Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Dalai Lama Teaches from "A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life"

Sankisa, UP, India - Mist rose from the fields that extend as far as the eye can see and the sun shone low as His Holiness the Dalai Lama drove to the Archaeological site at Sankisa this morning. He said brief prayers before the hillock that is presumed to have been a stupa and returned local people's greetings.

Reaching the grounds of the Youth Buddhist Society of India (YBSI) he again climbed out of his car to cut a ribbon and inaugurate an exhibition of paintings on Buddhist themes. Next, he unveiled the foundation stone for a proposed clinic and expressed his appreciation of their work to several medical volunteers who were introduced to him. Lastly, he unveiled a foundation plaque for a proposed school and took time to pay his respects before the image of the Buddha in an already established chapel.

Arriving at the teaching venue, His Holiness was given a traditional Tibetan musical welcome by a group from the Tibetan Institute for Performing Arts. They included performers from Tibet and Arunachal Pradesh, who were happy when he posed for photographs with them.

Welcomed to the stage inside a huge marquee by YBSI President, Suresh Chandra Baudhh, His Holiness lit an auspicious lamp and paid his respects before a statue of the Buddha prior to taking his seat. A group of local children in school uniform filed onto the stage and knelt down to recite the Mangala Sutta in Pali.

"First I must thank these students for their clear recitation," he said as he began to address a crowd estimated to number 15,000. "You belong to the generation of the 21st century while many of the rest of us belong to the 20th century. Looking back, we can see that there was too much violence at that time. So many lives were sacrificed. If their loss had contributed to the creation of a better world, it might have been justified. But that was not the case.

"At the start of this 21st century violence persists because too many people still believe that the solution to problems lies in the use of force. This way of thinking is out of date. It's clear that India's longstanding tradition of ahimsa or non-violence is as relevant today as ever and young students like these represent our hope for a better future.

"Today, in this sacred place I've been requested to explain the Dharma. The organizers have worked hard to make this possible and I'd like to thank all of them.

"Whenever I meet monks, nuns and other religious people these days, I put a question to them. In this day and age when there has been great technological and material development, is religion something we still need. We see that in advanced countries, where there has been the most material development, people continue to be in mental turmoil. At such a time, when so many face emotional crises, people easily turn to violence. The arms industry thrives. Widespread sale of weapons increases the risk of devastating violence.

"Scientists declare on the basis of infant responses to different situations that basic human nature is compassionate. This makes sense since a mother gave birth to every one of us and then showered us with love and affection. Without her care we'd have died. It's easy to see that the kinder and more affectionate we are to others, the more peaceful we are in ourselves and the more peaceful is the atmosphere in which we live and work.

"Anger, anxiety and jealousy ruin our well-being. We need calm and affection, but if we were to seek them in the market or shopping mall people would laugh at us. Religions are concerned with human beings and human activity. They all teach the value of love and compassion, with support from different philosophical points of view.

"Theistic traditions teach about a creator god full of love and wisdom, whose children we all are, which makes it easy to see our fellow beings as brothers and sisters. Our purpose is to be harmonious, compassionate and affectionate to each other. Non-theistic traditions make no reference to a creator. What happens is in our hands. As long as we have love and compassion, we have peace of mind, which we lose when we are overcome by anger."

His Holiness spoke of the futility of seeking satisfaction only in sensory experience, neglecting the role of mental consciousness in peace of mind. He noted that for hundreds of years, not only has India cultivated ahimsa, it has also adopted a secular stance of respect for religious traditions without bias and with additional regard for the views of those who have no interest in religion. He remarked that such an approach is particularly relevant when we see people fighting and killing each other in the name of religion. He mentioned his commitments both to helping people find peace of mind and to maintaining inter-religious harmony.

Taking up a 'Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life' His Holiness remarked:

"Of course, I'm a Buddhist and I've studied Buddhist philosophy and psychology extensively, but I believe it is quite possible to look at their concepts and instructions from a purely academic point of view. This book can be very helpful to people. As sentient beings we easily fall under the influence of desire, hatred and ignorance. And when they overwhelm our intelligence it can be really unfortunate. As I've said above, the powerful weapons that are products of our intelligence can only be used to destroy others. We can create joy or wreak havoc depending on our motivation.

"Chapter 6 of this book explains patience, while Chapter 8 describes the development of altruism. We don't have time to go through the entire book, but I can give you a succinct account of what it says.

"Chapter 9 is about wisdom and begins 'The Sage propounded all these branches [of teachings] for the sake of wisdom. Therefore, those who wish to pacify suffering should generate wisdom'. The Buddhas don't wash negative deeds away with water, nor do they remove the sufferings of beings with their hands, neither do they transplant their own realization into others. It is through teaching the truth of suchness that they help beings find freedom.

"Right from the start Buddhas are intent on overcoming suffering. They teach from their own experience that the suffering of suffering, the suffering of change and the suffering of pervasive conditioning all arise from destructive emotions. These are rooted in ignorance—a misconception of reality—the final antidote to which is the wisdom understanding emptiness."

His Holiness explained how the trainings in morality, single-pointed concentration and insight converge in wisdom. He noted that in ancient India there was a consensus that the pleasures of the desire realm finally result in dissatisfaction, however for some the solution was to seek the greater peace of higher realms of absorption. The Buddha focused instead on refuting the idea of a single, permanent, independent self. The selflessness he taught is an antidote not only to the mental afflictions, but also to their residual stains, the obscurations to knowledge. And for it to be effective it needs to be combined with the awakening mind of bodhichitta.

His Holiness cited Nagarjuna's observation that what the Buddha taught was based on the two truths-conventional and ultimate. He also recalled that the Buddha hesitated to teach what he had realised after his enlightenment because no one would understand what he had to say.

"Profound and peaceful, free from elaboration, uncompounded clear light
I have found a nectar-like Dharma.
Yet if I were to teach it, no one would understand,
So I shall remain silent here in the forest.

