Leura, NSW, 5 June 2015 -- The spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the Dalai Lama Friday has urged a crowd of several thousand people to focus on inner values such as love, to help create a more compassionate global community.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate captivated a crowd of 3500 people in the NSW Blue Mountains today as he focused on these values and religion for his "wisdom of forgiveness" talk. His Holiness was holding a teaching retreat, which US actor Richard Gere is attending at a Leura school, and urged Australians to show compassion to others so the next generation will see a more peaceful world.
"That should be your aim, your goal," His Holiness told the crowd at Katoomba Public School after he was welcomed to the stage by Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill and locally-based Australia fashion designer Jenny Kee.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is on a 10-day tour of Australia, with plans to take his teachings, signature smile and chuckles to Brisbane, Perth and Uluru. Touching on equality, the religious leader Lama told the crowd everyone from birth had the same right to achieve a happy life and had the seed of love and compassion.
While these values are alive at a young age, over time they become dormant, he said. Anger destroyed inner peace, friendships and a happy family, the spiritual leader said.
"Love and kindness brings immense benefit for physical health, happy mind ..." he said. A small group of protesters raising awareness about the plight of Shugden Buddhists occupied a street corner outside the school and could be heard chanting "stop lying".
"Brothers and sisters, I am happy to be here once more. I've known many of you Australians and New Zealanders for many years so this is something of a reunion, as well as an opportunity to make new friends. We are all brothers and sisters with the same potential to achieve a happy life. But the ultimate source of happiness is not in material things but in our inner qualities. We all have Buddha nature and the potential to overcome suffering. Whether we believe in God or follow the Buddha, the teachings we observe give us self-confidence and inner strength.
"Our future depends on the rest of humanity. As human beings we each have a responsibility to contribute to creating a healthy, happy humanity. Because different religious traditions all teach love, compassion and forgiveness, they all have the potential to bring about inner peace. There are philosophical differences between them, but these are just different approaches to the same goal. This is why it's so sad when religion apparently becomes a source of violence.
"I have three commitments: as a human being to encouraging human happiness, as a Buddhist monk to fostering religious harmony, and as a Tibetan. Since 2011, I have retired from any political responsibility, but I am still very concerned to protect Tibetan culture and the natural environment of Tibet."
His Holiness said that at the end of his last visit to Australia, two years ago, he had suggested that next time a tantric teaching might be relevant for the monks, nuns and other people who take a sincere interest. Prior to giving that he wanted to explain how the Dharma spread in Tibet, principally in two phases.
The first, before the time of Atisha and the translator Rinchen Zangpo involved the Nyingma tradition. The second included the Sakya, Kagyu, Gelug and Jonang traditions. The general structure of the path was the same for all of them and they all use logic and reasoning. The tantric teachings they convey, however, are teachings suited to specific disciples and consequently differ from each other. For example, the way the channels, energies and drops are explained in the Guhyasamaja and the Kalachakra tantras are different.
"Today, I stress that Tibetan Buddhism is essentially the Nalanda tradition," he declared, "because some people have referred to it as 'lamaism' as if lamas invented it. But the teachings of the Nyingma begin with Shantarakshita, who was one of the top scholars at Nalanda, as his writings on philosophy and logic attest, and Padmasambhava, who counted Nalanda masters like Nagarjuna among his eight gurus. The Kagyu teachings come mainly from Naropa, who was a distinguished Nalanda scholar, while those of the Sakyas derive from Virwapa, who as a Nalanda scholar was known as Dharmapala.
His realization was such that the Hevajra dakinis gathered in his cell to discuss the teachings. The monastic disciplinarian heard their female voices and dismissed Dharmapala from the monastery, so he became the yogi Virwapa. Atisha, the source of the Kadampa tradition, was a master of Vikramashila University, where they followed the Nalanda tradition. Therefore, it is appropriate to say that Tibetan Buddhism consists of the Nalanda tradition, a tradition immersed in the use of logic and reason."
Referring to the need to verify the quality of both teaching and teacher, His Holiness cited Sakya Pandita who pointed out that when people do business, purchasing jewels and so forth, they are very careful to check what they are being sold. They do all kinds of tests. But when it comes to the Dharma people take for granted that the teaching they receive and the teacher who is giving it are genuine. There is a need to check those too. Je Tsongkhapa explained in his 'Stages of the Path to Enlightenment' that a lama, someone who will tame others, has to be tamed himself. He needs to have undertaken the three higher trainings.
His Holiness remarked that followers of the Buddha today need to be 21st century Buddhists who know what Buddhism is about. "Reading and studying the classic works of Nalanda masters can help achieve this. Their approach was to refute others' positions, assert their own and then to rebut criticism. Buddhist practice, meanwhile, is essentially about using our human intelligence to transform our emotions."