Monday, October 31, 2016

Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu — The Best of Spiritual Friends

His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu — they’re two of the world’s best-known spiritual leaders, and dear, dear friends as well. It’s a friendship rooted in a shared sense of joy, and of purpose: to foster and spread that joy around the globe, in order to address and counter its despair. Here, from The Book of Joy, their new book with Douglas Abrams, we get an inside look at this one-of-a-kind spiritual friendship.

The Dalai Lama said, “I was very sad to miss your birthday. When I found out that you might come here, I was really surprised. I knew your health was not good and that you were also very old, and to reach here is not easy.”

“Yes,” the Archbishop said, “that’s quite right.”

“But,” the Dalai Lama continued, “when I heard that everything was finalized and the date and hour was approaching I really felt happy and excited.  I really appreciate your friendship and your sense of responsibility to do what you can for a better humanity.”

Earlier in the week, the Archbishop and the Dalai Lama had reflected on what was so special about their friendship with characteristic humor.

“He’s always teasing me,” the Archbishop laughed. “Almost the first time we met—do you remember? Maybe the first time you were a little reserved, but by the second time you were taking my cap off my head. I don’t know that you wake up in the morning and say I’m going to become a friend to the Dalai Lama.  It just happens. Scientists will come afterwards and analyze it. But I don’t think that he woke up either—at three—and said, “I think I’m going to be friends with that large-nosed black man from Africa.  I think it was a communication of the heart. When we kept quiet, our hearts discovered that they were kindred spirits.

The Dalai Lama erupted into a belly laugh and then began pointing at the Archbishop. “His face, his face,” he said, gesturing to the Archbishop’s bald head. “He looks like a monk now, doesn’t he?”

“I admire him enormously. Oh, he’s going to get proud. But I always say to people, after being in exile over 50 years how many would show the same serenity, the same joy, and the eagerness to spread goodness and compassion in the world.

“I think I would be very sulky, and I think there’d be a part of me that was always sad and it would show in my face. It doesn’t in his.  I mean I’m just saying, he is there for us as a beacon to tell us that you can, in fact, overcome some of the most horrendous circumstances, and, and emerge on the other side, not broken. So he is a very great gift to the world. And maybe the Chinese, without intending it, have given the world a wonderful gift.

“Thank you,” the Dalai Lama said quietly, perhaps humbled by the praise.

“Pay me, pay me,” the Archbishop said.

“I will pay. I will pay with a few nice words.”

“At our first meeting I notice this person. I always look at people, firstly, human level, so I do not consider importance of their rank or position.  So, on the human level, this person very nice, humble, I think very, very, very, joyful.

He was holding the Archbishop’s arm. “And then, you see, once you connect on the human level, you become close friends and that friendship never changes.  But on another level, this person is a very funny person,” he said slapping his arm playfully. “I love that. He is always teasing me, and also I am teasing him. So, we really become something quite special.

“And finally, right from the beginning, you always speak out about the truth and the justice of the Tibetan cause. As a Tibetan, I very much appreciate.

“Whenever he is at Nobel laureate meetings, they are full of joy. The atmosphere is something different. Then in recent years because of his age and also his physical condition, you see, he could not attend. Of course, many other Nobel laureates and many other Nobel laureates are wonderful ladies—“

“You are a monk, remember?” the Archbishop scolded.

“But when you are not there, something missing, really. Really, really. The other Nobel laureates also feel that, I think. So the relationship is something unique and something very special.”

“Thank you. I paid him,” the Archbishop said, as if pretending to stage whisper.

The Dalai Lama erupted into a belly laugh and then began pointing at the Archbishop. “His face, his face,” he said, gesturing to the Archbishop’s bald head. “He looks like a monk now, doesn’t he?” Then the Dalai Lama drew his hand into the shape of an eye.  “When I see your eyes—” Then he squeezed his nose playfully, “—and, of course, your nose—”

The Archbishop could not help but giggle at the mention of his nose.

Then the Dalai Lama’s playful tone changed, as he pointed at the Archbishop’s face warmly.  “This picture, special picture.”  Then he paused. “I think, at time of my death…” The word death hung in the air, his words a prophecy. “…I will remember you.”

I could hear everyone in the room, even the camera operators, gasp. The Archbishop looked down and hummed deeply, obviously humbled and moved by the Dalai Lama’s words. Could there be a truer sign of love: to see another’s face at the time of death.

“Thank you.  Thank you,” was all the Archbishop could say, all that could be said.

“So perhaps,” the Dalai Lama said, “according to your religious tradition, we may meet in heaven in the presence of God. You as a good Christian practitioner, you go first.” The Archbishop now chuckled heartily and the room seemed to breathe again. “You may help me and bring us together.” We laughed imagining the Archbishop bargaining with St. Peter at the pearly gates trying get special admission for the Dalai Lama.

“But from the Buddhist viewpoint,” the Dalai Lama continued, “once in a life, you develop some sort of special close connection, then that sort of impact will carry life after life. That’s Buddhist viewpoint. So maybe even then. But now, I’m looking forward to another occasion to see you again—somewhere that only God knows.”

Reprinted from The Book of Joy by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2016, The Dalai Lama Trust, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams.

Original link & photos

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dalai Lama Gives Key Teachings in Milan

Milan, Italy, 21 October 2106 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama began his public day by giving an interview to an old friend, Pio d'Emilia for SkyTG 24. d'Emilia opened his questions with an enquiry about whether His Holiness’s health is still good.

“Yes,” he told him, “but I’m getting older and sometimes late in the day I feel tired. However, I regularly get 8-9 hours’ sleep a night, so I wake fresh every morning.”

About the repeated Chinese accusation that he is a splittist, His Holiness remarked,

“Historically, Chinese documents show, there were three empires, Chinese, Mongolian and Tibetan. After 1951 as we tried to come to an arrangement, we signed the 17 Point Agreement, a precedent followed by no other Chinese province. In the 60s we raised the issue of Tibet at the UN to little effect. In the 70s we realized that ultimately we would have to enter talks with the Chinese government and in 1974 formally declared we were not seeking outright independence, but the implementation of rights for minorities guaranteed in the Chinese constitution.”