"The first words of the first line 'profound and peaceful' refer to the true cessation that was the focus of the first turning of the wheel of dharma. 'Free from elaboration' alludes to what he eventually taught in the second turning of the wheel and 'uncompounded clear light' pertains to the third turning of the wheel. The first turning laid out the Four Noble Truths, the second revealed the perfection of wisdom that things have no essential independent existence.

"During the third turning of the wheel, the Buddha explained that he taught that things have no independent existence because of their three natures: their imputed nature implies they have no intrinsic existence; their dependent nature shows they are not self-created and their perfect nature is that they have no ultimate, independent existence. In the 'Tathagata-garbha Sutra' the Tathagata described Buddha-nature, referring to the objective clear light as the nature of the mind and the subjective clear light as Buddha-nature."

"In the course of the first turning of the wheel, the Buddha explained the nature, function and result of each of the Four Noble Truths. He made clear that suffering is undesired, but that it has compatible causes and conditions. Cessation was taught on the basis of an insight into emptiness that counters the ignorance of clinging to intrinsic existence."

His Holiness observed that just as Maitreya's 'Sublime Continuum' states that appearance is not reality, quantum physicists declare that nothing has any objective existence because things are dependent on the observer. They seem not to have questioned the observer's objective existence.

Remarking that when the second verse states 'The Ultimate is not the object of mind' it indicates that it is not a dualistic mind. When the third verse says 'The world of common people is undermined by the world of the yogis' it also refers to the non-dualistic mind.

He clarified that emptiness is only established on some basis. The 'Heart Sutra' states 'Form is empty; emptiness is form'. It goes on to declare 'Likewise are feeling, discrimination, compositional factors and consciousness empty.' His Holiness stressed that it is necessary to understand what ignorance grasps at and that it is a misconception. This is understood in the context of the deeds of a Bodhisattva, the six perfections.

Finally, His Holiness pointed out that because of its use of reason and logic the Nalanda Tradition introduced to Tibet by Shantarakshita was scientific. These days, he advises followers of the Buddha to be 21st century Buddhists, understanding what the Buddha taught and therefore what it means to go for refuge to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.



Read the book! https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Bodhisattva-Way-Life-ebook/dp/B001UHMSY8/

original link & photos: https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/a-guide-to-the-bodhisattvas-way-of-life

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Staying Spiritually Safe From The Enemy

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season so far. It’s just now starting to cool down here in Florida. 48° is cold for us here. Lol. My heart goes out to the victims from the California fires. Let’s please keep them in our thoughts. I can’t imagine over 10,000 homes and businesses are burned down.

Christians are responsible to test words of teaching and prophecy. The Bereans were considered noble for hearing the teaching of Paul and Silas, receiving them with eagerness and “examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). These believers tested the words of the apostles, examining the Scriptures to see if what they were being taught was consistent with what they knew of God’s revelation of Himself. In doing this they modeled the task of all believers. Christians are ultimately responsible for what they choose to believe, no matter whether or not they have been gifted with the spiritual gift of discernment.

When a person becomes converted and receives God's spirit they immediately enter into a war-like struggle against two large opponents and a lot of it consists in the mind. It’s satans most tool to attack! They will have to fight these two powerful enemies every day of their life until they die. The first major opponent Christians face is themselves. They must battle their own human nature with its self-defeating, sinful and destructive tendencies. The apostle Paul referred to this constant battle of the mind Christians face in his book to the Romans. The second lifelong opponent true believers must face is the devil and the world he has deceived into thinking and acting like he does (Ephesians 2:2, 1John 5:19, Revelation 12:9, etc.). Jesus, in his prayer to the Father before his crucifixion, reveals the ultimate attitude of those who do not believe God against those who do. I have given them (the disciples and all Christians by extension) Your words, and the world has hated them. . . (John 17)

Paul tells us, in no uncertain terms, that believers do not fight a carnal war that is so familiar to the world but rather one that is on a spiritual plane. A battle in the mind as I said above. Because “we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against principalities and against powers, against the world rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual power of wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6)

We must create the armor of God to protect ourselves, what other ways can we stop the enemy from influencing us? We have to avoid all evil influences in our life. We can find these influences through music that we listen to, the TV shows and movies that we watch, and activities that are tied to the occult that we can find ourselves silently drawn towards or introduced to via our acquaintances and friends. We don't realize how the little things we do can open up doors and allow legal rights for demonic influence in our life. I'm so guilty of this myself. None of us are perfect nor are we expected to be. Remember Jesus Christ died for our sins. We can repent and be forgiven.

While the fallen angels have no control over your Free Will, they do have some preternatural abilities to influence your thoughts. They will silently tempt you, often to impure thoughts, or into dissuading you from some good effort. Construct a mental picture of Our Lord Jesus Christ during His Passion. Focus on His pierced hands or feet, or maybe His carrying of the Cross, or concentrate on His crowning with thorns or scourging at the pillar. You will be amazed at how fast the evil thoughts will flee.

The dark forces pull out all the stops to trick us out of our good intentions, and it is only by our soul's determination to succeed and by the grace of God's assistance that we can get back on track. The last thing Christ said after revealing his self to a certain amount of people after he rose from the dead was “I leave you with the power of the Holy Spirit So that you may cast demons out in my name.” Without your spiritual armor on tight (the light of God sealed around you), it's easy to fall prey to a spiritual attack. Satan is God of this world.

These so-called attacks don't have to be very in-your-face. As a matter of fact, they work better when they aren't obvious, because you're less likely to do anything about it. Cunning and subtle methods cause us to accept an intrusion into our world as 'the way things are' or 'just part of our personality'. We have no clue we are receiving or are under demonic influence. They never stop. It’s their job here on earth. It’s a constant struggle.

It's important to recognize when we need to call to God to take care of that negative energy. Praying for discernment is key, as well as just simply practicing. I always like to pray for his protection and favor every day I wake up and every night before I go to bed. The power of prayer is very much stronger than what many people realize I believe.

