DHARAMSHALA: His Holiness the Dalai Lama today inaugurated a three-day introductory Buddhist teaching for Tibetan youths-mainly those in Tibetan schools and colleges-at main temple, Tsuglagkhang.
The topic of discourse was ‘Shantideva’s A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (chodjug in Tibetan). The text Chodjug, is a Mahāyāna Buddhist text written c. 700 AD by Shantideva, Gyalsey Shiwalha. The text consists of ten chapters dedicated to the development of Bodhicitta (the mind of enlightenment).
In his preliminary address to over 10,000 Buddhist devotees and Tibetan youths gathered, His Holiness said education today needs not only to develop human intelligence but also to strengthen basic human values.
“What we need today is an approach to ethics which makes no recourse to religion and can be equally acceptable to those with faith and those without. We could call these basic values ‘secular ethics’, since they do not depend on religious faith,” he said, referring to the Indian tradition of secular value which accords respect to all believers and non-believers.
He said religion has helped millions of people in the past and will continue to serve millions in the future. “Of course, all the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness, can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate”.
He asserted that a happier and meaningful humanity can be possible if our society overcomes the shortcoming of modern education and incorporate compassion and warm-heartedness into its education system.
“Some scientists have found evidence to show that basic human nature is compassionate. This is a really hopeful sign,” he said. “We need to strengthen such inner values as contentment, patience and tolerance, as well as compassion for others. Keeping in mind that it is in our basic nature to appreciate and express love and compassion”.
“Human beings are gifted with marvelous intelligence but for centuries, we have been employing it for our shortsighted self interests. It is urgent that we realise to use our intelligence in a constructive way; in order to enable that, we must embrace warm-heartedness and concern for others wellbeing”.
His Holiness greeted the young Tibetan students as the main disciple for the teaching and also acknowledged the devotees from Thailand.
“Historically Buddhists in Thailand are the senior most disciples of Buddha. When Buddha attained enlightenment, in the first turning of wheel of dharma at Varanasi, he taught the four noble truths. This teaching is the foundation of the Pali tradition which has spread widely in Thailand.
“To devotees from Thailand, I greet you as our elder dharma friends,” His Holiness said, addressing the devotees from Thailand.
His Holiness also proposed that the Tibetan and Thai Buddhist communities should engage in dialogue and exchange of knowledge for the greater benefit. “There are some Buddhist teachings only available in Pali and others only available in the Sanskrit tradition. We should engage in research and sharing of knowledge”.
After the preliminary talk, His Holiness started the discourse on Shantideva’s A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (chodjug in Tibetan). The teaching will conclude on 8 June.