Dharamshala: Smiling friends and well-wishers thronged the street as His Holiness the Dalai Lama set off for Tashi Jong this morning while the early morning sun shone out of a cloudless sky. The entire Gyutö Monastery turned out to line the road to greet him as he passed. Likewise, at Gopalpur, on the way to Palampur, a group of masked Tashi Shölpa dancers headed a long line of students, teachers and staff from the nearby Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) school. Many of them held white silk scarves in their hands. All of them looked delighted to see His Holiness.
Arriving at Tashi Jong, the entire community were waiting in their best clothes, joyful smiles on their faces, to welcome him. His Holiness was able to drive right to the steps of the new assembly hall. At the door, he cut the ribbon to symbolically open the main academic building of the new Khamgar Druk Dharmakara College. At the head of the hall, he lit an inaugural lamp before a large statue of the Buddha.
His Holiness ascended the throne and took his seat. As Khamtrul Rinpoché offered a mandala, His Holiness wore the red Drukpa Kagyyu hat. There were offerings of representations of the body, speech and mind of the Buddha while a prayer for His Holiness’s long life composed by his tutors was chanted. Tea and sweet rice were served.
One of the Khenpos welcomed His Holiness, referring to him respectfully as the incarnation of Avalokiteshvara and master of the entire teaching of the Buddha. He greeted all the guests and dignitaries with “Tashi Deleg.”
In his report, given in Tibetan, Khamtrul Rinpoché again addressed His Holiness as master of the entire teaching of the Buddha and champion of peace throughout the world. He thanked him for accepting the invitation to inaugurate this new centre of learning today.
Rinpoché explained that the first Khamapagar Monastery was founded by the first Khamtrul Rinpoché with branches in Dergé and other parts of Kham. The great Fifth Dalai Lama encouraged him. Subsequent Dalai Lamas, including the Seventh, wrote to the Khamtrul Rinpochés to acknowledge their work to preserve the Dharma. Later, the 13th Dalai Lama also encouraged the Khamtrul Rinpoché who was his contemporary to continue to serve the Dharma and sentient beings.
“Just as previous Dalai Lamas looked after the Khampagar Monasteries,” Rinpoché requested, “I appeal to Your Holiness to look after us too.”
He mentioned that the Fourth Khamtrul Rinpoché, Tenzin Chökyi Nyima, founded a centre of learning in Chamdo that was called Chilling Gön to which he invited a teacher from Namgyal Monastery. Later, Rinpoché’s predecessor, the Eighth Khamtrul Rinpoché Dongyud Nyima invited scholars from Dzogchen and Kathog Monasteries to teach the monks.
Here at Khampagar, a Sakya Khenpo Rinchen and Khenpos from Tibet have been invited to teach. As the number of students grew the need arose to build larger facilities which has led to the establishment of this Khamgar Druk Dharmakara College. Rinpoché declared that the Institute follows the Nalanda Tradition and attracts students from across the Himalayan region.
He concluded by voicing a wish for everyone’s well-being, praying that His Holiness’s aspirations may be fulfilled and that he live a long life.
Kishori Lal, the local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) described the inauguration of the Institute as a very special occasion. He recalled in the 1960s Tibetans began to live in Chauntra, Bir and Tashi Jong. Since then, the Government of India and of Himachal Pradesh have given them what help they could. Indeed, the present Chief Minister has recently repeated this offer of assistance.
Sikyong Penpa Tsering, President of the Central Tibetan Administration, praised His Holiness’s inauguration of the Khamgar Druk Dharmakara College. He noted that some of the past students who become Khenpos have taught at the monastery, others have dedicated their lives to practice, while yet others have gone back to Tibet to teach. He mentioned a conference that the CTA is organizing next year, which he hopes teachers and students from Khampagar will attend. He also remarked that in south India several scholars who have received Geshé degrees are now working towards PhDs at the Dalai Lama Institute of Higher Studies under the auspices of the University of Bangalore.
Speaker Khenpo Tenphel offered praise and gratitude to everyone who has contributed to the establishment of this college. He cited Vasubandhu’s advice that the proper way to preserve the Buddha’s teachings is through study and practice. He acknowledged the great contribution that the past and present Khamtrul Rinpochés have made to this venture.
