On the 7th of January, over 5,000 people gathered under a large white pavilion set on the sprawling campus of the Central University of Tibetan Studies. Eagerly awaiting the arrival of His Holiness, people from all over the world converged to receive this incredible teaching in the sacred place where the Buddha himself gave his first teaching. In this auspicious location would conspire a four day long teaching and initiation.
The Dalai Lama Trust had prepared the setting – A pavilion large enough to host 7,000 people including monks, Tibetans, Indians and Foreigners, with bathrooms for such a big crowd as well. The Trust published Shantideva’s A Guide to the Bodhisattva way of Life in English, Tibetan and Hindi as well as arranging the translations from Tibetan into – English, Hindi, Chinese, Russian, French and Spanish. In the beginning of each session monks would provide all the attendees with butter tea and sweet bread, and on the last day several more goodies.
His Holiness covered all 10 chapters of the Bodhisattvacharya Avatara in 4 days, giving beginners some insight into this great text. The Buddhist attendees had a chance to read the text from His Holiness’ perspective and attend the Manjushri Initiation.
In addition to the teachings, His Holiness discussed current events, in particular the gang rape that took place in Delhi some weeks prior, explaining that the people responsible have a distorted view because of their destructive emotions, and do not posses an understanding of love or compassion.
Speaking to some attendees about their experience there, it was clear that this had been an important teaching. It is important to point out that these are not ‘religious’ teachings. The text explains all the qualities required to attain ‘Bodhichitta’ – the wish to attain enlightenment in order to help alleviate the suffering of all sentient beings. Generosity, morality, enthusiasm, patience, wisdom, etc. are qualities that are not easily cultivated and practiced in our current times.
In order to become a peaceful individual and contribute to society it is important that we recognize our own and other’s destructive emotions and begin to let go of them while cultivating positive emotions like love and compassion that are desperately needed to heal the problems we face at both individual and global levels.