9 November 2016
On his arrival at the Honganji Temple, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was warmly received by Venerable Otani Choujyun, the chief priest of the temple.
Before His Holiness appeared on the stage, a group of primary schoolchildren presented a song titled ‘Arigatou no hana’ in honour of his visit to Honganji temple. His Holiness greeted each child for the beautiful rendition of the song.
His Holiness then invited the chief priest sit beside him before he began his public talk on “Essence of Buddhist Teachings”.
His Holiness said Buddhism originated from Asia. Japan is a country with many Buddhist temples and rich Buddhist culture. However he encouraged those who follow Buddhism, including Japanese Buddhists, should focus on studying and understanding the Buddha’s teachings on four noble truths and three tripatakas through study and investigation rather than merely carrying out rituals.
“I always emphasise that we Buddhists must efforts to become 21st century Buddhists through scientific study and experiment of Buddha’s teachings to find the reality which is the essence of Buddhism,” His Holiness added.
His Holiness said all the religions in this world share common goal to cultivate positive human values such as compassion and warmheartedness for the well-being of others. His Holiness underlined the importance of inter-religious harmony to achieve this common goal.
His Holiness then told the members of the audience that he prefers discussion and invited questions. He light-heartedly said “I love and respect Japanese culture. But I don’t like too much formality in their cultural etiquette.”
Responding to a Japanese woman’s question on how to promote peace in the world, His Holiness said “the world tends to focus on material life, which he said is a result of the existing education system. Material development alone cannot make a happy human being.”
He further said “there is tremendous progress taking place in the fields of economy, technology and science. At the same time, the world is beset with crises as a result of lack of moral principles and negative actions like bullying and harming others’ well-being.”
His Holiness said the gap between rich and poor in Japan and some European countries like Austria is comparatively less in Japan than India and America. “So the rich people should take more responsibility to take care of well-being of poor people. Rich people are influential and poorer section feel mentally less confident.”
Describing compassion is the force which can move our physical and verbal actions, His Holiness said all physical and verbal actions are related with motivation. “While nurturing positive motivation like compassion and warmheartedness make our actions positive, With negative emotions like anger, hatred and suspicion, then all our actions become harmful. A compassionate motivation every action will become positive. Any individual such as the work of professional people with sincere motivation can be positive and constructive. With negative motivation, even teaching religion could sometimes become destructive” he added.
“Any individual such as the work of professional people with sincere motivation can be positive and constructive.”
His Holiness praised a Japanese woman while she put a question to him about her engagement in activities to promote peace. His Holiness said: “Peace is not just mere words or actions. We need go to a more deeper level to develop a compassionate heart and mind to bring inner peace. Through inner peace, we can develop peaceful individual, peaceful family, peaceful community and finally peaceful humanity. In order to develop genuine peaceful world, we must efforts to demilitarise our world. Firstly we need to internal disarmament, which means to develop more sense of compassion, forgiveness and reduce anger and hatred.Through this way there is a possibility to achieve external disarmament. We may not achieve this goal in our lifetime. But we have to work and if we make serious effort then the later half of the 21st century could become a more peaceful”.
At the end of the discussion, the chief priest of Honganji Temple expressed his deep gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s encouragement to cultivate a compassionate heart. “We will make work on the advice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to gradually and steadily to spread peace to the wider world.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chief Priest signed a joint statement in this endeavour.
Tomorrow His Holiness will visit Seifu High School in Osaka and interact with 3000 students on a theme titled: “Buddhism in the 21st Century.”
-Report filed by Lobsang Choedak from Japan-