Spiritual warfare is really one of the greatest blessings we have. We don't have to wallow in the darkness, we can call for spiritual protection from the forces of light and they will fight back and raise us out of whatever negative state of mind or being we are in. Praise God we have these ways of protection.

Written By Jennifer L Auld

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Dalai Lama Says "We are One Family"

One - We are One Family

Tokyo, Japan - This morning, under bright sunshine and a high blue sky scattered with thin clouds, His Holiness the Dalai Lama left Yokohama. He drove directly to the Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall in Tokyo, a ninety year old theatre surrounded by trees. Half the 2800 strong audience sat in the sun, the other half in the shade.

The event was presented as an opportunity for young Japanese to get to know His Holiness better and to hear what he has to say. Two other special guests were introduced. Actor, film director and event producer Kenji Kohashi told the audience how moved he had been by a visit to Tibet. It compelled him to visit Dharamsala and meet His Holiness. He declared that he feels he must have been a Tibetan in a previous life.

Ai Tominaga started her career as a model at the age of 17 in New York and worked there for the next ten years. She returned to Tokyo and participates in activities that contribute to social welfare and convey the traditional culture of Japan. She has visited Mongolia. She told the audience how struck she had been by His Holiness’s warmth.

“Brothers and sisters,” His Holiness began, “it’s a great honour for me to have the opportunity to share my views and experiences with you. Wherever I go I emphasize that all 7 billion human beings are physically, mentally and emotionally the same. Everybody wants to live a happy life free from problems. Even insects, birds and animals want to be happy.

“What distinguishes us human beings is our intelligence. However, there are occasions when we use it improperly, as, for example, when we use it to design weapons. Animals like lions and tigers that live by attacking and eating other animals have sharp teeth and claws, but human beings’ nature and teeth are more like those of a deer. We use our intelligence to fulfil our desires, to which, compared to those of other animals, there seems to be no limit.

“Right here and now we are sitting together in peace and pleasure, but at this very moment, in other parts of the world people are killing each other.

“As I said, devising ever more lethal arms is a poor use of human intelligence and the worst are nuclear weapons. You Japanese have actually been victims of nuclear attack and know what the consequent suffering is like. I’ve been to both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On my first visit to Hiroshima I met a woman who had been through it and survived and I saw the watch in the museum that had stopped at the instant of the explosion and was half melted by the heat. So, instead of using our intelligence to create joy, the result has sometimes been fear.

“Here in the 21st century we should make an effort not to repeat the errors of the last century with its endless series of wars. Historians suggest that 200 million people died of violence during this period. It’s time to say, ‘Enough’. Let’s make the 21st a century of peace and compassion on the basis of the oneness of all 7 billion human beings alive today.

“Over-emphasizing difference of nationality, religion or race culminates in feelings of ‘us’ and ‘them’—division. We must remind ourselves that at a deeper level all human beings are the same. We all want to live a happy life and to be happy is our right. Throughout the universe are sentient beings seeking peace and happiness. What distinguishes the human beings on our planet is that we can communicate with each other—we can convey a sense of the oneness of humanity. If we develop peace of mind within ourselves, I believe we can make the 21st century an era of peace. We must heed the ways of achieving inner peace.

“There are no natural boundaries between human beings on this earth, we are one family. At a time of increasing natural disasters, climate change and global warming affect us all. We have to learn to live together, to work together and to share what we have together. The way we make problems for ourselves is senseless. We will achieve genuine peace in the world if we pursue demilitarization, but we need a sense of inner disarmament, a reduction of hostility and anger, to start with.

“A mother gave birth to each one of us and lavished us with care and affection, but once we go to school our education system fails to nurture this sense of loving-kindness. It’s aimed instead at fulfilling material goals. We need to re-introduce to education such inner values as warm-heartedness. If we could be more warm-hearted we’d be happier as individuals, contributing to happier families and wider communities too.

“Human beings are social animals. What brings us together is love and affection—anger drives us apart. Just as we employ physical hygiene to protect our health, we need emotional hygiene, the means to tackle our destructive emotions, if we are to achieve peace of mind.

“I belong to the 20th century, an era that is past. But this is what I want to share with you young people—if you start to collect the causes now, you’ll live to see a happier, more peaceful world. Don’t be content with the present circumstances, take a more far-sighted view.”

His Holiness added that when the heart is closed it leads to fear, stress and anger. Nurturing the idea of the oneness of humanity has the effect of opening the heart. When you think of all other human beings as your brothers and sisters it’s easy to communicate with them all. It makes it easier to smile, to be warm and friendly. He said this is what he tries to do. For him, whether they are beggars or leaders, all human beings are the same. If he tells himself he’s a Buddhist, a Tibetan, the Dalai Lama, it just increases his sense of isolation.

He observed that Japan has historically been a Buddhist country, yet all religions convey a message of love, compassion and self-discipline. Their philosophical differences arose to suit people of different dispositions, at different times and in different places and conditions. The fundamental message of love remains the same. Buddhism, especially the Nalanda Tradition, with its emphasis on reasoned investigation, takes a realistic stance that accords with the approach of science. His Holiness recommended that to become a 21st century Buddhist, simply having faith and reciting the sutras is not enough, far more important is understanding and implementing what the Buddha taught.

Ai Tominaga told His Holiness that in her experience young people today have a desire for fashion, but it’s in the context of a concern for freedom, human rights and protecting the environment. She thanked him for giving encouraging advice to the next generation.

Kenji Kohashi told him that when he plans musical and other events he wants young people to develop greater self-awareness. “We have to take the initiative to connect with each other, otherwise we remain apart. For me, a near death experience while mountain climbing and meditation have been a source of inspiration.”

A young man who works for a NGO caring for orphans asked His Holiness to comment on leadership and optimism.

