Buddhism teaching

His Holiness the Dalai Lama concludes his three-day teaching on the essence of true eloquence

Dharamshala, India — His Holiness the Dalai Lama concluded his three-day teaching on Tsongkhapa’s “Essence of True Oration” primarily for Taiwanese Buddhists from his residence in Dharamshala, HP, India on October 4, 2020 .

His Holiness once again extended his greetings to the virtual audience gathered in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, at the start of the last day of his three-day teaching from his residence in Dharamshala, HP, India on October 4, 2020.

“Today I would like to greet you all,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama said as he began the third day of his explanation of Tsongkhapa’s “The Essence of True Oration” primarily for Taiwanese Buddhists. “The prayer you say at the end of the ‘Heart Sutra’ says ‘May I…enter into the practices of a bodhisattva’. Perhaps this should be more of a determination than a mere wish, “I will enter into the practices of a bodhisattva”.

“However deep the experience of emptiness you may have, it will not allow you to overcome the obstacles to knowledge. To do this you also need bodhichitta. “Entering the Middle Way” honors compassion because compassion in the beginning is the seed of attaining Buddhahood. In the middle, compassion is the factor that increases bodhichitta, and when you attain Buddhahood, it prompts you to serve others.

“By combining bodhichitta with the wisdom that understands emptiness, you will overcome all defilements, obstacles to knowledge, and afflictive emotions. When you see sentient beings suffering, you will be unable to bear it and will work to help them.
“We will resume reading the text. Towards the end there is an examination of the claims of the autonomous middle path proponents, and then of the claims of the consequentialists. In his “Praise to the Buddha for Teaching Dependent Production,” Je Tsongkhapa writes that because of dependent production reasoning, we do not rely on any of the extreme views. Dependent arising is the Buddha’s most important teaching.

His Holiness alluded to four logical errors which, in his ‘Entry into the Middle Way’, Chandrakirti explains, would occur if things had an objective existence. They are that the meditative absorption of being Arya on emptiness would be the destroyer of phenomena; that it would be wrong to teach that things have no ultimate existence; that the conventional existence of things would be able to withstand the ultimate analysis of the nature of things, and that it would be untenable to assert that things are empty in themselves.

His Holiness revealed that he reflects on these four points daily in his meditation. Whether you think of people’s selves, or consciousness, or anything else, he continued, everything seems to have some kind of objective, independent existence. When the object of negation appears in your mind and you wish to refute it, you make an analysis of the way things exist.

“Today is the second day of these teachings,” he began. “We don’t need to use reason to prove that we want to be happy, not to experience pain. The root of suffering is our attitude of self-cherishing and our misconception of the true existence of people and things.

“These mental poisons or afflictions are rooted in ignorance, which will not be eliminated by saying prayers or reciting mantras, but by meditating on selflessness, that is, by developing wisdom. The last line refers to the cultivation of bodhichitta and engagement in bodhisattva practices.

“The reason we are listening to this talk today is so our wisdom can shine. However, there is a saying that if after diligent study you have not been able to integrate what you have learned within yourself, it will have been for nothing. Trulshik Rinpoche, who came to Lhasa especially to receive teachings on the ‘Stages of the Path’, teased me about the great knowledge of the Geshes which bore no fruit.

“I advise Tibetans to become 21st century Buddhists and I advise you to do the same, which means developing a solid understanding of the teachings. You must use your intelligence to discern right from wrong and consider how spiritual practice can be beneficial today.

“As I mentioned yesterday when I was little, I memorized ‘Entering the Middle Way’ and ‘Ornament for Clear Realization’. I studied the logic and reason of ‘Collected Topics’ on the basis of the Purba Chok manual.At first, I was not very interested in it, but later I realized that what I had learned was useful.

“Today, Dharma friends in Taiwan asked for an explanation of ‘the essence of true eloquence,'” he announced on the first day of his teachings. “I will give a brief teaching.

“The main message of all religious traditions is that it is important to cultivate a warm heart, love and compassion. The practice of non-violence and compassion prevailed in India even before the time of the Buddha. When he appeared more than 2500 years ago, he took up these practices and made them the basis of his teaching. Followers of theistic traditions attribute what happens to us to the will of God, while Samkhyas, Jains and non-theistic Buddhists follow the law of causality.

The Buddha advised his followers to be skeptical: “As the sage tests gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, so, bhikshus, should you accept my words – only after testing them, and not simply out of respect for me.” His Holiness asked, “How do you examine the teaching? answering that you verify it by comparing it with what you know to be obvious, with what can be proven by reason.

“In the modern era, scientists are not very interested in belief systems, but they will pay attention to what is presented in terms of reason and logic. His Holiness reported that he found modern scientists all quite prepared to accept Buddhist explanations of how the mind and emotions work,” he said.

“Because they are grounded in logic and reason, which is characteristic of the Nalanda tradition. He observed that Chinese Buddhists also revere the Nalanda tradition, and the Chinese scholar Xuanzang reports that he spent some time at Nalanda University,” the spiritual leader added.