cease. He expects Tibetan refugees, Mongolians and people of the Himalayan region from Ladakh to Tawang to have a say in this decision.

He mentioned that later this year he may resume discussions with prominent Tibetan spiritual leaders on how to proceed. He admitted that he has answered the question about whether a future Dalai Lama could be a woman with his own question, “Why not? There are already precedents of high female reincarnations.”
He repeated a response he first gave in Newark some years ago, taking off his glasses and challenging his questioners, “Look at my face. Do you think this talk of my reincarnation is urgent?” 

Finally, he was asked how he stays so well and answered,

“I sometimes answer this, ‘That’s my secret,” but the truth is because of peace of mind. That and consistently getting nine hours sleep. I turn in at about 6.30 in the evening and get up at 3.30 the following morning to do 4 - 5 hours of meditation. Not just shutting my eyes and relaxing the mind, but engaging in intense analysis about, for example, dependent arising and how it relates to reality.”

Tomorrow, His Holiness will give an empowerment in relation to the Thousand Armed, Thousand Eyed Avalokiteshvara and visit Ugyen Ling, the birthplace of Tsangyang Gyatso, the 6th Dalai Lama.

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His Holiness the Dalai Lama Drives from Dirang to Tawang

Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India, 7 April 2017 - When His Holiness the Dalai Lama came downstairs to leave Thupsung Dhargyeling Monastery this morning, the sun was shining on the hills in the distance and there was a welcome blue in the sky. From the veranda of the monastery he greeted a group of local people sitting on ground below waiting to see him, telling them once again how important it is to develop a sound understanding of what the Buddha taught. Before leaving Dirang he stopped to visit the temple lower in the town from where he gave the Kalachakra Empowerment to 5000 people in 1983.

The road from Dirang climbed steadily until the 4170 metre Sela Pass which marks the end of West Kameng district and the beginning of Tawang. At each village on the way people were gathered to greet His Holiness as he passed. Adults were mostly dressed in traditional Mönpa costume, while many of the children were in school uniform. On the pass, snow could be seen here and there, but the road was clear. His Holiness and his party were offered tea and refreshments before continuing their journey.

On the descent from the pass His Holiness stopped for lunch at Mönpalpung Jangchub Chökhorling, a Karma Kagyu Monastery in the town of Jang. In addition to prayer flags and the international Buddhist flag, the Gyalwang Karmapa’s ‘dream flag’ flew prominently along the road. Since so many people had gathered to welcome him His Holiness briefly spoke to them from the steps of the monastery. He told them that Vasubandhu wrote that the Buddha’s teachings can be categorized as scriptural and realizational and the only way to preserve them is through study and practice. That is what he urged them to do.

From Jang His Holiness drove on towards Tawang. The closer he reached to the town the more people thronged the road to greet him. Almost everywhere they made billowing smoke offerings from piles of burning juniper leaves. In many places too tables had been set up bearing traditional offerings and statues to be consecrated as he passed. Often chairs were arranged for the expected guest. And in villages all along the way was a profusion of delightful potted plants colourfully in bloom. On the outskirts of the town mixed groups of local people danced and sang and Snow Lion dancers performed in joyful welcome.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama arriving at Tawang Monastery in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India on April 7, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Arriving at Tawang Monastery His Holiness was accorded traditional hospitality. Monks played horns as he was escorted into the temple under a ceremonial umbrella. Once seated inside butter tea and sweet rice were served while he spoke briefly.

“Tashi Delek to everyone. Today I’ve come through many places that are traditionally Buddhist, where people expressed their devotion by waiting on the road. I’ll be teaching more over the next few days so there’s no need for me to say much now. The real temple should be built in the mind—try to create the wisdom of Manjushri in your brain and the compassion of Avalokiteshvara in your heart. If you can do that, that’ll be a real blessing. It seems to me that since I first passed through this region in 1959 interest in the teachings has revived and developed.

“One of the characteristics of Buddhism is its ability to explain philosophical points of view on the basis of reason. If we study rigorously and develop a sound understanding of what the Buddha taught, his teaching will survive for many more centuries. From Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh people’s interest and awareness of the Buddha’s teachings has lately been growing. In the past there were many monasteries in Tibet and the Himalayan region, but effective study and education took place mostly in the great centres of learning. More and more I am encouraging monasteries like this to organize classes in which anyone who is interested can learn and strengthen their faith and understanding.

“We haven’t got much time, but I daily dedicate my body, speech and mind to the service of others as Nagarjuna advises:

May I always be an object of enjoyment
For all sentient beings according to their wish
And without interference, as are the earth,
Water, fire, wind, herbs, and wild forests.

“So I’ll be explaining how to practice over the next three days. “

Tomorrow, at Yiga Choezin, His Holiness will begin to teach the middle volume of Kamalashila’s ‘Stages of Meditation’ and Thogme Sangpo’s ‘37 Practices of a Bodhisattva’.

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At Thupsung Dhargyeling Monastery an Inaugural Ceremony, Teaching and Avalokiteshvara Permission

Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh, India, 6 April 2017 - This morning the day began in the new temple of Thupsung Dhargyeling Monastery with the recitation of the Guru Puja or Lama Chöpa. As many women’s voices as men’s could be heard. The Hon Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijuju, whose native village is nearby, met His Holiness the Dalai Lama to welcome him to Dirang. Since Parliament is in session and his presence was required in the Lok Sabha, Rijuju was unable to attend the morning’s inaugural ceremony at the monastery.

His Holiness descended from his quarters on the top floor of the temple in the only elevator in the entire district and took his seat between the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, Padmanabha Acharya and Chief Minister Pema Khandu. The occasion began with a mandala of the universe and representations of the body, speech and mind of enlightenment being offered to His Holiness. This was followed by an exemplary debate by members of the lay community, both women and men.

Ven Thupten Rinpoche read a report about the establishment of the monastery during which he was several times overcome with emotion. He attributed the inspiration for the creation of the institution to His Holiness’s persistent advice to establish a centre of learning where people could readily study the Nalanda Tradition in Arunachal Pradesh. He said they had done so, providing the best facilities they could find.

He declared that the intention was to provide opportunities for both monastics and laypeople to study the scriptures and in particular the classic works of the Seventeen Masters of Nalanda. The aim is to educate with a view to training people with moral stature and a kind heart. He described a programme that includes introductory classes three times a week and a more serious course in Buddhism, Bhoti language (Tibetan) and Buddhist history to run for one and a half months a year, for which students will be awarded a certificate after four years. He mentioned plans for a retreat programme and an annual fasting retreat. Thupten Rinpoche expressed gratitude for His Holiness’s guidance so far and sought his further advice.


Members of the media at the inaugural ceremony of the new temple at Thubsung Dhargyeling Monastery in Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh, India on April 6, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
In his remarks, TN Thongdok, Speaker of the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly expressed appreciation of His Holiness’s kindness in coming by road when the helicopter flight was called off. He noted that when His Holiness first came through the region in 1959, although it was historically Buddhist, interest had waned. He said it was due to His Holiness’s repeated visits and the inspiration he gave the people that interest in study and practice had very much revived.

The Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, Shri Padmanabha Acharya welcomed His Holiness on behalf of the people of the state. He called today an auspicious day, saying that His Holiness’s presence was a source of strength and inspiration.

“Dear brothers and sisters,” His Holiness began, “I always start by greeting people as brothers and sisters, because the reality is that this is what we 7 billion human beings are. If this is what we emphasize there’ll be no basis for bullying or cheating, much less killing one another. Scientists have shown through experiments with pre-language infants that basic human nature is compassionate. They have also found evidence that living in constant anger, hatred, fear and suspicion has the effect of undermining our immune system. That compassion is beneficial and anger and fear are detrimental is the same for all of us 7 billion human beings.

“Many of the problems we face today, such as the huge gap between rich and poor, are of our own making. Here in India too there is caste discrimination, which is now inappropriate and out of date. We are all human beings with the same rights and aspirations to be happy. I consider myself to be just one of them. I don’t think about being a Buddhist, a Tibetan or the Dalai Lama in ways that set me apart and create barriers with others that would only leave me lonely. I am fully committed to promoting the oneness of humanity and the importance of our human values, with a view to individuals, families and communities being happy.”


His Holiness the Dalai Lama, seated between Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, Padmanabha Acharya and Chief Minister Pema Khandu, addressing the audience at the inaugural ceremony of the new temple at Thubsung Dhargyeling Monastery in Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh, India on April 6, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Citing his changed travel plans as an example of turning a difficulty to advantage he said:

“The other day flying from Guwahati to Dibrugarh there was such turbulence I thought my end had come. As a result we decided to travel by road instead of helicopter. The benefit has been that I have seen far more people on the road that I would otherwise have done and they have been able to see me.”

His Holiness remarked that of the great ancient civilizations of Egypt, China and the Indus Valley, he feels that the Indus Valley ultimately gave rise to a greater number of great thinkers. Buddhism, especially the Nalanda Tradition, as part of this trend, eventually spread virtually throughout Asia. He referred to the key concepts of emptiness of intrinsic existence and dependent arising that in his experience enable us to tackle our destructive emotions.

He suggested that the Buddha was not only the founder of Buddhism, but also a great thinker and a scientist who advised his followers not to accept his teaching at face value but to examine and investigate it in the light of reason. Scholars of the past like Nagarjuna and Buddhapalita had done just that.


Members audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at Thubsung Dhargyeling Monastery in Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh, India on April6, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“Modern Indians are too inclined to emulate Westerners and modern education is too oriented to material goals with too little attention paid to inner peace. We live in a time of moral crisis, which will not be solved by relying only on prayer, but by training the mind and confronting our destructive emotions. On the one hand we need a sense of universal values derived from common experience, common sense and scientific findings and on the other we need to combine modern education with ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions.”

With regard to his hopes to see a centre of learning emerge at this monastery His Holiness commented:

“You’ve done wonderful work here; I really appreciate what you’ve achieved so far. Thank you.”

In concluding the ceremony Thubten Rinpoche presented a statue of the Buddha to His Holiness, the Governor and Chief Minister. Local MLA Phurpa Tsering, giving the vote of thanks, expressed “gratitude to His Holiness for coming and blessing this land.” The guests convened upstairs for lunch.

In the early afternoon, His Holiness went down to the teaching pavilion perched above an extensive ground on which an estimated 20,000 people had gathered to listen to him. He explained what he was going to do.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to a crowd of 20,000 in Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh, India on April 6, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“Today I’m here with you again. The original plan had been to fly to Tawang, but the weather changed that. I’m here earlier than anticipated and the teaching I’m going to give is the permission of Chenresig Who Liberates from Unfortunate Realms and before that the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’. Right away I’m going to give you a reading transmission of the Guru Yoga, the ‘Inseparability of the Spiritual Master from Avalokiteshvara’ so you can recite it while I do the preparations for the other permission.”

During the recitation of the Guru Yoga and the accompanying tsog offering women notably took an equal part in the proceedings. They took part in the chanting, playing the music and the actual offering of the tsog to His Holiness.

“We’re not here for the purpose of business or entertainment,” His Holiness observed. “What people in the world are failing to do today is to use their minds to generate happiness; they are lost instead in sensory experience. All religious traditions have ways of contributing to mental peace, but where faith otherwise predominates what distinguishes Buddhism is that it employs faith supported by wisdom. It directs us to use our intelligence. Ignorance gives rise to unhappiness, but we can overcome it with insight into reality.

“Some refer to Buddhism as science of the mind and it does help us transform our minds by harnessing understanding. Where disturbing emotions like anger and attachment are rooted in ignorance, the Buddha’s teaching is rooted in insight into reality. Scientists appreciate the ideas of dependent arising and I’ve asked if they have anything corresponding to it, but they tell me ‘not yet’.”


Some of the estimated 20,000 people attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching in Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh, India on April 6, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
His Holiness asked the audience to open the books they had been given to read the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’. He clarified that the text is about using the mind to develop happiness rather than getting lost in sensory pleasure.

He mentioned that Tibetan Emperor Trisong Detsen invited Shantarakshita to Tibet who established Buddhism on Tibetan soil. Two centuries later the tradition had declined and Atisha was invited to restore it. He founded the Kadampa tradition that the author of this text, Langri Thangpa belonged to. His Holiness recalled that he received this teaching first as a child from Tagdag Rinpoche and later from his junior tutor Trijang Rinpoche.

The text teaches Bodhichitta, the compassionate aspect of the path as well as the profound aspect of emptiness. He remarked that a Bodhisattva has two focuses—other beings and enlightenment—and works to attain enlightenment on the basis of wisdom. He read steadily through the verses commenting briefly on them until the advice in the final stanza to avoid being sullied by thoughts of the eight worldly concerns and seeing all things as illusions, without attachment, to gain freedom from bondage.

His Holiness then embarked on the permission of Chenresig Who Liberates from Unfortunate Realms, reporting that the practice derives from a vision experienced by Tagphu Dorje Chang, who was famously blessed by Arya Tara. He said there is a tradition that every time an individual receives it, one life in the lower realm is shut off. In the course of the ritual, His Holiness led a ceremony for generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta, concluding with several verses of rejoicing.

Tomorrow, His Holiness will leave Dirang by road to drive to Tawang, a journey that will take him over the 4170 metre Sela Pass.

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Teaching, Long-life Empowerment, Monastery Visit and a Talk at Bomdila

Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh, India, 5 April 2017 - When His Holiness the Dalai Lama came down to the courtyard of Thubchok Gatsel Ling Monastery this morning he spoke first to a group of young monks and observed them debate. He then also spoke briefly to a group of adult lay people who have formed their own study group. He praised their efforts and urged them to continue.  Before leaving, he unveiled the foundation stone for a new assembly hall.

