By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, May 18: The exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave his first-ever virtual teaching on Nagarjuna’s “Precious Garland” from his residence on Saturday. Dalai Lama emphasized on the need to be compassionate in this interdependent world as it confronts a crisis like COVID-19. The two-day public teaching online is his first public appearance since late January after his private office cancelled all public engagements and later closed down the Tsuglagkhang temple in Mcleod Ganj.
His Holiness initiated the teaching by focusing on the importance of compassion and mindfulness through one’s inner self. He called for analytical and scientific approach of the Nalanda tradition in the study of the workings of the human mind. He compared it to quantum physics which also distinguishes appearance from reality, “Appearance can be misleading, an object can be dissected into the tiniest molecule. While inherently the object holds no fixed meaning, we as observers ascribe meaning to the object. Therefore, we should instead seek an objective reality.”
The octogenarian leader also pointed out the hollowness of materialistic pursuit of happiness which has undoubtedly brings comfort and ease but ultimately makes people ignorant and unhappy. The importance of mental and emotional wellbeing, he says, is central to self-confidence and happiness. He believes that Tibetan Buddhist philosophy has the wisdom to transform the mind to achieve peace and happiness with oneself and the world.
Dalai Lama said that interdependence as espoused by Buddhist philosophy is the only way to go forward as “we are social animals”. Especially relevant in the present circumstances, he spoke on the interdependence of all living beings, “an individual is reliant on the community to survive which teaches us to strive for kindness and compassion towards one another, qualities intrinsic to human nature.”
His Holiness stressed on global cooperation and unity among communities and religions worldwide in order to focus on what unites us as members of one human family. He stated that “all religions, despite their different philosophies and histories, evoke the practice of compassion”, thus urging all religions to come together in harmony. He noted India as an example. The Tibetan leader also urged the public to pay attention to the long-term issue of global climate change that could have destructive consequences within the next two decades.
The 84-year old Tibetan leader’s office on Monday announced that the Dalai Lama will confer a two-day Avalokiteshvara Initiation (chenresig wang) on May 30 & 31, 2020.