DISKIT, Ladakh: His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave a series of discourse on Buddhist texts including ‘In Praise of Dependent Arising’, the ‘Eight Verses of Mind Training’, ‘All-encompassing Yoga’ to a crowd of over 5600 devotees at the Diskit Monastery in Nubra on Friday. As reported by the official website of His Holiness, the Tibetan spiritual leader also met with Muslim communities at the Diskit Jama Masjid in Nubra.
His Holiness is being hosted for the teachings by former Rajya Sabha Member, Thiksey Rinpoche, former Ganden Throneholder, Rizong Rinpoche.
“Here I am in Nubra once again. Today, I’m going to lead the generation of the awakening mind of bodhicitta, something I do myself every day, and also give some guidance on meditating on emptiness,” His Holiness said, in his introductory remarks.
“Those of us gathered here, whether we follow a religion or not, whether we count ourselves Buddhist, Muslim, Christian or Hindu, we are first of all human beings. Our religious identity is secondary. We may pray for the welfare of all sentient beings, but in practical terms, it is our fellow human beings we can actually do something for. Animals, birds, and insects surround us, yet there is little we can do to teach them. Language enables us to share our experience of love and compassion with other people.
If you have peace of mind, nothing will disturb you. Anger, arrogance, and jealousy destroy inner peace; love and compassion restore and strengthen it. This is why love, compassion, contentment and tolerance are practices common to all religious traditions—they bring peace and happiness to human beings,” His Holiness said.
He discussed how theistic religions believe in a creator God and consider such a God to be filled with infinite love and mercy. Non-theistic traditions like one branch of the Samkhyas, the Jains and Buddhists consider the source of happiness to be in our own hands. This is why the Buddha stated that the Buddhas do not wash unwholesome deeds away with water, nor do they remove the sufferings of beings with their hands, neither do they transplant their own realization into others.
“As a follower of the Buddha, belonging to the Nalanda Tradition,” His Holiness continued, “someone who has undertaken study, contemplation and reflection, I feel we should have a concern for all human beings since we all seek happiness. In addition, we should promote harmony among our religious traditions, which are a source of human benefit, despite adopting different philosophical positions. After all, there are differences of stance between the Middle Way and Mind Only schools within the Nalanda Tradition, but they aren’t grounds for fighting or quarreling. In the end, all these traditions commend the practice of love and compassion.
“Over the last nearly forty years or so I have had extensive discussions with modern scientists. Some of them say, citing evidence from experiments with pre-verbal infants, that basic human nature is compassionate. Further evidence suggests that compassion strengthens the immune system, whereas anger and hatred undermine it.”
He remarked that human beings are essentially social animals who appreciates love and affection. “But to make friends requires trust. Compassion predisposes us to avoid being dishonest and deceiving others—a fundamental component of trust”.
He supported his argument by asking the school-children in the audience if they preferred to see people laughing together or quarreling and running away from each other.
His Holiness also observed that in relation to achieving happiness, material development alone is not enough. Inner values like love and compassion are crucial too. These are related to methods for transforming the mind that has grown from the common Indian practices of shamatha, cultivating a calmly abiding mind, and vipashyana, which involves developing wisdom and insight.
“Just as we exercise and keep ourselves clean to remain physically fit, we also need to train the mind and tackle our disturbing emotions if we are to be mentally fit too.”
His Holiness told the devotees that whether one is religious or not, Buddhist or not, “it’s worth determining to be a good person with a good heart”.
Emphasising the teachings, His Holiness said realization of emptiness contributes to the accumulation of wisdom and cultivating altruism contributes to the accumulation of merit. . Acknowledging the Muslims in the audience, His Holiness said that “altruism” would benefit them all.
The local president of the Ladakh Buddhist Association offered words of thanks, expressed the hope that His Holiness would return to Nubra again and again and prayed that he live long.
As reported, Representatives of Muslim communities in Turtuk, Bogdang and Nubra joined His Holiness for lunch in a marquee beside Diskit Phodrang. Afterward, during a brief meeting, His Holiness recalled the excellent relations that had existed between Tibetans and the Muslims who had settled in Lhasa since the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama. He applauded the members of that community, now resettled in Srinagar, who kept up their exquisite command of Central Tibetan dialect, which they continue to pass on to their children.
His Holiness mentioned that recently in Leh representatives of the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam had come to see him. He had suggested to them that since India has a longstanding tradition of inter-religious harmony and since there have been no reports of strife between Sunnis and Shias in this country, Indian Muslims might join together to convene an international conference of Muslim leaders to examine how to mollify such quarrels elsewhere in the world.
After the teachings, His Holiness visited the newly established Diskit Jama Masjid where he joined in prayers with his Muslim friends. The Muslim elders and leaders expressed appreciation of His Holiness’s role in the world. They spoke about how His Holiness had been given awards such as the Nobel Peace Prize not for preaching about Buddhism, but for his veneration of all religious traditions and his work to promote harmony among them and peace in the world.
His Holiness thanked them for inviting him. “You should know that today the whole world is interdependent. In the past countries may have lived in isolation, but now from a global economic point of view, we are mutually dependent.
“In terms of climate change and global warming, we are all affected. We are likely to see a consequent increase in natural disasters, therefore we must cultivate a sense of the oneness of humanity. To think only of ourselves in a narrow way will not produce positive results. In past centuries, when we indulged in thoughts of ‘us’ and ‘them’, the result was that we killed each other in war. If, on the other hand, we work together, conscious of the oneness of humanity, we might yet be able to stem the worst effects of climate change.
“The founding of the UN was one thing, but I have great admiration for the way France and Germany principally, after centuries of fighting and conflict, decided to put the past behind them for the common good by creating the European Union. This is a model for the world to become a happier interdependent community.”
His Holiness informed his audience that following the September 11th event of 2001, whenever he could he has opposed moves to tarnish the reputation of Islam and has defended Muslims, because Islam, like other traditions, primarily conveys a message of love and compassion. He recalled a teacher in Turtuk previously telling him that someone who provokes bloodshed is no longer a proper Muslim and that true Muslims are enjoined to extend kindness to all creatures of Allah.
His Holiness will set out tomorrow for Samstanling Monastery in Sumur.