His Holiness drove the short distance to the Bomdila Buddha Park further up the hill. After saluting the crowd, estimated to number 15,000, he seated himself on the throne. Explaining that he had to spend a short time preparing for the White Tara Long-Life Empowerment he was going to give, he requested the audience to recite Tara mantras while he did so.

“We are gathered today for you to listen to a teaching of the Buddha,” he began. “A long time ago people worshipped the sun and moon in the belief that they gave them protection. Later, religions emerged that also incorporated a philosophical point of view. The common intention of almost all these religions is to help people become better human beings. They all teach love and compassion, tolerance and forgiveness, and have long benefited humanity.

“All the world’s major religions flourish in India. These include indigenous traditions like the Samkhya, Mimamsa and Vedanta schools, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism as well as traditions originating elsewhere. They live here harmoniously. They all teach love and compassion, which accords with basic human nature and is what humanity needs. We are social animals and without a sense of compassion for each other we won’t be happy. Whether we are religious or not there is a need for love and compassion in the world.


Members of the crowd listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Buddha Park in Bomdila, AP, India on April 5, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“I’m going to talk about what the Buddha taught, which can be differentiated from other traditions by its philosophical point of view. Some traditions believe in a creator god. Others like Jainism, non-theistic Samkhya and Buddhism don’t assert a creator, they teach that whatever pain and pleasure we experience is a result of actions we have done, rather than anything to do with god. What differentiates Buddhism further is its assertion of selflessness. This is not a denial of any self at all, a self functions, but selflessness means there is no independent, autonomous, permanent entity separate from our body and mind.

“I am a Buddhist and I have studied Buddhist philosophy, which I admire, but I can’t say it’s the best, that’s a question of what benefits an individual most. It’s like not being able to say that one medicine is suitable for all occasions. And although all food should be nourishing, it doesn’t make sense to say this or that is the best food. The Buddha gave different explanations according to the dispositions of the people listening to him. According to the 'The Extensive Sport Sutra' (Lalitavistara Sutra) he said to himself:

Profound and peaceful, free from complexity, uncompounded luminosity-
I have found a nectar-like Dharma.
Yet if I were to teach it, no-one would understand,
So I shall remain silent here in the forest.


His Holiness explained that at the time few were likely to be amenable to the idea of selflessness, although the Buddha thought his five previous companions might come round to it. He taught them the Four Noble Truths, the truth of suffering, its cause, cessation and path. He further elaborated four characteristics of each of the Noble Truths.

A view of the pavilion at Buddha Park, venue for His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teaching in Bomdila, AP, India on April 5, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
The truth of suffering, for example, can be understood as being impermanent, in the nature of suffering, empty and selfless. The characteristics of the truth of the cause of suffering are being a cause, an origin, strong production and a condition. The truth of cessation  can be understood in terms of cessation, pacification, being superb and definite emergence (from the cycle of existence), while the truth of the path is characterized in terms of its being a path, awareness, an achievement and deliverance.

Clarifying that the Four Noble Truths reveal the law of causality—suffering arises from its cause, but the path also gives rise to cessation—His Holiness noted that the first two Noble Truths show how suffering comes about, while the second two show to overcome it and leave the cycle of existence. He quoted the Buddha as saying, ‘Suffering must be known, the origin must be overcome, liberation must be achieved and the path must be cultivated.’

His Holiness made clear that along with the Four Noble Truths the Buddha explained the 37 factors aligned with enlightenment, which include the 4 foundations of mindfulness, the 4 supreme endeavours, the 4 miraculous feet, the 5 strengths, the 5 faculties, 7 means to enlightenment and the Noble Eightfold Path. These are all related to the first turning of the wheel of Dharma. He added that during the second turning of the wheel, the Buddha taught the Perfection of Wisdom.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the White Tara Long-Life Empowerment at Buddha Park in Bomdila, AP, India on April 5, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“In order understand cessation properly, you need to understand what ignorance is and how to overcome it—that’s where an understanding of emptiness comes in. One aspect of the third turning of the wheel is an interpretation of what was explained in the second turning with regard to the three natures and how they are defined: imputed nature has no intrinsic existence; dependent nature is not self-created and ultimate nature has no ultimate, independent existence. And with regard to secret mantra or Vajrayana, the ‘Tathagata-garbha Sutra’ teaches that the mind is primordially pure. All aspects of mind are pervaded by pristine awareness. We use this primordial mind and transform it when we visualize ourselves arising as a deity.”

As he began to grant the White Tara Long-Life Empowerment, His Holiness asked how Buddhas help beings and made clear that it’s by teaching about reality as it is to dispel ignorance. He referred to the depiction of the Wheel of Life pointing out that at the hub ignorance is shown as a pig which gives rise to desire, the rooster, and hatred, the snake. He also mentioned that in the outer rim the twelve links of dependent arising are depicted beginning again with ignorance portrayed as an elderly blind person.

During the Long-Life Empowerment His Holiness led a ceremony for generating the awakening mind of bodhichitta. At the end he urged everyone in attendance whether they were lay people or monastics to study as well as they can.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama arriving at Gontse Rabgyeling Monastery in Bomdila, AP, India on April 5, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
His Holiness drove to the nearby Gontse Rabgyeling Monastery, where the last stretch of the road was lined by small boys who are students there. He was given a traditional welcome and, after paying his respects before the various sacred images, sat on a chair. The abbot read a report that stated that the monastery as it was in Tibet dated back to the time of the 5th Dalai Lama. It was re-established in Bomdila in 1965 and, because of its historical link to Drepung Loselling Monastery, four Geshes were invited from there to teach. It has established a school to provide modern education as well as monastic training. The abbot ended with a prayer that His Holiness visit again and again and that the unmistaken reincarnation of the late Tsona Rinpoche be found.

“The Tsona Rinpoche before last,” His Holiness replied, “was a contemporary of Ling Rinpoche and may have attended the same debate yard. Ling Rinpoche told me he was not an especially distinguished scholar until it came to Vinaya, at which he excelled. In exile, Ling Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche and Tsona Rinpoche were close friends.

“The late Tsona Rinpoche was a brilliant monk when he was young. He was clever and a good scholar and a misfortune occurred in relation to his untimely death. He started building this monastery and it’s to your credit that you have completed it. I’m glad to know that you are making efforts to provide opportunities for study. For some time now I have encouraged ritual monasteries to incorporate such opportunities to study and nunneries too. Consequently, twenty nuns were recently awarded Geshe-ma degrees.”

After he had watched a demonstration of young monks’ prowess in debate, the monastery invited His Holiness to lunch.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the High School Auditorium Bomdila, AP, India on April 5, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
In the High School Auditorium, after lunch, His Holiness spoke to a gathering of 300 of Bomdila’s great and the good. He told them about his own commitments, that wherever he goes he talks about the urgent need for human values, an appreciation of the oneness of humanity, and concern for others’ well-being. He also mentioned his dedication to promoting religious harmony. As a Tibetan, despite retiring completely from any political responsibility, he is concerned to keep Tibetan culture alive and see the Tibetan environment better protected. Finally, after 58 years living in India he seeks to encourage Indians today to take a greater interest in what is to be learned from ancient Indian knowledge, particularly understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions.

His Holiness answered questions about the lack of punctuation marks in Tibetan language and whether Buddhists who are taught not to harm other creatures are vegetarian. He quoted a Sri Lankan monk who had told him that, because they depend on begging for their livelihood, Buddhist monks are neither vegetarian nor non-vegetarian. Questioned about being more effective in education he suggested that expressing affection for and genuine interest in their students rather than teaching merely mechanically is a good start.

Challenged to say why people should be religious when religion seems to have such capacity for causing trouble, His Holiness noted that the Pope recently said it was better to be a good human being than a stupid Christian and agreed that it was also better to be a good human being than a stupid Buddhist. Asked how to prepare for a peaceful death he suggested the first step is to be realistic, accept that death is a part of life and not to worry about it.

Leaving Bomdila by road, His Holiness drove to Dirang which lies in a substantially lower valley. Once again genial people proffering scarves and incense lined the route in villages along the way. Arriving at Thupsang Dhargyeling Monastery on a hill above the town he was given a traditional welcome. He cut a ribbon and pushed open the temple doors by way of inauguration and once inside unveiled a plaque to the same effect.

Tomorrow His Holiness will take part in a more formal inauguration program in the morning and will teach the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’ followed by an Avalokiteshvara permission in the afternoon.

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Travelling up to Arunachal Pradesh and Arrival at Bomdila

April 4th 2017

Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh, India, 4 April 2017 - Persistent stormy weather prompted a reassessment of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s plans to travel to Arunachal Pradesh. This morning, instead of taking a helicopter to Tawang, he set off by road from Guwahati with Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu escorting him. By and large the rain held off and the road was clear. Although the change of plan was only decided late last night word had spread. Military personnel marked the route at regular intervals. At villages along the way local people gathered, smiling, white scarves and incense in their hands to greet His Holiness as he passed. In many places they had also arranged the Chemar Chang-phu offering and set up a carpeted chair for him to sit on if he chose, as well as preparing incense offerings of billowing juniper smoke. Where His Holiness stopped his car, he opened the door and village representatives came forward with a bowl of rice which he blessed and asked them to share with their neighbours.

His Holiness took a short break for tea at the Government Rest House at Bhairabkunda on the border between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, where he chatted with Chief Minister Pema Khandu and West Kameng DC Dr Sonal Swaroop.


 His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to members of the local community gathered to greet him at Tenzin Gang Tibetan Settlement in Arunachal Pradesh on April 4, 2017. Photo by Jeremy Russell/OHHDL
At Tenzin Gang His Holiness was made welcome at Gyuto Monastery. He paid his respects in the temple before climbing the stairs to the rooms above where lunch was served. Before resuming his journey he greeted the crowd, including several dozen school children who had gathered to see him. Speaking briefly to them he noted that Tibetans have been in exile for 58 years and that conditions in Central Tibet continue to be very difficult, although they are not quite so tough in Kham and Amdo. He praised the unflagging spirit of the Tibetan people and encouraged his listeners to be proud of their culture and the rigorous education that has been preserved in Tibet’s monastic institutions. He mentioned that although life in exile has its sad aspects, he also appreciates the enriching of experience it has brought and suggested that those who eventually return to Tibet will take with them a broader vision than before.

The motorcade drove on. It began to rain once more as it approached Bomdila, but this did not discourage people from thronging the streets to welcome His Holiness. Reaching Thubchok Gatsel Ling Monastery he paid his respects in the temple and was served ceremonial tea and sweet rice. Shortly afterwards he retired to his rooms for the night.

Tomorrow he will teach at the Bomdila Buddha Park and offer a White Tara Long-Life Empowerment in the morning and will give a public talk in the High School Auditorium in the afternoon.

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Urgent Announcement

April 4th 2017

Guwahati, Assam, India, 4 April 2017 - Due to severe weather conditions in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, His Holiness the Dalai Lama's schedule for his upcoming visit to Arunachal Pradesh has been affected.

His Holiness will now be arriving in Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh on April 4 afternoon. On April 5 He will give a teaching and confer a White Tara Long Life Empowerment (drolkar tsewang) in the morning at the Buddha Park.

On April 6, His Holiness will give teachings in Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh on Geshe Langri Thangpa's Eight Verses of Training the Mind (lojong tsikgyema) & Guru Yoga (lama neljor) and confer the Avalokiteshvara Permission (chenresig jenang) in the morning at Thupsung Dhargyeling Monastery.

From April 8 to 10, His Holiness will give teachings in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh. On April 8 & 9 mornings, His Holiness will give teachings on Kamalashila's The Middling States of Meditation (gomrim barpa) & Gyalsey Thokme Sangpo's Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva (laklen sodunma) at Yiga Choezin. On April 10 morning, His Holiness will confer the Rinzin Dhondup Initiation at Yiga Choezin.

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Visit to Dibrugarh University

Guwahati, Assam, India, 3 April 2017 - The unsettled weather of the last few days continued as His Holiness the Dalai Lama set off this morning from Guwahati. Thunder rolled and lightning flashed in the distance as he drove to the airport. The consequent turbulence made the flight to Dibrugarh a little bumpy, but it landed safely and on time.

His Holiness was received on arrival at the Dibrugarh University campus at Rangghar by the Vice-Chancellor Prof Alak Kr Buragohain and Shri Chandan Sarma, Coordinator of the Buddhist Study Centre. Together they lit a lamp to inaugurate the occasion. As he took his seat on the stage with the Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar, Prof M N Dutta, His Holiness invited a senior member of the Buddhist Sangha to join them.

Following the Vice-Chancellor’s welcoming introduction, His Holiness addressed 1100 students and faculty.

“Today, it’s important to acknowledge the oneness of humanity. There may be human beings in other galaxies, but we have no connection with them so there’s nothing we can do for them. Similarly, we may feel sympathy for the animals with which we share this planet, but there is not much we can do for them either. However, the other human beings around us we can communicate with because we have language in common. As human beings we are physically, mentally and emotionally the same. We really are like brothers and sisters.

“Developing compassion for others brings inner strength contributing to our own inner peace. This automatically reduces fear. This is important because fear and stress can lead to frustration, which in turn can lead to anger and violence. It’s not enough to say that violence is destructive, to prevent it we must address its causes, which very often are fear and anger.

“The natural counterforce to fear is friendship which depends entirely on trust, which in turn depends on a feeling of closeness, the sense that as human beings we are all the same. This is what I try to practise and share with other people. Whenever I speak in public I greet my audience as brothers and sisters. Differences of religion, colour, profession, family background, whether we are rich or poor, people of faith or non-believers, belonging to this nationality or that nationality are secondary in the context that we are all human beings.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing over 1100 students and faculty at Dibrugarh University in Dibrugarh, Assam, India on April 3, 2017. Photo by Ven Lobsang Kunga/OHHDL
“Many of the problems we face today we bring upon ourselves because we focus on these secondary differences between us. We cling to the idea of my nation, my religion, my community, that we are rich while they are poor. This creates a strong sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’. The only remedy is to remind ourselves that we are all the same as human beings. We need to remember the oneness of humanity.”

