His Holiness the Dalai Lama has started a two-day online teaching on the Ornament from the Great Vehicle Sutras (Skt: Mahayana-Sutra-Alankara; Tib: Dodhe Gyen), a die Five treatises of Maitreya (Tib: Jamcho De Nga), Thursday, at the request of Russian Buddhists.
The program, conducted via video link from the residence of His Holiness Thekchen Choling in Dharamsala, northern India, 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).
The Dalai Lama has been offering teachings to Russian Buddhists since 2009 at the request of Ven. Elo Rinpoche, abbot of Datsan Rinpoche Bagsha, the shajin-lama (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’s teaching for Buddhists in Russia has been held online for the second time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the start of the virtual teaching, Telo Tulku Rinpoche expressed his gratitude to the Dalai Lama. He pointed out that this is the 13th consecutive year that His Holiness has been teaching Russian Buddhists and the second time the teaching has taken place online.
The program continued with the recitation of the heart sutra in the Tuva language, led by Gelek Natsyk Dorju, the ninth Kamby Lama of the Tuvan people, from the Buddhist temple of Tsechenling in the capital Kyzyl. A recitation of heart sutra in the Buryat language followed, led by Yelo Rinpoche, by Datsan Rinpoche Bagsha in Ulan-Ude.
Early in his teaching, the Dalai Lama noted that the Madhyamaka philosophy of the Middle Way was preserved only among Tibetans and Mongols. He observed that it was an honor for him to offer teachings to Buddhists in Russia and the Buddhist republics of the Russian Federation, and he urged all Buddhists to preserve their traditions, combining faith with reason and rigorous study: must make an effort to keep our traditions alive. I would like to ask you to work hard to study and preserve them. (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
His Holiness then read verses from the first chapter of the Ornament from the Great Vehicle Sutras and answered several questions from the public. His answers were about the Buddhist sangha, karma, holistic yoga, among other topics. The Dalai Lama noted that everyone wishes to be happy, but because of our selfish attitudes we encounter problems, therefore it is auspicious to wish sentient beings to find happiness and the causes of happiness.
The Dalai Lama also discussed the neutrality of the mind at the time of death and, related to this topic, the innate mind of clear light and emptiness. He looked at the four mindfulnesses*, which involve withdrawing the mind and cultivating mindfulness of body, feelings, mind, and phenomena.
At the end of the first day of his teaching, His Holiness urged Russian Buddhists to reflect on what they had learned.
* Deliberate mindfulness (Tib: tsol che kyi drenpa), effortless mindfulness (Tib: tsol me kyi drenpa), true mindfulness (Tib: yangdakpe drenpa), supreme king-like mindfulness (Tib: dren chok gyalpo).
Ornament of the Great Vehicle Sutras – First Day (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
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