By Tenzin Dharpo
The Dalai Lama arrives at the Thekchen Choling temple for the inaugural scholarly conference on kalachakra on Sunday, May 5, 2019. Phayul photo- Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, May 6: During the first ever scholarly conference on Kalachakra, a meditation practice from the highest class of tantra, here at the Thekchen Choling temple on Sunday, the foremost Buddhist figure His Holiness the Dalai Lama urged Buddhists to become 21st century practitioners.
The 83-year-old said, “I regularly say how important it is for us to be 21st century Buddhists. In the past in Tibet, people of all three provinces were Buddhist. Even the Bönpos studied Buddhist texts. Buddhism spread right across the land and people placed great faith in rituals and prayers.”
“The Buddha himself counselled, as the wise test gold by burning, cutting and rubbing it, so, Bhikshus, should you accept my words—only after testing them and not merely out of respect”, he further said.
The conference in progress at Thekchen Choling temple. Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
The octogenarian Tibetan leader reiterated that to understand Buddhist texts, a practitioner must employ logic and reason as well as draw understanding on the basis on one’s own experiences.
“All religious traditions teach about love and compassion from different points of view, but the Buddha taught us to use reason and to think about dependent arising. This is how to uproot the causes of suffering. He taught that the more you exercise reason, the more you’ll understand and the deeper your conviction will be. This is what Nagarjuna did and consequently what he wrote attracts the admiration of scientists today,” he said.
The Abbot of Namgyal Monastery, Thomtog Rinpoche, who is also Chairman of the Namgyal Monastery Education Society said that the tradition of Kalachakra teaching is alive and intact as scholars from all Tibetan Buddhist traditions including Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, Geluk, Jonang and Butön have written extensively on the subject and that the Dalai Lama has given the Kalachakra Empowerment to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
The maiden conference on the Kalachakra teachings will see representatives of various Buddhist traditions including Nyingma, Sakya and Geluk, the Bokar Kagyus, Jonangpas, a Geshe from Zhalu Monastery and representative of the Astro Department of the Men-Tsee-Khang speak on their perspectives and conduct debates among the various school of thoughts.