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Dalai Lama Teaches Chinese Devotees

By Tenzin Samten  /  January 24, 2018;

Photo: OHHDL

Tibet’s 82-year-old spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, held the final session of his series of teachings in Bodh Gaya this month on January 22 and 23. He dedicated it Chinese devotees from mainland China, inviting them to come and sit at the front of the teaching pavilion.

The teaching for the Chinese devotees was the Diamond Cutter Sutra. In inaugurating the teaching, His Holiness said “The Sanskrit tradition in the way it was followed at Nalanda spread to China and from there to Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Later it was carried to Tibet and on to Mongolia. China was therefore among the earlier countries to which Buddhism spread. Nowadays, wherever in the world there are Chinese people, they set up a Buddhist temple, which shows how close Buddhism is to the Chinese heart—it is China’s traditional religion,”

However, His Holiness urged them to study the Buddhist texts, saying that simply paying homage or reciting the prayers alone is not sufficient, and added that there are many temples and monasteries in China which could become centres of learning. He pointed out that Buddha encouraged his followers to test his teachings through experimenting, investigation and analysis and only then decide whether or notto follow it. His Holiness criticised the way people follow religion as a custom.

During the Cultural Revolution in China, religions were considered to beblind faith and efforts were made to destroy them. However, he said, it has been proven that external forces cannot subdue the thousand-year-old spiritual heritage of the Chinese people and today in China, not only Buddhism but other traditions are being revived. People’s faith is only growing.

Photo: OHHDL

As well as explaining the Diamond Cutter Sutra text, His Holiness urged his audience to contribute towards the peaceful coexistence of all religious traditions. “Since religious traditions have, by and large, been of benefit to human beings, they are worthy of our respect,”he explained, “It’s very sad if religion becomes the basis of conflict and violence. Therefore, it’s good to work for harmony among our various traditions. I have many friends belonging to different traditions and I believe, if one follows one’s own tradition sincerely, that is itself a great service”.

Speaking about a holy place in China, Wu Tai Shan — the Five Peaked Mountain – His Holiness expressed his desire to visit China one day, “I pray that one day I may visit Wu Tai Shan to receive Manjushri’s blessings—and you can pray for that too. To make your having come to Bodh Gaya worthwhile, try to develop an understanding of emptiness and cultivate a good heart.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has cut down on travelling to international events since last year. He has been at Bodh Gaya, the place where Buddha was enlightened, since the beginning of this month and has conducted a series teaching to thousands of devotees from all over the world. The last event scheduled for His Holiness in Bodh Gaya is on January 25 where he will give a public talk Education for Universal Ethics in Schools and Colleges to students from both private and government schools.

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