Thursday, 23 May 2013

Excerpt of Teaching by H.H. the Dalai Lama in Louisville, KY

“We’ve been in exile now for 54 years, but there’s only a few of us compared to the 6 million Tibetans in Tibet. What we are free to do however, is to keep our language and culture alive. In the 7th century, Tibet was a powerful unified nation, and although it later became somewhat fragmented, through all the ups and downs, the people of the Land of Snow have continued to think of themselves as Tibetans. What unites us is our common language and culture. This is something to be proud of.
Good morning everybody. I’m happy to be here with this opportunity, a morning and an afternoon session, to explain this particular text. It was written by a great Indian Buddhist master and philosopher in the eleventh century at the behest of the King of Guge, a small kingdom in Western Tibet. But before I open the text I’d like to say a little to set the context. If you show concern for other’s well-being, speak honestly, cultivate affection and trust, you will naturally collect many firm friends. Scientific research has shown that positive meditation and mental training yield measurable improvements in well-being with reduced blood pressure and stress. The point is that some kind of spirituality improves our lives. If you look at me, your eye consciousness forms an image, but makes no judgement such as ‘This is my friend.’ Close your eyes and a mental image remains. Joy and wisdom function on that mental level; peace of mind is achieved through mental training. The love and compassion common to all major religions and their teachings about tolerance and patience also relate to training the mind...
It can be more useful to choose the breath as an object of concentration, because it is neither too coarse nor too subtle and it is a natural phenomenon. Observing it enables us to gather our minds as we count inhalations and exhalations as one, up to 21, 50 or 100. 
The text is complete,” His Holiness announced, adding, “I hope you are not tired. I hope non-Buddhists can find something useful in what I have explained. Buddhists I urge to read the text again and again; this is not something to be contented about. Material values and sensory pleasures have natural limits so it’s better to be contented with them. But mental qualities have no such limits, mind is formless and there is no limit to knowledge, so never feel contented with what you know; study more and more.
Mental development takes time. Early on it may seem difficult, but it becomes easier with familiarity. Don’t entertain unrealistic expectations; mental transformation doesn’t take place quickly. It requires patience and determination. It may take months or years, but at the end of your life you can feel confident about your next destination."

“Shantideva expresses the appropriate far-sighted perspective in his verse:

For as long as space endures, 
And for as long as living beings remain, 
Until then may I too abide 
To dispel the misery of the world.”

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