“According to my observation,” His Holiness replied, “NGOs are sometimes more effective than governments agencies, so I appreciate their contribution. Since our existing culture tends to be materialistic, we look to external sources for fulfilment. But that can change. Look at how popular attitudes to war have changed. In the early 20th century if a nation declared war, people joined up proudly without question. Compare that to resistance in America to the Vietnam War or to the millions of people around the world who marched to protest against going to war with Iraq.

“Certainly I’m optimistic, because giving in to pessimism leads to defeat. I’m committed to trying to revive interest in what ancient Indian knowledge has to tell us about the workings of our minds and emotions—the goal is to achieve peace of mind.”

As words of thanks were pronounced, the organizers of the event from Sherab Kyetsel Ling Institute presented bouquets of flowers to His Holiness and the other guests. A member of the audience ran to the front of the stage and offered His Holiness a knitted hat resembling a sunflower. With a look of amusement he put it on.

Tomorrow, he will visit Sherab Kyetsel Ling Institute where he will teach the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’.

link & photos: https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/one-we-are-one-family

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Dalai Lama is Interviewed in Yokohama, Japan

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Interviewed in Yokohama

Yokohama, Japan - His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in Yokohama from India yesterday on his 25th visit to Japan. Although the views over the bay from his hotel window were grey, His Holiness was bright and refreshed by a good night’s sleep after his journey. He opened his conversation with Rina Yamasawa of NHK with a recollection of his first visit in 1967. His elder brother, Taktser Rinpoche, was here and over lunch teased His Holiness, who had become a vegetarian, that he had the tastier bowl of udon noodles.

His Holiness answered a first question about how he sees the situation in Tibet today by reviewing his three commitments.

“First I consider myself just one among 7 billion human beings. While we pray for the welfare of all sentient beings, there’s nothing we can do but pray for those in other galaxies. On this planet there are countless animals, birds, fish and insects, but they have no language so we can’t really communicate with them. On a practical level, it’s our fellow human beings who we can do something for. In a materialistic world where many don’t know the value of peace of mind, I try to help them become happier by showing them how to find inner peace.

“I’m also a Buddhist and it saddens me to see conflict in the name of religion. In India, where different religions live together side by side, we see that religious harmony is possible.

“Thirdly, I’m a Tibetan and, although since 2001 I have retired from political responsibility, I remain concerned about Tibet’s natural environment. What’s also important is the preservation of our culture and the knowledge we obtained from India.

“Since 1974 we haven’t been seeking independence for Tibet, being prepared instead to remain within the People’s Republic of China. Much has changed in China over the last 40 years. The number of Buddhists has grown to more than 300 million, many with an interest in Tibetan Buddhism. Meanwhile, even hardliners among the officials are in a dilemma about how to deal with Tibet. They see that 70 years of suppression and attempted brainwashing haven’t diminished the Tibetan spirit.

“Instead of independence we are seeking mutual benefit. The Chinese can help us with infrastructural development and we can help them with Buddhist psychology. So, our Middle Way Approach is an attempt to reach mutual agreement for mutual improvement. Some Tibetans exercise their freedom to remain set on independence such as we enjoyed in 7th, 8th and 9th centuries. However, I am a great admirer of the spirit of the European Union that places the common interest of all its members above individual nation’s concerns. India too is a federation of states with different languages, cultures and religious traditions that are part of a union. I venture to imagine some kind of future union prevailing between India, China and Japan.”

His Holiness went on to clarify that Tibetans in what were historically the three provinces of Tibet have a right, according to the Chinese constitution, to a high degree of autonomy. That would allow them to preserve their language and culture. He pointed out that his own birthplace and that of Je Tsongkhapa are now part of Qinghai. He looked forward to genuine autonomy being granted in Uighur, Mongol and Tibetan regions.

Ms Yamasawa asked His Holiness how his successor would be chosen. He explained that as far back as 1969 he had made it clear that the choice of whether another Dalai Lama would be recognised rested with the Tibetan people. That choice precedes any decision about how a successor may be chosen. It could be that the traditional way of identifying a reincarnation will be followed, but there have also been cases of Lamas nominating an already living person as their successor.

He noted that at the end of this month a convening of Tibet’s spiritual leaders will take place, primarily focussed on raising the quality of Buddhist knowledge and practice. The question of a future Dalai Lama may also be on the agenda.

His Holiness observed that when he was recently in Europe a group of women met him to complain about the sexual misconduct of some Tibetan spiritual teachers. He told them that when such complaints were first brought to his attention he asked if such individuals had disregard for the rules the Buddha laid down, why they would listen to anything he had to say. He’d suggested that the shame of publicity might be more effective. He advised the group to forward their complaints to the meeting of spiritual leaders in a letter.

When Yamasawa steered the conversation back to the topic of his successor, His Holiness told her that some years ago, faced with similar questions from a journalist in New York he had taken off his glasses, as he did again today, and asked playfully, “Look at my face, is the need to address the question of my reincarnation urgent?” He told her that what happens after his death is of little interest to him compared to being a good Buddhist practitioner here and now. He repeated for her Shantideva’s verse, which he takes as his motivating prayer: ‘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.’

In his additional replies, His Holiness stressed that he advises followers of the Buddha today to be 21st century Buddhists, which he defines as driven by knowledge and understanding of what the Buddha taught rather than blind faith. He also discussed his admiration for democracy, his attempts to introduce reform in Tibet and his determination to do so once he and 80,000 Tibetans came into exile.

A second interview with Ms Yoshiko Sakurai, president of the think tank known as the Japan Institute of National Fundamentals, touched on several similar themes. As to how Tibetan traditions had been preserved, His Holiness emphasized how generous the government of India and Prime Minister Nehru had been in their support. It was Nehru who personally encouraged efforts to educate Tibetan children in separate Tibetan schools and to re-establish the monastic seats of learning. As a result of the latter, there are now more than 10,000 monks and 1000 nuns well-trained in the Nalanda Tradition.

Referring to education in the wider world, His Holiness noted that it tends to have materialistic goals, whereas it would be better if it addressed the needs of both the heart and the brain. Specifically he recommended teaching people how to tackle their destructive emotions.

