His Holiness the Dalai Lama started a three-day teaching on Nagarjuna Commentary on the awakening of the spirit (Skt: Bodhichitta Vivarana; Tib: Changchub Semdrel) on November 5, at the request of Russian Buddhists, via video link from his residence Thekchen Choling in Dharamsala, northern India.
The program was organized by Datsang Rinpoche Bagsha (Buryatia), the center khurul of Kalmykia, the golden abode of Buddha Shakyamuni, the administration of the Kamby Lama of the Republic of Tuva, the Save Tibet Foundation (Moscow) and the Center for Tibetan Culture and Information (Moscow).
Dalai Lama teachings for Russian Buddhists have been held in India since 2009 at the request of Ven. Elo Rinpoche, abbot of Datsang Rinpoche Bagsha, the shajin llama (Chief Lama) of Kalmykia, and Telo Tulku Rinpoche, who is the representative of the Dalai Lama in Russia, Mongolia and the CIS countries, with the support of the kami lama, the oldest Buddhist monastic in the Republic of Tuva. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teachings for Buddhists in Russia are being held online for the first time.
At the start of the virtual teaching, Telo Tulku Rinpoche expressed his gratitude to the Dalai Lama for teaching Russian Buddhists in India since 2009, and in Riga, Latvia, since 2014. He also expressed his joy that despite the pandemic, it is possible for large groups of devotees to unite via the Internet.
The online program continued with a recitation of the heart sutra in Russian by Kuntse Choinoei Datsang in Saint Petersburg, followed by a recitation of the sutra in the Buryat language by Datsang Rinpoche Bagsha. The Tibetan spiritual leader noted the long-standing ties between Tibetans and the peoples of Buryatia, Kalmykia and Tuva, as well as the connection between Tibetans and the people of Mongolia. His Holiness observed that what happened in Russia and Mongolia then also happened in Tibet: “The authorities have tried to eliminate the Dharma, but it cannot be eliminated by force because as long as we have feelings, we all wish to be happy and not to suffer. As human beings, we are intelligent and have the ability to think. We can use our mind to change our way of thinking to cultivate happiness and reduce suffering. Dharma and religion in general is a way to transform our minds. (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate also shared his memories of his visits to Russia and Mongolia in 1979: “I sat with a group of old monks inside the Gandan Monastery in Ulaanbaatar. They made a long life offering to me, during which they sang with such devotion that it brought tears to my eyes. I thought about how Buddhism had spread there and how it had been destroyed – and yet the faith had not diminished. The atrocities of the Russian and Chinese revolutions could not erase the faith from people’s minds. (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
The Dalai Lama explained that in Tibet and the Mongolian region, Buddhists follow the Nalanda tradition, which emphasizes the use of logic and critical analysis. In his text Commentary on the awakening of the spirit, Nagarjuna relies exactly on reason and logic. His Holiness explained the text and then answered questions from Buddhists in different parts of Russia
The teachings will continue on November 6 and 7, with His Holiness’ commentary on Nagarjuna’s text and explanations given by Ven. Geshe Lhakdor, director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala. Over the next two days, the virtual audience will also be able to hear the heart sutra sung in Tuvan and Kalmyk.
Commentary on Awakening the Mind – Day One (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
2020 (Save Tibet Foundation (Moscow))
2020. Трансляция и программа (Save Tibet Foundation (Moscow))