His Holiness recommended that people ask themselves if there is any value in violence. It destroys our peace of mind. It ruins the peace and harmony within the family and then within the wider community. And yet violence proliferates. The 20th century saw two world wars, the Korean War and the Vietnam war. As a result some historians say 200 million people met violent deaths. His Holiness remarked that if this immense violence had resulted in a better world some people might say it had been justified, but there is no evidence to bear this out.

“In today’s world we face increasing natural disasters, including earthquakes, due to the effects of climate change. Yesterday in Guwahati I attended the Namimi Brahmaputra Festival celebrating the sacredness of that great river, but we know it also has a tendency to flood. Because of global warming the Himalayan glaciers are melting and less snow is falling. In Dharamsala, where I live, there is much less snow than when I arrived more than 50 years ago. In the meantime, the human population continues to increase and the gap between rich and poor continues to grow. We must find ways to raise the living standards of the poor. We must also find ways to make better use of scarce resources.

“To do this we human beings must work together. We need to share our responsibilities in order to save our planet and create a happier humanity. Thinking of others in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’ is out of date. This is why I am committed to promoting a sense of the oneness of our human family. Wherever I go I remind people that we are all the same as human beings. The time has come to make an effort to understand that our future depends on others. In our own interest we must be concerned about others and take care of them. This is the wise way to ensure our self-interest. Neglecting others and thinking only of yourself is a foolish way to approach self-interest.


Some of the more than 1100 students and faculty attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama's talk at Dibrugarh University in Dibrugarh, Assam, India on April 3, 2017. Photo by Ven Lobsang Kunga/OHHDL
“All the world major religious traditions convey a message of love and compassion, just as here in the land of ahimsa we talk of maitri and karuna. Despite their different philosophical views all these traditions are dedicated to encouraging a sense of love and compassion.

“Love and compassion are a source of inner peace and scientific research shows that a healthy mind contributes to physical well-being. Since we all wish to live in a happy and peaceful world, we should do what we can to make this 21st century a period of peace. The starting point is for individuals to create inner peace within themselves, this is how to make this a compassionate century. And it is those of you who belong to the 21st century generation who need to make this happen. Our hopes for the future rest on you.”

Turning his attention to the drawbacks of contemporary education His Holiness stressed the need for it to incorporate human values. He expressed regret that  education today is oriented towards material goals. He suggested that one solution is for modern education to be combined with an understanding of our inner world. He disclosed that one of his commitments is to trying to revive the ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions. As more and more Indians show interest in this he feels encouraged, because India may be the only place where modern education could be combined with ancient knowledge leading to peace of mind.

Taking questions from the audience His Holiness was asked about the future of non-violence when violence continues to be rife across the world. He replied that humanity has changed. During the early 20th century when nations declared war their citizens unhesitatingly joined the war effort. This has changed. His Holiness reported that his physics tutor Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker told him that after centuries of considering each other arch enemies, France and Germany decided to work together. After the Second World War DeGaulle and Adenauer created what has become the European Union, placing community welfare ahead of narrow national interest. This, he said, is a sign of human maturity. Similarly, Japan, whose conduct in the war was quite ruthless, has become a leading nation opposed to the use of force, especially the deployment of nuclear weapons. He suggested these were grounds for being optimistic.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from the audience during his talk at Dibrugarh University in Dibrugarh, Assam, India on April 3, 2017. Photo by Ven Lobsang Kunga/OHHDL
Regarding the introduction of ethics into contemporary education His Holiness reported that at the end of this month he will attend a meeting in Delhi of interested parties who have been developing a curriculum to this end. It seeks to teach values based on common experience, common sense and scientific findings. Once the draft curriculum is agreed there will follow a period to observe how it works in practice.

His Holiness warned that if the present education system continues unchanged, focussed largely on material goals, we will ensure that future generations are only interested in money and power. His aim is to introduce ethics with a universal appeal.

Asked about his recollections of reaching Tawang and Tezpur in 1959, he said they were very clear.

“Once I crossed the border the people from Tawang gave me a very warm welcome. Local officials also took care of me under instructions from the Government of India. When I reached Tezpur, I gave my first official statement to the large number of media people who had gathered there.

“Yesterday I met an old soldier from the Assam Rifles, one of those who escorted me down from the border. He is now 78 years old and although I am actually older than him, I thought he looked older than me. I was very moved to meet him again and gave him a hug. Since arriving here 58 years ago, I have become the longest-staying guest of the Indian Government. I lost my country and the Tibetans who remain there are bereft of happiness, but here in India Tibetan refugees and I have found a new freedom.”

His Holiness was invited to lunch with the Vice-Chancellor and other senior officials of the University. After that he met with almost 500 Tibetans from the Miao and Tezu settlements before flying back to Guwahati.

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Guest of the Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University & Lawyers Book Stall and Namami Brahmaputra Festival

 Guwahati, Assam, India, 2 April 2017 - The sky remained overcast, but the rain had all but stopped this morning as His Holiness the Dalai Lama drove to the Guwahati University Auditorium. His hosts were the Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University (KKHSOU), a state university established in 2005 with the motto—Education Beyond Barriers, and the Lawyers Book Stall which has been popular with local students for 75 years. Vice-Chancellor of the University, Dr Hitesh Deka offered traditional felicitations including gifts of a scarf, shawl and bouquet of flowers. Describing His Holiness as ‘symbol of peace’ he also offered him a framed citation, a book and a painting of a scene from the Buddha’s life in which he subdued a crazed elephant. Dr SK Nath of the Guwahati University, which had provided premises for the occasion, also offered his felicitations.

In a short introduction to the occasion, Bhaskar Dutta-Baruah expressed gratitude to His Holiness for coming. He noted that the misfortune that had befallen Tibet had resulted in benefit for many other people across the world who had been enriched by their encounter with representatives of the Nalanda Tradition. He welcomed His Holiness to the erstwhile Kamarupa, a region associated with tantric adepts Naropa and Luipa, as well as the scholar Atisha.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama unveiling the new Assamese translation of his memoir "My Land and My People" before his talk at Guwahati University Auditorium in Guwahati, Assam, India on April 2, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Dutta-Baruah requested His Holiness to unveil and release a fresh translation of one of his earliest books, his memoir, ‘My Land and My People’, into Assamese. The book not only tells the story of His Holiness’s early life, but gives an account of what happened in Tibet up to the point at which he felt bound to escape. The translator, Indrani Laskar, was also presented to him.

Called upon to address the audience of 1500, His Holiness began in his customary manner. He explained that he greets his listeners as brothers and sisters because he cannot remember all the dignitaries names, but also because he is convinced of the need to promote the oneness of humanity according and the idea that all 7 billion human beings alive today are like brothers and sisters.

“We all have the same desire to live a happy life free from sorrow. However, we also face a multitude of problems, the majority of which are of our own making. Many of them derive from our giving in to our disturbing emotions. Whether or not we have a self-centred attitude, to be motivated by compassion is good because it leads to self-confidence, less fear and greater trust. When we are motivated by negative or disturbing emotions it leads to distrust and suspicion.

“Anger may seem to be a source of energy, but it’s blind. It causes us to lose our restraint. It may stir courage, but again it’s blind courage. Negative emotions, which often arise from a spontaneous impulse, cannot be justified by reason, whereas positive emotions can. Scientists suggest that constant anger and hatred undermine our immune system. Compassion, bringing inner strength, is good for our health.”


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on Ancient Indian Knowledge in Modern Times at Guwahati University Auditorium in Guwahati, Assam, India on April 2, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
His Holiness recalled conversations he has had with cognitive therapist Aaron Beck who has focussed on dealing with problems people have associated with anger. Beck told him that when we are angry the object of our fury seems entirely negative, but 90% of that is just mental projection. His Holiness was impressed by the correspondence he recognised with what Nagarjuna taught more than two thousand years earlier. Since we are social animals, not solitary creatures like the rhinoceros, our survival is dependent on others. Therefore compassion can be justified and defended through logic and reason.

“Today,” His Holiness added, “different parts of the world depend on each other. The global economy is heavily dependent. Meanwhile, climate change brings dangers that threaten us all. The widening gap between rich and poor and such inequities as the caste system, a custom that is out of date, are issues we can only tackle together. This is why we need to remember that in being human we are the same, instead of focussing on secondary differences of faith, race or nationality. This is also why I consider myself to be just one among 7 billion human beings, because to dwell on being the Dalai Lama would be to isolate myself from others.

“We find this way of thinking in the Nalanda Tradition. These days I try to encourage young Indians to pay more attention to what the knowledge of ancient India can tell us that is helpful today. We can learn how to tackle our emotions. We can adopt ahimsa or non-violence as a mode of conduct, not out of fear, but out of a sense of karuna or compassion. Ahimsa occurs when we have the opportunity to do harm but restrain ourselves from doing so.

“Ahimsa and karuna are Indian treasures, as is the tradition of religious harmony. As I said yesterday I’m the Government of India’s longest-staying guest and I try to repay that hospitality by being a messenger of these great traditions.”


A young member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his talk at Guwahati University Auditorium in Guwahati, Assam, India on April 2, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Answering questions from the audience, His Holiness explained that he is optimistic about the future because scientists have established that basic human nature is compassionate. Although all major religions teach the virtues of love and compassion, this is a time when we need ethics based on common sense, common experience and scientific findings.

He was challenged to explain why he says prayer and religious ritual will not bring change in the way education will. He pointed out that prayer is well and good as far as personal practice is concerned, but when it comes to changing the world, people have been praying for centuries to little effect. What will bring change is education. In this connection he agreed that vipashyana meditation, involving analysis as it does, can also make a positive contribution.

He reiterated that he considers himself a son of India because every scrap of knowledge in his brain is derived from the Nalanda Tradition, an Indian tradition through and through. At the same time, he said, his body has been nourished for decades by Indian rice, dal and chapatis. He concluded by repeating what a 15th century Tibetan scholar-adept had said—although Tibet might have been bright as the Land of Snows it remained dark until illuminated by the light of knowledge that came from India.

Speaking to almost 400 Tibetans from Shillong, Itanagar and other parts of the North-east His Holiness told them:


His Holiness the Dalai Lama meeting with members of the Tibetan community from Northeast India in Guwahati, Assam, India on April 2, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“We Tibetans have a karmic connection due to our past prayers, but as a result of the misfortune that befell our country we had to leave. The people who remain there still face difficulties, but their spirit remains strong. When we reached here in 1959, the only things we knew for sure were the sky above and the earth below. In the steaming hot climate of India we felt lost. We appealed to the UN for help, but Nehru warned that the US would not go to war with China over Tibet.

“In an earlier effort to reach out to the world the 13th Dalai Lama sent some Tibetan children to Rugby school in Britain to receive a modern education. Last year representatives of the school came to see me to mark the centenary of their arrival. If that project had gone forward things might have been different. We might have established relations with the wider world.”

His Holiness remarked that change is taking place in China. He encouraged his listeners to be self-confident and happy and to ensure that the young children in front of him learn Tibetan. He assured them that the sun will come out once more.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama and special guests watching a video display in a specially fashioned dome at the Namami Brahmaputra Festival in Guwahati, Assam, India on April 2, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
In the afternoon, His Holiness was the Chief Guest at the Namami Brahmaputra Festival. He drove first to the banks of the river where he was received once more by the Governor and Chief Minister. Together in a specially fashioned dome, they  watched a video display depicting the physical ways in which the Brahmaputra is a real lifeline for the region and how its mystical associations are a source of strength. Out in the fresh air, gazing out over the river itself, His Holiness stressed that since it plays such a role, people do need to learn to appreciate and care for it. He acknowledged the role of the festival in contributing to this.

Inside the ITA auditorium, the function was inaugurated by the stentorian chanting of Tibetan monks. The Governor, Chief Minister and Director General of the Assam Rifles offered His Holiness traditional felicitations. He was introduced to an old soldier who had been part of the troop that escorted him down from the border 58 years ago and signed photographs for him.

Minister of Finance, Himanta Biswa Sarma began an extended welcome address in Assamese. Switching to English he outlined the trade and cultural relations that have persisted through history between Assam and Tibet. He alluded to illustrated silk drapes known as Vrindavani Vastra depicting the life of Lord Krishna that had been conveyed to Tibet from where they were taken to Britain where they are now in the possession of the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Museum.


Assam Chief Minister Shri Sarbananda Sonowal addressing the audience at the Namami Brahmaputra Festival in Guwahati, Assam, India on April 2, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
In his speech, the Chief Minister, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, referred to the Namami Brahmaputra Festival’s highlighting the significance of the river for the country. He declared the Brahmaputra to be the very culture, economy and lifeline of Assam. He repeated what Keats said about a thing of beauty being a joy forever. He expressed gratitude to His Holiness, whose presence was a source of inspiration with regard to human values and the quality of living in peace and harmony. He requested his blessing that the people of Assam live together in love, compassion and mutual respect.

Governor, Shri Banwarilal Purohit released a brochure for the forthcoming Festival of Faiths and spoke entertainingly in Hindi.

In his address, His Holiness said how much he had enjoyed his two day visit. He appreciated the warm welcome he had received. He mentioned again what a pleasure it had been to meet one of his Assam Rifles escorts from so long ago. He also declared himself pleased to have had the opportunity to share some of his ideas with people here, noting how attentive they had been. He said his only complaint was about the stormy weather, but conceded that even the Governor and Chief Minister cannot control that.

