Khaltse, Ladakh, India – As soon as His Holiness the Dalai Lama took his seat on the stage early this morning, he acknowledged that the more than 25,000 people assembled on the teaching ground had come to see him out of deep affection and faith.
“Just a few minutes ago,” he told them, “I met a woman who is 106 years old, and like her I consider it to be auspicious to live long. As the number of people who show me trust and devotion continues to grow, it certainly helps the Guru to live long. Thank you.This gives me the courage to live to be more than 110 years old.” The congregation applauded with delight.
“Of course, there is not much to be proud of if you’ve lived a long life dedicated solely to fulfilling your own personal goals at the expense of others. But to live a long and meaningful life in the service of others will definitely bear beneficial fruit.
“By cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta, you earn merit. And by understanding emptiness, you accumulate wisdom. It is very important to train yourself to listen, to reflect on what you have heard or read and to then put them into practice.
“If you think about the awakening mind of bodhicitta, you will develop a sense of caring and compassion for all living beings, including gods and spirits. All of them have, at one time or another, been part of our lives, and related to one another too. Like us they seek happiness and do not wish to suffer. If you cultivate compassion for them, you too will reap the benefit, instead of attracting harm from these gods or demigods.
“Conflict and violence in the world arise due chiefly to self-cherishing attitudes that lead us to pursue self-fish aims and disregard the well-being of others, which ultimately brings suffering back to us. If we consider all other human beings as being just like us, born from a mother’s womb and nurtured in the shelter of her loving-kindness we will not only achieve peace of mind ourselves, we will also make others happy too.
“The Buddha was not an enlightened being from the start. His enlightenment came about as a result of training his mind to develop bodhichitta over a long period of time. Finally, he engaged in six-years of deep meditation before he attained complete enlightenment, full of wisdom and without any fault. Therefore, it is important that all of you, my spiritual brothers and sisters, pursue the path to Buddhahood by accumulating merit and wisdom.
“This morning, I am going to give you a long-life empowerment related to White Tara. The crucial factor in seeking to live long is to be warm-hearted. This is what will yield peace of mind, which is the most important factor in living a meaningful life.”
When he had completed giving the long-life empowerment, His Holiness told those gathered before him that he was glad they had firm faith and were motivated to practise diligently.
He observed that in India sometimes distinction is drawn between one caste and another. He told the gathering that if that is the case in the region of Sham, they should know that all human beings are the same with no need to regard some as high and others as low. He asked them not to dwell on such distinctions.
As for us, he said, we are all followers of the Buddha. We all have the same Buddha nature and the ability to achieve Buddhahood. Therefore, we would be better to work to develop the awakening mind of bodhichitta by cultivating love and compassion towards everyone. That’s all, he said, and bade the audience good bye.
Soon afterwards, His Holiness boarded a helicopter, flew back to Leh, and returned to his residence at Shewatsel Phodrang.