Re: Heart Sutra /HH the Dalai lama
- --- In email@example.com, "satkartar7"
> IntroductionDear Karta,
> Today I was fortunate enough to sneak out of work for a few hours to
> hear His Holiness the Dalai Lama began a lecture on the Heart Sutra.
> This is a three day class and I'm going to sneak out of some work
> tomorrow and Attend Saturday during the day as well. I thought I'd
> share some of what he said (as interpreted through my notes) with
> Please forgive my spelling, my crutch... er, spell checker is not
> working currently.
> Tickets for the three day class were $150. He also taught a class
> Saturday at 5:30 pm called "Peace through Inner Peace" and
> a "Medicine Buddha" class on Sunday 9am at Shoreline in Mountain
> View. Tickets were available through ticketmaster.com for the
> Shorelines event. Tickets for Sunday are $45 for lawn seats.
> His Holiness started this morning talking about the diversity of
> religions and then even the diversity of views within buddhism. This
> set a backdrop for his history of the sutras, and how we end up with
> the Heart Sutra and where it fits into the greater picture of
> Buddhist scriptures. By the end of today, he had begun going through
> the Heart Sutra line by line.
> I want to point out that these are just my notes of H.H.'s lecture
> as seen through me. All omissions and errors are most definitely
> I missed some of the afternoon session, couldn't sneak out of work
> for the whole thing, but I'll summarize as much detail as I have.
> His Holiness Does Shoreline...
> The shoreline stage was decorated with a large backdrop picture of
> the palace in Lhasa, with a small decorated throne like chair in
> front for the fourteenth Dalai Lama to sit on. Thulka paintings hung
> on either side of the stage, but it was a simple display. His
> Holiness sat on his seat, with about 160 monks in crimson and orange
> robes seated facing him to either side; they were there to hear his
> teachings too. I had a seat assignment but found it more comfortable
> sitting in the shade on the lawn. The sun was beating down on us
> He started his lecture in English. He has a charming voice. He later
> switched to Tibetan with the help of a translator so he would have
> the strength to teach for all four days. The Secret Service mulled
> in and out of the crowd, some in plain clothes but still with little
> ear microphones and cords descending into their shirts. Some
> disguised as TV camera men setup and appeared to be taping His
> Holiness but they were really taping the audience. I generally feel
> threatened by such security, but this time I felt more thankful for
> their presence. They were protecting him. No pagers, cell phones,
> cameras, or binoculars were allowed. Metal detectors lined the
> entrance for more security. In a way this was really nice, we had
> to "let go" of these possessions before coming to class.
> The majority of people, His Holiness believes, are not part of a
> faith religion currently. Yet there are positive qualities which
> faith religion has helped us promote in ourselves. We must consider
> new ways to promote those same positive qualities, for so many which
> are not part of a religious tradition.
> Many faith religions have complicated and evolved philosophical
> bases, some have deep ethical bases, but all seem to have a
> dimension that is metaphysical or philosophical explaining "why"
> or "what is." They also typically have a second dimension that is
> ethical derived from the first dimension. The many religions have
> much diversity in the first dimension, but most arrive at a similar
> ethical endpoint in some way encompassing love and compassion, etc.
> Why is there diversity between many religion's philosophical bases?
> The Buddha's teachings are diverse. The Buddha believed that there
> was an appropriateness to each teaching to the recipient. He taught
> differently to different people, what was suitable for each. By
> judging the effectiveness of a teaching to a recipient, one can be
> effective. It is like in medicine, picking the right remedy and
> strength for an individual patient. Although a specific medicine may
> be a good medicine and potent, it may not be appropriate for that
> patient and may do harm instead of good. With this understanding it
> is easy to see how different religions serve different recipients.
> Having many religions is important given the diversity of peoples.
> With this understanding, the appreciation for diversity is
> increased. It is important to realize that other religious
> traditions serve millions of people.
> Each religion has a unique perspective and strengths. A Christian
> brother pointed out that the growth of monasteries in Nepal over the
> last thirty or forty years. But there has not been an increase in
> schools or hospitals, which is a shame. If those were Christian
> monasteries, there would be many more schools and hospitals. A
> Buddhist can only respond that "yes, that is true."
> Many Christians are interested in the Buddhist concept of Emptiness.
> H.H. warns that this is somewhat of a Buddhist business and perhaps
> they should not go deeply into it.
> Many people here today may be pursuing a path that is grounded both
> in Christianity and Buddhism, but at a certain point we must
> specialize in one or the other. Like in teaching, one after a
> certain point must dive in deep into a specialty.
