On July 27 His Holiness gave a teaching and performed
the ritual for Aspirational Bodhicitta as part of the ceremony for laying the
cornerstone of the Chamtse Ling, an international temple for peace and compassion.
The following explanation of this teaching was provided by Rinchen Darlo, His Holiness' official representative in the United States.
Among the Buddha's great gifts to humanity were his teachings on love and compassion. The power of practicing these teachings is likened to an alchemical elixir, able to transform our difficulties into opportunities for awakening. All beings share the wish to be happy and avoid suffering. Toward this end we engage in the myriad activities of our lives. Our focus, however, can be quite unbalanced, putting tremendous emphasis on external conditions and neglecting our inner state. Whatever effort we do make towards inner development is also undermined by our habitual self-centeredness. This self-centered mind, if we look closely, is actually the cause of our unhappiness. On the other hand, a kind and unselfish heart is the source of all happiness and joy. We have within ourselves the basis of a kind, compassionate nature, and it can grow limitlessly if cultivated. Conjoining a kind heart with the wisdom realizing emptiness is the ultimate aim of spiritual development. This mind has the unshakable intent to attain enlightenment in order to benefit all beings. In Buddhism, individuals with this level of inner development are called Bodhisattvas. Bodhi means "enlightenment"--a fully realized state free from the limitations of even the most subtle ignorance. Sattva refers to someone with a dedicated and courageous heart, working to overcome narrow selfish interest in order to benefit others. Countless beings through great effort have actualized this ultimate state, and it is equally possible for us. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is an inspirational example of this great mind. He shares his experience through teaching and explanation, as well as by conducting a bodhicitta ceremony. The first step in developing Bodhi-mind is "aspiration"; we must have the wish to develop ourselves in this way. The second step is "application." This is formalized through taking a vow to accomplish, as did all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the past, the activities necessary to achieve enlightenment for others. The ceremony lays the seed to develop bodhicitta within our mindstream. Individuals may participate in this ceremony with the intention of either aspiration or application.