By Tenzin Dharpo
The Dalai Lama greeting the audience at Skonto Hall in Riga, Latvia before his teaching. Oct. 10, 2016. Photo byTenzin Choejor, OHHDL
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 11: “We need to recognize this oneness of humanity. We all want to avoid suffering and find happiness,” the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama yesterday told a gathering of over 4500 Buddhists and admirers from various parts of Latvia and Russia at the Skonto hall in the Latvian capital.
The Nobel laureate who is on a two –week European schedule began his two day teaching of the ‘Commentary on Dignaga's Compendium of Valid Cognition
yesterday morning where he spoke to the congregation on realizing that all humans are same. “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. 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,” he mentioned.
Drawing a connection with the largely Russian congregation, the Buddhist master said, “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.” The Tibetan leader encouraged Buddhists living in that part of the world to overcome sectarian differences and establish a common location in St. Petersberg to promote interfaith meetings and learning centre.
The 81 year old said one should place more importance on the teachings of the Buddha over ritualistic aspect of the religion. He said he had encouraged learning and studying classic Buddhist texts even amongst his own people in exile, and that consequently nuns will be awarded with the landmark Geshe degrees over the course of next year.
Besides the teaching, the Dalai Lama also met with 15 parliamentarians from the Baltic States; two from Estonia, three from Lithuania and ten from Latvia, along with other prominent supporters yesterday. Following his teaching in Riga, the Tibetan leader is scheduled to visit Zurich, Switzerland, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Italy after that for teachings and public talk.