RIGA: A legion of Buddhist devotees from the three Republics, Buryatia, Kalmykia and Tuva greeted His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he arrived for the first of the three-day Buddhist teachings at Skonto Hall in Riga Saturday morning.
The first topic of discourse, Tsongkhapa’s ‘In Praise of Dependent Origination’ is a text by the great master Je Tsongkhapa on emptiness. His collected writings comprise 18 volumes.
‘The Diamond Cutter Sutra’ (dorjee chodpa) contains the principal teachings of the Buddha on the nature of reality. His Holiness had received the transmission of the Diamond Cutter Sutra from Rizong Rinpoche.
“You are all followers of the Nalanda tradition, and traditionally belong to Buddhist tradition. Therefore I feel it is my responsibility to do my best to introduce the teachings of Buddha, particularly the glorious Nalanda tradition,” he said, addressing the 4000-strong gathering.
In a concise and simple explanation, he introduced the three main teachings of Buddha or the turnings of the wheel of dharma that are recognised as the foundation of all the different traditions of Buddhism that exist in the world today.
“Buddha turned the first wheel of dharma in which he taught the four noble truths, the 37 harmonies of enlightenment and Vinaya. According to Vinaya monastic discipline, there is Pali tradition. The teaching of the four noble truths is the foundation of the Pali tradition which has spread widely in Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Laos.
“The Sanskrit tradition is based on the second turning of the wheel of dharma; which is the teaching of emptiness. The heart sutra comes under the second turning of the wheel of dharma.
“Both Sanskrit and Pali have same practice of Vinaya, the monastic discipline. The Sanskrit tradition emphasises reason, while the Theravada tradition emphasises quotation of the Buddha,” he said.
He cited how the Sanskrit has become the language of scholars from many centuries. “After Master Nagarjuna and Indian masters appeared, the Nalanda monastic institutions became a centre for pursuing the Sanskrit tradition of the teaching of the Buddha. With regard to Nalanda, it seems during the time Buddha, some scholastic institution was established there.
“The third turning of the wheel of dharma was taught in Vaishali focused on Buddha nature and particularly the Tathāgatagarbha doctrine”.
He drew attention to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition as a reservoir of the complete teachings of Buddha and based on the Sanskrit tradition of logic and reason.
“According to Quantum Physics, nothing exists objectively, which is found corresponding to Chittamatrin and Madhyamaka views, particularly Nagarjuna’s contention that things only exist by way of designation by an observer. But modern science has not yet analysed what is the observer, whereas, in Indian tradition, there is extensive analysis on who and what is the observer”.
Lending his views on religious tolerance, His Holiness observed that one can have faith and devotion in one’s own religion, but one must accord respect to all the other religions and also non-believers.
“Wherever I go, I emphasise that as human beings we need to be loving and compassionate beings. The main experience of happiness for all the 7 billion human beings is same; it comes from our mental experience of happiness.
“These days I emphasise the ‘Hygiene of Emotion’. Too much materialistic attitude has overcome our world. We need to pay attention both inward and outward. Physical comfort and mental comfort are both equally important.
Real world peace, he said, will prevail if each one of us focuses on achieving peace of mind.
“Even scientists say that the basic human nature is more compassionate, so there is a reason to hope. Individually and as a society, we must cultivate a sense of oneness and concern for the well-being of others”.