This reminded him of an occasion in Patna where the Chief Minister had established a Buddha Memorial Park that he wanted His Holiness to inaugurate.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Namami Brahmaputra Festival in Guwahati, Assam, India on April 2, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“In his speech the Chief Minister expressed a hope that Bihar would develop and prosper as a result of the Buddha’s blessings. When it came to my turn to speak I pointed out that if that was the source of Bihar’s prosperity it should have happened long ago because the Buddha’s blessings had been present for more than 2500 years. I told him that what would really make a difference would be if those blessings passed through the hands of a capable Chief Minister. And I repeat that here today in the presence of this Chief Minister, who seems to be a very practical person.

“The key to successful development is education. We’ll keep in touch and when the draft curriculum we are preparing for teaching secular ethics from Kindergarten to University is ready I’ll send you a copy. You can try it out and see how it works.”

Among his answers to questions from the audience, His Holiness went to some lengths to explain that he does not approve of people being offered inducements to convert from one religion to another. He said it is important for people to have a greater appreciation of what is taught in different faiths, and it is equally important that people are free to choose what to believe. But in general he advises that it is best to stick with the tradition you were born to.

The Minister of Transport Chandra Mohan Patowary wound up the occasion with extensive words of thanks before a concluding recital of the national anthem. His Holiness returned to his hotel. Tomorrow he is due to visit Dibrugarh University to speak about Ethics in Modern Education.

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Arrival in Guwahati, Assam, and Attending 79th Anniversary Celebrations of the Assam Tribune

Guwahati, Assam, India, 1 April 2017 - Following an uneventful flight from Dharamsala to Delhi yesterday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama this morning boarded another plane to fly across the country to Guwahati, the largest city in Assam. Minor but persistent turbulence during the descent to Guwahati were indicative of the weather on the ground—it was pouring with rain, which locals refer to as pre-monsoon. A crush of people, Assamese and Tibetan, eager journalists among them, had gathered to welcome him at the airport.

After lunch His Holiness drove to the ITA Centre for Performing Arts to take part in a concluding function of celebrations of the Platinum Jubilee of the Assam Tribune and the Golden Jubilee of its Assamese language sister paper the Dainik Asam.

His Holiness was introduced to the audience and welcomed with gifts that included a bouquet of flowers, a traditional wide-brimmed Assamese hat, which he said would be practical in the rain, a carved replica of the Kamakhya temple and a figure of the state animal, the one horned rhinoceros. He was invited to join the Governor, Shri Banwarilal Purohit, and the Chief Minister, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, in inaugurating the occasion by lighting a lamp.

Director of the Assam Tribune group, Ms Babita Rajkohwa, declared it was an honour to welcome His Holiness to the anniversary celebrations. She observed that he began his life in exile when he entered the North-east India and that it was the Assam Tribune that first announced his arrival. She invited him to release two books, one a coffee table account of the Assam Tribune and the other a biography of the first editor and noted Assamese author Lakshminath Phookan.

In his welcoming speech, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal spoke of the divine feeling and human values His Holiness brought to the occasion. He reminded the audience that he had promised the people of Assam good governance, which depends on efficiency, having a sense of quality and good values. He asserted that His Holiness’s presence gave him strength to achieve these goals, describing him as a messenger of peace, harmony and human values. Finally, since the majority of the audience were involved with the Assam Tribune group of newspapers, he alluded to the media’s important role as the fourth pillar of democracy, along with government, legislature and judiciary.


Governor of Assam Shri Banwarilal Purohit speaking at at the Platinum Jubilee Celebration of the Assam Tribune in Guwahati, Assam, India on April 1, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL in Guwahati, Assam, India on April 1, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
The Governor spoke amusingly of his addiction to reading the Assam Tribune with his morning tea, declaring it to be a wonderful paper. Switching to Hindi he recalled his own experiences of editing the Nagpur daily newspaper The Hitavada and the need to maintain a high standard of ethics.

His Holiness began his own address with an explanation that he always greets whoever he is speaking to as brothers and sisters because one of his main commitments is to promoting a sense of the oneness of all 7 billion human beings.

“In today’s world we face a multitude of problems that we human beings have brought on ourselves. They include ongoing violence and killing, while elsewhere children die of starvation because of famine. As human beings how can we remain indifferent? Since the majority of these problems are our creation, logically we should be able to rectify them.

“The good news is that as a result of their research scientists have concluded that basic human nature is compassionate. This is a sign of hope. If it were otherwise and it was human nature to be angry, the situation would be hopeless. Therefore, I tell people that we are all the same in being human. We are physically, mentally and emotionally the same. The Governor and Chief Minister here were both born of a mother and when they each depart they will go the same way. The important thing is that while we are alive we shouldn’t create trouble, but, recognising how other people are human like us, should cultivate concern for their well being. If we can do that there’ll be no basis for cheating, bullying or killing other people.

“We have to make an effort to extend our natural compassion, not just through prayer or coining nice words, but by putting our intelligence to good use. That’s how we’ll become happy ourselves, living in a happy family, a happy community and a happier world. One of the things that distinguishes us as human beings is this ability to extend our natural feelings of karuna, compassion, to other human beings and ultimately to the whole of humanity.”


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at at the Platinum Jubilee Celebration of the Assam Tribune in Guwahati, Assam, India on April 1, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL in Guwahati, Assam, India on April 1, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
His Holiness remarked that in the introductions he had been referred to as the reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara and the 13th Dalai Lama. He said he had doubts about that, but what he did know was that the Tibetan Buddhist training he had undertaken had equipped him to use his intelligence to the full. It involved thinking and questioning, not just being a ‘yes-man’, but asking why? and how? This, he said, was the approach of the Nalanda tradition, the zenith of the Sanskrit Buddhism.

With regard to the Assam Tribune, he told the audience that photographs in today’s special supplement reminded him of his passing through Tezpur in 1959 as he escaped Tibet. He was also moved by a picture of his mother and elder sister.

“In March 1959, after a huge demonstration in Lhasa against Chinese occupation I tried for a week to cool things down. But while I was doing that the Chinese military threat only grew. By 17th March there was no option left but to escape, despite the risks and dangers involved. We hoped that once we reached Southern Tibet there might be some opportunity still to talk with the Chinese, but from 20th March they began their bombardment of Lhasa.

“I sent representatives to India and Bhutan to explore whether we would be able to enter their territory. A messenger returned to tell me that India was waiting to receive us. It was a great relief on crossing the border to see my old liaison officer Mr Menon and my interpreter, Sonam Topgyal Kazi, waiting for us. I remember that moment as my first real feeling of freedom. People welcomed me warm-heartedly and a new chapter of my life began.

“Other refugees who streamed out of Tibet were gathered in camps at Misamari, where in April it was intensely hot. The priority then was to shift them to cooler places, but even so, right from the start we set about trying to preserve our knowledge and culture. With Prime Minister Nehru’s help and support we established settlements elsewhere for them.”


Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Platinum Jubilee Celebration of the Assam Tribune at the ITA Centre for Performing Arts in Guwahati, Assam, India on April 1, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
His Holiness remarked that it was when he made his first visit to Europe in 1973 that he became aware that high levels of material development did not necessarily bring happiness. He met too many people who were well-off but troubled by stress, anxiety and suspicion. He realized that the advice that happiness is dependent on being concerned for the welfare of others remains relevant in today’s world too. He also began to appreciate the value of India’s long-standing secular approach, maintaining an unbiased respect for all religious traditions. And while material development contributes to physical comfort, mental comfort depends on karuna, which expresses itself as ahimsa. This, His Holiness declared, is valuable and relevant to 7 billion human beings today.

He drew a distinction between those like him and the Governor who belong to the 20th century, an era that is past, and those who belong to the 21st century. The latter, who are the younger generation today, have a responsibility to make this century an era of peace. It will involve learning to tackle emotions and developing a more compassionate mind. It will require turning away from divisions into ‘us’ and ‘them’. His Holiness said there is an urgent need to resolve problems and disputes through dialogue rather than taking up weapons. The ancient India understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions can make a crucial contribution to this.

Before answering several questions from the audience, His Holiness concluded:

“I came first to attend the Buddha Jayanti celebrations in 1956 and returned to India in 1959 as a refugee. Now, 58 years later I’ve become the longest guest of the Government of India. I agree with what both the Governor and Chief Minister have said about a need for human values. They are quite right. And I’d like to express my appreciation of the welcome I’ve received today, right from the moment I stepped out of the plane. Thank you very much.”

Tomorrow, he will give a public talk at Guwahati University in the morning and attend a Namami Brahmaputra Festival in the afternoon.

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His Holiness the Dalai Lama Visits Madhya Pradesh to Talk on the Environment and Happiness

Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, 19 March 2017 (PTI) - India should focus on development of villages to ensure prosperity, the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama said on Sunday. “India’s prosperity depends on the development of villages instead of developing big cities. So, the journey of development should start from rural areas of the country,” the Dalai Lama told a gathering at Turnal village of Dewas district in Madhya Pradesh.

He was here to participate in the ongoing ‘Namami Devi Narmade-Sewa Yatra,’ which is aimed at conserving Narmada river.

“India is predominantly an agriculture-based economy and rural India must be transformed for the country’s development.

“The focus should be on developing basic facilities like health and education in rural areas. All the basic requirements of the people should be made available in the villages. India will transform only through the rural transformation,” the Dalai Lama said.

The Tibetan spiritual leader also stressed the need for greater participation of women in different fields.

“The women are more sensitive and full of compassion. Their enhanced participation will make the world a better place as they can ensure promoting deeper human values,” he said.

While lauding the river conservation campaign launched by MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who also participated in the programme, the Dalai Lama said the people should think holistically as far as global warming was concerned.

“The environment has been changing across the world. Our approach should be holistic. CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been making efforts for conservation of river Narmada. People should actively participate in such campaigns to make them successful,” he said.


Members of the gathering listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at Narmade-Sewa Yatra om Turnal, Madhya Pradesh, India on March 19, 2017. Photo by Lobsang Tsering/OHHDL
The Tibetan spiritual leader said, “Our ancestors were living here on the earth. Our future generation will live here. We need to save water, carry out plantations.”

He said the people across the world have been facing problems due to racism and apartheid.

“We need to be united against the discrimination and atrocities. The racism and apartheid are behind most of the social problems across the world. Every person in the world wants to live in peace and happiness,” he added.

The Dalai Lama said the basic needs of all seven billion people of the world like water and food were same despite the technology revolution.

Violence, Starvation Exist Due to Negligence, Rich-Poor Gap: Dalai Lama

Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India 19 March 2017 (PTI): A lot of problems, mainly violence and starvation, exist due to negligence and a "huge gap" between the rich and the poor, the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama said on Sunday.

During his address on the "art of happiness", the monk said that harmony among different faiths exists in India, which is unique in world.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on The Art of Happiness in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India on March 19, 2017. Photo by Chemey Tenzin/OHHDL
"All religions peacefully live together (in India). Occasionally, there are some problems mainly due to politicians...So that also is understandable. (There are) some mischievous persons in human beings (sic)," the Dalai Lama said in a lighter vein, evoking peals of laughter.

Acknowledging existence of strife, he said, "(In) today's world, (there are) lot of problems...From the major disasters (which are) beyond control. But many problems, mainly violence, killing and starvation, are due to negligence and (due to) a huge gap between the rich and the poor."

The Dalai Lama hailed the peaceful co-existence of various faiths in India.

"Bharat, this country..I think (since) over 2000 years, besides homegrown religions, Christianity, Islam from outside have coexisted peacefully and remained...I think that is unique. This does not exist in any other country," he said.

The Tibetan spiritual head appealed to Indians to show to outside world that different traditions can thrive together.

He advocated religious harmony in the midst of strife over beliefs in world.

"All religions preach love and compassion. No religion says that God is full of anger. The God is full of love. We are children of such a compassionate father (God). Basis of all religions is harmony.. Mutual respect," he added.


A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his talk in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India on March 19, 2017. Photo by Chemey Tenzin/OHHDL
Observing that violence, killing and starvation are man-made, the Dalai Lama said, "We human being ourselves have created all this. So either we just ignore or make some effort. But any sensible human being cannot ignore. Therefore, ignoring is perfectly wrong...Remaining indifferent (to the problems) is wrong," he said.

Stating that religions act like medicines that destroy diseases, the Dalai Lama said, "I never say that Buddhism is the best religion."

He underlined the need of such education system that will be based on secularism, inner values, love and compassion, and not on any religion.

"Existing education system is materialistic which is not adequate..My first Guru to teach love was my mother. My mother was very kind. I never saw her angry, unlike my father who was short-tempered," he recalled.

At times, I use to pull his moustache and he used to beat me up, the Dalai Lama said in a lighter vein.

He said love and affection start from bosom of mother.

"Mother cuddles her newborn child and the infant starts reciprocating love. People who don't get this love get angry and (they) grow up with mistrust, according to studies," the Dalai Lama said, adding that happiness cannot be bought in any supermarket.

He lauded Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for creating a department of Happiness last year.

Observing that "varna dharma" is outdated," he said that the caste-based system was based on a feudal mindset and was aimed at exploiting farmers.

He recalled instances of ill treatment meted out to members of so-called lower castes in India in past.

"...Now time has come for different spiritual leaders to create a voice that all are equal...Dr B R Ambedkar had made great contribution..Wonderful," he said.

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Visit to Nava Nalanda Mahavihara and 2nd Day of International Buddhist Conference

Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, 18 March 2017 – This morning His Holiness the Dalai Lama drove to the nearby Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, which was established as a university in 1951. He was welcomed by the Vice Chancellor, Shri M.L. Srivastava. Before addressing more than100 students and faculty in the University’s conference hall, His Holiness planted a Bodhi Tree Sapling and unveiled a commemorative plaque on a new administrative building.