> We've talked about the diversity of religions being a valid
> viewpoint, but how is this reconciled with the idea that there is
> only one truth or one valid religion. H.H. does not see a problem
> here. one truth/one religion is valid from the perspective of the
> individual, many truths/faiths is valid in the context of the
> greater society.
> Buddhist Perspective
> There are two world camps. One is theistic - with a creator - and
> one is non-theistic - without a creator. Buddhism, Jainism, and one
> branch of Samkia fall into the latter. In this second branch, there
> are two camps. One accepts that there is an eternal principle, a
> unitary, unchanging principle of self or "atma" or soul. The other
> camp is Buddhism, which rejects this concept of soul. Also there is
> a distinction around reincarnation, which Buddhism believes. And
> there is a distinction of salvation being in the physical plane or
> not - and Buddhism believes that salvation is from the point of view
> of a state of mind, on the physical plane.
> These teachings this weekend, are from the Buddhist perspective.
> There are three camps on the chronology of Buddhism, when did the
> first Buddha give his teachings and live. One camp says 2500 years
> ago, another over 3000 years, and a third says 2900 years. H.H.
> believes this is somewhat of a heresy that we do not really know
> when Buddha came to the world. He has suggested that we use modern
> techniques to test relics and conclude this. <the audience laughs...>
> The Buddha Sukyamuni endured many hardships and lived for six years
> as an ascetic. All leaders of religions pursued the spiritual path
> through hardship. There is a lesson here. If people follow the
> spiritual path of their faith, they should expect hardship too.
> There is often a belief among Buddhist monks that although the
> Buddha went through these hardships, that they will not need to.
> This is wrong.
> His Holiness then spent time talking about Buddha's first teaching,
> about the four noble truths and the 37 aspects of the path to
> enlightenment. I couldn't write down all the details on the 37
> aspects, but I did catch that there are two major categories of this
> single point of mind
> penetrative insight
> The principle obstacles for attaining these two qualities are an
> excitement or laxity of the mind. The practices and traditions in
> Buddhism aim at overcoming these obstacles, of stripping the mind of
> the distracting objects. The 37 aspects are grouped as a
> progression, the first developing a foundation of mindfulness, which
> leads to an enthusiasm allowing development of the next aspects:
> reducing harmful acts and encouraging positive actions. Then comes
> skill development to enhance your focus and capacity to concentrate
> on a single object - which helps develop faculties and spiritual
> strengths... leading to the ability to apply the eight practices of
> The Scriptures
> His Holiness spent a fair amount of time describing the different
> scriptures, including the first turning of the wheel of dharma: the
> direct teachings of Buddha, the second turning of the wheel of
> dharma: the sanskrit sutras for perfection wisdom, and the third
> turning of the wheel of dharma: the later teachings of perfection
> wisdom. These later teachings were for students of the mahayana
> path, who were not suitable for hearing the earlier teachings of
> Emptiness, for they were at risk for falling into Nihilism. The
> first set of sutras from this third turning of the wheel were for
> them. The second set of sutras were about clarity of mind plus
> arguments about the authenticity of the mahayana scriptures in
> general. There must have been doubts about their authenticity
> because they were not well known.
> H.H. spent more time explaining the arguments for the authenticity
> of the mahayana teachings. The chief argument was this: there were
> only a few years in which time the Buddha attained wisdom and then
> enlightenment. There are two aspects involved that are separate. The
> continuum of consciousness which attains enlightenment and the
> negative aspects of mind which must be reduced through wisdom. The
> latter has an antidote in the teachings and attainment of wisdom,
> which is only a matter of time. The former is not something attained
> through accumulation of wisdom, so it is unreasonable that Buddha
> developed enlightened consciousness in six years -- there must be a
> continuum of consciousness which preexists and continues. Therefore,
> later scripts written can have the same validity as the original
> How we as practitioners validate the teachings however the reverse
> of this. First came the authentic scriptures - directly from the
> Buddha. Then came the authentic commentary about the scriptures,
> then came the authentic teachers - actualized / realized teachers.
> Then spiritual experiences grew in the practitioners. This is the
> progression of Buddhism. But in validating these teachings the
> reverse is true. Practitioners need a degree of authentic experience
> first. For example, as we practice Bodhicitta [Ed: open or loving
> heart] we can feel in our heart the ordinary spiritual experience.
> It has an impact. It leaves a change. It gives us a taste - and we
> can develop a sense of validity for the teachings of the Lamas and
> develop a conviction for that validity. This is the only way open
> for us. Inference is blind, and can only touch tangible objects
> through some direct experience.