When Ms Sakurai lamented that the Chinese authorities seem to be doing little for Tibetans and Uighurs, His Holiness replied that he saw the past 70 years in terms of four eras affected by Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Xi Jinping. Although the same party remained in power, guided by the same constitution, nevertheless great changes had taken place. He noted that there still remained room for further change. He also remarked that 1.2 billion Chinese have a right to know what is really going on and when they know that, he expressed confidence in their ability to judge what’s right from what’s wrong.

His Holiness mentioned that in Tibet, even as suppression has increased, Tibetans have continued to pursue non-violence. He highlighted the cases of the more than 150 people who have committed self-immolation as examples, saying that they were very sad on the one hand, but on the other were worthy of admiration because they remained non-violent, at least in relation to others.

Asked how Japanese and Tibetans can contribute to the welfare of humanity His Holiness expressed his admiration for the Shinto Tradition due to its appreciation of the natural environment. He commended the possibility of combining technological development with a deep understanding of the workings of the mind to enable more people to find inner peace. He also expressed the hope that Japan, as the one country that has been subject to nuclear attack, will not let up on its leadership of the movement to eliminate nuclear weapons.

He reiterated that his cherished goals of a world not only free of nuclear weapons, but also demilitarized in general, will only come about when more people have achieved a sense of inner disarmament in their own hearts and minds. This, he suggested, is something to which Japanese brothers and sisters can contribute.

original link & photos: https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-interviewed-in-yokohama

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Salvation in Roman Catholicism and Bible: Short Summary

By Reverend Mark Hunnemann

I love my Roman Catholic (RC) friends, and I was raised RC, and it is because of my love that I earnestly desire to share this information. Teaching on this subject has not changed since Vatican 2—and it cannot change because it was made an irreformable, de fide dogma at Council of Trent in 1500’s.

Let met state clearly that many Roman Catholics have saving faith, but it is in spite of the teaching of their church and not because of it. The true gospel was ‘anthatamized’ at the Council of Trent. And so I would urge all Catholics to consider leaving their church and to attend a loving, bible believing church. I also have a segment on Mary and the Rosary. Please see video list.

This will be a very brief summary of Roman Catholic teaching on salvation (justification) versus what God says—(I did a more in-depth study earlier). I am using justification and salvation as synonyms, but biblically, justification is more precise term. I have a video of this if you prefer to listen while driving, etc.           
                                                                                                                               
In RC, salvation is mediated through the sacraments of the church—particularly Baptism and Penance.

Baptism begins the justification/salvation process. They believe in baptismal regeneration in which baptism erases Original sin and infuses the grace of justification in the person’s soul. The baptized person is immediately infused with the righteousness of Christ, or justifying grace, and God sees that person as being inherently or personally righteous inside themselves. Thus, they are justified/saved in His sight. To maintain this justification/salvation is a lifelong process. (in bible, justification is instantaneous, irreversible and is a legal declaration outside of us…where ungodly are DECLARED righteous—see Romans 4). 5 And to the one who does not work but believes ina him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, (Rom. 4:5)

As the child grows older they will go through the sacrament of Confirmation, which is like a spiritual booster shot. It confirms and strengthens the grace of justification (salvation) in the soul.

Throughout life, two things are absolutely needed to be remain justified/saved: they have to continue to have faith in Christ and live a holy life in submission to Mother Church. The latter (holy life) consists of two things: regular involvement in sacraments of church, especially Mass/Confession; and adherence to Ten Commandments. So, you can see that though faith is a necessary condition for salvation, it is not a sufficient condition for salvation—they have to add their good works. This is the error so severely condemned in Galatians 1:6ff. For RC   faith + good works = salvation/justification—bible teaches: faith alone in Christ = salvation/justification  (good works flow naturally from a genuine faith as expression of love and gratitude).

In RC there are two kinds of sin: venial and mortal sin. Venial sin is ‘regular sin’ but mortal sin, as the name suggests, kills the grace of justification in the soul. It un-saves the person, and if they died in this state they would go to hell. Things like adultery, murder, missing Mass, Ten Commandments, etc., are examples of this kind of mortal sin, but the list is vague.

How is justification/salvation restored? Through the sacrament of Penance (RC has 7 sacraments instead of 2). RC states that: “Penance is the second plank of justification for those who have made shipwreck of their souls.” (Council of Trent) After confessing ones mortal sin, and going trough prescribed steps, the ‘shipwrecked’ believer then has saving grace re-infused back into their soul. Thus going to Confession is a vital part of a pious Roman Catholic believers lifestyle.

This is the RC system of salvation/justification. Assurance of salvation is actually deemed a sin or frowned upon—I was told it led to presumption. So, we see that salvation in RC a lifelong mediating of God’s grace through the church, and the sacrament of Penance. The vast majority of believers will die with the stain of sin on their souls, and will need to spend some time in Purgatory having their sins purged until they are ready to enter holy heaven.

To sum up summary, in RC the grace of justification is INFUSED into the soul where the person actually IS righteous enough in themselves for God to deem them as justified/saved. God deems righteous what actually IS righteous. But all that can be lost in an instant, over and over again.

In reality, whoever gets to that point of personal righteousness? Certainly not me—all I can see is the massive amount of indwelling left residing inside of me. So, this ‘gospel’ is horrible news for someone like me who is keenly aware of my sinfulness.

Thank God, the bible says that saving/justifying grace is IMPUTED to us; It is a legal declaration which happens outside of us. It is the only aspect of salvation which occurs totally outside of us. Many Protestants have never heard this from the pulpit. If you were in a courtroom and judge declared you ‘not guilty,’ it would change your legal status but would it change your character? No, not at all. Justification is God as Judge declaring people who are personally ungodly, to be ‘not guilty and righteous’ in His holy eyes—but it does not affect us internally. Sanctification instantaneously follows justification, which does begin the inside/out change of our character by the indwelling Holy Spirit. But we MUST distinguish (not separate) justification from sanctification or we will slip into error of RC. Justification in RC is inside…… but the bible sees justification as outside of us.