Regarding his travelling to Tibet or China, His Holiness stated that since 1954 he has expressed a wish to go to Wu Taishan on pilgrimage, which he would still like to do.

d'Emilia asked if the world should be worried about China and His Holiness told him that China is an ancient country, a Buddhist country, but it is also presently a totalitarian state where many people are isolated from reality. Some of its leaders are realistic, whereas others continue to take a hard line. About Xi Jinping His Holiness remarked that it is hard to say. His family is Buddhist. His father, who His Holiness knew, was friends with the late Panchen Rinpoche. His Holiness admires his efforts to tackle corruption.

Prompted to comment on not being invited to the recent reprise of the inter-religious meeting in Assisi, His Holiness made clear that he feels meeting the general public is more important and can be more effective than meeting leaders.

d'Emilia pressed him about his successor and after establishing once again that it will be up to the Tibetan people to decide whether they want to recognise another Dalai Lama, he mentioned several options for this to be done. One is for him to nominate someone already alive to be his reincarnation, another is for his successor to be elected, or for a senior lama to take on the responsibility on the basis of seniority, much in the way the Ganden Tripa is chosen. Conceding that he has been urging women to take more leading roles in promoting love and compassion, he remarked that if a likely young girl were to declare she was the Dalai Lama, “Then, why not?”

Noting that the Japanese Emperor has suggested he might abdicate and one Pope has already resigned, His Holiness was asked if he considered doing so too. He replied, “I’ve already retired from political responsibility. I suppose I could resign from being a monk, but I don’t think I could ever resign from being Dalai Lama.”

After yesterday’s misty early morning, today, skies were high and blue as His Holiness drove to the Rho Fiera Milano hall where he was to teach. Thamthog Rinpoche introduced him to the 8800 strong crowd. Translation into Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Mongolian and Vietnamese is being provided.

The session began with Sri Lankan Theravadin monks reciting the Mangala Sutta in Pali, followed by a Vietnamese group, most of whom were women, who chanted the ‘Heart Sutra’ to a steady gentle rhythm in Vietnamese.

“Today, at the request of the Tibetan Institute of Buddhist Studies led by Thamthog Rinpoche, I’ve been asked to teach Je Tsongkhapa’s ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’ and ‘In Praise of Dependent Arising’,” His Holiness explained. “I’ll begin with the ‘Praise’ as an introduction to Buddhist teachings and follow it with the ‘Three Principals’ as a guide to how to practice.

“We human beings are physically, mentally and emotionally the same. We have two eyes, one nose and a mouth, wherever we are from. We all want to lead a happy life. This is the right of all human beings. While some material and technological development, of weapons for example, prompts fear, by and large it is intended to bring comfort and benefit. However, even in highly developed countries many are full of stress, worry and frustration. Material development, by itself, does not yield complete satisfaction.

“Since 1 billion out of 7 billion human beings have no interest in religion, and even the faithful are frequently not that serious, we need to find ways of developing inner values without touching on this or that religious tradition. Nevertheless, all religions have the potential to create better human beings and I’m very happy and honoured to see many representatives of other traditions among us here today.

“The collection of teachings in the Pali tradition, including the Four Noble Truths and the 37 Factors of Enlightenment, along with the practice of ethics, concentration and insight, comprise the very foundation of the Buddha’s teachings. On top of this are teachings, not given openly in public, of the six or ten perfections, the awakening mind of bodhichitta, and the clarification of what true cessation means on the basis of selflessness.

“This is why if it’s possible I like to begin teachings like these with a recitation of the Mangala Sutta followed by the Perfection of Wisdom in twenty-five lines—the ‘Heart Sutra’.”

His Holiness explained that since an earlier praise of Indian masters, the ‘Six Ornaments and Two Supremes’ did not include many of the Indian masters whose works have played a seminal role in the Tibetan tradition, he composed a ‘Praise to the 17 Masters of Nalanda’.

The Four Noble Truths, with their 16 characteristics and the 37 Factors of Enlightenment, the foundation of the Buddha’s teaching, belong to the first turning of the wheel of Dharma. The Perfection of Wisdom teachings expounded at Rajgir comprise the second turning. The ‘Unravelling of Thought Sutra’ and the ‘Tathagata Garbha Sutra’, which explains Buddha nature, the clear light nature of the mind, the basis for the practice of Highest Yoga Tantra, comprise the third turning.

His Holiness remarked that we can also consider the path to enlightenment in terms of progress through the five paths that can be associated with the mantra of the ‘Heart Sutra’. He said the first 'gate' indicates the path of accumulation, the second 'gate' the path of preparation, 'paragate' indicates the path of seeing, 'parasamgate' the path of meditation and 'bodhi svaha' the attainment of enlightenment.

After lunch, addressing more than 200 Tibetans who live in Italy, Switzerland and Spain, His Holiness told them:

“I’m happy we can have this brief meeting. We’ve been in exile 57 years now. In the 50s upheaval took place in Amdo and Kham, with protests against the Chinese who were imposing change on Tibet. Ours had been a feudal system, but it wasn’t all bad. Servants are reported to have informed their former overlords when they were in danger so they were able to escape, such was that standard of honesty and justice among us. When class struggle was imposed on Tibetans, it didn’t work out well. Anyway, by 1959 I had to escape.

“The generation who lived through those times have mostly gone, but the Tibetan spirit remains firm and strong. The hardliners who used force against us thought that once the Dalai Lama had gone, everything would go their way. They were wrong. I’ve heard it said that when Chairman Mao was told of the use of force in Tibet, he asked what had happened to the Dalai Lama. When he heard I’d escaped, he remarked, “In that case, we’ve lost.” Hardliners thought that if they crushed protest in Central Tibet they’d win—again they were wrong.

“Since the Chinese themselves are passionate about preserving and upholding their own culture, it’s surprising that they don’t understand that Tibetans are equally passionate about protecting theirs. It’s said that there are now 400 million Chinese Buddhists, many of them educated people, who have learned that Chinese monks don’t explain very much, whereas Tibetan monks are well trained to explain. All our Tibetan Buddhist traditions have roots in the Nalanda tradition, which means they study logic and reason in conjunction with philosophy. No other Buddhist tradition can boast of this.”