His Holiness recalled visiting the University in 1956, when he was in India participating in the 2500th Buddha Jayanti Celebrations organized by the Mahabodhi Society of India.

“Chinese Premier Chou En-Lai was supposed to visit Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, but for some reason he was not able to do so. I was asked to go in his stead. At that time I was a Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People Congress of the People’s Republic of China. Today, I visit you as a refugee.”

Stressing the importance of applying themselves in their studies, His Holiness advised the students:

“Merely wearing the robes of a monk or nun is not sufficient. You must also study seriously. Today, Tibetan nuns, having spent 18 to 20 years in rigorous study, have achieved the highest degree of Geshe-ma. They have become equal in scholarship to their monk counterparts who are Geshes. On the one hand Buddhism focuses on our inner world through the practice of meditation, but we also make extensive use of logic and reasoning. As a result, Buddhists in India, and here at Nalanda in particular, were able to rise to challenges from non-Buddhist traditions, taking them as an opportunity to develop and deepen their understanding.

“You should deepen your knowledge through listening to your teachers and reading a broad range of books. It is by comparing one point of view with another that you come to understand the subject matter more extensively.”

Before returning to Rajgir, His Holiness presented the University with a statue of Buddha Shakyamuni and a Tibetan Thangka (scroll painting) that he commissioned featuring the Buddha in the centre surrounded by 17 great masters of Nalanda.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on the second day of the International Conference on Buddhism in the 21at Century in Rajgir, Bihar, India on March 18, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Back in Rajgir, His Holiness participated in the morning session of the second day of the International Conference on The Relevance of Buddhism in the 21st Century. He and nine senior monks from Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia, and one senior nun from Thailand, took turns addressing the audience.

“I have really enjoyed this meeting,” His Holiness told the conference. “I’m especially pleased to see how many people have come from different Buddhist countries. It’s not an easy journey, yet the fact that so many of you have come shows your concern for the Buddhadharma.

“In this 21st century we are facing many problems of our own making. Humanity as a whole has a responsibility to find solutions to, for example, the violence and killing that is going on in many places and the unnecessary starvation stalking parts of Africa. Similarly, we have to learn to do more to take care of our environment. If the Buddha were able to transfer us to another planet once this planet becomes uninhabitable we could relax. But that isn’t possible. This planet is our only home, so we have to take care of it. As Buddhists I believe we also have a responsibility to promote religious harmony. We should create opportunities to meet more regularly to exchange ideas. We can learn from each other.”


A delegate to the Conference on Buddhism in the 21at Century asking the panel a question during second day of the conference in Rajgir, Bihar, India on March 18, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
His Holiness pointed out that observance of the Vinaya or monastic disciple and teachings like the Four Noble Truths are fundamental to all Buddhist traditions. He suggested that some followers of the Pali tradition might also find it helpful to pay attention to Sutras from the Sanskrit tradition, such as the Heart Sutra.

In conclusion, His Holiness thanked the Government of India, and the Ministry of Culture in particular, for organizing this important conference. As the session came to an end he presented each of his fellow speakers with a statue of the Buddha and a white silk scarf.

After a quick lunch, His Holiness left for Gaya. From there he flew to Bhopal where he was received on arrival by the Honourable Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Chouhan Singh, who welcomed him on behalf of the people of the state.

Tomorrow morning, His Holiness will visit Turnal to participate in the Narmada Sewa Yatra, an initiative of the Madhya Pradesh State Government dedicated to the saving of water and the conservation of the Narmada River. In the afternoon, he will give a talk on the ‘Art of Happiness’ in the auditorium of the Vidhan Sabha---the State Assembly.

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Inauguration of International Conference on Relevance of Buddhism in 21st Century

Rajgir, Bihar, India, 17 March 2017 – His Holiness the Dalai Lama departed Dharamsala yesterday morning as rain clouds gathered overhead. On arriving at Gaya Airport, he was received by representatives of the Bihar State Government. After a brisk lunch, he drove to Rajgir, where he stopped his car at the foot of the hills leading to Vulture’s Peak. This is where Buddha Shakyamuni turned the Wheel of Dharma for the second time with his explanation of the Perfection of Wisdom. His Holiness remained a few minutes in silent reflection facing in the direction of the sacred site.

This morning it was a short drive to the Nalanda International Convention Centre, which has been constructed in the shape of a stupa. More than 1300 Indian and foreign delegates were gathered looking forward to His Holiness’s participation in the inauguration of an International Conference on the Relevance of Buddhism in the 21st Century.

In his opening address, Shri N.K. Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, welcomed everyone present. Shri M.L. Srivastava, Vice Chancellor, Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, who is co-host of the conference, introduced his University, which was established in 1951, as a place of learning with a focus particularly on advanced Buddhist studies. His Holiness released a newly printed edition of the Pali Tripitaka in Devanagari script published by the Ministry of Culture. In his remarks, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Shri Mahesh Sharma, welcomed the Buddhist leaders, monks and scholars from more than 30 countries who had gathered for this three-day conference to discuss a more socially engaged Buddhism for our time.

In his keynote address, His Holiness the Dalai Lama began by introducing his primary commitment in relation to humankind,

“I am just one of the 7 billion human beings alive today, who all want happiness and do not want suffering. We are all the same, emotionally, mentally and physically. Some scientists have found evidence to show that basic human nature is compassionate. This is a really hopeful sign and it makes sense. We are social animals. We were all born from a mother. If we don't receive affection when we are small we won’t survive. This has nothing to do with religion--- it’s a biological fact. Since scientific research shows that constant fear, anger and hatred undermine our immune system, whether we are religious or not, it is in our interest to be more compassionate.”


His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivering his keynote address at the inauguration of an International Conference on the Relevance of Buddhism in the 21st Century in Rajgir, Bihar, India on March 17, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
On the matter of religious harmony, His Holiness said,

“All religious traditions teach us about love, compassion, forgiveness, contentment and self-discipline. They all carry a similar message of love. Therefore, all these traditions should be able to live side-by-side and work together. These days we are seeing a distressing number of conflicts based on differences of religious faith. It is unthinkable that such differences should lead to violence. It’s like medicine becoming poison.”

His Holiness praised the example of interreligious harmony that India has set over more than 1000 years.

“India is the only country where all the world’s major religious traditions live together. Now Indians need to be more active in promoting religious harmony, especially in those places where conflict is going on in the name of religion. The time has come to share your longstanding traditional values of religious harmony and secularism.


Delegates to the International Conference on the Relevance of Buddhism in the 21st Century attending the inaugural session at the Nalanda International Convention Center in Rajgir, Bihar, India on March 17, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“It is explained that the Buddhas can neither remove suffering by hand nor can they wash away its sources. What they can do is to point us in the direction of reality. The Buddha showed how we can tackle our destructive emotions, not through prayer, but through analysis and meditation. Special insight or vipassana meditation is very effective in this regard. Ancient Indian tradition is rich in understanding how to discipline the mind and tackle destructive emotions. From this point of view ancient Indian psychology is of great relevance today and we can study it, not necessarily as a part of religious practice, but from an academic point of view.”

After having lunch with other Buddhist leaders and members of the Sangha in a nearby tent, His Holiness took part in a meeting of senior elders of the Sangha. He and another Sri Lankan monk stressed that there are essentially no differences in the Vinaya rules observed by the Buddhist monastic communities of the Pali and Sanskrit traditions. Several participants at the meeting, including His Holiness, stressed the need for Buddhists from different countries following the Pali and Sanskrit traditions to meet more often to share their experience and understanding.

“There should be more interaction among our Buddhist brothers and sisters. One aim of this meeting could be to establish further regular meetings between brothers and sisters belonging to the Pali and Sanskrit traditions.”

His Holiness observed that a special feature of Buddhism is that it takes a scientific approach.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama taking part in a meeting of senior elders of the Sangha in the afternoon of the first day of the three-day International Buddhist Conference in Rajgir, Bihar, India on March 17, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“No other religious tradition states so clearly that simple faith is not enough. The Buddha encouraged his followers to examine and investigate what they are told. This is why Einstein suggested that Buddhism can augment modern science. Indeed, many scientists today are showing genuine interest in Buddhism in general, and particularly in what Madhyamaka philosophy and the Buddhist science of mind have to say.

“Over the last 1000 years we Tibetans have kept the Nalanda tradition alive. Now the time has come for us to share this knowledge with our Buddhist brothers and sisters, with non-Buddhists and even those who have no particular religious faith. “

In the afternoon plenary session, His Holiness sat among the audience listening to an array of eminent speakers. Ven. Bhante Buddharakkhita, Founder and President of the Uganda Buddhist Centre, spoke on Conflict and Peace Building. Louie Psihoyos, Executive Director of the Oceanic Preservation Society, talked about Environment and Nature Conservation. Ven. Dhammananda, Founding Abbess of the Songhdhammakalyani in Thailand addressed the role of Women in Buddhism. Dr Alexander Berzin, scholar and translator, discussed the Promotion of Buddhist Studies and Preservation of the Nalanda Tradition. Prof. Sisir Roy, Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, spoke about Buddhism and the Sciences. Prof. Ngawang Samten, Vice Chancellor of Central University of Tibetan Studies Sarnath, explained Secular Ethics.

The audience also witnessed two live debate presentations. The first, conducted by a group of Tibetan Geshes, dealt with the nature of the mind. The second, performed by a group of Geshemas, scholarly nuns, analysed the Four Noble Truths.

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Inauguration of the International Conference on Relevance of Buddhism in 21st Century

Rajgir, Bihar, India, 17 March 2017 – His Holiness the Dalai Lama departed Dharamsala yesterday morning as rain clouds gathered overhead. On arriving at Gaya Airport, he was received by representatives of the Bihar State Government. After a brisk lunch, he drove to Rajgir, where he stopped his car at the foot of the hills leading to Vulture’s Peak. This is where Buddha Shakyamuni turned the Wheel of Dharma for the second time with his explanation of the Perfection of Wisdom. His Holiness remained a few minutes in silent reflection facing in the direction of the sacred site.

This morning it was a short drive to the Nalanda International Convention Centre, which has been constructed in the shape of a stupa. More than 1300 Indian and foreign delegates were gathered looking forward to His Holiness’s participation in the inauguration of an International Conference on the Relevance of Buddhism in the 21st Century.

In his opening address, Shri N.K. Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, welcomed everyone present. Shri M.L. Srivastava, Vice Chancellor, Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, who is co-host of the conference, introduced his University, which was established in 1951, as a place of learning with a focus particularly on advanced Buddhist studies. His Holiness released a newly printed edition of the Pali Tripitaka in Devanagari script published by the Ministry of Culture. In his remarks, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Shri Mahesh Sharma, welcomed the Buddhist leaders, monks and scholars from more than 30 countries who had gathered for this three-day conference to discuss a more socially engaged Buddhism for our time.

In his keynote address, His Holiness the Dalai Lama began by introducing his primary commitment in relation to humankind,

“I am just one of the 7 billion human beings alive today, who all want happiness and do not want suffering. We are all the same, emotionally, mentally and physically. Some scientists have found evidence to show that basic human nature is compassionate. This is a really hopeful sign and it makes sense. We are social animals. We were all born from a mother. If we don't receive affection when we are small we won’t survive. This has nothing to do with religion--- it’s a biological fact. Since scientific research shows that constant fear, anger and hatred undermine our immune system, whether we are religious or not, it is in our interest to be more compassionate.”


His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivering his keynote address at the inauguration of an International Conference on the Relevance of Buddhism in the 21st Century in Rajgir, Bihar, India on March 17, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
On the matter of religious harmony, His Holiness said,

“All religious traditions teach us about love, compassion, forgiveness, contentment and self-discipline. They all carry a similar message of love. Therefore, all these traditions should be able to live side-by-side and work together. These days we are seeing a distressing number of conflicts based on differences of religious faith. It is unthinkable that such differences should lead to violence. It’s like medicine becoming poison.”

His Holiness praised the example of interreligious harmony that India has set over more than 1000 years.

“India is the only country where all the world’s major religious traditions live together. Now Indians need to be more active in promoting religious harmony, especially in those places where conflict is going on in the name of religion. The time has come to share your longstanding traditional values of religious harmony and secularism.


Delegates to the International Conference on the Relevance of Buddhism in the 21st Century attending the inaugural session at the Nalanda International Convention Center in Rajgir, Bihar, India on March 17, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“It is explained that the Buddhas can neither remove suffering by hand nor can they wash away its sources. What they can do is to point us in the direction of reality. The Buddha showed how we can tackle our destructive emotions, not through prayer, but through analysis and meditation. Special insight or vipassana meditation is very effective in this regard. Ancient Indian tradition is rich in understanding how to discipline the mind and tackle destructive emotions. From this point of view ancient Indian psychology is of great relevance today and we can study it, not necessarily as a part of religious practice, but from an academic point of view.”

After having lunch with other Buddhist leaders and members of the Sangha in a nearby tent, His Holiness took part in a meeting of senior elders of the Sangha. He and another Sri Lankan monk stressed that there are essentially no differences in the Vinaya rules observed by the Buddhist monastic communities of the Pali and Sanskrit traditions. Several participants at the meeting, including His Holiness, stressed the need for Buddhists from different countries following the Pali and Sanskrit traditions to meet more often to share their experience and understanding.

“There should be more interaction among our Buddhist brothers and sisters. One aim of this meeting could be to establish further regular meetings between brothers and sisters belonging to the Pali and Sanskrit traditions.”