Hence, Romans 4 says that ‘God justifies the ungodly.’ RC confuses justification with sanctification. In biblical justification there is a double transfer: our sins are transferred to Christ, and His perfect righteousness is imputed to us. (2 Cor. 5:21) Jesus garments of His holiness cover us, so that the Father sees Jesus’ righteousness and not our sinfulness. We are simultaneously saved and sinful—THAT is good news! The BEST news!

Hence, we are simultaneously justified and sinful. ‘Simul Justus et peccator’ as Luther said. By experience, we know that to be true, and if I have to wait until I am inherently righteous enough for God to declare me righteous, then I will NEVER be righteous enough to be declared justified—too much indwelling sin remains in us. Praise God for CHRIST'S righteousness, which is in heaven—and our union with Christ unites us with all He is and has done! He sees us as perfect, in Christ!

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, wea have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1; 8:1)

Though outside of us, justification brings deep internal healing and peace of mind. Praise God!


Mark Hunnemann is the author of Seeing Ghosts Through God's Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits. It's also available in eBook format.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Dalai Lama Discusses Quantum Effects with Chinese Scientists

Dialogue with Chinese Scientists about Quantum Effects - First Day

Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, India - The first discussions between Chinese, mostly Taiwanese, scientists and His Holiness the Dalai Lama took place in the Tsuglagkhang, the Main Tibetan Temple adjacent to his residence today. His Holiness walked to the temple, greeting members of the public who were waiting to see him in the yard. Once he reached the temple he acknowledged the assembled monks and paid his respects before the statue of the Buddha. After warmly greeting the nine Chinese presenters, he made a point of reaching out to old friends among the assembled guests. He then joined the presenters seated around a long table.

Among the monks at the head of the temple were six Tibetan presenters, graduates of the Emory Science program, who will participate in discussions with the Chinese scientists in the afternoons. Approximately fifty guests sat in the back of the temple, including many who came with the Taiwanese group. About 270 Tibetans joined the audience: researchers from His Holiness’s office, as well as students from the Men-tsee-khang, the College for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah, the Tibetan Children’s Village and neighbouring schools. The meeting was conducted in English with simultaneous translation into Chinese and Tibetan being made available over FM radio. Proceedings were web-cast live.

His Holiness opened the conversation. “Firstly, I would like to welcome all of you here. This is the first time we’ve held discussions with mainly Chinese scientists. I’ve taken part in dialogues with scientists for more than 30 years, but they have mostly involved Western scientists, Americans and Europeans, as well as one or two meetings with Japanese and Indians.

“These meetings have two purposes. The first is to expand our knowledge. Until the late 20th century the focus of scientific research was mostly on external things. There was little interest in the mind, only investigations of the brain. The discovery of neuroplasticity, the recognition that changes can be seen in the brains of people who, for example, develop firm concentration, changed that way of thinking. Some scientists are now showing greater interest in the mind, even subtle consciousness.

“There are cases of people who are declared clinically dead—their hearts have stopped, circulation has ceased and their brains are dead—and yet their bodies remain fresh. This was the case with my own teacher, who remained in this state for 13 days. Others remain for anything up to two or three weeks. This is a something to investigate. In the Buddhist tradition we have an explanation that concerns subtle consciousness remaining in the body during this period, but scientists haven’t been able to explain it yet.

“So, one purpose of these meetings is to expand our knowledge, to include the mind as well as external phenomena, in order to achieve a fuller understanding. The second purpose of such discussions concerns the use to which knowledge is put. Despite the useful progress that has resulted from scientific research and technological advancement, there have also been destructive developments that provoke fear. Clear examples are nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Their development may have been a remarkable achievement, but their only purpose is to kill.

“Scientists have discovered that constant fear and anger are damaging to our health. They undermine our immune system. On the other hand, cultivating a more compassionate attitude brings peace of mind that reinforces our overall good health. Here’s a simple example: most people prefer a smile to a frown. It’s human nature. Even dogs respond with wagging tails to a smile and other shows of affection.

“Our major religious traditions convey a common message of love, forgiveness and tolerance, but today religious influence is declining. Consequently, in our education programs, in addition to advice about physical hygiene and its benefits for physical health, we need to teach about emotional hygiene—how to tackle our destructive emotions. It should be our aim to be both physically and mentally fit. Promoting inner values on the basis of religious belief has only a limited effect today. However, people are more responsive to evidence based on scientific research.”

His Holiness explained that all 7 billion human beings share a common experience—their mothers give birth to them and nurture them with affection. Consequently, young children care little about differences of nationality, religion or race; they play happily with others who respond with a smile. He observed that as we grow up our education is oriented towards materialistic goals with little time for inner values. He recommended that education should include advice on how to achieve peace of mind.

His Holiness mentioned that he had found his own Buddhist practice useful, but declared that he is no more able to say this or that religious tradition is the best, than he could say that this or that medicine is best in all cases. Just as the effectiveness of medicine depends on the need and condition of the patient, so different religious traditions with the different approaches are suitable for different people according to their disposition, culture and so forth. He suggested that at the present time ethics can be most effectively presented from a secular point of view on the basis of scientific findings. Looking over to Susan Bauer-Wu and Amy Cohen Varela, His Holiness praised the contributions the Mind & Life Institute has made in this direction.

“A few months ago I was teaching a group of Taiwanese Buddhists when a quantum physicist among them introduced himself to me. This meeting was convened as a result of our conversation. I’m very happy to be meeting with you, Chinese scientists, including this Nobel Laureate, Prof Yuan Tseh Lee.”

His Holiness mentioned that he sometimes feels a reluctance to discuss quantum physics with Westerners whose cultural background is based on Judeo-Christian in case it leads to a conflict of faith. He feels less difficulty in relation to Asians, particularly Chinese. He recalled that when the Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang came to India in the 7th century he studied at Nalanda University. He is reputed to have met Nagabodhi a direct disciple of Nagarjuna. Evidently, Chinese Buddhists are familiar with the name Nagarjuna and the Nalanda Tradition.