Back in the teaching hall His Holiness answered a series of questions from the audience before resuming his teachings. Reading through the verses of ‘In Praise of Dependent Arising’, he said verse 15 summarizes what had gone before.

Therefore, since no phenomena exist
Other than those originating in dependence,
No phenomena exist, you taught, 
Other than those devoid of intrinsic existence. 

The extremes of nihilism and eternalism are denied.

Verse 42 mentions that, for the author, Je Tsongkhapa, understanding the meaning of the teaching of dependent arising is consolation for not being able to hear it taught by the Buddha himself.

Seeing the excellent quality of this teaching
Pulls at my heart
As a hook does to a fish.
Sad is it not to have heard it from you.

His Holiness remarked that as a child his mind was quick and bright and he was able to memorize this text in one morning. 

He explained that the ‘Three Principal Aspects of the Path’ was written in response to a request from Ngawang Drakpa, not only one of Tsongkhapa’s closest disciples, but the one he predicted who will be his first when he manifests Buddhahood.

Despite running well past the announced time, His Holiness steadily read through the text explaining the determination to be free, the awakening mind of bodhichitta, as well as the relations between dependent arising and emptiness. Having completed both texts, His Holiness left the stage and emerged from the building into the brilliant sunshine of late afternoon.

original link & photos

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Cosmic Christ…Halloween…and the Devil

By Reverend Mark Hunnemann

9 “As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; fits wheels were burning fire. 10  A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. 11 “I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. The Son of Man Is Given Dominion 13 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14  And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7)
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands jone like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and this face was like the sun shining in full strength.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. (Revelation 1:12-20)

When we think of power encounters between Christians and demons, the name of Jesus is our refuge and our strength. The "name" of Jesus is not a magical incantation.When we appeal to His name, it signifies the Person and the work of Christ. When we say " Jesus name" at the end of a prayer, we recognize that it is the atoning death of God incarnate that allows us to appear with a childlike boldness before the Father.

As we approach Halloween, themes of death and demonic looking costumes and yard displays are ubiquitous. On a more serious note, devotees of the occult see this time of year as prime time for communing with ‘spirits’. The devil, who is already prowling around like a lion seeking whom he can destroy, takes advantage of these door openings and ramps up his activity….such is Halloween.

From time immemorial, there was a growing awareness and anticipation amongst God’s people that a mysterious, divine Warrior was going to come on the scene, and act like a “Cosmic Hit-Man” who would deal sin, death, and Satan.

I want to take us on a tour of the atonement--the cross of Christ--so that we might have a deeper understanding of this many splendored thing, and how it relates to the paranormal. When was the first announcement of the gospel? Immediately after Adam and Eve committed cosmic treason, we hear the Lord speaking to Satan, "And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike His heel." (Genesis 3:15) His first actions are grace-filled--God graciously converts the sinful woman's affections from Satan to Himself (hostility between Eve and Satan). From that point, humanity is now divided into two communities (Satan's offspring and Eve's offspring). Now here is where it gets really interesting. Two striking or bruisings are going to happen. Before His glorious victory, the woman's Seed (Jesus) must suffer to win the new community from the serpent’s dominion (Isaiah 53:12; Col.1:24)  However, the head wound (compared to being shot in the heel) would be fatal. Not only was sin conquered on the cross, but Satan and death too.

Many Christians don’t realize that one of the primary purposes of the cross was to destroy the devil and his works…it carried into the spirit realm to all across the cosmos.

Tonight I was playing slay the dragon with my five year old grandson, only he wanted to be the dragon AND carry the sword...leaving me with this puny shield!  He came swinging that plastic sword all over the place.."Please dragon, don't hit me in the head.," I pled. (I meant it!!)

The suffering Christ is victorious. He has already won the victory at the cross over the dragon by providing an atonement for the saints (Col.2:13-15) and will consummate it at His Second Coming.

The title or name that Jesus used most frequently to refer to Himself was "Son of Man". It is common for folks to say that ‘Son of God’ refers to Jesus’ deity and ‘Son of Man’ refers to His humanity; but that is not accurate. In Daniel 7:13 the Son of Man is coming with the clouds-only God does this. In Revelation 1:9-20 John (in my opinion Jesus’ closest earthly friend) saw a vision of Jesus as the Son of Man, and His glory was so overwhelming John fell at His feet is if dead. He has a war-like appearance, looking back to the OT battles and anticipating His role in the final battle.The Son of Man is an awesome Cosmic Conqueror obliterating a triad of foes-sin, death, and the Devil. "I have the keys of death and the grave" says this Divine Destroyer of evil.(1:18)

The notion of Jesus as a cosmic ‘hit man’ who, with holy violence, destroys the works of the devil needs to be recovered in our days.
From Genesis to Revelation there is this unifying motif of the Son of Man/woman who will come, not as a baby in a manger, (though He was that) but as the Fearsome Warrior--bringing healing even to the cosmos itself.(Romans 8)

In the midst of this crazy election season, we need to remember what the most significant political event in the history of the world was: the ascension of the Son of Man. After smashing the head of the Serpent, Jesus sat down next to His Father. But he didn’t sit down in a lounge chair..King Jesus sat down on His throne as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Please read this passage in Revelation and then ask: who is in control of the paranormal realm? Can there be criteria for becoming a ghost if the awesome Son of Man holds the keys to death and the grave/hades? What does that mean that He holds the keys to death? It means he owns it….He created death, as a consequence to sin. But we need to see the death of death in the death of Christ.The Son of Man does not play around, and any views which even remotely undermines Christ’s absolute sovereign control over death, needs to be rejected. Most interpretations of the paranormal don’t take this fact into consideration. That is a grave oversight (pardon pun) because it dishonors the Son of Man and all He’s done to redeem us from the very spirits folks are seeking to commune with.

