Buddha Dharma

Compassion and non-violence: Buddha Dharma

The Buddhas first generate the awakening mind of bodhichitta. Having accumulated the two collections (of merit and wisdom), they attain enlightenment and then share their experience with sentient beings.
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“Buddhism, as it spread in Tibet, was established by Shantarakshita on the basis of the Nalanda Tradition. We study the canonical treatises from India and engage in the practice of the three pieces of training. This is the process that I, as a monk, also followed. I studied the texts, reflected on what I’d understood and gained experience of it in meditation. And what I’m going to explain today is based on that experience.

“I respect all religious traditions. We have different ideas and philosophical approaches suited to the aptitude of different followers. The Buddha also gave different explanations in accordance with his listeners’ needs. However, all these different traditions emphasise the importance of cultivating love, compassion and non-violence. Historically, some people have fought and even killed in the name of religion, but that kind of behaviour should now be left in the past.

“All the world’s great religious traditions have flourished in India and have customarily regarded each other with the utmost respect. This is an attitude that could well be adopted in other parts of the world.

“The Buddhas do not wash unwholesome deeds away with water,” His Holiness declared, “Nor do they remove the sufferings of beings with their hands, neither do they transplant their own realisation into others. It is by teaching the truth of suchness that they liberate (beings).

“The Buddhas first generate the awakening mind of bodhichitta. Having accumulated the two collections (of merit and wisdom), they attain enlightenment and then share their experience with sentient beings. It’s on this basis that the Buddha stated, ‘You are your own master.’ Whether or not you choose to engage in the practice of Dharma is in your hands.

“The root of suffering is the unruly mind, so the practice of Dharma is to transform the mind. The Buddha has said that compassionate ones lead beings through multiple means. Since beings are ignorant of the nature of things, he taught emptiness, which is peaceful and unborn. Over the decades that I have studied the Dharma and applied what I understood, I’ve seen a transformation in myself.

“It is possible to overcome adversity by training the mind. We develop concentration on the basis of the practice of ethics and then employ the single-pointed mind to examine how things exist. Developing insight, as a result, we make progress on the path.

“The Four Noble Truths are the foundation of the Buddha dharma. The Buddha taught about suffering and its cause, but he also showed that suffering and its cause can be overcome; cessation can be attained. He taught about emptiness, as affirmed in the ‘Heart Sutra’, ‘Form is empty; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form also is not other than emptiness.’

“The practice of Dharma entails the use of our mental consciousness and the threefold process of study, reflection and meditation. This is how to bring about change within yourself. If you develop bodhichitta, even adverse circumstances can be turned to advantage. Similarly, someone you view today as an enemy can tomorrow become your friend.

“Every day, when I wake up, I invoke bodhichitta and reaffirm my understanding of emptiness. In that connection, I take great reassurance from the following three verses from Chandrakirti’s ‘Entering into the Middle Way’:

“Thus, illuminated by the rays of wisdom’s light,
the bodhisattva sees as clearly as a gooseberry on his open palm
that the three realms in their entirety are unborn from their very start,
and through the force of conventional truth, he journeys to cessation. 6.224

“Though his mind may rest continuously in cessation,
he also generates compassion for beings bereft of protection.
Advancing further, he will also outshine through his wisdom
all those born from the Buddha’s speech and the middle buddhas. 6.225

“And like a king of swans soaring ahead of other accomplished swans,
with white wings of conventional and ultimate truths spread wide,
propelled by the powerful winds of virtue, the bodhisattva would cruise
to the excellent far shore, the oceanic qualities of the conquerors. 6.226″

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso is the spiritual leader of Tibet. Since taking asylum in India in 1959, His Holiness has become a global advocator of peace, compassion and happiness. He is the first Nobel Laureate to be recognised for his concern for global environmental problems.

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