His Holiness observed that a special feature of Buddhism is that it takes a scientific approach.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama taking part in a meeting of senior elders of the Sangha in the afternoon of the first day of the three-day International Buddhist Conference in Rajgir, Bihar, India on March 17, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“No other religious tradition states so clearly that simple faith is not enough. The Buddha encouraged his followers to examine and investigate what they are told. This is why Einstein suggested that Buddhism can augment modern science. Indeed, many scientists today are showing genuine interest in Buddhism in general, and particularly in what Madhyamaka philosophy and the Buddhist science of mind have to say.

“Over the last 1000 years we Tibetans have kept the Nalanda tradition alive. Now the time has come for us to share this knowledge with our Buddhist brothers and sisters, with non-Buddhists and even those who have no particular religious faith. “

In the afternoon plenary session, His Holiness sat among the audience listening to an array of eminent speakers. Ven. Bhante Buddharakkhita, Founder and President of the Uganda Buddhist Centre, spoke on Conflict and Peace Building. Louie Psihoyos, Executive Director of the Oceanic Preservation Society, talked about Environment and Nature Conservation. Ven. Dhammananda, Founding Abbess of the Songhdhammakalyani in Thailand addressed the role of Women in Buddhism. Dr Alexander Berzin, scholar and translator, discussed the Promotion of Buddhist Studies and Preservation of the Nalanda Tradition. Prof. Sisir Roy, Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, spoke about Buddhism and the Sciences. Prof. Ngawang Samten, Vice Chancellor of Central University of Tibetan Studies Sarnath, explained Secular Ethics.

The audience also witnessed two live debate presentations. The first, conducted by a group of Tibetan Geshes, dealt with the nature of the mind. The second, performed by a group of Geshemas, scholarly nuns, analysed the Four Noble Truths.

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Thousand Armed Avalokiteshvara Empowerment in Dharamsala

Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India, 14 March 2017 - The weather was milder today as His Holiness the Dalai Lama walked from his residence to the Tsuglagkhang, greeting well-wishers as he went.

Having taken his seat on the throne he immediately began the preparatory procedures for the Avalokiteshvara empowerment he was going to give. While he did this people gathered in the temple and its surroundings followed the chant master’s steady recitation of Om mani padme hum. When he was ready, His Holiness explained what he was about to do.

“Today I’m going to give the empowerment of Avalokiteshvara with 1000 arms and 1000 eyes. Avalokiteshvara is praised by all the Buddhas. He is the embodiment of the compassion of all the Victorious Ones. As Chandrakirti wrote in his ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ - compassion is important in the beginning, middle and end of the path. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have great qualities of body, speech and mind based on minds that are rooted in compassion. To begin with all the Buddhas generated the awakening mind of bodhichitta based on their having a courageous heart of compassion. By serving others they fulfil their own purposes—because they have compassion.

“We Tibetans call ourselves the people of Avalokiteshvara and likewise we regard the Chinese as blessed by Manjushri. However, until now we have tended to be selfish, driven by a self-cherishing attitude that has resulted in our not fulfilling our wishes. By switching that attitude to a concern for others and cultivating wisdom we can overcome the sufferings of others and ourselves. A commentary to the Perfection of Wisdom says that bodhisattvas focus on other beings and on enlightenment in order to help them.

“Avalokiteshvara takes care of Tibetans, but if we allow ourselves to be consumed by anger, for example, we contradict that care.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the the second day of teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple inDharamsala, HP, India on March 14, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“This practice of Avalokiteshvara with 1000 arms and 1000 eyes comes from the lineage of Bhikshuni Lakshmi. I received it first as a boy from Tagtra Rinpoche. Later, when I was in Dromo, I received it again from Kyabje Ling Rinpoche because I had been asked to give it. I did the necessary preparations and duly gave it. Since then I’ve continued to do the practice and recite the mantras.

“So much suffering in the world is beyond the help of mere money and power. What we need is compassion and intelligence, although even that can be misused. To really be of help to others we need to be guided by compassion.”

There were brief and simple recitations of introductory prayers before His Holiness, as he promised yesterday, read Je Tsongkhapa’s ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’. He explained that it had been composed in reply to a letter from Je Rinpoche’s close disciple Tsako Ngawang Drakpa. He told him, ‘Practise well what I have taught. When I manifest Buddhahood in the world, you will be my first disciple.’

His Holiness remarked that the making good use of leisure and opportunity that the text describes, cultivating conduct that results in good rebirth, is something that can also be attributed to other religious traditions. First of the three principal aspects of the path is the determination to be free from the cycle of existence. Beings are bound in this state because they are ignorant of. They are subject to the misconception that things have independent existence. Consequently they are born again and again in boundless cyclic existence.


Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on March 14, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
The second principal aspect of the path is the mind of enlightenment, the wish to attain Buddhahood to help ‘all beings, your mothers, who are ceaselessly tormented by the three miseries’. However, even if you have cultivated the determination to be free and the mind of enlightenment, that is insufficient to cut the root of cyclic existence. To do that takes wisdom. Therefore, His Holiness explained, you need correct and valid understanding of what liberation means. Grasping at independent existence is a distorted view, but it can be overcome and suffering can be brought to an end.

It is understanding dependent arising that puts an end to sentient beings misfortunes, because their source is ignorance. It is because they are dependent arisings that things have no independent existence. The text states that when realization of dependent arising and emptiness of independent existence are simultaneous and concurrent, analysis of the profound view is complete. His Holiness noted that the text was written by Lobsang Drakpa, a Bhikshu well-versed in the teachings of the Buddha.

His Holiness then began procedures for giving the Avalokiteshvara empowerment, starting with the dispelling of obstacles. In the course of the ritual he gave upasaka and upasaki vows to laypeople who wished to take them and led the assembly in first generating the aspiring mind of enlightenment—bodhichitta and then the Bodhisattva vows. Towards the end he observed that empowerment is like being given the authority to do the practice. He concluded the rite by also giving transmission of the mantras of the Buddha, Manjushri, Arya Tara and Hayagriva.


Members of the monastic community wearing ritual blindfolds during the Avalokiteshvara Empowerment given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on March 14, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
He encouraged his listeners to study, pointing out to them that the three reliable texts on the Middle Way or Madhyamaka view are: Nagarjuna’s ‘Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way’, Aryadeva’s ‘400 Verses of the Middle Way’ and Chandrakirti’s ‘Entering into the Middle Way’. The definitive text explaining how to cultivate the awakening mind of bodhichitta is Shantideva’s ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’. He observed that these works are all available in Tibetan and Chinese. They are available in English too.

Finally His Holiness introduced the images in the temple around him.

“This precious statue of Buddha Shakyamuni was made here in Dharamsala after we came into exile. After trouble had broken out in Tibet, one reputed Nyingma Lama, Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodro came from Kham to Lhasa to advise and request the government to install a statue of Guru Rinpoche known as ‘Guru Nangsi Silnon’ in the Jokhang. For various reasons the Tibetan authorities decided not to do that but to install a ‘Guru Gyakarma’ image instead. When Khyentse Rinpoche heard of this he is reported to have sighed and said, ‘At least His Holiness the Dalai Lama and some of his entourage may reach India’. Regretting this lapse I decided to install this ‘Guru Nangsi Silnon’ image here.”

In connection with the creation of the 1000 armed Avalokiteshvara statue, he mentioned that after a similar statue in the Jokhang in Lhasa was destroyed, fragments were brought to him here in India and were incorporated into the present image. 

His Holiness recounted having a dream early in his days in exile of a famous Chenresig statue in Tibet, which had historic associations with Songtsen Gampo. The statue beckoned to him and he recalled embracing it and being inspired not to give up by a verse from Arya Maitreya’s King of Prayers:

Through perseverance that applies diligence,
with stability, cheerfulness, and without laziness,
with a body and mind suffused with power,
may I consummate the far-reaching perfection of diligence.

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Teaching ‘Stages of Meditation’ and ‘37 Practices of a Bodhisattva’

Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India, 13 March 2017 - The Tsuglagkhang, the Main Tibetan Temple, and its surrounding verandas, as well as the courtyard below, were filled with people this morning waiting for His Holiness the Dalai Lama to arrive. When he did, he stood before the throne, hand raised in greeting, looking carefully to see who was there. Among the crowd were pilgrims from Tibet and they were who His Holiness addressed once he sat on the throne.

“Since many of you couldn’t attend the recent Kalachakra empowerment, this teaching today is principally for you. I have great admiration for the strength of spirit of you people in Tibet. Today, there are 400 million Buddhists in China who follow traditions similar to ours, but where we differ is in our use of logic and reason.  Buddhism was first introduced to Tibet in the 7th century when the Emperor Songtsen Gampo married a Chinese and a Nepalese princess and each of them brought a statue of the Buddha with them. But when Emperor Trisong Detsen wanted to strengthen Buddhism in the country he turned to India and invited Shantarakshita who was one of the top scholars from Nalanda.

“Shantarakshita may not have been widely renowned, but when we read what he wrote we can judge his calibre. His works include the ‘Ornament of the Middle Way’, which deals with what the Mind Only and Middle Way schools of thought have in common, and the ‘Tattvasamgraha’, an explanation of epistemology.

“It was also in Trisong Detsen’s reign that Samye Monastery was founded. It included a Monastic section and a Translation section, where translation of texts that would make up the Kangyur and Tengyur collections was done. There had been Chinese monks in Tibet since the time of Songtsen Gampo and many of them were part of the Unwavering Concentration section which focussed on single-pointed meditation. Some of these monks asserted that there was no need for study, what was required to attain enlightenment, they claimed, was to empty the mind of thought.

“Shantarakshita had anticipated that a conflict might arise between his logical, reasoned approach to the Dharma and this non-conceptual method. He’d advised the Emperor to invite his disciple Kamalashila to Tibet to deal with it. Kamalashila was also a scholar of epistemology. His view prevailed and Tibet became the only Buddhist country where the Nalanda tradition and the use of reason and logic were preserved. We have kept this alive for more than 1000 years.”


His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the first day of his two day teaching at the Main Tibetan Temple in Dharamsala, HP, India on March 13, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
His Holiness remarked that the opportunities to preserve these traditions in Tibet has been difficult in recent years, particularly in the great monasteries of Central Tibet, but has not been so tough in Kham and Amdo.

He mentioned that the first text he was going to read, the middle volume of Kamalashila’s three part ‘Stages of Meditation’ had been written at the request of Trisong Detsen and had been composed in Tibet. He said he feels it has a special connection with Tibetans. At the time, Trisong Detsen was a man of great influence, exercising authority over the whole of Tibet. His Holiness contrasted this with the status of the Ngari chieftain who invited Atisha to Tibet and who requested him to compose the ‘Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment’. He clarified that of the three volumes of the ‘Stages of Meditation’, the first dealt with single-pointed concentration, the second and middle volume dealt with both concentration and special insight, while the third focussed on special insight.

Regarding the second text that he proposed to read, the ‘37 Practices of a Bodhisattva’, His Holiness mentioned that the author, Gyalsey Thogme Sangpo, a contemporary of the great scholar Buton Rinchen Drub, was widely regarded as a realized bodhisattva. There is a report that when the two masters met, Buton Rinpoche, who had some trouble with his legs, requested Thogme Sangpo’s blessing to gain some relief.

Brief prayers were recited and His Holiness advised that everyone, teacher and students should correct their motivation in relation to the teaching. In connection with the common verse for taking refuge and generating the awakening mind, he obsereved that often people seem to regard the Three Jewels as external to them, something like a creator god, rather than as something to aspire to attain in themselves.

“As I said yesterday, we need to gain insight into the nature of the mind, thoroughly eliminating the disturbing emotions and their imprints. Nagarjuna says the elimination of karma and disturbing emotions yields liberation. Our distorted way of looking at things can be overcome by understanding the teaching of the Buddha. And in Tibet we have a complete teaching of the three vehicles comprising the fundamental instructions, the Perfection of Wisdom teachings and Tantra.”


Some of several thousand gathered in the courtyard waiting for His Holiness the Dalai Lama to depart from the Main Tibetan Temple at the conclusion of the first day of his two day teaching in Dharamsala, HP, India on March 13, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
During his reading of the ‘Stages of Meditation’, His Holiness again alluded to the importance of tackling the disturbing emotions. He pointed out that it is their nature that the moment they arise in our minds, they disturb us. We can see this clearly if we examine our own experience. He added that today, scientists too recognise that peace of mind is good for our physical well-being.

“What is unique about the Buddha’s teaching is his explanation of selflessness. Just repeating the words to yourself is not enough, it’s necessary to understand what it means—things do not exist as they appear.”

Unable to complete his reading of ‘Stages of Meditation’, His Holiness told his audience that since they had copies of the text they could read it for themselves and try to understand it. He then read the ‘37 Practices of a Bodhisattva’, in the course of which he again noted that we have a distorted view how things exist. We exaggerate, see things as independently existent, create karma and because of that face problems.

At the end of his reading His Holiness mentioned that he had received the ‘Stages of Meditation’ from the Sakya Abbot Sangye Tenzin. He in turn had heard it when he went from Lhasa to Samye and found a Dzogchen Lama teaching it there. The ‘37 Practices’ His Holiness received from Khunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen. He added that the copy of the text he uses personally, and held it up for all to see, had been sent to him from Lhasa by the previous Lhatsun Rinpoche.

Announcing that he will give an Avalokiteshvara empowerment tomorrow, His Holiness declared that he will read Je Tsongkhapa’s ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’, which happens to be included in the book that was distributed to the audience, as the preliminary teaching prior to that. 