Look again at the visions in Daniel and Revelation. Would you mess with Him? How can you play around with the paranormal in light of this awesome display of divine glory? The Son of Man came to save us from demonic bondage…why do we not declare warfare when we discover spirit activity in our homes?…It is evil.

This one vision of Jesus precludes me from believing that human spirits can be trapped here...This is an in-family debate, because folks more godly than I differ with me on this. But here I stand...The Son of Man, born of a woman (Mary) now sits enthroned as the Cosmic Conqueror.

Halloween is actually a good opportunity to communicate to unbelievers, believers, and even pastors regarding the reality of the Cosmic Christ. Overt demonic activity is at an all-time high, and will increase during Halloween. PLEASE plead with all you know to leave the spirit realm alone, and that ALL paranormal activity is cause for concern. And maybe, just maybe, your pastor will seek how to release those under demonic oppression.

In Martin Luther's "A Mighty Fortress" he has a verse on Satan and his power, but at the end He writes "one little word shall fell him.".......Jesus.

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, October 18, 2016

Dalai Lama: Inter-faith Prayers for Peace

Zurich, Switzerland, 15 October 2016 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama was met on arrival at the Grossmünster Church this morning by Pastor Christoph Sigrist, who introduced him to representatives of the Evangelical Church, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and the Roman Catholic Church. The Church was packed with about 1000 people as the religious representatives entered together. Once they were seated the building resounded to a Bach toccata played on the organ.

Addressing the gathering Pastor Sigrist said it was an honour and a great joy to welcome ‘Our Brother’, His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Grossmünster Church. “It means a great deal to have you here to pray and reflect with us,” he said. Each of the religious representatives was invited to make a prayer beginning with Tibetan Buddhist monks from Rikon Monastery. His Holiness joined them in their melodic chanting as their prayers for taking refuge and cultivating bodhichitta filled the church. They were followed by the Imam, the Rabbi and women representing Hinduism, the Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches, each praying in their own way for peace and justice among humanity. Finally, the Church rang with the pure voices of the choir singing Heinrich Schütz’s ‘Grant us peace graciously’.

Mario Fehr, an old friend of Tibetans, who is now President of the Canton of Zurich said, “On behalf of the Canton Government and the people of Zurich, I am very thankful that you are all here and that you have joined us to pray for peace today.”

Invited to address the congregation that included another 700 or so watching a monitor outside, His Holiness began:

“Spiritual brothers and sisters, I’m very touched by the atmosphere here with leaders and followers of different faiths gathered to pray together. It’s a great opportunity for us to get to know each other.

“At this very moment we are praying peacefully together here, but in other parts of the world, people are being killed and are being killed in the name of religion. These days if a person is killed by an elephant or a tiger it makes the news, but when people kill other people it seems routine and hardly seems to register.

“Nevertheless, scientists are finding evidence to conclude that basic human nature is compassionate. We depend on each other for our survival. In terms of the threats we all face from climate change, national boundaries have no meaning. Looking at our small blue planet from space no such boundaries can be seen. This is the reality today. We have to think of the welfare of all humanity.

“I have a commitment to promoting happiness through understanding. We human beings are physically, mentally and emotionally the same. We all want to live a happy life, but too often our strong sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’ causes divisions among us. We need instead a sense of the oneness of humanity. All the major religious traditions convey a message of love, tolerance, forgiveness and self-discipline. They all have the potential to bring peace through the cultivation of warm-heartedness. They adopt different philosophical positions, but their purpose is to foster greater love and affection for others. Their common aim is to create more compassionate people.”

His Holiness explained that his second commitment, as a Buddhist monk, is to encouraging religious harmony. He mentioned Thomas Merton, Mother Teresa and other Muslim and Hindu friends who have deeply impressed him, people driven by the dedication of their faith. He emphasised the need to create harmony and respect among religious people. Recalling the first World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, Italy, in1986 that he attended at the invitation of Pope John Paul II, His Holiness reported expressing his appreciation to the Pope and telling him how important it was for it not to be a one-off event, but for it to happen again and again.

He mentioned too how important it is for followers of different religions simply to get to know each other. Similarly, he said, scholars and religious leaders should meet to discuss and exchange their experiences. For example, in discussions with Muslim scholars in India and elsewhere, His Holiness has learned that if Muslims commit bloodshed they are no longer proper Muslims. Their commitment is to extend love to all the creatures of Allah. The same scholars have also explained that ‘jihad’ actually refers to a struggle within to tackle our disturbing emotions.

His Holiness suggested a third practice he follows to promote religious harmony—making pilgrimage to other people’s places of worship. He said he started doing this in Varanasi, India, in 1975 and has since visited Jerusalem to pray in the company of Christians, Jews and Muslims. Similarly, he recalled joining visiting Christian sisters and brothers, local Hindus and Muslims under the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment, for half an hour’s silent meditation.

Observing that all the world’s major religious traditions, those that are indigenous like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, and those from abroad like Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, have lived together in India, side by side, in respect and harmony, for centuries. This, he said, is an example for others to follow.

“Finally, if may say so,” His Holiness remarked, “I wonder how appropriate it is for us to pray to God or to Buddha for peace when the problems and conflict were created by us. I wonder if we were to meet Jesus Christ, the Buddha or Muhammad, if they might not ask, ‘Who created these problems you are seeking help to resolve? Isn’t it your responsibility to sort things out?’

“I feel we should make a personal commitment to promoting inter-religious harmony and to cultivating compassion within ourselves. If we also discuss this with friends and family, we can spread these ideas. In our materialistic world money seems all important, but much more valuable if we want to lead a happy life is to cultivate warm-heartedness. This is what strengthens the inner peace that anger and jealousy so easily destroy. Paying more attention to our inner values will ensure we’re healthy in body and mind and can make a real contribution to peace in the world.”

Pastor Sigrist thanked His Holiness for his words and called on all present to join in saying St Francis of Assisi’s Prayer for Peace:

God, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life, 

He announced that Syrian refugees had been offered shelter in apartments attached to the church and that they had prepared a lunch for the religious leaders, representatives and guests.