Noting that relations between Chinese and Tibetans are thousands of years old, he conceded that they have sometimes quarrelled. At other times, such as in the 7th century, their ruling families have intermarried. Since 1974, it was decided not to seek independence for Tibet, provided Tibetans were granted all the rights they are entitled to under the Chinese constitution, including the preservation of their language and culture, as well as the protection of Tibet’s environment. His Holiness remarked that Tibetans can benefit from Chinese help in terms of material development, while Tibetans can share their knowledge of the Nalanda Tradition with Chinese Buddhists.

On behalf of the group of presenters Prof Yuan Tseh Lee thanked His Holiness for inviting them. He described science as a language to communicate with nature, a language that we need to learn. Science is based on evidence. He added that since human population and consumption of resources are growing, causing us to recognise that we live in a finite system, science also has a social responsibility. He told His Holiness they would like to hear from him how science, religion, humanity and nature should interact. His Holiness replied that when he first expressed interest in science, an American Buddhist friend warned that science is a killer of religion. He considered this and decided that since science is a method for coming to terms with reality, it is not a threat to the Buddha’s teachings.

Dr Shih Chang Lee opened the scientific presentations with an explanation of space-time symmetry and quantum physics. He talked about Newton’s law of inertia and Einstein’s observation that massless particles move with the velocity of light, leading to his conclusion that velocity is relative, which is described as special relativity.

Dr Chii Dong Chen opened his account of the entangled world by asking what we learn from nature and showing a video clip that compared the activities of foraging ants with a robot vacuum cleaner. He went on to discuss how birds navigate with particular reference to the Bar-tailed Godwit that flies across the Pacific Ocean to breed. He suggested that unique features of quantum mechanics, superimposition and entanglement, can help us understand birds use of magnetoreception. He introduced the contrast between a conventional computer that calculates serially and a quantum computer that can conduct a series of calculations simultaneously.

Dr Chen’s pointing out that things look different from different angles prompted His Holiness to observe that from a Madhyamaka standpoint there is a difference between our perception of the world and its reality. He mentioned the quantum physicist from China who told him that in his experience some of his colleagues with deep understanding of quantum physics were less subject to emotional disturbance. He also recalled American founder of cognitive therapy, Aaron Beck’s description of an angry peoples’ sense that the object of their rage is completely negative as 90% mental projection. Dr Chen agreed that the observer is important because he or she is part of the perception.

Dr Yueh-Nan Chen’s presentation was entitled ‘From Quantum Physics to Quantum Biology’. He discussed Schrodinger’s cat and jokingly reported that when he tried to explain it to his wife she asked why he wanted to kill a cat when to do so would be completely against Buddhist precepts. Everyone laughed. He also discussed the Leggett-Garg inequality which defies our intuition on macrorealism.

Finally, Dr Shawn Y Lin described a modern photonic revolution. He observed that sunlight is the engine of life on earth. Max Planck postulated that light was only emitted in quantized form, an insight that has contributed to powerful lasers, LEDs and solar panels. He described ongoing research to improve solar panels to maximize their absorption and predicted that the next generation will be super thin, super absorptive and super effective. Nano-technology will allow for a film that is 98% absorptive of sunlight and only 10 microns thick.

Invited to offer concluding remarks His Holiness described what he had heard as really wonderful, praising the depth of research. “However, we also need further research into how to reduce anger. At present in the world the role of anger seems to be stronger than that of compassion. In day to day life our emotions cause us trouble. We are at peace here, but elsewhere in the world human beings are being killed or dying of starvation—some of them innocent children. So, in addition to physical discoveries we need to consider how to build a happier humanity.”

Concluding the morning’s discussions Prof Yuan Tseh Lee remarked that teachers encourage creativity and innovation, but such qualities derive from simple curiosity.

His Holiness left the temple to return to his residence, interacting with people who lined the way. Lunch was offered to everyone attending the proceedings in the temple yard. In the afternoon, there were discussions between Tibetan monastics who have received scientific training and the visiting scientists. The dialogue will resume tomorrow morning.

Original link & photos: https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/dialogue-with-chinese-scientists-about-quantum-effects-first-day

Monday, October 29, 2018

Dalai Lama in Discussions with Youth Leaders from Conflict Zones

His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Discussions with Youth Leaders from Conflict Zones

Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India - For the third year in a row the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has brought a group of youth leaders from conflict zones to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama. USIP is a nonpartisan and independent institution tasked with promoting national security and global stability by reducing violent conflicts abroad.

Led by USIP President Nancy Lindborg, the 27 youth leaders, and three who came last year but who are now assisting as trainers, came from 12 different countries: Afghanistan, Burma, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Venezuela.

When His Holiness entered the room today he bid them all, "Good morning," and shook hands with members of the morning's first panel.

"I really enjoy this kind of meeting," he told them. "My main practice is to dedicate my body, speech and mind to the benefit of others. I can't help any of you by cleaning your houses, but at least I can smile. Usually one smile invokes another. It's quite rare for a smile to be met with a frown. And just as I dedicate my physical actions to the benefit of others, so do I direct my speech, but the main thing is that I dedicate my mind to fulfilling others' well-being—not just today, but for as long as space remains. However, when I sit in meditation I'm by myself, but when I'm with people like you I can smile and use my voice too. Thank you for giving me this opportunity."

Nancy Lindborg guided the conversation by calling on youth leaders to introduce themselves and put their questions to His Holiness. The first, posed by a delegate from Venezuela, was about whether it is possible to achieve peace when you have no freedom.

"There are different levels of peace," His Holiness told her, describing his own experience of life in a conflict zone. "When Chinese Communists first invaded Tibet their control of the country was not so tight. In 1954 I went to Beijing to attend the People's Congress. I met Chairman Mao several times. He didn't conduct himself like a political leader. He behaved like an old farmer who'd become a revolutionary. I developed some respect for him and the other party leaders I met. We discussed the history of the revolution and Marx's ideas. I was attracted then as now to his socio-economic theories, especially the notion of equal distribution.

