Dalai Lama: Develop mind and heart

by Yishey D, Statesman, April 30, 2005

In his Sikkim sermons the 14th Dalai Lama stressed on inner development, compassion and universal responsibility.

Gangtok, Sikkim (India) -- This was the Dalai Lama?s fourth visit to Bayul Demoshong (old name for Sikkim), a place of great spiritually significance to Tibetan Buddhism. Bayul Demoshong or the hidden fruitful valley, was recognised by Guru Padmasambhava, the fountainhead of Tantrayana Buddhism as one of the sacrosanct hidden Buddhist zones. Something the incarnation of Chenrezik (Avalokiteswara) or the Lord of Compassion, the fourteenth Dalai Lama is well aware of.

Addressing a crowd of 30, 000 strong during the first of his three-day sermon at Guard?s Ground, Gangtok, he said: ?you are blessed to be born in this land of Guru Rinpoche?.

The Dalai Lama?s three-day sermon was on ?Semnyed Ngalso? (Relaxing the mind itself). It began on 21 April with explanations of the daily prayer ?Thisum Sangye Guru Rinpoche....?, its significance and the necessity of chanting it every day.

This discourse focussed on a book ?Semnyed Ngalso?, written by the renowned Buddhist Tibetan scholar Longchen Rabjombo which dealt with the need to a change of mind for the benefit of others - the ultimate essence of Buddhism. This book, printed by the State Ecclesiastical Department was distributed freely to the people on this occasion.

Turning prayer wheels with their right hand and counting beads with their left, devotees listened in rapt piety when the high Lama sermonised on the rareness of precious human life, the impermanence of human life, sufferings of samsara, the principle of cause and effect, how to follow the spiritual guru, going into refuge, training the mind to the four immeasurable qualities., arousing the two kinds of Bodhisatta, combination of generating and completing stages of meditation, avoiding two extremes of basic wisdom realisation, combination of calm abiding and higher insight realisation through flawless and meditative concentration, mastering the method in deep concentrative meditation and the fruit of spontaneous perfect realisation.

The devotee crowd swelled even more on the third day (23 April) of the sermon, particularly to receive the Rigzin Dongdrup initiation from the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama, however, emphasised that receiving the Lama Rigzin Wang is equal to receiving a Kawang, for which he performed prayers for nearly five continuous hours. He also explained the essence of the Chenrezik?s mantra, Om Mani Padma Hung Rhi and asked the people to chant along with him.

In a nutshell, the discourse essentially meant development of one?s individual mind (Sem).

The Dalai Lama?s discourse on ?Compassion and Universal Responsibility? was similarly laced with simple examples and humour. During this talk on 22 April to a select group of intellectuals, officials and legislators at Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok he stressed on the need of instilling the Sikkimese mind with the importance of enhancing ?human value?. For Sikkim, to achieve this inner value, albeit in its swing of change and development, the Dalai Lama said that focus on education is very important.

While admitting that education was important in reducing the gap between ignorance and reality, he declared that education doesn?t necessarily mean intelligence or high learning. Only intelligence combined with compassion can bring about inner value and happiness something that also makes for a happy society. ?It means proper development of mind and heart or realisation of inner value?, he explained while talking about the need to know the present for a happier future.

He explained that the combination of modern technology and mental development with negative emotions can only yield disastrous results like the 11 September event. But if modern technology and mental progress combines with positive emotions, good things happen that are beneficial to the people at large.

For wider perspectives, the Dalai Lama emphasised that mental training in stability with some dharma will really bring in inner calm. ?Dharma training makes mind something different. I am not talking of heaven, hell or nirvana but of present?.

He also stressed on the need of genuine communal harmony in Sikkim with its multi-cultural, multi-religious society, thus elaborating the need of genuine compassion not only in normal times but also during crisis with mutual respect and understanding. ?There should be a close understanding between different religions. This is my commitment and I will do it till my death?, the Dalai Lama added. Talking on education, he said that he felt the need of the promotion of secular ethics with a base on the laws of nature rather than religion for inner realisation.

At the same time, he said he experienced the need of ancient monasteries to be improved in order to catch up with the changing world.

During the Q & A session after the discourse on ?Compassion and Universal Responsibility? he invited questions so that he would improve his understanding of the human mind.

There was a query on when the Sikkimese people could expect His Holiness, the seventeenth Karmpa, Orgyen Thinley Dorji to take his rightful seat at Rumtek Monastery. The Dalai Lama was quick to reply: ?We all want Karmapa in Rumtek, but for your answer you will have to ask the government of India.

He went on to add that the Karmapa, though young, is very determined in his spiritual pursuits unlike other high lamas in Tibet. ?In my interaction with him, he has made it clear that he wants to be a religious scholar and is working towards it. The scholastic traits displayed by the young Karmapa have really impressed me. What has impressed me more about the Karmapa is that he is interested in learning about all lineages and sects. He is not at all sectarian in his approach to religion. He is showing great potential?.

While he remained sceptical to the query on the powers of healing, he said that cloning is acceptable as far as it benefits mankind. ?Be it cloning or anything else, what we must have to look at it is the motivation and the result. Like any other scientific discovery, it is important that the principles that guides the research and the motivation are based on secular ethics so that a larger perspective is incorporated? he said.

He also answered queries on various issues like how to deal with the anger experienced after the death of a loved one; the role of women in Dharma in 21st century; two truths in Tibetan Buddhism etc.

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