Dharamsala: More than six thousand of Tibetans and non-Tibetan devotees filled the courtyard of the main temple, Tsuglagkhang, the venue for the final day of the four-day Uma Jugpa teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The final day of the teaching included a brief discourse on Je Tsongkhapa’s ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’. His Holiness also bestowed an Avalokiteshvara Empowerment to the devotees.
Three Principal Aspects of the Path (Tib: ལམ་གཙོ་རྣམ་གསུམ་) by Tsongkhapa Lobzang Drakpa is a short text in 14 verses highlighting the three most important aspects of the path according to the Gelug tradition, i.e., renunciation, bodhicitta and wisdom.
In his introductory teachings, His Holiness explained how the title of the text emphasises determination to be free, the altruistic spirit of enlightenment and a correct view of emptiness. Tsongkhapa Lobzang Drakpa was the founder of the Gelug school, one of the five schools of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
“The Three Principal Aspects of the Path was composed in response to a letter of request from Tsako Ngawang Drakpa, a close disciple Tsongkhapa had sent to teach in Eastern Tibet,” He said.
His Holiness summarised meanings of each verse as he read the text. ‘The first line of the first verse is a mark of humility. The subsequent lines refer to the three principles of the path. Verse two is an encouragement to make life meaningful. The third verse indicates how to cultivate a determination to be free, while verse five alludes to the measure of having done so. Verse six concerns the need to develop bodhicitta while the following verses explain how to do so. His Holiness noted that by applying the meaning of verses seven and eight to yourself it can be used to strengthen the determination to be free.
Although practices like love may counter some mental afflictions, verse nine clarifies that only an understanding of emptiness and dependent arising will do away with the fundamental ignorance that is the root of cyclic existence.
In relation to verse ten, His Holiness noted that his debate partner Ngödrup Tsognyi emphasized the need for certainty about dependent arising both to understand the law of causality and to see all phenomena as lacking any objective existence. When you can do that, you have entered the path that pleases the Buddhas.
Verses 11 and 12 deal with whether your analysis is complete. Things appear to have objective existence; they appear to exist of their own accord. However, once you have realized the Middle Way view even if they appear to be self-existent, you know that they do not actually exist in that way.
In the final verse, Tsongkhapa encourages his disciple to ‘depend on solitude and strong effort to quickly reach the final goal’. His Holiness urged his listeners to emulate that aspiration.
As part of the ceremony for giving the permission of Avalokiteshvara Who Liberates from the Lower Realms, His Holiness gave the precepts of a lay practitioner as well as the bodhisattva vows.
As a mark of auspiciousness and gratitude, a group of Taiwanese devotees recited a prayer for His Holiness’s long life.
Among the 6500 people in attendance, 1000 were Taiwanese, most of them belonging to 18 cultural organizations participating in the International Association of Tibetan Buddhist Dharma, Taiwan. In addition, there were 500 Indians, 1800 people from 66 countries abroad and 3200 Tibetans.