Towards the end of the meal, President Mario Fehr presented Zurich’s Gold Medal to His Holiness as a mark of appreciation.

Tibetans thronged the cobbled streets outside the church to see His Holiness off as he drove to Zurich airport. From there he flew to Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, where he was met on arrival by old friends Suzanne and Csaba Kiss of the At Home Gallery and Martin Butora, advisor to the President of Slovakia, and his wife. Tomorrow, His Holiness will interact with students and faculty at Komensky University in the morning and give a public talk in the afternoon.

original link & photos:

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Nature of God and the Greatest Question of All

By Mark Hunnemann

"For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor. 5:21)

I have been accenting the paramount importance of the doctrine of God in our it effects everything. How we view Ultimate Reality has a domino effect on the other six worldview issues. There are several worldviews in our culture, but the one gaining ascendancy is New Age or Neo-gnostic/occult, which we will look at perhaps next time. Obviously, the concept of Ultimate Reality in this pagan goddess spirituality differs significantly from biblical Christianity.

Let me briefly show how the primacy of what God is like effects the other issues, and then I want too camp on what is the most important issue of all--how can I be saved?

1. Ultimate Reality in the bible is the infinite personal God who is really there, and who has spoken to us Person to person in the bible. God is good--meaning He is holy and loving.
2. Since God is both infinite and Personal He took great delight in creating the heavens and the earth, the visible and invisible. (Gen. 1:1; Col. 1:16)
3. Since God is personal, He loves us and desires to be our primary love...He does not leave it to guesswork as to what our purpose in life is--it is stated in His communication to us.
4. The text above speaks of Jesus' sinlessness. Since God is really THERE, and spoken truth to us, we have an adequate basis for ethics. "Be holy because I am holy". (1 Peter 1:16)
5. God is infinite and personal and He made us finite and personal--that is, IN HIS IMAGE. Again, no guesswork as to what humans ARE, because of who God IS! (Gen.1:26ff)
6. We spoke of the three Lordship attributes of God last time (control, authority, and presence) This assures us that the flow of history (and our own personal history) is moving in a meaningful, linear fashion to it's culmination in the Second Coming/restoration. History is the stage upon which God is driving the drama of redemption.
7. The afterlife is, yet again, not a matter of speculation because God/heaven is really THERE. "For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ...",   " is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgement." The moment we die we appear before the Lord's throne, and are sent to heaven or hell for all eternity. (2 Cor. 5:!0; Heb. 9:27) The greatest argument against the notion of trapped spirits is the nature of God (and His perfect atonement). His nature will also reveal in technicolor how we MUST be saved and enter His perfectly holy heaven.

Do you see how the existence and nature of God effects EVERYTHING? If we had the time, I would like to show how Ultimate Reality as energy/matter would "answer" these worldview questions. We would see that it, and all non-biblical worldviews, are utterly bankrupt to provide adequate answers to our deepest questions.

But what of the greatest question of all: how can I know I am going to heaven after death? Though it is not listed as a worldview component, it underlies and is implied in all of seven components--especially the nature of God. Once again, when we ponder our eternal destiny, the nature of what Ultimate Reality is will guide our thinking. For example, in the history of humanity there are three basic answers to that question. Though details may vary in a multitude of ways, we can accurately summarize three basic views of salvation--which (not surprisingly!) flow from one's view of Ultimate Reality. Let's look at these now.

1. Auto-soterism or self-salvation...otherwise known as Pelagianism (named after the heresiarch, Pelagius). Whether New Age, humanism, atheism, deism or theological liberalism (and scores of others), we either save ourselves by being good or we essentially "save ourselves" by denying that we even need salvation. The details vary from one belief to the next in auto-soterism (e.g. annihilation vs continued conscious existence), but the defining feature is that we don't need a Savior....we will earn or merit our way to our next incarnation or heaven. Perhaps the most common view of salvation is, "Justification by death alone." All we have to do is die, and we fly off to paradise.

The only way one can subscribe to Pelagianism is by having a seriously defective or deficient view of God's nature. Theological liberalism often states that the essence of Christianity is" living the Sermon on the Mount". Hmmm.....I wonder if they have ever carefully read this lofty sermon by Jesus? There is a spiritual logic to the beatitudes, which are the heart of the Sermon on the Mount, and the first is, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:3) That is, blessed (well being in one's relationship with God) are those who recognize they are desperately in need of divine grace and mercy, for they are spiritually bankrupt in themselves. A deficient view of God's holiness will lead to a deficient view of our true spiritual condition. In other words, self-salvation is the noxious fruit of having a distorted view of Ultimate Reality in our worldviews.

2. Semi-pelagianism or Arminianism (named after Jacob Arminius) is a half-way house between self-salvation and salvation by grace alone. Stated another way--we are saved by faith in Christ plus.... (fill in the blank). My intent is not to offend anyone, but to state things accurately and urge us to think (Berean style). I was raised in a devout Christian home, but the gospel was, "We are saved by faith in Jesus, plus doing certain things...but if you do other certain sins, that will kill the grace of God in your soul. You will lose your state of salvation until you do x, y, and z." I am intentionally being vague. However, regarding the view itself--we are saved by faith in Christ AND good work/s-I will NOT be vague. As Paul said to the "Arminians" of his day, "As we have said before, so now I say again:If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." (Gal. 1:9-10) The heresy Paul was eternally condemning to hell was the notion that we are saved by faith in Christ plus being circumcised. That was the Galatian heresy which so agitated Paul and the Lord.

There always has been, and always will be, differences amongst Christians this side of heaven. However, the essence of the gospel must be protected, regardless of what people say. The folks in Galatia were not pelagianists, or believers in self-salvation. However, they did add to the finished work of Christ on the cross by saying,"In order to be saved, you must believe in Christ and be circumcised." Today, that same sort of belief is alive and well in America, and globally. Only the Lord knows the true state of a person's soul and many folks raised in these traditions are truly born again, but it must be due to some happy inconsistency. Only the Lord knows when the line is crossed in practice--all I can do is state the biblical principle, for which I do not care what man thinks. What I plead for you to consider is that many professing Christians--either because they hold to a "easy-believism" or a version of faith plus works heresy--are not really saved and will spend eternit y in hell. That grieves me...and it certainly grieves the Lord.