> Heart Sutra
> H.H. then spoke more specifically about the sutras, their
> translation from sanskrit to tibetan and the validity of that
> translations. Their structure and organization.
> He then began talking about the sutra, in what appeared to be a line
> by line fashion. Here are some random scribbling of notes, I
> couldn't quite follow it line by line like that:
> In the sutra, Buddha is described as someone who has "conquered" the
> four mayas or obstructive forces. He entered into the "profound" -
> the emptiness or way that things really are - because of his wisdom
> and its focus on attaining enlightenment. He was a bodhisattva which
> translates to "enlightened hero" and in tibetan has another word for
> bodhisattva translates into two different terms than "enlightened"
> and "hero", but into "realization of knowledge" and "overcoming
> negativity". The term itself implies the key qualities: always with
> compassion, always with an eye to all sentient beings with
> This endeavor is the engagement of the perfection of wisdom.
> There are three kinds of scriptures, those spoken by the Buddha,
> those approved by the Buddha, and those inspired by the Buddha. The
> Heart Sutra is the third kind. It is written as a commentary between
> two monks, one the direct disciple of Buddha (or those using his
> name), inspired by the Buddha.
> "Any noble son or daughter who wishes to engage in the perfection of
> wisdom should train in this way."
> H.H. then took a minute to talk about gender. He feels that the
> original principles, and then later the monastic principles, do not
> include any distinction of gender. In fact, the monastic tradition
> has ordination for both men and for women. But there is differences
> in the position of fully ordained men and women. This is not a bias
> based on the fundamental principles, but on the current monastic
> tradition based on the culture which it is based in. Perhaps this
> tradition should be looked at carefully now. <applause from the
> Some have asked, "Why don't you - the Dalai Lama - decree that women
> be equal." But our tradition is one of consensus of the entire
> monastic tradition and not decree.
> Heart Sutra (continued)
> "Noble son" implies an inclination or motivation to pursuit of
> attainment of enlightenment. This includes some qualities of the
> individual like a modest desire, a sense of contentment, etc.
> The pollutants which obscure our vision of reality are separable.
> And they are based on an erroneous view that there is a basis of
> substance. It is this erroneous view that leads us to attach, cause
> emotional affliction, and so on. Focusing on recognizing the natural
> emptiness of the mind, practicing the natural nirvana, begins to
> unravel the erroneous views. That leads to the true nirvanas,
> including the final Buddha nirvana where the duality between samsara
> and nirvana also drops away.
> "They should seek incessantly, repeatedly, that even the five
> aggregates are devoid of substance".
> There is an emphasis on "even". So too that a person made up of the
> five aggregates are devoid of substance. So too the "I" reading this
> is devoid of substance, and all the elements of the "I" including
> the mind are devoid of intrinsic existence. Even the emptiness
> itself is devoid of intrinsic existence. So too are the Buddhas who
> have attained nirvana devoid of substance.
> "So... have we arrived at the point where nothing exists?", His
> Holiness chuckled. "Even I who is experiencing this hot sun am not
> here? Yet we still feel that something is there, that can be felt,
> that we can hold."
> Because of the difficulty of these concepts of emptiness and what we
> experience, we see the diversity of thought even in the non-theistic
> traditions. There are those that believe in soul or atma and even in
> Buddhism those that believe in no-self in reference to phenomenon,
> and so on.
> Closing Day 1
> At this point the day was at an end, and His Holiness thanked us and
> said we would continue tomorrow morning. And when he stood the
> entire audience stood in respect, as we had done at lunch so he
> could leave first out of respect. But instead of walking out with
> his handlers, he walked to the front of the stage and raised his
> hands together and he bowed to us.
> ps: yearning for the loving, questioning, humorious witty Darshan of
> my Sadguru HH the Dalai Lama
Thank you very much for sharing this wisdom filled Darshan experience.
To go to the trouble to do this is compassion and love in action. I
hope you will be able to go again, and will once again grace us with
your description of this wonder-full event.
Peace and blessings,
- om Sadhu sadhu sadhu! , "satkartar7"<p>
Thankyou for your notes for those of us who couldn't make any of
the days of the event. <p>
Your generousity is much appreciated.<p>
> om Sadhu sadhu sadhu! , "satkartar7"<p>Thank you so much
> Thankyou for your notes for those of us who couldn't make any of
> the days of the event. <p>
> Your generousity is much appreciated.<p>
> Namaste! Metta!