BODH GAYA: His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Thursday inaugurated the Thai Bharat Society’s Wat Pa Buddhagaya Vanaram Temple near the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya.
The Tibetan spiritual leader was received at the new Thai Temple by Chief Abbot of Buddhist Thai Bharat Society, Dr Phra Bhodhinandhamunee and General Secretary, Dr Ratneswar Chakma with a Thai ceremonial welcome.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the temple, His Holiness told the Thai devotees that as followers of the Pali tradition, they were the senior most disciples of Buddha. He said that historically the Pali Tradition derived directly from the Buddha’s first teachings, which make its followers the most senior disciples. “Followers of the Sanskrit Tradition also rely on the Perfection of Wisdom teachings that came about as part of the second turning of the wheel of dharma”.
His Holiness offered that the Buddhist teachings had much to contribute to the world, particularly in promoting peace of mind and compassion. “The essence of Buddhism is compassion or karuna. Since the world needs more compassion we should look into how we Buddhists can contribute to it. It’s not a question of converting others to Buddhism, but of seeing how we can contribute to human peace of mind, by, for example, showing how to tackle our negative emotions. That would really benefit humanity,” he said.
“Today, even scientists are showing interest in what Buddhism has to say about the mind and emotions. The knowledge we’ve kept alive remains relevant because it can help reduce our negative emotions and the power they have over us”.
His Holiness also proposed that the Tibetan and Thai Buddhist communities should engage in dialogue and exchange of knowledge for the greater benefit. “There are some Buddhist teachings only available in Pali and others only available in the Sanskrit tradition. We should engage in research and an exchange of experience. We need closer relations and a common effort to present Buddhism in the 21st century”.
“In the 70s, some of our monks went to Bangkok where they learned Thai as well as participating in various aspects of practice. They’re old now, but we could send young monks again and welcome Thai monks to our monasteries. Tibetans could learn Thai and Thais could learn Tibetan”.
The chief abbot, Dr Phra Bhodhinandhamunee thanked His Holiness for blessing the temple and announced that the Thai Bharat Society would provide opportunities for all visitors to learn and practise meditation in the new temple.
On Friday, His Holiness will bestow Bhikshu ordination vows to 60 Buddhist monks.