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Celebrating the ‘Day of Miracles’

Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India, 12 March 2017 - The sky was a pristine blue as the peaks of the Dhauladhar range glinted in the rising sun this morning as people gathered in the yard of the Tsuglagkhang adjacent to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s residence. After several days of rain and snow on the mountains it was bitterly cold. His Holiness had earlier gone to the temple to participate in the bimonthly ‘Confession and Restoration’ ceremony. Meanwhile monks of Gyumey Tantric College engaged in debate before the throne in the yard.

When His Holiness descended the temple steps shortly after 8 o’clock he was escorted in front by monks of Namgyal Monastery wearing their yellow crested hats  and playing horns and behind by a monk holding a ceremonial umbrella. He greeted members of the audience before taking his seat on the throne. The Chant Master led recitations of the Heart Sutra, a lineage prayer, the offering of a mandala to request the teaching and the verse for taking refuge and generating the awakening mind.

His Holiness set the scene for the day’s teaching by explaining that 2600 years ago in India there were many other religious and philosophical traditions. They were all beneficial to their followers in their way, and many continue to be so. Where the Buddha differed from them was in his explanation of the profound view of selflessness—things’ lack of independent existence. He explained that the cause of suffering was that we are all under the sway of disturbing emotions, because we tend to cling to the idea that things have an independent existence.

His Holiness remarked that this is illustrated in paintings of the Wheel of Life. In the outer rim are depictions of the twelve links of dependent arising, which begin with ignorance. Consequently we are born in the six realms of existence—white or wholesome karma results in birth in the upper reams, whereas black or unwholesome karma takes us to the lower realms, as the picture shows. Our actions tend to be driven by the three poisons or disturbing emotions of desire, hatred and ignorance, portrayed by rooster, snake and pig respectively at the hub of the wheel.

“We suffer because we create karma,” he said, “and we do that under the influence of disturbing emotions. They in turn are rooted in the ignorance of misconceiving things as independently existent. Look at the tree over there; it seems to be independently existent. But if we look for it among its parts, its trunk, its branches or its leaves, we can’t find the tree. And yet those parts are parts of the tree. Today, even scientists say things don’t have any objective existence. The Buddha taught about reality—how things are.


A view of the Tsuglagkhang courtyard during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's teachings in Dharamsala, HP, India, on March 12, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“However, the Buddha’s explanation of selflessness was not convincing for the teachers of many other traditions. Together they engaged in a contest of miracles. Today commemorates the occasion in Shravasti when the Buddha defeated his opponents in that contest. In the Tibetan tradition, celebrations of this event were introduced by Je Tsongkhapa as part of the Great Prayer Festival. This is counted as one of the four great deeds of his life.

“In Tibet we had the first spread of Buddhist teachings, which fell into decline. The second spread began with Rinchen Zangpo. Atisha was invited to Tibet at this time and he wrote the ‘Lamp for the Path’ there. He established the Kadampa tradition, which consisted of three lineages. Of these the Scriptural Lineage focussed on six texts—the Jataka Tales and the Tibetan equivalent of the Dhammapada, the Udanavarga. Also included were Shantideva's ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life' and ‘Compendium of Training', Asanga's ‘Bodhisattva Grounds' and Maitreya's ‘Ornament of Sutras'. The Jataka tales recount exemplary deeds of the Buddha in his previous lives as a Bodhisattva.”

Today, His Holiness read the final story in the collection of thirty-four tales. It concerned a time when the Bodhisattva had been born as a woodpecker. One day as he flew he spied an old lion dusty and in distress and felt moved to ask what troubled him. The lion told him he had piece of bone stuck in his throat that he could not dislodge. It was giving him great discomfort and he pleaded with the bird to help him if he could. The woodpecker thought carefully and asked the lion to open his mouth. He placed a stick between his jaws to prevent them closing and flew into the open mouth. Tugging at the bone he managed to remove it and as he flew out kicked the stick out of the way too. In this way the Bodhisattva in the form of a woodpecker relieved the lion of great pain.

Sometime later, conditions were such that the woodpecker had been unable to find enough to eat and was wracked with hunger. He came across the same lion eating a fresh kill and paced up and down hoping to be offered a share. When that was ineffective he asked the lion to let him eat too. The lion roared and refused, teaching the bird that there are beings who will accept help only to give nothing in return.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his teachings at the Tsuglagkhang courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India, on March 12, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Having reached the end of the text, His Holiness followed tradition and, turning back to the beginning, read a little from the first tale in the collection. He mentioned that the author, Aryashura, had been a skilful nonBuddhist debater who challenged the monks of Nalanda. Concerned that he might defeat them they called on Nagarjuna to help. He deputed his disciple Aryadeva in his stead. Aryashura was duly defeated and became Aryadeva’s disciple.

Next, His Holiness announced that in addition to his various hymns to the Buddha, he had come across a short text by Nagarjuna called ‘Praise to the Vajra Mind’. A printed copy had been distributed to the crowd and he read it to them. By way of context he mentioned that some religious practice involves physical activity such as ablutions. Some, like the Vedas, focusses on the efficacy of sound. Buddha Shakyamuni, however, taught how to practise with the mind.

“In this short text, Nagarjuna pays homage to the mind itself, for it is the mind that can eliminate the net of conceptions, the ignorance that leads to the disturbing emotions, to creating karma and to suffering. Samsara is rooted in the mind. There is no pain or pleasure apart from the mind. Practice on the basis of the altruistic intention is beneficial. Objects of the mind have conventional existence. They exist on the basis of designation.

“Samsara is in conceptions; nirvana is the absence of conceptions. Do away with conceptions and the disturbing emotions and you achieve nirvana. The subtlest clear light mind has no beginning or end. From this excellent mind arises Buddhahood.”

His Holiness completed his reading of ‘Praise to the Vajra Mind’ by citing the well-know verse:

Commit not a single unwholesome deed,
Cultivate a wealth of virtue,
To completely tame this mind of ours—
This is the teaching of the Buddhas.

Today, 12th March also happened to be the 58th anniversary of the Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day, when Tibetan women protested against the Chinese occupation. This year the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) elected to celebrate the occasion as the first Tibetan Women’s Day.


Four Geshe-mas leading prayers at the start of the 1st Tibetan Women's Day event at the Tsuglagkhang courtyard in Dharamsala, HP, India, on March 12, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Four Geshe-mas led chanting of introductory prayers taken from the LamRim concluding prayer. They were followed by women from TIPA singing a ‘Song of Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day’.

Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay spoke about the empowerment of women and the CTA’s acknowledgement of the general need for a new mindset to ensure it came about. He was followed by guest women speakers from Australia and France who spoke in honour of Tibetan women, especially those who had made taken part in the uprising and who had made sacrifices for the cause of Tibet.

In his remarks His Holiness recalled that Chinese records show that in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries three great empires flourished—Tibetan, Mongolian and Chinese. Today, the Chinese call Tibetans splittists, but, he said, if they had genuine autonomy they could live with the People’s Republic of China. He stated that the Tibetan struggle was just and reasonable and attracted support from across the world.

His Holiness mentioned that while the Buddha regarded men and women as equal and granted both full ordination, the ordination of Bhikshunis was not brought to Tibet. He remarked that while historically leadership based on physical strength had favoured men, Buddhists acknowledge a special regard for women when they pray for the welfare of ‘all mother sentient beings’. He added that the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions include specific strictures not to look down on women.

“We’ve done quite well in Tibetan society—but we can still improve.”

He also touched on scientists lately affirming that human nature is essentially compassionate, which is a source of hope.

“Peace is not brought about through conflict, but through compassion—creating peace of mind within ourselves. We all need compassion and women can take a lead role in bringing this about. My own first teacher of kindness and compassion was my mother.

“On this occasion of the 58th anniversary of the Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day and the first Tibetan Women’s Day I urge women to be more active and courageous in taking the lead.”

Tomorrow and the following day, His Holiness will teach the middle volume of Kamalashila’s ‘Stages of Meditation’ and Thogme Sangpo’s ‘Thirty-seven Practices of a Bodhisattva’.

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His Holiness the Dalai Lama Visits Norbulingka Institute

Sidhpur, Distt Kangra, HP, India, 9 March 2017 - A chill wind blew off the snow covered hills and cold rain fell from a heavy sky over the Kangra Valley this morning. Inside the Main Temple of Norbulingka Institute however, all was ablaze with light and colour, while smiles played on the faces of guests and staff in anticipation of the arrival of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. To mark the twenty-first anniversary of the inauguration of the Institute a completed set of 25 thangkas depicting the lives of the fourteen Dalai Lamas and their predecessors was being presented to His Holiness.

This project, almost 15 years in the making, was begun by Norbulingka’s first Thangka Painting Master, Tenba Chöphel. The set consists of thangkas illustrating the lives of the Dalai Lamas, one for each of the first thirteen; three dedicated to His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and nine more depicting previous members of the lineage, such as the Drom-ton Gyalwai Jungney and the religious Kings of Tibet.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama looking at thangkas depicting the lives of the Dalai Lamas during his visit to Norbulingka Institue in Sidhpur, HP, India on March 9, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
The set of paintings is original and unique. It followed no existing pattern. Tenba Chöphel began to plan and design the paintings in consultation with former Abbot of Namgyal Monastery and incumbent Abbot of Gyutö Tantric College, Jhado Rinpoche. They discussed what scenes from the lives of the Dalai Lamas to include and how to depict them. After Tenba Chöphel untimely passed away, responsibility for artistic supervision was taken up by one of the principal students, Tenzin Norbu.

Each painting consists of a central figure, a Dalai Lama or one of their predecessors, with their meditational deities and protectors in the corners. The space in between is brimming with depictions of events from the particular life portrayed in marvellous detail.

When His Holiness arrived he was escorted clockwise around the temple to view the paintings, each one brightly lit from above. They were hung beginning in the present with the three paintings illustrating his life and progressed back through the previous Dalai Lamas and other figures who preceded them. His Holiness seemed pleased, several times picking out scenes that amused him and laughing.

Reaching the dais he greeted several old friends among the guests, paid his respects before the colossal gilded statue of Buddha Shakyamuni and took his seat. Prayers were chanted as tea and sweet rice were served. Guests and staff alike were welcomed to this celebration of Norbulingka’s 21st anniversary. Founders and former Directors of the Institute, Kasur Kalsang Yeshi and Kim Yeshi, as well as senior members of staff paid their respects to His Holiness while an extensive prayer for his long life was recited.

Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay released the 11 volume set of an Encyclopaedia of Tibetan Culture, the fruit of many years work by the Institute’s Literary Research Department. Sets were delivered to several among the guests. Managing Director of Norbulingka, Dechen Namgyal Maja read the annual report outlining the Institute’s recent achievements and future aspirations. He noted that since the original proposal for the Institute was broached and approved by His Holiness in 1983 much had been done to preserve Tibetan culture in terms of the arts and higher education. However, the Institute has also made efforts to support the health of the staff and the education of their children.

Next, a series of tokens of gratitude were awarded variously to Ven Samdhong Rinpoche, who has served for more than 20 years on the Board of Directors; to Founders and former Directors Kalsang and Kim Yeshi; to members of staff who have served the Institute for 20 years and to those who have served for 10 years. Finally, certificates were given to the sixth group to graduate from the Academy of Tibetan Culture, Norbulingka’s college of higher education.


Director of Norbulinka Institute Kasur Kalsang Yeshi speaking at the 21st Anniversary Ceremony in Sidhpur, HP, India on March 9, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
At the beginning of his speech, former Director Kalsang Yeshi paid tribute to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, declaring him to be the source of inspiration for the Tibetan people. Through his deeds, he said, Tibetan culture has come to be known the world over. He thanked him for coming once again to Norbulingka. Professing Tibetan language, religion and culture to be the heart of Tibet, he said that what they had been doing at Norbulingka was a small contribution towards preventing its decline. He also mentioned that the Institute considers it has a duty of care to people who belong to its community.

Regarding the set of paintings of the Dalai Lamas he stated that in terms of quality of craftsmanship and materials used they were as excellent as could be. He expressed thanks to everyone who had contributed to bringing the project to fruition. He dedicated the 25 paintings with the wish that His Holiness live long and continue to help and guide living beings. Finally, he appealed to the CTA to keep up its commitment to the cause of Tibet.

His Holiness began his address by acknowledging the good work that Norbulingka Institute has done to preserve Tibetan culture over the last 21 years. He noted the valuable contribution made by Kalsang and Kim Yeshi to this effort.

“Since we came into exile,” he said, “Tibetans have evolved into a unique refugee community. Not only have we preserved our culture, but we have found ways for it to contribute to the welfare of the world at large. Norbulingka Institute has had a role in that. Many who were part of it in the beginning, the Thangka Painting, Sculpture and Wood-carving masters for example, are no more. They are but memories to us now. This reminds us that everything is impermanent and yet Tibetan culture has survived for hundreds of years.

“Buddhism was brought to Tibet from India in the 8th century by Shantarakshita, the erudite master of philosophy and logic from Nalanda. He advised the Tibetan Emperor to rely on his student Kamalashila should difficulties occur in maintaining the tradition. When we read the writings of these scholars today we can appreciate their eminent calibre.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at Norbulingka Institue in Sidhpur, HP, India on March 9, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“There have been ups and downs in our history, times what people were more concerned about their own tradition or region than Tibet as a whole. But the Buddhist traditions Shantarakshita introduced we have preserved and are one of the main things that have kept us together. Shantarakshita belonged to the Nalanda tradition and was a follower of Nagarjuna. I composed a Praise to the Seventeen Masters of Nalanda—that includes verses praising both Nagarjuna and Shantarakshita—in appreciation of their excellent understanding and scholarship. They explored the causes of suffering and how they can be overcome by training and disciplining the mind—employing logic and reason to deal with our emotions.

“People here at Norbulingka have been contributing to preserving our culture. As I already said, people serve the cause, they pass away, but the younger generation takes up the work. I’d like to thank you for what you’ve done and request you to keep it up.”