"However, during the Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin spoiled things with his war-time mentality and the perpetuation of secrecy, suspicion and suppression. These attitudes led directly to totalitarianism. Eventually Stalin made things worse. Nevertheless, I found that in the early years, Chinese revolutionary leaders were really dedicated, but once they tasted power it seems exercising it became more important than ideology. This is what produced the Cultural Revolution. Good, straightforward, honest people were dismissed, while cunning individuals like Zhou Enlai survived.

"As I returned home in 1955 I met General Zhang Guohua on the way and told him that when I set out the previous year I had been apprehensive, but I was returning full of confidence. Yet from 1956 onwards it seems the Chinese officials grew more suspicious of me. At the same time, reform was ruthlessly imposed, starting in Eastern Tibet, which caused the people to revolt. However, the former servants of Tibetan feudal landlords showed them kindness by letting them know when they were about to be subjected to class-struggle sessions enabling some of them to escape to India.

"Many people fled Eastern Tibet and congregated in Lhasa. In 1959, when the Chinese invited me to attend some dance performance, the public were very suspicious and surrounded the Norbulingka Palace to protect me. I tried to reassure them and wrote letters to the Chinese to no avail. I received a message from a former high Tibetan official asking me to identify where I was staying in the Norbulingka, but it wasn't clear whether the purpose was to protect or target me. On 17th March we decided to leave. On 20th March Chinese forces bombarded Lhasa and incidentally shelled my residence at Norbulingka. It seems the decision to escape was correct and here in India I've been able to contribute to a greater sense of peace of mind."

His Holiness went on to explain how in exile the focus had been on preserving Tibetan culture and identity by educating Tibetan children. He called this a realistic approach mentioning that resorting to anger and violence is self-destructive and leads to harsher suppression. He stressed that violence is the wrong method to bring about change. Nancy Lindborg added that USIP has evidence to that non-violence is consistently more effective in the long run.

His Holiness noted that there are now estimated to be 400 million Buddhists in China, many of whom appreciate the value of Tibetan Buddhism. He remarked that while the Chinese could bring material development and physical comfort to Tibet, Tibetans can offer China spiritual development and peace of mind. The key, he said, is to remain determined, to be realistic and to take action.

"We have recorded ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions in the books we translated from Sanskrit. We address problems by tackling the mind and emotions and building inner strength. After 70 years, employing all kinds of methods, the Chinese have failed to dent the Tibetan spirit."

Responding to a question about the role of women, His Holiness observed that women have been shown to be more sensitive to others' suffering. Conversely, heroes celebrated for killing their opponents are almost always men. In a Buddhist context, he said, we refer to other beings as ‘all mother sentient beings' in acknowledgment of their kindness. He reiterated advice he often gives about the need to see more women in leadership roles and more closely involved in education about compassion. He quoted former President of Ireland and human rights campaigner, Mary Robinson, as referring to him as a ‘feminist Dalai Lama'.

His Holiness confirmed the importance of using technology wherever possible to overcome a lack of knowledge. He recalled that in Tibet the primary source of news from the outside world was the Muslim traders who travelled to and from India. He observed that people in more isolated countries are more likely to think in terms of one truth, one religion. This approach is fine on a personal level, he said, but the reality of the world we live in is that there are several major religions and truth can have many aspects.

Noting that many problems we face arise from a basic lack of moral principles, His Holiness recommended training the mind, cultivating a deeper concern for the well-being of others. Such concern arises naturally when we regard other people as brothers and sisters.

“We have to remember that each and every one of us is a part of humanity. We need to be determined to achieve positive change, but also need to be able to take a long view of what needs to be done. What is important is not to become demoralized. Optimism leads to success; pessimism leads to defeat. One person can be the source of inspiration for many others. Those of us who practise Buddhism aim to achieve Buddhahood, which is almost impossible for most of us, but the very aspiration gives us inner strength.

“This kind of meeting gives me confidence that we are waking up. We can achieve change in the world. We can cause the seeds of good to grow. We need to be firm in our aims and tackle them together. Some years ago, a meeting of Nobel Peace Laureates agreed on the urgent need to eliminate nuclear weapons, but if such a goal is to be achieved we need set a timetable and stick to it, attracting others to the cause.”

A youth leader from South Sudan who came to Dharamsala last year and who has returned this year as a trainer gave a brief appraisal of the two meetings she had attended with His Holiness.

“I was here last year and I’m so happy to have been able to come back again. I feel you live by what you say. You are a world leader we can relate to. Your peace of mind is an inspiration. I see all of us going back like Dalai Lamas to bring peace to our own places. I’m happy to know that you are a feminist Dalai Lama. Thank you for sparing some of your time for us here.”

Answering a final question about peace-building His Holiness declared,

“Ideas may travel from the top down, but the movements that will put them into effect have to work from the bottom up. I am very encouraged to see how young people like you are trying to bring about positive change. We have good grounds to be confident because our efforts are based on truth and reason—therefore we will succeed. 

“We are working for the good of humanity. I don’t think of myself just as a Tibetan or a Buddhist, but as a human being. We have to think of the whole of humanity. Being human is the common ground in our efforts to create a better world. Remember, we all survive in dependence on others.”

Nancy Lindborg expressed thanks to everyone who had contributed to making the meetings fruitful including the staff of His Holiness’s Office, of USIP and Radio Free Asia. She offered His Holiness a USIP peace cap, which he put on with a smile. His parting advice was that this kind of meeting comes about as a result of the co-operation of individuals.

“Everyone wants to live a happy life, but many don’t know how it’s to be done. In time, and with effort, we can change that.”

original link & photos: https://www.dalailama.com/news/2018/his-holiness-the-dalai-lama-in-discussions-with-youth-leaders-from-conflict-zones