Friday, November 1, 2019

"Significance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in today's world"

In this 21st century, we have arrived in difficult and degenerate times with the three poisons at their peak and lives primarily focused outwards.  However, even in such difficult times, I believe that there are individuals, be it spiritual leaders of different traditions, Nobel Peace laureates, scientists or other knowledgeable human beings, who truly work for the well being of humanity.  One such individual that I know of is HIs Holiness the Dalai Lama.  I believe it is immensely precious for the whole world to have such an individual as him amidst us. 

We often talk about world peace, environmental protection, religious harmony and so on. But if we truly wish for such a place to live in, it is up to us to create such a place.  This is also why we must not only recognize and celebrate individuals who work to facilitate a peaceful world and take their advice but must also meet with such individuals to seek their compassionate guidance.  I see this as something of immense value.  For instance, I cannot imagine what His Holiness the Dalai Lama had to go through.  He parted from his native country and became a refugee but instead of dwelling on it, he altered his situation completely. And instead worked steadfastly to promote his “Four Commitments”.  His first commitment, as a human being, is to promote world peace.  His second commitment, as a religious figure is to promote religious harmony on this planet.  His third commitment, as a Tibetan, is to further the cause of Tibet. And finally, his fourth commitment is to revive the ancient Nalanda tradition of India, where the teachings of Buddha originated. His Four Commitments are extremely relevant to today’s world and that is why I see them as extremely important. 

As for me, I came from Tibet and have a profound reverence for His Holiness.  Back in Tibet, I used to frequently dream of him, which may be because of some special past life connections with him.  After reaching India, I received many teachings from him, especially on the Middle Way, Six Perfections, and on some very complex texts.  His Holiness with his knowledge and wisdom explained the complexities in these texts so well that it amazed me and I developed a profound faith in him and his teachings.  This is the kind of faith after knowing a teacher extremely well.  

The point I am trying to make is that as long as we wish for world peace, democracy and the well being of this world, it would be a tremendous loss for us not see His Holiness and hear his talks.  This is so because of his first commitment to genuine world peace born out of his own learning and life experiences.  It would be an apparent loss as human beings not to meet His Holiness while he is alive and therefore, a huge loss to the world.

Secondly, as a Buddhist, we understand that there are many characteristics that define a good teacher such as all levels of discipline and a compassionate heart.  Irrespective of one's view as a Hinayana, Mahayana or Vajrayana, His Holiness definitely encompasses all aspects of a good teacher.  Therefore, especially as a Buddhist, if one has not seen him, heard his teachings or understood his knowledge and wisdom, it will truly be a tremendous loss.  Like the analogy of a good teacher to the contents of one vase being fully poured into another, receiving everything without leaving anything in the original vase. Likewise, receiving the same exact view as that of the teacher’s like obtaining a mold, we must receive exactly the same knowledge, understanding and wisdom of His Holiness while he is alive.  Buddha, through his many transmissions, said that in degenerate times, he would manifest in this world in the form of a monk.  I have complete conviction in it even though it may sound like a story for some.  I truly believe that His Holiness is a manifestation of Buddha and a Bodhisattva.  Again, it will be a tremendous loss as Buddhists if we are unable to receive His Holiness' instructions.  

Thirdly, as a Tibetan Buddhist, it is extremely essential to receive the teachings from His Holiness.  If one has received his teachings once, one must not be simply satisfied but receive his spiritual and worldly advice again and again.  His advice emphasizes virtuous conduct and one must not feel quenched by receiving only one or two teachings.  Once received, one must also take heed to put such advice and teachings into action and integrate them into our daily lives. All tibetans revere His Holiness the Dalai Lama and hold on to his precious words of wisdom as he is after all the father figure to 6 million tibetans inside and outside of tibet. Since the 5th Dalai Lama up to the present 14th Dalai Lama, the Dalai Lamas have been an important figure and symbol of Tibet and the values it represents. Therefore it is very important for us Tibetans to keep this samaya with the future Dalai Lamas for generations to come. 

I recently went to India and received an audience with His Holiness. I firmly believe that this was purely out of my undeterred faith and reverence in him that I was able to receive such a precious opportunity.  I do not know if I possess all the qualities of a good teacher. But I believe this opportunity was a result of the little I know due to my faith and reverence for my teachers and complete surrender to them. 

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