His Holiness spoke of the upheaval Tibetans faced 58 years ago in March 1959. As the situation deteriorated it was decided that there was a need to escape. When they did so, he said, they had no long term plan other than worrying whether they would be alive the next day. In due course they reached India with thousands of Tibetans following. In a starkly different climate the main challenge was helping people stay alive.

Next they took steps to provide educational facilities for children. Indian Prime Minister Nehru was very kind and the Government of India helped set up schools. They also requested somewhere for monastics to gather and continue their studies. 

His Holiness observed that being in exile had allowed Tibetans to interact with other people in the world. In travelling abroad he noticed that while in some places material development was advanced, it was not always matched by inner development. There was a lack of peace of mind. This is where Tibetans have something to share. Buddhism can be understood as a science of mind, an understanding of the workings of the mind, including an understanding of how to deal with our emotions.


Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at Norbulingka Institue in Sidhpur, HP, India on March 9, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
An important aspect of the Nalanda tradition preserved in Tibet is its use of reason and logic. It is this that has provided the basis for a dialogue with scientists. His Holiness explained that preserving culture also involves seeing how it can develop so there are now laboratories and science studies in the monasteries. Many of the monastic institutions that used to be concerned only with ritual now provided study programmes. In nunneries too, encouragement to study has recently resulted in the award of Geshe-ma degrees to qualified nuns.

He affirmed that despite difficulties Tibetans have not lost hope. He asserted that far from trying to convert others to Buddhism his concern is to see how Buddhist knowledge can be of help to others in the world. He explained how the 300 volumes of the Kangyur and Tengyur, the Buddhist literature translated largely from Sanskrit, can be categorized into science, philosophy and religion. While the religious material only concerns Buddhists, what the science and philosophy have to say can be of use and interest to anyone prepared to examine it. His Holiness reiterated that the Tibetan language is the most accurate medium for expressing this understanding.

“Although we are in exile, we have been able to keep our culture alive, taking part in that is something to be proud of. I urge you to keep it up. Compare this to all those countries that devote their resources to the development of weapons. We pray for the welfare of all beings, but what we also need to do is to take practical steps to help them. We need to serve our fellow human beings. That’s all, thank you, Tashi Delek.”

The occasion concluded with a recitation of the Prayer for the Flourishing of the Dharma. His Holiness left the temple to return to his residence, while the remaining guests were treated to a sumptuous lunch.

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His Holiness the Dalai Lama Speaks to Delegates from the First Tibetan Women’s Empowerment Conference

Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India, 23 February 2017 - This morning at his residence, His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressed more than 300 delegates participating in the first Tibetan Women’s Empowerment Conference. The conference, organised by the CTA, has been taking place in Gangchen Kyishong and has involved representatives of the Tibetan settlements right across India. He began by asking if they were happy with the discussions they’d been having and suggested that rather than simply talk about gender equality it was better to work on putting it into effect.

“We are all part of the 7 billion human beings alive today, but some of us are very well off, while elsewhere others are starving. I believe we can address this disparity if we work hard and develop self-confidence. That in turn depends on cultivating inner strength and the root of inner strength is developing compassion for others.”

Noting that Tibetans have been in exile for almost 58 years, His Holiness recalled meeting Indian leaders like Rajendra Prasad and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who, in addition to being President and Vice President of the country respectively, impressed him with their scholarship. Listening to Radhakrishnan elegantly declaim verses from Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti in Sanskrit brought tears to his eyes, he said. However, he added that he also secretly suspected that he both understood and could explain better what the verses meant.

His Holiness attributed this confidence to the rigorous training he’d undertaken in Tibet, which was founded on the system originally established in the 8th century by Shantarakshita. This combined an exploration of philosophy with a strict command of reason and logic. This approach encourages investigating the topic in hand from different angles, something that can be useful in any branch of education.

He observed that since scientists are increasingly recognising that a disturbed state of mind is bad for our health, there is a growing appreciation of the need to learn more about our emotions and most particularly how to tackle our destructive emotions.

“Many of the world’s problems can be attributed to anger,” His Holiness explained. “The ever growing arms trade is based on a mixture of anger and fear and yet weapons bring no benefit. They don’t provide food. Their only function is to maim and kill other human beings.”


Delegates participating in the first Tibetan Women’s Empowerment Conference listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on February 23, 2016. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Many Indian traditions pursued concentration in meditation and gathered a deep understanding of the workings of the mind. Although this ancient knowledge has tended to be neglected more recently in India, it was kept alive in Tibet. What’s more, the efforts that were made to translate mostly Sanskrit Buddhist literature into Tibetan resulted in a profound enrichment of the language such that today Tibetan is the medium through which this ancient knowledge can most accurately be conveyed.

His Holiness mentioned how he had encouraged monasteries that traditionally focussed on rituals to introduce study and education. Similarly he had encouraged nunneries to do the same. One result, he proudly declared, was the recent award of the first Geshe-ma degrees to twenty fully qualified nuns. Addressing the three Geshe-mas in the room, he advised that it was now their responsibility to teach in their nunneries and schools.

His Holiness also touched on recent proposals for the Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education in conjunction with the University of Mysore to offer PhD programs for lay-people to study Buddhism and the inner science of the mind.

Alluding to the position of women in Buddhism, His Holiness affirmed that the Buddha had described men and women as having equal potential and had provided full ordination for both. He discussed the as yet unresolved difficulties in introducing or restoring the Bhikshuni tradition, but pointed out that a specific Vajrayana precept encourages respect for women in forbidding looking down on them. Furthermore, in Tibet there was an established tradition for recognising female reincarnations such as Samding Dorje Phagmo.

Referring to the role of women in the world, His Holiness reported scientific findings that women are more sensitive to the sufferings of others in addition to the great affection they provide as mothers. He explained how human society has developed from a time when hunter gatherers simply shared what they had to the emergence of agriculture and a sense of property. This led to a need for leadership and since the criterion was largely physical strength, male dominance emerged. Education has since restored a degree of equality between men and women. His Holiness wryly observed that since women are generally less aggressive than men, if more countries were led by women, the world would probably be a more peaceful place.

His Holiness concluded by congratulating the Kashag on taking the responsibility to promote women and encouraged the women to take full advantage of the opportunity. The meeting ended with his posing for photographs with different groups who are attending the conference.

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Ground-breaking Ceremony for the South Asia Hub of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and a Public Talk

Hyderabad, Telangana, India, 12 February 2017 - A swift drive across Hyderabad this morning brought His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the site on Hitex Road, Madhapur, where the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics is to build its South Asia Hub. This will be a cooperative venture supported by the MIT based think tank and the Telangana State Government.

His Holiness and HE ESL Narasimhan, Governor of Telangana, unveiled the foundation stone together and then took part in a symbolic planting of saplings, which will grow on the campus.  They were joined in these observances by Deputy Chief Minister, Mohammad Mahmood Ali and Minister of Industries, MA&UD and IT Kalvankutla Taraka Rama Rao. The Governor remarked that peace is commonly invoked in Hindu ceremonies. His Holiness agreed and suggested that prayer also needs to be augmented by action such as training the mind.

At the Hitex Open Arena nearby Ven Tenzin Priyadarshi, founder of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values greeted an audience of more than 1000 in the marquee and another 15000 online. He requested the Deputy Chief Minister, Mohammad Mahmood Ali to formally welcome His Holiness and then invited KT Rama Rao to introduce him. His Holiness began his address in his customary way.

“I always begin by greeting an audience as brothers and sisters, because I consider myself to be just one among the 7 billion human beings who I view as brothers and sisters. The way we are born and the way we die is the same whether we are kings, queens, spiritual leaders or beggars. This is why having a sense of the oneness of humanity is important. Wherever I go and whoever I talk to I try to promote this idea in an effort to break down barriers between us. Whenever I can I smile which mostly prompts others to smile in return, making us both happy.

“Although we are physically, mentally and emotionally the same, there are differences between us. I’m Tibetan, I’m Buddhist and I’m the Dalai Lama, but if I emphasize these differences it sets me apart and raises barriers with other people. What we need to do is to pay more attention to the ways in which we are the same as other people.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the HITEX Open Arena in Hyderabad, Telangana, India on February 12, 2017.
Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

“Most of the problems we face we create ourselves by stressing secondary differences of nationality, religious faith and so forth. How sad it is that today religion is becoming a cause of conflict and violence. When people are being killed in other parts of the world, we can’t remain complacent, we have to think of how to ensure the well-being of these suffering people.

“Differences of nationality and ideology that were important in the early 20th century seem less powerful today. In Europe, having fought and killed each other for generations, after the Second World War the European Union was created. My physics tutor von Weizsäcker told me that in his youth in every French and German eye the other was an enemy. But, by the 1990s, he said that had all changed. Recognising that nothing good comes from the destruction of war, people had realized that it’s better to live together. It is this spirit of the European Union that I admire and that we need to see adopted in other parts of the world—in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

“In the long run I look forward to a global union and a demilitarized world. As long as human beings are involved there will be some problems, but we need to learn to deal with them through dialogue without resort to the use of force. This will entail developing moral principles because it won’t be achieved on the basis of mistrust and jealousy.”

His Holiness observed that ahimsa is a longstanding Indian tradition that is also not based on fear, but on confidence and compassion. An example is the way religious harmony flourishes here. Indigenous faiths like Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism thrive, but the flourishing alongside them of religions from elsewhere indicates real tolerance and mutual respect. Zoroastrianism came from Persia. There are barely 100,000 Parsis in their community in Bombay and yet they live without fear—this is India, he said. Likewise, Jews came and created a community in Cochin. Christians and Muslims came too. Now, Indian Muslims form the second largest Muslim population in the world, larger even than in Pakistan. His Holiness remarked that of course occasional problems crop up, but otherwise India is the only country in the world where all major religions live together in mutual respect.


Members of the audience listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the HITEX Open Arena in Hyderabad, Telangana, India on February 12, 2017. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
Comparing the ancient civilizations of Egypt, China and the Indus Valley, His Holiness suggested that the Indus Valley ultimately gave rise to the greatest number of thinkers and varied schools of thought, including Buddhism. Ancient Indian psychology with its profound understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions has much to teach us today.

“More than 30 years ago I entered into discussions with modern scientists that have allowed Buddhists and contemplatives to learn more about the physical world, but also for the scientists to learn about the mind and emotions. Ahimsa—non-violence motivated by karuna—compassion is a way of dealing with destructive emotions. For more than 1000 years we Tibetans have kept these traditions that flourished at Nalanda alive. Modern Indians today have a special opportunity to combine modern education with the values and insights of this ancient Indian heritage. Many young people are already doing so. This Center for Ethics with its various programs and activities is making a contribution in this direction. I appreciate my friend here and the State Government for supporting it.

“The Center is named after the Dalai Lama, but I am just one student of the Nalanda Tradition, a student of Nagarjuna. Nevertheless, when I visit other countries I often tell people I meet that I’m a messenger of ancient Indian knowledge—a son of India. I justify this because my mind is filled with Nalanda thought, while my body has been nourished for 58 years by Indian rice, dal and chapatis.”
Answering the audience’s questions, His Holiness explained that since the majority of the world’s population continue to live in poverty we need to pursue material development. However, this pursuit needs to be coupled with inner or mental development. He reported that not only have scientists established that basic human nature is compassionate, but they have found that constant anger and fear undermines our immune system, while cultivating a compassionate mind strengthens it. He declared that when a significant number of people have no interest in religion, attempts to promote universal values have to take a secular approach.

A questioner who noted the role of education in fostering inner values asked about the role of parents. His Holiness told him that science has shown the positive effects of simple physical contact between mother and child, but what is additionally important is that parents shower their children with affection.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama answering questions from the audience during his talk at the HITEX Open Arena in Hyderabad, Telangana, India on February 12, 2017.
Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL

When asked how to prepare for death, His Holiness replied that to some extent it depends on what you believe. He said that if you believe in a loving God, thinking of him, his love and compassion can be helpful as you die. For a Buddhist it would be useful to keep the Buddha’s main message of compassion and things’ lack of independent existence in mind. He added that there are also ways of visualizing the process of death with its eight stages of dissolution in order to prepare for it when it takes place, ending finally with the mind of clear light.

“The best preparation for death,” His Holiness continued, “depends on the way you live, avoiding doing others harm and helping them wherever you can. If you do that you’ll be able to die without any sense of regret. So a peaceful death depends very much on how you’ve lived your life.”

Another young woman wanted to know which is the more effective way to train the mind, cultivating concentration or analytical meditation. His Holiness was forthright in his praise of analysis. He reported the way he does it himself. He analyses his body, mind and feelings. He thinks about impermanence and momentary change. He considers how past, present and future constantly shift. Past and future only exist in relation to the present, but the present is apparently impossible to tie down. He mentioned that he reflects on his body and that it consists of parts—head, hands, feet and trunk and asks himself whether any of the parts by themselves are his the body.

Finally, the moderator asked His Holiness to tell him how he manages to look so young. His Holiness retorted, “That’s my secret,” but then explained how he consistently sleeps for nine hours a night. When wakes up he engages in 4 hours of meditation which contributes to his inner peace. Sleep and meditation, he suggested, contribute to inner peace and inner strength. “If you choose, you too can do it.”

Ven Tenzin Priyadarshi wound up the session with a vote of thanks. First of all he thanked His Holiness for coming and then thanked the many people who had made this inaugural session a success: members of his team and the Government of Telangana in particular.

His Holiness attended a sumptuous official lunch as the guest of the Deputy Chief Minister, following which he drove to Rajiv Gandhi International Airport to fly to Amritsar, from where he will drive to Dharamsala tomorrow morning.

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