The issue again is the nature of God. If we have depth view of God's holiness, then we will have a depth view of our sinfullness. With a deep awareness of our radical corruption comes a vision of the glorious beauty of grace. A deep appreciation of God's utter, burning holiness will reveal the utter futility and madness of adding anything to the finished work of Christ on the cross. A person on this faith and works treadmill can never enjoy (if they are consistent) an abiding joyful assurance of salvation. There will always be the insecurity of, "Did I do enough, or did I do TOO much sin today..did I get kicked out of God's family?" Listen, I lived this way  growing up and it was horrible, even as a child.

The third way of salvation is the biblical way...the true way of salvation. GRACE. We are saved by faith alone in the finished work of Christ on the cross. (Romans 3 & 4;Eph. 2:8-10...Gen--Rev) "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it s the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." I included v. 10 because it is often left out when these verses are quoted and it addresses a significant issue--what is the role of works, if we are saved by grace alone? Concern regarding "cheap grace" or easy believism is valid, but is no reason to throw the "grace baby" out with the dirty water. Luther re-discovered the pure gospel in 1517 after it had languished under severe legalism for 1, 000 years or more. He put it this way, "We are saved by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone." The book of James is about the evidence of true faith. Good works have no meritorious value but they have immense evidential value. As the text in Ephesians states, we were saved in order to be pleasing to the Lord.

This is not a systematic theology, so I need to wrap up. We come finally, again, to Ultimate Reality--the nature of the biblical God--which reveals the sovereign grace of God Almighty. All this talk of worldviews is foolish and empty if we ourselves are not reconciled with our Creator. 2 Cor 5:21 is one of the most important verses in all of Scripture  for understanding the meaning of the atonement and justification. The sinless Son of God became a substitute for us...substitutionary atonement. We are justified by faith alone. To say that are saved by faith or grace alone is to say we are saved by Christ alone (and His finished work on the cross) Justification involves a double transfer. Christ became sin "for us"--and was punished "for us"--but His 33 years of righteous living (the righteousness of God) is imputed or counted to us as well. It pleased the Father to transfer our sins to Jesus, and to transfer Jesus' perfect life to us. We are declared eternally "Not Guilt y!" and the Father sees us "IN HIM".

The only way we can stand before the holy Father is due the robe of righteousness wrapped around us. Though it may not make sense to the world, we must be saved by grace alone because of how absolutely just, holy and righteous God is. Every sin is an act of cosmic treason against a thrice holy God and deserves eternal punishment. However, since we are in union with Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and ascension..God not only accepts us, He absolutely delights in us! (Isaiah 62:3-5) He delights and rejoices over us...may we relish this, and dance for joy because salvation is of the Lord....from beginning to end. For all eternity we will sing the praises of the King of Grace!

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, October 11, 2016

Dalai Lama Teaches in Riga, Latvia

Riga, Latvia, 10 October 2016 - Yesterday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama flew from India to Latvia via Helsinki. This morning, with a chill wind blowing through the streets and parks of the capital Riga, he drove to the Skonto Hall where an audience of 4500 awaited him. Of 3000 or so who had come from Russia, roughly 500 were from Kalmykia, 3-400 from Buryatia and 100 from Tuva. As His Holiness stepped onto the stage, many surged forward to catch a closer glimpse as he greeted them. He took his seat before a huge reproduction of a painting of the 17 Masters of Nalanda and suggested that the ‘Heart Sutra’ be chanted first in Sanskrit and then in Latvian. His Holiness’s teachings, organized by Save Tibet Foundation (Moscow) and Saglabasim Tibetu (Riga), are being translated and webcast in English, Latvian, Estonian, Russian and Mongolian, as well as Tibetan.

“Here we are once again in Latvia,” His Holiness began, “and I’d like to thank the organizers for creating this opportunity for me to give some explanation of Buddhist teachings. Not so long ago when I was here to give an introduction to Buddhism, a Russian told me how difficult it is for many of his compatriots to travel to India because of economic constraints. He told me it would be much easier for them to come to Latvia. I said I would look into it and was pleased to find my friends here supported the idea—so here we are and a huge number of people have come.

“We human beings are all the same; there are essentially no differences between us. We are all born the same way and we all die the same way. We need to recognise this oneness of humanity—we all want to avoid suffering and find happiness. If we focus instead on differences between us, we soon see each other in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’ and deeper divisions occur. If, on the other hand, the whole of humanity were at peace, we’d all be happy.”

His Holiness recalled that when he first came to Europe in 1973 he was struck by the realization that even where there was great material development, people were still unhappy. At the same time he recognised and admired the spirit of the EU in placing the good of the wider community above the interests of single nations. The result was that even if they couldn’t help each other, they would do each other no harm.

He observed that in general all religious traditions teach love and compassion. While in Syria and Iraq today there is conflict between Sunni and Shia, in India, the world’s most populous democracy, with its multitude of religions, inter-religious harmony prevails. All religions, he said, have a religious aspect, which involves the practice of love, compassion, tolerance and self-discipline. In their philosophical aspects there are a range of differences, but their purpose is to support and encourage the practice of love and compassion. Theistic traditions believe everything is created by God, often portrayed as infinite love or mercy, a spark of which is within us all.

Other traditions like Jainism and Buddhism don’t believe in a creator God, but teach that responsibility for pain and pleasure rests on our own shoulders. If we don’t want suffering we should avoid negative actions and if we want happiness we should do good.

All religions also have a cultural aspect. At the time Mahavira founded Jainism in India there were widespread animal sacrifices with negative economic consequences. Mahavira taught strict non-violence and vegetarianism. Not long after the Buddha also emphasised non-harm and non-violence. Cultural aspects reflect the values of the day, therefore today the caste system in India is at odds with democracy and equal rights. His Holiness said he appeals to Indian spiritual leaders to point out these drawbacks and usher in change.

