Thursday, January 07, 2010

A cornucopia of Dharma

Day three of HHDL teachings, much warmer than the past two, began with prayers and recitations of the Heart Sutra, once in Tibetan (as usual) and then once in Japanese by a small group of monks.

His Holiness then continued his “fireside” talks to the assembled, discussing the Tibetan language, Himalayan environmental issues, brain plasticity, the meditating mind at the time of and after death, the teachings of the Vinaya, the Copenhagen summit, non-Tibetan Himalayans, the remembering (with anecdotes) of past lives, anger, bodhicitta, overcoming fear in the face of certain impending death at the hands of the Chinese, and many other topics.

At one point I wrote in my notebook, “He is on fire!” He was.

Here’s a series of His Holiness’ statements and messages:

“As Tibet declines, the Himalayan people (Bhutan, Sikkim, Ladakh, etc.) need to take responsibility for preserving the teachings – this is my hope.” (He spoke of how the enrollment of Tibetan children in the Tibetan schools of India is declining, and he has spoken to Indian school officials to begin including Himalayan children of immediate non-Tibetan descent to enroll.)

“It is not science and technology that cause problems, but how people use them.”

“The teachings of the Buddha are like a nectar for the ears of sentient beings.”

“The educational system needs to teach about the mind, but not as an aspect of religion.”

“Happiness is not contingent on external circumstances.”

“The Chinese leaders are not able to see the long-term consequences of what they do, only the short-term.”

“We all have the mental thoughts and feelings that make us unhappy: delusions and afflictions. These afflictions are diseases within ourselves which must be dealt with, we can’t just leave them alone . . . ultimately, it is wisdom that is the antidote.”

“I know many rich people who have all the amenities in life but are very unhappy.”

“We are talking about cultivating happiness in human beings, and to do so it is necessary to understand the states of mind.”

“Western science deals primarily with the brain, not so much the mind, which has been our tradition.”

“Afflictions are only temporary . . . we must know this.”

“Why do we neglect sentient beings and revere the Buddhas?”

“Buddhism’s ultimate goals are obstructed by selfishness.”

“Scientists speak in terms of neurons . . . but in the subtler levels of the mind, scientists can not explain how consciousness arises.”

“Consciousness cannot be produced by something other than consciousness.”

“Live a good life here, the next one will be taken care of.”

“Even when we were in the womb, our mother’s peace of mind was essential for our well-being.”

“Bodhicitta is the greatest good heart, put your best efforts toward generating this.”

“Have the courage to steer your mind toward the perfection of bodhicitta.”

“Without an aspiration for bodhicitta, you are outside of the Mahayana path.”

“In order to tame others, you must first tame yourself.”

“Bodhicitta does not mean disregarding or not loving yourself . . . this is wrong. We use the seed of self-love to develop love for others.”

“Intention and motivation are not enough; to overcome ignorance you have to develop the view that cuts at the root.”

“Yesterday I was cold, today I am hot.”


OK, kids, that’s your “Ocean of Wisdom” blast for today. Thank you for letting me share it with you. Tomorrow is the final day of teachings, how quickly the time goes.

I've been reading about the sub-freezing temps in central Florida, please keep warm. I look forward to my return next week!

Stopping the finger now, thanks for reading.