“My dear Dharma friends,” His Holiness began, “I’m happy to be able to address you all. Today, the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition, which has been restricted by communist Chinese forces in Tibet, is flourishing because of the strong faith of the Tibetan people. This Dharma tradition has neither declined, nor become diluted, because you have all worked hard. Today, there is growing interest in our knowledge and traditions among Buddhists in China as well as scholars and scientists in other parts of the world. Scientists in particular are interested in what we have to say about the workings of the mind and emotions and the nature of reality.
“We combine practice of the awakening mind of bodhichitta with an understanding of emptiness. Things appear to have an independent existence an identity that cannot be found when we search for it. Therefore, we say that things only exist by way of designation.
“As a Buddhist monk, the moment I wake in the morning I summon up my understanding of bodhichitta, a sense that others are dear and close to us, as well as the wisdom understanding emptiness. What I find is that the more altruistic you are, the more you feel at ease. Bodhichitta gives rise to peace of mind.
“If you are filled with anger and jealousy, you won’t be happy. These emotions are rooted in a self-centredness and self-cherishing that can lead to harm and the outbreak of war. Compassion and bodhichitta, on the other hand, are a source of peace.
“I have studied Buddhist scriptures since I was a child and worked to integrate what I learned within. As Buddhists liberation and enlightenment are our goal. People readily talk about peace in the world, but it will only be established when we develop peace of mind within. When we gain a clearer understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions, we learn how much we need love and compassion in the world. More and more people are coming to appreciate this.”
His Holiness remarked that all Tibetan Buddhist traditions, Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, Geluk and Jonang combine the use of logic with an understanding or the Middle Way or Madhyamaka view. He observed that all are the same. They may use different terms, but all Tibetan Buddhist traditions focus on love and compassion and in today’s world it’s time to share these values with everyone. This is something to keep in mind.
He noted that Tibetans have lost their country and with it their freedom, but they have found they have friends around the world who recognise that Tibetans are a calm and peaceful people. This is because the Buddhadharma is not about performing rituals or playing musical instruments, it’s about achieving peace of mind. Jetsun Mila was a true practitioner. He didn’t play a drum and cymbals, he meditated on bodhichitta and emptiness as he practised in silence.
“Our mothers give birth to us. They shower us with love and affection—something we should not forget. As we grow up, we should remember the love and affection we’ve learned from our mothers and employ them in relation to others. If you cultivate love and compassion, when you leave this life, not only will you be able to go peacefully, but it will have a positive effect on your next life. This too is something to keep in mind.
“I’ve been asked to read the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’. The author, Geshé Langri Thangpa was an incredible practitioner of bodhichitta throughout his life. This is a text I recite to myself every day as part of my meditation on compassion and emptiness. I use these eight verses to invoke bodhichitta and lines from Chandrakirti’s ‘Entering into the Middle Way’ to focus on emptiness.
“Preserving the Dharma in not like keeping a possession safe, it’s about keeping the teachings in mind. The Buddha realized the nature of things as they are and bodhichitta is the essence of what he taught.
“The first and second verses of the eight advise us to see ourselves as the lowest amongst all. The third warns us not let ourselves be carried away by our emotions. The fourth recommends that we should not let our love and compassion lapse in relation to those who are rough and rude. The next verse stresses the importance of peace of mind. We must use mind-training to transform ourselves. This is how I practise, and I encourage you to do so too.
“The sixth verse refers to the practice of ‘tong-len’, giving and taking, while the following verse counsels us to remain kind even to those who are rough.
“My Dharma friends, monastics shouldn’t be like worldly people, they should maintain three trainings—to be calm, peaceful and relaxed. That’s all for today—thank you.”
Sponsors and others who had contributed to the creation of the college were able to approach His Holiness who presented each with a statue of the Buddha. Khamtrul Rinpoché gave certificates of gratitude to those who had worked on the building.
Khenpo Lobsang Sangpo offered words of thanks. Addressing him once more as master of the entire teaching of the Buddha and champion of peace in the world, he thanked His Holiness for inaugurating the college and for the teaching he had given.
“We thank you from the depth of our hearts and pray for your long life,” he concluded.
His Holiness and other guests were invited to a delicious lunch, after which he set out to return to Dharamsala. As he passed through Gopalpur, the TCV children lined the road once more, beaming with joy, so pleased to see him, and calling out “Tashi Delek” in greeting even to those in the cars at the end of the convoy.
-Sourced from dalailama.com