“The Buddha,” His Holiness explained, “was born into a royal family, renounced that comfortable life and engaged in austerities for six years. Eventually he sat under the Bodhi tree near the Niranjana River and attained enlightenment. Although he pondered whether anyone else would understand what he had realised, he found his former companions in austerities and explained to them the Four Noble Truths. These constitute the first Turning of the Wheel of Dharma and form the basis of both the Pali and Sanskrit traditions of Buddhism.

“The ‘Heart Sutra’ consists of a dialogue between Avalokiteshvara and Shariputra, a teaching attended by those with pure karma. Some say because they were not historically recorded that the Perfection of Wisdom teachings to which it belongs were not taught by the Buddha. Masters like Nagarjuna and Bhavaviveka have argued that they are the Buddha’s teachings. They explain selflessness or emptiness, that nothing has defining characteristics, that things have no intrinsic existence. Again Nagarjuna defended this.

“Also belonging to the Nalanda tradition, Dignaga and Dharmakirti wrote about logic and epistemology. The teaching we are going to go through today comes from Dharmakirti’s ‘Commentary on Dignaga's 'Compendium of Valid Cognition'’. Since I had heard that in the early 20th century a Russian scholar Fyodor Shcherbatskoy translated some of Dharmakirti’s works into Russian and English, when we were discussing what I should teach, we decided that the second chapter of Dharmakirti’s classic work on Valid Cognition'’ would be appropriate.”

His Holiness remarked that although Buddhism spread across the length and breadth of Tibet, those who actually studied it were few. Consequently, in the early days in exile he encouraged monasteries that had previously been occupied performing rituals to take up the study of the classic texts. He encouraged nunneries likewise to take up such studies with the result that later this year qualified nuns will be awarded a Geshe Degree.

His Holiness observed that an understanding of selflessness, which is unique to Buddhist teachings, enables us to reduce our exaggerated way of looking at things. He reported that American psychiatrist Aaron Beck had told him something similar, that when we are angry or attached to something or someone, they appear wholly negative or wholly attractive. In fact, Beck declared, this is 90% mental projection.

So, reflecting on emptiness along with the awakening mind of bodhichitta is a source of peace of mind. His Holiness said that such inner peace fosters health, well-being and longevity. Moreover, he added, if we follow the approach of the sharp-witted and apply reason in our studies, the Buddhist tradition will survive a long time.

His Holiness was joined for lunch by 15 parliamentarians from the Baltic States: two from Estonia, three from Lithuania and ten from Latvia, along with key supporters from each country.

Resuming his teachings after lunch, His Holiness first invited questions from the audience. In answering them he explained how much he appreciates vegetarianism and how it is now widely observed in the common kitchens of Tibetan Monasteries in India, despite his own inability, for medical reasons, to be fully vegetarian.

He advised Buddhists in St Petersburg to overcome sectarian differences by acknowledging that all Tibetan Buddhist traditions have roots in the Nalanda tradition. He suggested that since Buddhists in Moscow feel a need for a common building in which to meet, they could establish a learning centre that could also be a location for academic studies and inter-faith meetings.

Continuing his reading of the second chapter of ‘Commentary on Dignaga's 'Compendium of Valid Cognition'’ His Holiness touched on how the Buddha became a reliable guide, and how valid cognition, being an awareness that corresponds with reality, is undeceptive. His remarks also clarified that the substantial cause of consciousness must be consciousness.

He reiterated that in explaining dependent arising the Buddha taught us how to overcome distorted views. Such a wisdom is a powerful antidote to ignorance. Applying it we can remove ignorance from our mental continuums. Finally, he remarked that the Buddha did not teach about suffering to scare us, but to indicate reality, the possibility of its cessation by cultivating the path. He made clear that understanding the Four Noble Truths in the context of the Two Truths—conventional and ultimate truth—is the way to take refuge in the Three Jewels on the basis of reason.

His Holiness announced that in addition to continuing to read the text tomorrow he would offer the opportunity for members of the audience to generate the awakening mind of bodhichitta.

original link & photos

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Dalai Lama on Human Values

New Delhi, India, 22 November 2014 - This morning, after a short drive across Delhi, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was received at Springdales School by the Principal, Mrs Ameeta Mulla Wattal. She escorted him to a brief reception and meeting with other principals and staff, including the Founding Principal, 90 year old Mrs Rajni Kumar. She established the first Springdales School in 1955 with a view to giving students a broad progressive holistic curriculum and a strong value system that included the universal values of love, truth and goodness.

On the daïs, His Holiness was offered a traditional shawl and a living plant. He took part in lighting the inaugural lamp while members of the school choir sang an ecumenical medley. Mrs Wattal declared that as teachers she and her colleagues feel it their responsibility to shape young minds with the notion that compassion is the solution to all ills. She said they had dreamed of inviting His Holiness to speak at the school and were now so pleased the dream had become reality. She requested him to address the gathering of eager young minds and their teachers.

“Respected principals, teachers and older brothers and sisters,” His Holiness began, “and younger brothers and sisters. Whenever I meet other people I remember that we are all the same as human beings. Having the same human brain, we all have the same potential. Sometimes that potential ends up creating more problems, but in general our basic human nature is compassionate.”

He spoke of experiments scientists have conducted with young infants. Showing them animated drawings of situations in which someone gives help and or hinders and obstructs, they favour the instances of help. He said this clearly accords with our status as social animals whose survival depends on others. This is why we develop a sense of community. And the emotions that foster community are love and affection, while anger and jealousy create distance and separation. It is by cultivating a sense of concern for others that we can learn to use our intelligence constructively.

“Modern education tends to focus on materialist goals with insufficient stress on developing warm-heartedness. If our education touches on ethics it is usually in relation to religious faith. Despite their philosophical differences, the main practice of all the major religious traditions is love. And in order to practise love effectively, you need tolerance and forgiveness, self-discipline and contentment. These traditions have a common purpose, to help us develop love. It may be through belief in a creator and the sense that we all have a spark of God, of love, within us. Or we might follow a non-theistic tradition that believes in causality and the idea that if you do good, you benefit, or that if you do harm it will have negative consequences. Whatever their differences philosophically, these spiritual traditions share a common goal.”

