Monday, December 14, 2015

Dalai Lama Teaches the Eight Great Tantric Commentaries

Hunsur, Karnataka, India, 12 December 2015 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama took his seat this morning and looking out into the temple and beyond saw monks distributing copies of the text he was to teach. They were in small traditional woodblock format and wrapped in yellow cloth. He intervened to announce that the ‘Eight Great Tantric Commentaries of Gyumey’ were not for everyone.

“It’s a sealed and restricted text that can only be seen by someone who does the practice of Vajrabhairava or Guhyasamaja. Only someone who can keep the commitments should take a copy. If those of you who have taken it are determined to do the practice, you’re welcome, but only a few hundred have been printed. In Gyutö too I taught the 'Seven Chapters of Vajrabhairava' which was similarly restricted and I said then please only take it if you’ll do the practice.

“Sakya Dagtri is here with us today to listen to this teaching, so he will become not only a holder of the ‘Path and Fruit’ tradition but also of Se-gyu. At the end his work on Guhyasamaja, at the end to the Guhyasamaja Prayer Je Tsongkhapa says: ‘This is a means to lead you to enlightenment in one lifetime.’”

His Holiness explained that the eight texts deal mostly with completion stage practices related to the various tantric traditions upheld at Gyumey Monastery, which are based upon the Guhyasamaja system. He said that Kalachakra has its own system and the Ka-gye of the Nyingmas has its own system. Dzogchen too distinguishes between the unenlightened mind and pristine awareness.

“In Tibet, Gyumey Monastery had a custom of 32 monks doing a strict sealed Guhyasamaja retreat at Chumiglung. I don’t know if they would really meditate on Guhyasamaja, but the abbot would teach these texts. Even if someone died they wouldn’t open it up; the doors were sealed. When Jamyang Shyepa Ngawang Tsöndrü was in such a retreat at Chumiglung he also managed to meditate on the 173 aspects of the three types of knowledge.

“I’ve suggested to Sera, Drepung and Ganden Monasteries that they should have retreat places too. As the Arhat Sagara said: “Through meditation extract the essence of this life. Don’t be content merely with wearing a monk’s robes. Meditate on the Dharma. Extract the essence by study, concentration and practice.”

“Je Rinpoche made his life meaningful without engaging in the eight worldly concerns. He turned down the Chinese Emperor’s invitation, which others might have happily gone along with.

“If we can set up retreat centres with appropriate facilities, we should. As Jamyang Shyepa did, we should also try to meditate on the 173 aspects of the three types of knowledge. It’s not enough just to spend the time saying mantras. Gyumey Tantric College has a plan to introduce a study curriculum based on texts by the previous Dalai Lamas. They brought the books to me and the one I picked out to look at was a commentary to the ‘Ornament for Clear Realization’ by the 5th Dalai Lama. Preserving and studying the works of the Dalai Lamas is a tradition that used to be kept by Deyang Monastery.”

Before beginning to read the texts, His Holiness said that he had received these Eight Commentaries from Ling Rinpoche and that most of them are to do with completion stage practices. In calm and steady tones His Holiness read until lunch and resumed when everyone reassembled afterwards, completing his reading of the final text on Kalachakra by mid-afternoon. Noting that there is also a thorough explanation of Kalachakra in Khedrup-je’s Collected Works he was reminded that during the preparatory rites yesterday he had looked up at the altar and reflected that where there are statues of Je Rinpoche above the Buddha, there should be copies of the Kangyur and Tengyur.

“Not so long ago I was invited to consecrate a colossal statue of Guru Padmasambhava at Tsopema. If you look back at history, Guru Padmasambhava was immensely important in bringing Buddhism to Tibet. He made great prayers for the Tibetan people. I recognise his kindness, but I said this statue of him would last long into the future, but it will never speak. Similarly, we pay great respect to the statue of Buddha in Bodhgaya, but it too will never speak.

“I firmly believe that if Je Tsongkhapa were to appear and we were to ask him questions he would say, 'The answers are already recorded in the 18 volumes of my collected works.' Please make an effort to study. We have to be Buddhists of the 21st century; we need to understand as well as being able to repeat the words. What’s more, as well as reading Je Tsongkhapa’s works, it would be good to read his critics too. See what Daktsang Lotsawa, Shakya Chokden, Gorampa and Rongton Sheja Kunrig had to say. These days many of our monks restrict their reading only to their own monastery’s standard texts.

“In conclusion, let’s pray for the flourishing of the Buddha’s teachings.”

Finally His Holiness gave advice about approaching and viewing the sand mandala.

“Viewing the mandala with devotion you can purify the misdeeds of countless lives. So approach it with a good motivation, recalling the awakening mind and your understanding of emptiness. There’s no rush, the monks will continue to perform prayers in front of it for several days before it is dismantled. I expect many of us will meet again at Tashi Lhunpo, but anyone who is interested to attend the Mind & Life conference at Sera is welcome.”

Original link & photos