His Holiness remarked that in India all the major religious traditions have long lived together in harmony. However, among the 7 billion human beings alive in the world today, 1 billion assert that they have no such belief. He said the question then is how to educate such people in the value of love and compassion. He suggested a need to adopt a secular approach and that India has historically adopted such an approach that expresses an unbiased respect for all religions and even for people who proclaim no faith.

“I believe, therefore, that the idea of secular ethics is something that can appeal to all. We are biologically equipped with love and affection. When we are born we depend on our mother’s affection to survive. Love and affection allow us to grow in a healthy way and give us self-confidence. Many of you young women take time and trouble to make yourselves look beautiful using cosmetics and so on, but the real key to happy relationships, to creating a happy marriage is inner beauty.

“We all need friendship and friendship is built on trust, which comes about on the basis of mutual respect and concern for others. A family may be wealthy and powerful, but if its members are moved by mistrust and suspicion they’ll be unhappy. A poor family whose members trust each other, on the other hand, is happy.”

His Holiness referred to scientific research that shows that people who engage in training in love, compassion and warm-heartedness for as short a time as three weeks show a marked reduction in their levels of stress and blood pressure. Their relations with their friends improve. He cited this as an example that it is possible to educate people on the basis of scientific findings, common experience and common sense. Because of the materialist tendency of modern education, work is going on in the USA and here in India to design a curriculum that fosters secular ethics, that develops the heart as well as the mind.

“The 20th century saw many remarkable developments,” His Holiness declared, “and yet it was also an era of unprecedented violence. 200 million, by some counts, died in violence. Billions of dollars were spent on developing powerful weapons, but it didn’t result in positive change. Even now, when it is pleasant and peaceful where we are, elsewhere human beings like us are being killed and injured. We cannot create a more peaceful world through the use of force; we have, instead, to cultivate inner peace.”

Looking out over the audience he said that those less than 20 years old belong to the 21st century. While nothing can be done to change the past, if this generation tries it can change the future. He said that being concerned only about your own country is out of date, now it is time to be concerned about all humanity. India, with its ages-old traditions of ahimsa and inter-religious harmony, can make a great contribution to this.

“I have lived 55 years in this country as a refugee,” His Holiness said. “I consider myself a messenger of ancient Indian thought. I also sometimes call myself a son of India because as a student of the Nalanda tradition, that is the source of all my knowledge. Meanwhile, my body has been nourished by Indian rice and dal. Indian culture doesn’t reside only in the external trappings of song and dance, but here in the heart. If we pay attention to that, it will be effective. Please take your modern education seriously, but also remember what ancient India can teach us about reality and the nature of our mind and emotions. This knowledge, this Indian treasure, is particularly relevant today, as shown by the appreciation it is receiving from many modern scientists.”

In answering several questions from the audience, His Holiness explained that competition that ensures the success of all participants is helpful, but that competition that favours some while eliminating others is not. He clarified that stern action can be employed in a positive way, for example by a teacher who is wholly concerned for his or her student’s welfare. Asked whether he watches movies he replied that he went to the cinema in the early 60s, but nowadays does not watch television or films.

Questioned whether Buddha was a god, he said no, he was a human being who through his own efforts became an enlightened Buddha. He told his listeners that his greatest challenge had been in seeking to understand emptiness and dependent origination as taught by Nagarjuna. As to his dreams when he was young, he said he only wanted to run here and there, with little interest in study, but today at the age of nearly 80 reading and study are what he likes to do. And looking fondly down at Mrs Rajni Kumar, he expressed a hope to live to 90 or 100 like her.

Asked who his sources of inspiration were, without hesitation he mentioned masters of Nalanda like Nagarjuna and Shantideva. He said that hearing Shantideva’s texts explained changed his life. Prompted to name some contemporary figures, he cited Mahatma Gandhi and India’s first President, Dr Rajendra Prasad, whose knowledge and humility had deeply impressed him. Finally, he remarked that making others happy is not a question of sacrificing our own happiness. Trying to make others happy, even when we do not always succeed, is a source of great satisfaction. He concluded that it is anger and hatred that are signs of weakness, while compassion is a sure sign of strength.

In the afternoon His Holiness was invited to address a meeting organized by the Ananta Aspen Centre, which is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that seeks to foster positive change in society through dissemination of knowledge. He outlined his own three commitments. Firstly, he talked about the promotion of deeper human values as a source of happiness and physical health; the idea that the ultimate source of happiness is within the mind. He remarked that our lives begin under the care of our mother’s affection and that as social animals it is affection that brings people together.

His Holiness described his second commitment as the promotion of inter-religious harmony, citing Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity as examples of people whose dedication to the welfare of the poor and needy was an expression of their faith. He reiterated that religious traditions may have philosophical differences, but they share a common goal.

Thirdly, he acknowledged that he is a Tibetan and that many Tibetans place their trust in him. While he has wholly retired from political responsibility, he retains a concern for the flourishing of Tibetan culture. Tibetans retain a comprehensive Buddhist tradition, the result of individuals’ study and practice down the centuries. Tibetan Buddhism can benefit not only Tibetans, but also the millions in China who describe themselves as Buddhists. He said that the Tibetan language remains the most accurate medium for exploring and explaining Buddhist ideas. He added that his concern for Tibet also extends to its natural environment, noting that a billion people across Asia are dependent on the water that flows from Tibet’s rivers.

“We are all the same as human beings,” he concluded. “We all need to take responsibility for creating a better world and a more peaceful humanity. Please keep this in mind and take it to heart.”

Answering the audience’s questions His Holiness elaborated on his thoughts about secular ethics, the importance of compassion, the steady changes taking place in China and the fact that the future of the world depends on us and how we exert ourselves. He said that in seeking to find the source of happiness within us, we need a map of our mind and emotions. We need to develop a sense of emotional hygiene, an understanding of how to manage our emotions, how to counter those that are negative and cultivate those that are positive. He said that is the way to find peace within.

Link with photos: