Purify Mind
     Glossary A-
       Glossary N-
         Pure Land

Power Of Mind    
Hua Yen        
Dalai Lama's Speech

Message On His First Visit to The West in 1973
  "My message is the practice of compassion, love, and kindness. Compassion can be put into practice if one recognizes the fact that every human being is a member of humanity and the human family regardless of differences in religion, culture, color, and creed. Deep down there is no difference."

  "We should try never to let our happy frame of mind be disturbed. Whether we are suffering at present or have suffered in the past, there is no reason to be unhappy. If we can remedy it, why be unhappy? And if we cannot, what use is there in being depressed about it? That just adds more unhappiness and does no good at all."

  "By developing a sense of respect for others and a concern for their welfare, we reduce our own selfishness, which is the source of all problems, and enhance our sense of kindness which is a natural source of goodness."

  "You should respect other religions....the essence of all religions is basically the same: to achieve a true sense of brotherhood, a good heart, respect for others. If we can develop these qualities from within our heart, then I think we can actually achieve true peace.

  Above all, we must put others before us and keep others in our mind constantly: the self must be placed last. All our doings and thinkings must be motivated by compassion for others. The way to acquire this kind of outlook is that we must accept the simple fact that whatever we desire is also desired by others. Every being wants happiness, not suffering. If we adopt a self-centered approach to life by which we attempt to use others for our own self-interest, we might be able to gain temporary benefit, but in the long run, we will not succeed in achieving even our personal happiness, and hope for next life is out of question."

  Question: "Are there not some things so evil that you should hate them?"

  Answer: "Your own bad thoughts. The real enemy is not outside, but inside. Now here, you see, it is necessary to make a distinction between external enemies and internal ones. External enemies are not permanent; if you respect him, the enemy will become your friend. But there is one enemy who isalways an enemy, whom you should never compromise, that is the enemy inside your heart. You cannot change all these bad thoughts into your friend, but you have to confront and control them."

Kindness and Good Heart:
  "The essence of Buddhism is kindness, compassion. This is the essence of every religion, but particularly in Mahayana Buddhism. I think this is very important and everybody can practice it without deeper faith. Simply you are a human being; everybody appreciates kindness. In fact when we grow up, we grow up in the kindness of our parents, and without that sort of kindness we cannot exist. This is very clear because today you find that children who are not brought up within the love of their parents, or where there is a disruption in the family, are later psychologically affected. As a human being, kindness, a warm heart is very important......If you have this basic quality of kindness or good heart, then all other things, education, ability will go in the right direction.

  If you have a bad heart, then knowledge or ability are used in the wrong direction; instead of helping others, it makes trouble .... Every man has the basis of good. Not only human beings, you can find it among animals or insects, for instance when we treat a dog or horse lovingly."

  Without proper mental peace it is difficult to achieve world peace; therefore, there is a connection. Many of the problem that we have today are because of our hatred. As human beings we have good qualities as well as bad ones. Now anger, attachment, jealousy, hatred are the bad side; these are the real enemy. From a certain point of view, our real enemy, the true troublemaker, is inside. So these bad thoughts remain active, and as long as you have these, it is difficult to attain mental peace....my suggestion or advice is very simple, that is: to have a sincere heart. I believe that this is something basic and that anyone can approach through this way, irrespective of whatever ideology he may belong to or even if he is a non-believer. Real true brotherhood, a good heart towards one's fellow men, this is the basic thing. I believe that if you have a true feeling of brotherhood, then whether you are a scientist, an economist, or a politician, whatever profession you may follow, you will always have this concern for your fellow beings. I also believe that if you have this concern for others, then whatever the affects that might result from the profession you follow, you will always be concerned as to whether it is going to benefit or harm your fellow beings. I personally feel that this concern for others is lacking today. Many people emphasize to think only of yourself and have a selfish motive. I feel that basically the cause of many problems is due to this lack of concern for others and that if we really develop this kind of sincere feeling and sense of universal responsibility, then many of the problems we face today, like pollution, the energy crisis, and the population crisis can be solved. If we have such a sincere feeling, we need not worry about the self-sufficiency of the world. What I am referring to is that today certain parts of the world we have poverty and starvation, and in other parts of the world, abundance of wealth. This is an example. So if you have a genuine concern for others, then I feel that there is no need to suffer from such problems, because the world has sufficient resources to overcome these problems. The main thing is whether you have the real sense of universal responsibility. Basically, then the mostimportant thing is a good heart."

  Q: In your opinion, is death a biological and medical event, or is it simply personal and spiritual? Is a right that we do everything in our power to save or at least prolong for a few years the life and human being? Or conversely, is it unfair to impose the risk that death will occur in a highly technical medical context, where the patient is cut off from family and friends? Do you think death is good or bad? And finally, do the efforts of western medicine to thwart death seemed questionable to you? If, on the contrary, death belongs the dying and they close friends and family, atwhat point should the physician withdraw? Under what conditions must we inform the patient that death can no longer be avoided?

  A: First of all, we should realise that death is truly part of life and that it is neither would not bad in itself. In the Tibetan book of the dead, it says "what we called death is merely a concept." In other words, death represents the end of the gross consciousness and its support, the gross body. This happens at the gross level of the mind. But neither death nor birth exist at the subtle level of consciousness that we call "clear light. "Of course, generally speaking, death is something we dread. However, death, which we want nothing to do with, is unavoidable. This is why it is important that during our lifetime we become familiar with the idea of death, so that it will not be a real shock to us at the moment it comes. We do not meditate regularly on death in order to die more quickly; on the contrary, like everyone, we wish to live a long time. However, since death is inevitable, we believe that if we begin to prepare for it and an earlier point in time, on the day of our death it will be easier to accept it.

  I think that there is no general rule with regard to the intensive care often given to patients in order to prolong their lives. It is a complex problem, and in examining it we must take numerous elements into account, according to each set of circumstances, each particular case. For example, if we prolong the life of person who is critically ill but whose mind remains very lucid, we are giving him or her the opportunity to continue to think in the way only a human being can think. We must also consider whether the person will benefit from prolonged life or whether, on the contrary, he will experience great physical and mental suffering, physical pain, or extreme fear. If the person is in a deep coma, that is yet another problem. The wishes of the patients family must also be taken into account, as well as the immense financial problems that prolonged care can create. I think the most important thing is to try and to our best to ensure that dying person may depart quietly, with serenity and in a peace. There is also a distinction to be made between those dying people who practise a religion and those who do not. Whatever the case, whether one is religious or not, I believe it is better to die in peace.

  Q: Just as one often asks a doctor if the day will come when there will no longer be any disease, do you think that after cozens or hundreds of meetings like this one, the day will come when the world will truly be at peace?

  A: I do believe and continue to hope that we can attain universal peace on earth. But, of course, there will always be minorproblems here and there.

  Q: The film "Why Did Bodhidharma Go to the East?" allowed us, through its very beautiful images, to gain experience and understanding of the extent to which spiritual liberation goes hand-in-hand with the enlightenment of consciousness that comes about in the interaction of human beings with their natural environment. But Buddhism also professes the absence of the actual existence of phenomena which, naively, we consider to be "natural." Would you tell us what place the idea of nature nonetheless occupies in Buddhism, and how the recognition of the emptiness of phenomena can lead us to alter our way of looking, at the environment?

  A: It is said that inanimate objects do not have an inherent existence but a conventional one. This applies not only to inanimate objects but also to animate objects-- that is, to beings endowed with conscious-ness. In this respect, the inanimate world is on an equal basis with the animate world of living beings. As far as the relation between the external world and the inner world (the mind) is concerned, according to certain philosophical schools, in particular the Yogacara Svatantrika (a sub-school of Madhyamika) and the Cittamatra, external phenomena do not exist; all that exists is of the nature of the mind. Relativity is explained principally by the Prasangika branch of the Madhyamika school. According to the Madhyamika-Prasangika school, external phenomena exist and are not of the nature of the mind. They have no inherent or ultimate existence, but their nature is different from that of the mind. The outer world exists in dependence on the mind, insofar as it exists as a designation made by the mind. It does not, therefore, exist independently from the mind's imputation, nor is it of the nature of the mind. Therefore, an external world which can be examined objectively does exist.

  Buddhism perceives the environment, in general, to be composed of infinitesimal particles; in particular, it views human beings as part of nature and for this reason -- there is, naturally, a link between human-kind and our environment. Clearly, our happiness depends a great deal on the environment. This is why Buddhist texts explain how one should behave with regard to nature. For example, one of the monastic rules forbids the contamination or destruction of vegetation.

  According to accounts of the Buddha's life, it would seem that he had a very deep relationship with nature. He was not born in the royal palace but in a park, under a sala tree. He attained complete enlightenment under the bodhi tree and left this earth to enter Parinirvana, again, between three sala trees. It would seem that the Buddha was very fond of trees.


Advice to Buddhists in the West
  Q: Your Holiness, what advice might you give those of us who are working to develop Buddhist communities and organizations in the West ?

  A: As I often tell my Buddhist friends, if we want to keep the excellent tradition of Buddhism developed in Tibet alive, it will depend on the existence of freedom in Tibet. To that end, since you are already working together, I would like you to continue to work for the cause of Tibet's freedom with those who are already doing so.

  We try to make a distinction between the words "freedom" and "independence." The use of the word independence is somewhat delicate. Obviously, I have been trying to establish contacts with the Chinese government and begin serious negotiations. For fourteen years I have been trying my best, persisting in this approach, and pursuing my efforts incessantly to bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion through direct talks with the Chinese government.

  I would like to share some of my thoughts with all of you gathered here, brothers and sisters in Buddhism. First of all, Buddhism corresponds to a new tradition, a religion which did not previously exist in the West. Consequently, it is normal that all those who are interested in Buddhism in its Tibetan form would also like to be informed about and continue to study other religions and traditions. This is perfectly natural. However, for those who are seriously thinking of converting to Buddhism, that is, of changing your religion, it is very important to take every precaution. This must not be done lightly. Indeed, if one converts without having thought about it in a mature way, this often creates difficulties and leads to great inner confusion. I would therefore advise all who would like to convert to Buddhism to think carefully before doing so.

  Second, when an individual is convinced that Buddhist teachings are better adapted to his or her disposition, that they are more effective, it is quite right that this religion be chosen. However, human nature being what it is, after their conversion and in order to justify it, such a person may have a tendency to want to criticize his or her original religion. This must be avoided at all costs. Even if the previous religion does not seem as effective as he or she would have liked (and this is the reason for the change), this is not sufficient reason to claim that the old religion is ineffective for the human spirit. That religion continues to bring immense good to millions of people. For this reason, as Buddhists, we must respect the rights of others, for other religions help millions of people. In particular, we are in the process of trying to create and maintain a perfect harmony among all religions. In these circumstances it is absolutely essential to be aware of the need to respect other religions.

  Third, in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition emphasis is always placed on the combination of study and practice. Of course, it may happen that you devote yourself more or less to study. Some people may pursue their studies very far, others may be satisfied with a more limited level of study. Whatever the case, at the foundation you must never separate study, reflection, and meditation. You must also preserve the tradition of practice in which study, reflection, and meditation are indivisible.

  Fourth, I would like to insist upon the importance of non-sectarianism. It sometimes happens that people attribute an exaggerated importance to one or another of the different schools and different traditions within Buddhism, and this can lead to an accumulation of extremely negative acts with regard to the Dharma. The advantage of non-sectarianism is that after receiving the transmission of the instructions, initiations, and explanations pertinent to each different tradition, we will be able to have a better understanding of the different teachings. From my own experience, this is without doubt very beneficial. Consequently, if we keep a non-sectarian attitude, as we receive teachings from different traditions, think about them, and put them in practice, it is certain we will improve our understanding of the Dharma. This is why non-sectarianism is so important.

  Traditionally in Tibet there have been two approaches used by the many great scholars and accomplished masters. Indeed, while some concentrated on the study and practice of their own tradition, their own spiritual heritage, others expanded the field of their study and their practice of Buddhism from a non-sectarian point of view. This tradition already existed in Tibet among the great masters, and I think that today this non-sectarianism is extremely important and is the best Tibetan custom to follow.

  There is a fifth point I would like to go into. For just under thirty years, Tibetan Buddhism has been spreading through the different continents of our earth. Lamas, tulkus, and Geshes have made an enormous contribution to the flowering of Tibetan Buddhism all over the world, aided by hundreds of thousands of students and disciples. During the same period, some rather unhealthy situations have arisen, and this has led to difficulties. Initially this was due to an excess of blind faith on the part of the disciples and also to certain teachers who eventually took advantage of their disciples' weaknesses. There have been scandals, financial and sexual abuses. Such things happen! As a result I must insist at this point that it is absolute necessary that both disciples and teachers keep the goal in mind--to preserve a perfectly pure Dharma. It is the responsibility of us all to put an end to this type of unhealthy activity.

  The Buddha taught the four ways to bring together the disciples, and this was to ensure the welfare of others. The six perfections (Sanskrit: paramita) are practised to achieve one's own good, and the four ways of bringing together the disciples to achieve the good of others. This involves, first of all, giving material gifts, then practising right speech, then providing help, and finally harmonizing one's words and acts. Above all, it is important to keep this last point in mind. If we do not master our own mind, it is impossible to master the minds of others. We do not know whether or not it is possible to master the mind of another, but it is what we are supposed to do! Whatever the case, it is essential for those who claim they wish to help others that they control their own minds. To do this it is very important nowadays for teachers to be reminded again and again of the teachings of Buddha on how to help others and harmonize words and acts.

  As far as the disciple is concerned, to quote a Tibetan proverb: A disciple must not throw himself upon a spiritual master "as a dog throws itself upon a piece of meat." A disciple must not rush to place their trust immediately in a master, but must rather take the time to reflect carefully and examine the master's qualities before establishing a spiritual bond with them by receiving their teachings. It is preferable to receive the teachings of a master while viewing him or her first and foremost as a spiritual friend. We must not rush to hear their teachings and consider them our master at the same time. Little by little, if having observed them we are convinced that they are a true master, fully qualified and worthy of trust, we can follow their teachings by considering them our master. We must not hurry.

  The sixth point which I would like to go into regarding Dharma centres concerns our oft-invoked prayer: "May all beings find happiness and its causes." This is something we should apply directly by doing something useful for society. engaging in social activity in the community, by trying to help those who are In difficulty, such as those with mental or other problems, for example. This does not necessarily mean we should teach them the Dharma, but rather use the teachings ourselves in order to help them. I think such activity directed toward others is something we should develop. It is the natural conclusion of another common prayer: "May all beings attain happiness and be free from suffering." On this principle, if we can bring good, even if only to one person, we are fulfilling in part the vow we have made. Moreover, the entire Buddhist community of these centres should participate in social engagement by assisting others, and I think this is something very important with regard to the operation of these centres.

  A vegetarian diet is not obligatory for Buddhists. Still, for those of us who follow the teachings of the Great Vehicle, it is important. But the teachings of the Buddha were open and flexible on this subject, and each practitioner has the choice to be vegetarian or not. Large gatherings are sometimes held in Dharma centres and when there are such festivities, celebrations, or teachings, I think that if a great number of people are to be fed it is very important to serve only vegetarian food for the entire duration of the meeting.

  Seventh point: we often say this prayer, "May the teachings of the Buddha (the Dharma) be propagated." If Tibet regains its freedom, this will certainly help to preserve the vast and profound teachings of Buddha, including the Lesser and Great Vehicles as well as all the Tantras. T here is therefore an obvious connection between the freedom of Tibet and the preservation of the teachings of Buddha in the world. If this were not the case, if the fundamental question of Tibet's freedom were solely a political issue, then as a monk and a disciple of the Buddha's tradition I would have no reason for such concern. But the two aspects are closely linked.

  Even when I am advocating the demilitarization of Tibet, that it be made into a peace zone, although the term "demilitarization" is not strictly speaking a term from the Dharma, the project is nevertheless closely related to the Dharma. Many of you, representatives and members of the different centres, are among those who have already contributed to the cause of Tibet's freedom. I thank you for that and ask you to continue your efforts, bearing in mind the relation between the preservation of the teachings and the freedom of Tibet, in order to give practical expression to the vow that the Buddha's teachings be preserved and developed.

  My last point--you must keep your mind happy and know how to laugh!

  Q: Your Holiness, you have just visited a Catholic shrine. Do you hope to one day go to Jerusalem or Mecca?

  A: I am particularly happy to have gone today, in person, to the shrine at Lourdes, the heart of this holy place of pilgrimage I had heard of in the past. I was deeply moved. Of course I have been attending services and taking part in interreligious exchanges for a long time. For two years I have been planning to do a major pilgrimage to holy places in the company of representatives of other religions. When we visit such places we benefit from their atmosphere, we pray together, or we may simply meditate and commune with our thoughts in silence. I have already done this in India and am happy to begin again today. I believe these sites awaken in us a feeling of communion and understanding much greater and deeper than a simple intellectual comprehension. I would like very much to begin such a pilgrimage by visiting Jerusalem and Mecca, but I do not know when circumstances will allow me to go there.

  Q: Have you and the other representatives discussed among yourselves the issues raised by conversion, changing from one religion to another, in particular the different forms of Protestantisrn, Catholicism, or even Buddhism here in France

  A: In our private meeting, a Christian quoted to me an inscription of King Ashoka, which speaks of how intolerance towards other religions can destroy one's own religion; how the prosperity of a religion is linked to respect for other religions.

  Q: What do you think of the work of solidarity taking place between Christians in the West and in China?

  A: Christians have always been a minority in China, and they have suffered as such. Moreover, the lack of communication due to the political regime has certainly limited their vision of the international situation. I think, therefore, that any dialogue that can be established with Christians outside China can help them to open their minds to the realities of the world.

  Q: Do you think it is possible to be both Christian and Buddhist at the same time?

  A: I ... [previoiusly--see later] replied to this question indirectly when I said that belief in a Creator could be associated with the understanding of emptiness. I believe it is possible to progress along a spiritual path and reconcile Christianity with Buddhism. But once a certain degree of realization has been reached, a choice between the two paths will become necessary. I recently gave a series of teachings in the United States and one of these teachings was about patience and tolerance. At the end there was a ceremony for taking the Bodhisattva Vows. A Christian priest who was in the audience wanted to take these vows. I asked him if he had the right to, and he replied that yes, of course, he could take these vows and still remain a Christian.

  Q: Christ's words "Love thy neighbour" embody for us the Christian religion. What is your message to humanity when you meet another human being?

  A: Love of one's neighbour, kindness, and compassion--these are, I believe, the essential and universal elements preached by all religions. In spite of divergent philosophical views, we can establish harmony among all spiritual traditions on the basis of these common traits of love, kindness, and forgiveness. I always insist on this point and devote a great deal of energy to it. Most difficulties between religions come about because of people who, having failed to transform and bring peace to their own minds, not only apply their own beliefs yet are all while to impose them on others. This unfortunate behaviour can provoke serious conflicts, although I have noticed a considerable re-conciliation between the different religions, more particularly between Tibetan Buddhism and Christianity. We have actually set up a very constructive programme of exchanges between monks and nuns of our two traditions.

  Q: What are the ten virtuous acts spoken of in Buddhism?

  A: Three concern the body: one must not kill, steal, or engage in sexual misconduct. Four others are verbal: do not lie, defame others, speak offensive words, or engage in frivolous conversation, which relates to everything that might be said under the influence of afflicting emotions. Finally, the last three virtuous acts are of a mental nature: do not develop covetousness or malice and, finally, do not hold false or perverted views, such as the extreme view, close to nihilism, which totally denies spiritual perfection.

  What we mean by "erroneous views" generally includes absolutist, eternalist, and Nihilistic views. But in the context of the ten virtuous acts, only nihilistic views are implicated. It is therefore on the basis of a lifestyle disciplined by ethics that one abstains from committing the contrary acts, the ten non-virtuous acts. When faced with a situation where you might possibly commit such negative acts, you abstain from committing them. A life rooted in ethics has at its foundation the abandonment of the ten non-virtues in favour of the practice of their opposites.

  Q: If we have committed a serious negative act, how can we let go of the feeling of guilt that may follow?

  A: In such situations, where there is a danger of feeling guilty and therefore depressed, the Buddhist point of view advises adopting certain ways of thinking and behaving which will enable you to recover your self-confidence. A Buddhist may reflect on the nature of the mind of. a Buddha, on its essential purity, and in what way disturbing thoughts and their subsequent emotions are of an entirely different nature. Because such disturbing emotions are adventitious, they can be eliminated. To think of the immense well of potential hidden deep within our being, to understand that the nature of the mind is fundamental purity and kindness and to meditate on its luminosity, will enable you to develop self-confidence and courage.

  The Buddha says in the Sutras that fully enlightened and omniscient beings, whom we consider to be superior, did not spring from the bowels of the earth, nor did they fall from the sky; they are the result of spiritual purification. Such beings were once as troubled as we are now, with the same weaknesses and flaws of ordinary beings. Shakyamuni Buddha himself, prior to his enlightenment, lived in other incarnations that were far more difficult than our present lives. To recognize, in all its majesty, our own potential for spiritual perfection is an antidote to guilt, disgust, and hopelessness. Nagarjuna says in "The Precious Garland of Advice for the King" that pessimism and depression never help in finding a good solution to any problem. On the other hand, arrogance is just as negative. But to present as an antidote to it a posture of extreme humility may tend to foster a lack of self-confidence and open the door to depression and discouragement. We would only go from one extreme to the other.

  I would like to point out that to set out on a retreat for three years full of hope and expectations, thinking that without the slightest difficulty you will come Out of it fully enlightened, can turn into a disaster, unless you undertake it with the most erious intentions. If you overestimate your expectations and have too much self-confidence, you will be headed for dissatisfaction and disillusionment. When you think of what the Buddha said--that perfect enlightenment is the result of spiritual purification and an accumulation of virtues and wisdom for eons and eons--it is certain that courage and perseverance will arise to accompany you on the path.

  Q: You have said that according to Buddhist philosophy there is no Creator, no God of creation, and this may initially put off many people who believe in a divine principle. Can you explain the difference between the Vajrayana Primordial Buddha and a Creator God?

  A: I understand the Primordial Buddha, also known as Buddha Samantabhadra, to be the ultimate reality, the realm of the Dharmakaya-- the space of emptiness--where all phenomena, pure and impure, are dissolved. This is the explanation taught by the Sutras and Tantras. However, in the context of your question, the tantric tradition is the only one which explains the Dharmakaya in terms of Inherent dear light, the essential nature of the mind; this would seem imply that all phenomena, samsara and nirvana, arise from this clear and luminous source. Even the New School of Translation came to the conclusion that the "state of rest" of a practitioner of the Great Yoga--Great Yoga implies here the state of the practitioner who has reached a stage in meditation where the most subtle experience of clear light has been realized--that for as long as the practitioner remains in this ultimate sphere he or she remains totally free of any sort of veil obscuring the mind, and is immersed in a state of great bliss.

  We can say, therefore, that this ultimate source, clear light, is close to the notion of a Creator, since all phenomena, whether they belong to samsara or nirvana, originate therein. But we must be careful in speaking of this source, we must not be led into error. I do not mean chat there exists somewhere, there, a sort of collective clear light, analogous to the non-Buddhist concept of Brahma as a substratum. We must not be inclined to deify this luminous space. We must understand that when we speak of ultimate or inherent clear light, we are speaking on an individual level.

  Likewise, when we speak of karma as the cause of the universe we eliminate the notion of a unique entity called karma existing totally independently. Rather, collective karmic impressions, accumulated individually, are at the origin of die creation of a world. When, in the tantric context, we say that all worlds appear out of clear light, we do not visualize this source as a unique entity, but as the ultimate clear light of each being. We can also, on the basis of its pure essence, understand this dear light to be the Primordial Buddha. All the stages which make up the life of each living being--death, the intermediate state, and rebirth--represent nothing more than the various manifestations of the potential of clear light. It is both the most subtleconsciousness and energy. The more clear light loses its subtlety, the more your experiences take shape.

  In this way, death and the intermediate state are moments where the gross manifestations emanating from clear light are reabsorbed. At death we return to that original source, and from there a slightly more gross state emerges to form the intermediate state preceding rebirth. At the stage of rebirth, clear light is apparent in a physical incarnation. At death we return to this source. And so on. The ability to recognize subtle clear light, also called the Primordial Buddha, is equivalent to realizing nirvana, whereas ignorance of the nature of clear light leaves us to wander in the different realms of samsaric existence.

  This is how I understand the concept of the Primordial Buddha. It would be a grave error to conceive of it as an independent and autonomous existence from beginningless time. If we had to accept the idea of an independent creator, the explanations given in the Pramanavartika, the "Compendium of Valid Knowledge" written by Dharmakirti, and in the ninth chapter of the text by Shantideva, which completely refutes the existence per se of all phenomena, would be negated. This, in turn, would refute the notion of the Primordial Buddha. The Buddhist point of view does not accept the validity of affirmations which do not stand up to logical examination. If a sutra describes the Primordial Buddha as an autonomous entity, we must be able tointerpret this assertion without taking it literally. We call this type of sutra an "interpretable" sutra.

  Q: Interest im the discoveries of modern astrophysics and the "Big bang" theory reveal both a great fascination in the cosmos and a probing interrogation by members of our generation into their origins, their destiny and the meaning of their existence. The "Big bang" theory has had a significant impact on our way of looking at matter and nature; it has introduced considerable conceptual innovations. The formation of the structures of the universe, which function in interdependence, and which new research continues to reveal, is a seemingly endless source of wonder. Like all spiritual traditions, Buddhism conveys a cosmogonic myth. And yet Buddhism rejects the idea of creation. Why? Most Western scientists think that life and consciousness are a magnificent result of the universe's material evolution, and yet they know neither how nor why matter emerged in such a way as to fulfill the conditions necessary to engender life and consciousness. What they do know is that these conditions are very strict, yet have nevertheless been fulfilled in our universe in an astonishing way. You have a very different point of view on this subject. Would you therefore speak to us about consciousness in its relation to matter and the universe?

  A: Why is there no creation possible in Buddhism? It has been said that one cannot find living beings at the becoming of the universe for the essential reason that causes have no beginning. If there were a beginning to the universe, there would also have to be a beginning to consciousness. If we accepted a beginning to consciousness, we would also have to accept that its cause has a beginning, a sudden cause which would have instantly produced consciousness; this would lead to a great many other questions. If Consciousness had arisen without cause, or from a permanent cause, that cause would have to exist on. A permanent basis, always, or not exist at all, ever. The fact that a phenomenon exists intermittently proves that it depends on causes and conditions. When all the conditions are met, the phenomenon is produced. When those conditions are absent or incomplete, the phenomenon does not appear. As causes have no beginning and stretch back to infinity, the same thing must apply for living beings. Creation is therefore not possible.

  Let us now consider a particular phenomenon, a glacier for example: it does indeed have a beginning. How was it created? The outside world appears as a result of the acts of sentient beings who use this world, These acts, or karmas, in turn originate in the intentions and motivations of those beings who have not yet taken control of their minds.

  The "creator of the world," basically, is the mind. In the Sutras, the mind is described as an agent. It is said that consciousness has no beginning, but we must distinguish here between gross consciousness and subtle consciousness. Many gross consciousnesses appear as dependents of the physical aggregates, of the body. This is evident when you consider the different neurons and the functioning of the brain, but just because physical conditions are met does not mean that this is enough to produce a perception. In order for a perception which will have the faculty to reflect and know an object to arise, it must have a consubstantial cause. The fundamental consubstantial cause, of the same substance as its result, will in this case be the subtle consciousness. It is this same consciousness or subtle mind which penetrates the parental cells at the moment of conception. The subtle mind can have no beginning. If it had one, the mind would have to be born of something that is not the mind. According to the Kalacakra Tantra, one would have to return to the particles of space to find the fundamental consubstantial causes of the external physical world as well as of the bodies of sentient beings.

  Buddhist cosmology establishes the cycle of a universe in the following way: first there is a period of formation, then a period where the universe endures, then another during which it is destroyed, followed by a period of void before the formation of a new universe. During this void, the particles of space subsist, and from these particles the new universe will be formed. It is in these particles of space that we find the fundamental consubstantial cause of the entire physical world. If we wish to describe the formation of the universe and the physical bodies of beings, all we need do is analyse and comprehend the way in which the natural potential of different chemical and other elements constituting that universe was able to take shape from these space particles. It is on the basis of the specific potential of those particles that the structure of this universe and of the bodies of the beings present therein have come about. But from the moment the elements making up the world begin to set off different experiences of suffering and happiness among sentient beings, we must introduce the notion of karma -- that is, positive and negative acts committed and accumulated in the past. It is difficult to determine where the natural expression of the potential of physical elements ends and the effect of karma -- in other words, the result of our past acts -- begins. If you wonder what the relation might be between karma and this external environment formed by natural laws, it is time to explain what karma is.

  Karma means, first of all, action. We distinguish one type of karma which is of a mental nature, a mental factor of volition or intention. There also exist physical and oral karmas. To understand the connection between these physical, oral, or mental karmas and the material world, we must refer to the tantric texts. The Kalacakra Tantra in particular explains that in our bodies there are to be found, at gross, subtle, and extremely subtle levels, the five elements which make up the substance of the external world. It is therefore in this context, I believe, that we must envision the connection between our physical, oral, and mental karmas, and the external elements.

  Q: Given the fact that in your tradition there exist states of clarity and there are reports of people experiencing this more subtle state of mind, my question is two-fold: first, do you think that such non-cognitive states of mind could in theory be observed with our external tools? For example, if we were to place a meditator who is in a state of clear light into one of our modern machines with magnetic resonance, using new brain-imaging techniques, would we be able to see something, some sign of this subtle state? Perhaps we do not yet know how to do this but, in theory, do you think it would it be possible? If so, what, in your opinion, would be the relation between the two levels, gross and subtle, in the field of interdependence? We do not want to succumb to a new dualism, that of grossness and subtlety. What is the nature of causality between these two levels?

  A: I think it may be difficult to measure the activity specific to the mind that consists of reflecting one's object and knowing it. But as the experiences of the gross consciousness appear in the activity of the brain and can therefore be observed as such, it seems to me that it should also be possible to study the physical manifestations of the more subtle states of mind. The subtle level of consciousness, referred to by the term "clear light," appears among other things at the moment of death. Those who have practised ahead of time are able to remain voluntarily in this state for several days after death, and for the duration of this time their bodies do not decompose. Modern scientific instruments would be able to observe this phenomenon, and in fact this has already occurred in India. Although it seems to me that it would be difficult to observe the subtle mind in its entirety using these methods, I think all the same that this might give us an idea.

  To answer the second question, concerning the relation between the gross mind and the subtle mind, you must know that the degree of subtlety of the mind will depend in part on the degree of subtlety of its physical support and on the particular ruling condition, the six senses. But the faculty shared by all perceptions -- to reflect an object and know it -- comes from the subtle mind. In this way it is possible to understand the fundamental relation that exists between the subtle and gross levels of the mind. Sensory and mental consciousnesses are produced depending on ruling conditions specific to each of the six senses: visual sense for visual perceptions, mental faculty or sense for mental knowledge, etc. Because the grossness of their support is. greater, sensory perceptions are relatively gross compared to mental consciousnesses. Still, all h ave the ability to reflect their object and know it, an aptitude which derives from their common underlying foundation, the subtle mind, clear light. The tantric texts of Buddhism comment on the manner in which the gross levels of the mind are linked to the subtle mind. It is explained how eighty states of consciousness correspond to four stages of absorption of the gross mind into the subtle mind, during death for example. The links between the different levels of the mind are illustrated, but it is a very complex subject which would be difficult to go into at this point.

  Q: I am particularly interested in the question of the validation of phenomena by consciousness, and therefore in the conditions of their integration. I would like to ask if, apart from certain limited analogies -- which are very interesting -- between the Dharma and contemporary sciences, Buddhism has something more fundamental to offer the West. I am thinking here of the practice of meditation in particular: a renewed open-mindedness and sense of space and time which might give scientific information access to a more truly conscious "reality, "so that it would no longer be merely a fascinating "fiction" related to matter/ energy, the space/time curve, the nonsubstantiality of phenomena, etc.

  A: I have no immediate answer to your question, but I do have a few ideas to put before you. It would be interesting to refer some of these ideas to certain types of phenomena mentioned by Buddhist philosophical texts. There are physical phenomena, forms, which are not made up of gross matter (one of the properties of which is solid obstruction), but which are, rather, subtle forms, which may be classified into five categories. The first are forms deriving from an assembly, infinitesimal particles such as atoms. Their form is described as being spherical, but their colour is not mentioned. Next we have the mental appearances of space, that is the appearance with which the sky appears to mental perception. I think that modern science could provide more explanations on this subject and have greater success in making it comprehensible. Will it, in reality be particles of space or of light? These two first types of subtle physical phenomena are accepted by all and are not solely creations of the mind.

  The third type of subtle form includes those which are imagined and might appear, for example, to a person meditating, but which only the meditator can see and which cannot fulfill their usual functions. The next category is that of forms created by the powers of concentration; these are phenomena which originate from the four physical elements through the force of meditation practised by those who have been very successful in developing their powers of concentration. These phenomena may be experienced not only by the meditator but also by other people. Through meditating in this way it is possible to create fire, for example fire which can fulfill its function of burning and heating. It may seem strange, to say the least, that forms can be produced through the power of concentration. I do not know exactly how they can be interpreted or understood, but I do not think they last for very long after they have been created, probably only for the duration of the meditation. These third and fourth types of form should give scientists matter for reflection! If these phenomena exist, how are they produced?

  Up to now we have talked about information contained in the Sutras. We could also examine them in the light of the Tantras, the esoteric aspect of Buddhism which deals at length with the nature of more or less subtle energies.

  Q: What is the concept of time in Buddhism?

  A: Excuse me, I misunderstood the Tibetan translation of the question; in our language the words for "demon" and "time" are pronounced almost identically, and I was about to give you a talk about what a demon is from a Buddhist point of view!

  Regarding the Buddhist concept of time, our philosophy has. adopted several positions. The Sautrantika school, also known as the "Holders of Discourse," affirms that all phenomena and events exist only in the present moment. For this school, past and future are nothing other than simple concepts, simple mental constructs. As for the Madhyamika-Prasangika school, the Consequence School of the Middle Way, it generally explains time in terms of relativity, as an abstract entity developed by the mind on the basis of an imputation, the continuity of an event or phenomenon. This philosophical view &scribes, therefore, an abstract concept whose function is dependent on the continuum of phenomena. From this point on, to try to explain time as an autonomous entity, independent from an existing object, proves impossible. That time is a relative phenomenon and can claim no independent status is quite clear; I often give the example of external objects which can be easily conceived of in terms of the past or future, but of which the very present seems inconceivable. We can divide time into centuries, decades, years, days, hours, minutes, and seconds. But as the second is also divisible into multiple parts, milliseconds for example, we can easily lose our grasp of the notion of present time!

  As for consciousness, it has neither past nor future and knows only present moments; it is the continuum of a present moment being trans . formed into another present moment, whereas with external objects the present disappears in favour of notions of past and future. But further pursuit of this logic will lead to absurdity, because to situate past and future we need a frame of reference which, in this case, is the present, and we have just lost its trace in fractions of milliseconds.. . .

  Q: If consciousness has neither beginning nor end, and if it is not permanent, does it age like an old house, changingwith each moment? And if it has neither form, nor colour, nor odour, bow can it be transformed?

  A: First of all, let us try to agree on the problematic notion of consciousness, of the mind. We have only a gross and partial intellectual understanding of consciousness. Our desire to perfect that understanding through analytical research will lead us to the discovery of the luminous, clear, and knowing nature of consciousness. It is extremely important to know how to identify clearly the object we are analysing, in this case the nature of consciousness. Once we identify the nature of consciousness with its immaterial and non-obstructive characteristics, we will be able to use it to confront external objects and a third category of phenomena, abstract concepts such as the notions of time and change which have neither the nature of consciousness nor that of material objects. Keeping these three classifications well in mind -- physical objects, the mind, and abstract mental constructs -- we will be able to identify consciousness by comparing it to the two other categories of phenomena. Once we have clear knowledge of its nature, it will not only be possible to have a conscious experience of the process of change occurring within consciousness, but also to understand how consciousness and the experience of consciousness depend on a preceding moment of consciousness. Only the preceding instant of consciousness may lead to a subsequent moment of consciousness nothing else has that faculty.

  I do not think we can talk about the continuity of consciousness solely in terms of chronology. The very idea of chronology, and thus aging, only has meaning in relation to material phenomena, such as the body. On the level of different individual consciousnesses, such as sensory faculties, we can use the term "aging" to refer to the physiological basis, the body of a human being; in the case of sensory consciousnesses, aging in large part progresses in keeping with the individual's physiological condition. The two evolutions are not independent. To speak of the "aging of sensory consciousnesses" is possible if we associate this affirmation with a biological, physiological process, something we cannot do when we speak of mental consciousness.

  I think it is very important to reflect on the nature of consciousness, to know the different types of consciousnesses and their natures. Buddhist scripture holds that sensory perceptions, such as visual consciousness, are direct and not conceptual; a visual perception perceives a form, without however discerning between its good or bad, desirable or undesirable, aspects. The discernment takes place on a conceptual level, which constitutes a far more interpretative process than. that of simple sensory perception.

  As far as mental consciousness, the world of conceptual thought, is concerned, we distinguish different levels of subtlety, from the gross to the most subtle, well-documented in the tantric system The brain, neurons, synapses, etc., are connected to consciousness, and this opens onto a vast terrain for investigation when we connect them with what tantric literature calls energy (Tibetan: lung; Sanskrit: prana).

  Research into the exact nature of the relation between the brain, consciousness, and energy proves to be very interesting. When all the functions of the brain have stopped and physiological conditions have disappeared, it would seem that a form of the process of consciousness continues to exist. This has been observed in the experience of certain realized lamas whose bodies, although declared clinically dead, do not decompose and remain fresh for several days or even several weeks. At this stage, the Buddhist point of view maintains that the individual is not altogether dead, that he is continuing to evolve through the process of death, and that he remains in a state of subtle consciousness. I think scientists ought to seek logical explanations for these cases when the body does not decompose even when the functions of the brain and the body have stopped.

  The texts also give accounts of meditators who have learned to develop a supernatural ability to create physical objects with their mind, or produce elements such as fire and air, perceived not only by their creator but also, apparently, by other people. Other types of mentally created objects are only perceived by the meditator. I do wonder what the substantial, material cause of these external objects might be. If there is a result -- a mentally created physical object -- it must be preceded by a cause and conditions of the same nature. I also wonder if these objects exist solely during the practitioner's meditation, and cease to exist as soon as he leaves his meditative absorption. I cannot say what the material cause of this type of mentally created object might be. It is a question I address to the monastic community: can consciousness become a substantial cause of material objects? The Tantras, such as that of Guhyasamaja, speak of the illusory body and its substantial cause, which is purported to be subtle energy, as subtle energy is part of the material world. I must say that this problem leaves me puzzled.

  Q: How did illusion begin?

  A: As the continuum of the mind has no beginning, ignorance does not have one either. If it did, we would have to discover from within a state of consciousness that predates ignorance and is different from ir in an enlightened mind, therefore -- a cause resulting in ignorance. This makes no sense.

  Q: Is there a primordial cause for all causes?

  A: No. Generally, causes have no origin, and for this reason effects have none either. We can nevertheless say, in the context of a very specific point, that in some cases causes and effects have a beginning. When we establish that the continuum of the mind is without beginning, to want t o discern a beginning to causes would be an obvious contradiction! You know, Buddhist logicians are quite rigorous. From the moment they accept that the mind has no beginning they can affirm logically and resolutely that neither causes nor effects have one either.

  Q: Over the last few years the physics community has shown increasing interest in questions dealing with the understanding of a reality which seems to escape scientists, despite the great precision and powers of prediction of modern theories, such as quantum physics. Generally a physicist seeks not only to report on appearances and the sequence of an events's cause and effect, but also to perfect an intelligible way of interpreting what we call "nature." Our creativity seems to depend largely on this. In order to accomplish this we create representations in term of atoms, particles, forces, energies, space, time, etc. The Buddhist tradition contains a great number of texts dealing with the nature of phenomena, discussing the reality of atoms, the nature of space and time. Would you explain to us why Buddhist teachings insist on this question? Do you feel it is important for scientists in their research to take into consideration the explication found in the Middle Why which refutes the inherent existence of phenomena?

  A: This is why when followers of this school speak of negations they refute exclusive negations and admit only evocative negations. The followers of the Sautrantika school hold that certain phenomena, such as negations, are merely imputations or designations of discursive perceptions. This is the case, for example, with space, with compound phenomena dissociated from the form and the mind or the individual. Having said that, the meaning assigned here to the word "designation" or "imputation" differs slightly from that of the Madhyamika school, according to which all phenomena exist merely by simple imputation or designation.

  According to the Cittamatra school, it does not matter whether we are speaking of the nominal basis of designation, of the nominal designation "form" applied to a form, or finally of the conceptual basis of the representative perception of the form as form - the form is believed not to exist by itself, in an exterior manner. However, if we look again at the earlier Sautrantika tradition, the form, as the conceptual basis of the representative perception apprehending it, exists by virtue of its own characteristics.

  Up to this point, all Buddhist schools affirmed that all phenomena have an absolute existence. The followers of the Madhyamika , school, however, refute the absolute existence of phenomena. Among these followers, those of the first sub-school, the Svatantrika, consider phenomena to exist conventionally, on their own. The other sub-school, the Prasangika, holds that even conventional phenomena do not exist through their own characteristics. All schools accept non-self, but the way in which it is conceived becomes progressively more and more subtle.

  One question must be asked. If by "reality" we mean that once we have sought a designated object it can be found and is sufficient unto itself, then Buddhist philosophy denies the existence of such a reality. Reality does exist, however, if we define it as a situation where, although we cannot find the conceived object as such when we seek it, we nevertheless accept its existence as a designation. The Madhyamika or Middle Way philosophy places great emphasis upon the elimination of the two extremes.

  What in physics is called "undiscovered" refers to a field which is infinitely partial and restricted in relation to the Buddhist notion of the "unfindable" character of the analysed object. For Buddhists it is not enough to assert that the apprehension of self is false and that it will automatically disappear once we have understood that the object of our erroneous perception does not exist. We must eliminate this erroneous perception of our ego, that is, our apprehension of self, and not the perception of self as a simple designation. Why go to such trouble?

  As I already explained briefly at an earlier stage, from this false perception an exaggerated vision of the ego will arise, one which is far removed from reality, and from that point we can divide the world in two: on the one hand, everything which has to do with self; and, on the other, everything else. We feel attachment for the first and aversion toward the second. It is precisely to weaken this attachment and aversion that we strive to eliminate the erroneous perception of the ego.

  The Middle Way seeks principally to eliminate the two extremes of eternalism and nihilism. If we do not eliminate the extreme of eternalism we will not have the means to eliminate the false perception of our ego. At the other extreme, nihilism totally denies the existence of an ego. If we do not eliminate that extreme by reaching certainty with regard to the positive and negative aspects of an act and its agent on a conventional level, we will likewise reject the law of cause and effect, and that is something which is inadmissible. By ruling out the extreme of nihilism, we a&m that whoever creates or accumulates a cause must necessarily experience the results thereof, By refuting the extreme of eternalism, we avoid an exaggerated apprehension of the ego. This is the explanation of the Middle Way of the Madhyamika. In short, we must endeavour to eliminate the erroneous perception of the ego and reinforce the correct view of the ego, without limiting ourselves to a strictly intellectual comprehension of these notions. Once we have understood this, we must continue to reflect and meditate on the subject so that a true inner transformation can take place. These notions will be more and more beneficial to us as pure mind gradually becomes familiar with them.

  Q: You just said, a few minutes ago, that emotions can be a source of suffering. Do you have a definition for illness specific to Buddhism? Is illness the sign of an anomaly in one: biological or psychological behaviour, or is it a physical disorder pointing to a psychological disorder? Isn't it normal that at certain times in life a human being will become ill! And what should the attitude of the medical profession be in these conditions; should it seek to remove the anomaly, by any means possible or help the human being live with it?

  A: With regard to the states of mind sometimes referred to as "emotions," we can distinguish positive ones and negative ones. Thus, we say that feelings such as kindness, love, and compassion are positive emotions. But this is tantamount to saying that emotions subsist in the flow of consciousness of Buddhas, since such qualities emanate from their minds. This must not be confused with the affirmation that Buddhas are always concentrated on emptiness. Once Buddha-hood is attained there is no longer any representative or discursive perception. What remains is direct comprehension of emptiness. But when they meditate on the wisdom of which emptiness is a part, all the qualities such as love and compassion are present in the minds of Buddhas.

  As for the negative states of mind, we speak of the three main kleshas - afflicting emotions (literally, "poisons" of the mind) - attachment, aversion, and ignorance. From the point of view of a practising Buddhist, these afflicting factors or mental poisons are the true mental illness. But we will not be cured of this illness until we achieve liberation. Before we reach that point, we will speak, therefore, of illness on a less subtle level.

  In our society in general we consider a person to be perfectly healthy when his or her mind is not troubled or deeply perturbed by the three afflictions of the mind, even if these negative factors remain present in that person. It does occur, however, that under the influence of the three kleshas the mind, deeply disturbed, will lapse into confusion. At this point we can speak of mental illness. We distinguish two levels of mental illness: gross and subtle; both may be associated with physical illness. For this reason, Tibetan medicine regards a patient as a whole entity, ,taking into account not only his or her body but also his or her mind. This is why there are those who treat mental illness by combining Western psychotherapy with Buddhist methods. I think this is an excellent method.

  Now, what should our response to illness be? It is perfectly obvious that all beings aspire to happiness and that they have every legitimate right to seek it. At the same time, they wish never to be afflicted by illness or any form of suffering whatsoever. We must try to prevent suffering and, in this context, preventive medicine is judicious. We must try to prevent illness in every way possible. If in spite of our efforts, certain conditions lead to illness and suffering, we must try to think clearly and not add to our suffering by worrying.

  Q: We have the unique opportunity to examine, together with the Dalai lama, some issues dealing with the heart of scientific practice from the point of view of interdependence. Before you begin this discussion, would His Holiness explain in a few words the meaning of interdependence in Buddhist philosophy and what you hope to take with you from this symposium?

  A: I have learned a great many things from my encounters with scientists of all sorts and profited greatly from these meetings. Certain Buddhist explanations have also proven useful to scientists, insofar as they have enabled them to consider the specialisations from another prospective. Most of you, I believe, are familiar with the elementary Buddhist approach, in particular that of the Mahayana, where we should initially be sceptical, then probe the question, and finally accept it once we are convinced of its veracity. We even have the right -- with, of course, as we are Buddhists, the highest respect -- to refute the teachings of the Buddha if our discoveries contradict them. As you can see, we are, in a way, free to have a critical mind, even with regard to our own philosophy. In such a context I see no obstacles to engaging in dialogues with scientists or even with radical materialists. On the contrary, this is a very good thing.

  In addition, there are, in my experience, certain ideas which we take for granted. As a result, our reasoning process remains insufficient. Critical questions which make us think about the subjects concerned are therefore very useful. For people who are brought up in a Buddhist culture, certain concepts are self-evident. Because of this, we sometimes neglect to follow the entire thread of complex reasoning to its conclusion. This is why questions raised by people of diverse disciplines oblige us to envision these question in a new way.

  To begin with, I would like to present briefly the Buddhist view of interdependence. We may comprehend this principle, also called dependent origination, on different levels, beginning with that of causality, the law of cause and effect accepted by all four schools of Buddhist philosophy. There is another way to understand this principle, to see it in relation to the fact that a whole depends on its parts. Indeed, any existent thing is considered to be a whole, that is, composed of parts. Since it is made up of parts, it depends upon them. Its very existence depends on its parts and it cannot exist in an autonomous or independent manner.

  To give a better explanation of the principle of interdependence, we must place it in the context of the Buddhist description of reality. First of all, all existent phenomena are either permanent or impermanent. There is no third possibility. Among the impermanent phenomena we find physical phenomena, also called "form," and non-physical existents which include, on the one hand, mental phenomena (the mind), and on the other, abstract phenomena, known as "compound phenomena dissociated from form and mind." The interdependence of physical phenomena is defined in relation to space; such phenomena depend on their directional parts. The interdependence of non-physical phenomena is envisioned in relation to time or even according to spatial directions. The mind, for example, is a succession of moments. We speak of a mental continuum. We say of, compound phenomena dissociated from form and mind that they also depend on their directional parts. As for non-compound space itself,we speak of the south of space, the east, etc.

  I have been presenting the principle of interdependence in a general manner according to the Madhyamika school, the Middle Way, which includes two sub-schools, of which the Prasangika school (the "Consequentialists") is the higher. This school adds an even more subtle explanation to existing interpretations of dependent origination -- that of the unfindableness, the "undetectability," of any designated existent thing whatever. In other words, when through analytical method we seek the phenomenon behind its appearance, it is unfindable. However, if it is said that existents are unfindable after they have been sought through analytical process, should we then conclude that they do not exist at all? To abandon this nihilistic view, we will answer with a categorical "No." Phenomena exist -- not in an autonomous way, per se, but rather in a relation of dependency with other phenomena, such as the name by which they are designated. This is the most profound way to understand the principle of interdependence. Phenomena exist, therefore, as denominations. No phenomena exist otherwise. However, everything which can be designated by the mind does not necessarily exist. The most difficult thing is to determine, among all the things imputed by the mind, which ones exist and which do not. Even while we deny the autonomous and independent status of existents, we must not fall into the trap of an exaggerated relativism in which everything the mind conceives of is real. The problem now is to determine which criteria will enable us to find out which phenomena among ail those designated by the mind actually do exist. The Prasangika texts describe three such criteria: a phenomenon conceived by the mind is said to exist, first of all, if it is admitted by an immediate, non-discursive perception; then, if this immediate perception is not contradicted by a known perception which observes the conventional plan; and finally, if its existence is not negated by the analytical mind which examines the ultimate mode of existence of a phenomenon. According to these three criteria we can determine whether or not a phenomenon exists conventionally. These criteria refer solely to the mind perceiving the object in question, and this reminds us once again that nothing can exist independently from the mind which perceives it.

  This obliges us to delimit the notion of known perception. For all the schools, with the exception of the Prasangika school, a known perception apprehends its object without the slightest error or inaccuracy. These schools tolerate no element of inaccuracy in a known perception, whereas the Prasangika school of the Middle Way affirms that, although a known perception cannot err in the acknowledgment of the apprehended object, an element of inaccuracy may nevertheless be present. Let us take, for example, the case of the known discursive perception of the impermanence of sound: this experience, which occurs solely in relation to the object apprehended -- the impermanence of the phenomenon of sound -- is nonetheless inexact for followers of the Prasangika school, because they hold its' object to be endowed, moreover, with an absolute, independent existence. All the other schools accept the inherent existence of conventional reality. So for them the perception that phenomena exist in this way is car rect, just as the known perception is from all aspects correct and exact. According to the Prasangika school, the only perfectly accurate perception, free of any form of error, is the direct and convincing experience of emptiness -- that is, the non-representative perception of the ultimate nature of phenomena.

  This has been a brief presentation of the principle of interdependence.



  Words of Truth

  Words of Truth was composed by His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, during the autumn of 1960, a year and a half after he was forced into exile in India. It is one of the most important prayers for Tibetans today. It is recited each morning with their daily prayers and sung to a medley of four lovely melodies on occasions such as the March 10 Uprising Day observance. For Tibetans there is no separation between the sacred and the secular. Accordingly, this prayer finds a place in both arenas. Words of Truth is dedicated to restoring peace, the Buddhist teachings, and the culture and self-determination of the Tibetan people in their homeland. It is also an invocation of compassion towards all suffering sentient beings: oppressor and oppressed alike. Prayer serves most immediately to focus the thoughts toward a specific end, in this case the preservation of Tibetan civilization and the goal of universal compassion. Prayer is also a refined expression of a state of mind, of an inner vision. Prayer is a crown jewel of speech. Speech is intimately tied to the breath, the coarse form of energy that empowers the mind's awareness. While all speech has such subtle power its basis, prayer (recited or sung) is a carefully crafted mode of speech -- a vital channel into the depths of the mind. Thus, one truly can appreciate the significance and beauty of His Holiness's Words of Truth. May its multifold repetition in the Tibetan, and now English, language contribute to the goal of compassionate liberation for all sentient beings. Peter Gold Dharamsala, India.

Words of Truth
  A Prayer Composed by HIS HOLINESS TENZIN GYATSO, THE FOURTEENTH DALAI LAMA OF TIBET, Honoring and Invoking the Great Compassion of the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Teachings, and the Spiritual Community O Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and disciples of the past, present, and future: Having remarkable qualities immeasurably vast as the ocean, Who regard all helpless sentient beings as your only child; Please consider the truth of my anguished pleas. Buddha's full teachings dispel the pain of worldly existence and self-oriented peace;

  May they flourish, spreading prosperity and happiness through- out this spacious world. O holders of the Dharma: scholars and realized practitioners;;; May your ten fold virtuous practice prevail. Humble sentient beings, tormented by sufferings without cease,,, Completely suppressed by seemingly endless and terribly intense, negative deeds,,, May all their fears from unbearable war, famine, and disease be pacified, To freely breathe an ocean of happiness and well-being. And particularly the pious people of the Land of Snows who, through various means, Are mercilessly destroyed by barbaric hordes on the side of darkness, Kindly let the power of your compassion arise, To quickly stem the flow of blood and tears. Those unrelentingly cruel ones, objects of compassion, Maddened by delusion's evils, wantonly destroy themselves and others;;; May they achieve the eye of wisdom, knowing what must be done and undone, And abide in the glory of friendship and love... May this heartfelt wish of total freedom for all Tibet, Which has been awaited for a long time, be spontaneously fulfilled; Please grant soon the good fortune to enjoy The happy celebration of spiritual with temporal rule. O protector Chenrezig, compassionately care for Those who have undergone myriad hardships, Completely sacrificing their most cherished lives, bodies, and wealth, For the sake of the teachings, practitioners, people, and nation. Thus, the protector Chenrezig made vast prayers Before the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas To fully embrace the Land of Snows;;; May the good results of these prayers now quickly appear. By the profound interdependence of emptiness and relative forms, Together with the force of great compassion in the Three Jewels and their Words of Truth, And through the power of the infallible law of actions and their fruits, May this truthful prayer be unhindered and quickly fulfilled.







A Human Approach to World Peace
  A Human Approach to World Peace / by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

  When we rise in the morning and listen to the radio or read the newspaper, we are confronted with the same sad news: violence, crime, wars, and disasters. I cannot recall a single day without a report of something terrible happening somewhere. Even in these modern times it is clear that one's precious life is not safe. No former generation has had to experience so much bad news as we face today; this constant awareness of fear and tension should make any sensitive and compassionate person question seriously the progress of our modem world.

  It is ironic that the more serious problems emanate from the more industrially advanced societies. Science and technology have worked wonders in many fields, but the basic human problems remain. There is unprecedented literacy, yet this universal education does not seem to have fostered goodness, but only mental restlessness and discontent instead. There is no doubt about the increase in our material progress and technology, but somehow this is not sufficient as we have not yet succeeded in bringing about peace and happiness or in overcoming suffering.

  We can only conclude that there must be something seriously wrong with our progress and development, and if we do not check it in time there could be disastrous consequences for the future of humanity. I am not at all against science and technology -- they have contributed immensely to the overall experience of humankind; to our material comfort and well-being and to our greater understanding of the world we live in. But if we give too much emphasis to science and technology we are in danger of losing touch with those aspects of human knowledge and understanding that aspire towards honesty and altruism.

  Science and technology, though capable of creating immeasurable material comfort, cannot replace the age-old spiritual and humanitarian values that have largely shaped world civilization, in all its national forms, as we know it today. No one can deny the unprecedented material benefit of science and technology, but our basic human problems remain; we are still faced with the same, if not more, suffering, fear, and tension. Thus it is only logical to try to strike a balance between material development on the one hand and the development of spiritual, human values on the other. In order to bring about this great adjustment, we need to revive our humanitarian values.

  I am sure that many people share my concern about the present worldwide moral crisis and will join in my appeal to all humanitarians and religious practitioners who also share this concern to help make our societies more compassionate, just, and equitable. I do not speak as a Buddhist or even as a Tibetan. Nor do speak as an expert on international politics (though I unavoidably comment on these matters). Rather, I speak simply as a human being, as an upholder of the humanitarian values that are the bedrock not only of Mahayana Buddhism but of all the great world religions. From this perspective I share with you my personal outlook -- that ....... 1. universal humanitarianism is essential to solve global problems; 2. compassion is the pillar of world peace; 3. all world religions are already for world peace in this way, as are all humanitarians of whatever ideology; 4. each individual has a universal responsibility to shape institutions to serve human needs.

Solving Human Problems Through Transforming Human Attitudes
  If the many problems we face today, some are natural calamities and must be accepted and faced with equanimity. Others, however, are of our own making, created by misunderstanding, and can be corrected. One such type arises from the conflict of ideologies, political or religious, when people fight each other for petty ends, losing sight of the basic humanity that binds us all together as a single human family. We must remember that the different religions, ideologies, and political systems of the world are meant for human beings to achieve happiness. We must not lose sight of this fundamental goal and at no time should we place means above ends; the supremacy of humanity over matter and ideology must always be maintained.

  By far the greatest single danger facing humankind -- in fact, all living beings on our planet -- is the threat of nuclear destruction. I need not elaborate on this danger, but I would like to appeal to all the leaders of the nuclear powers who literally hold the future of the world in their hands, to the scientists and technicians who continue to create these awesome weapons of destruction, and to all the people at large who are in a position to influence their leaders: I appeal to them to exercise their sanity and begin to work at dismantling and destroying all nuclear weapons. We know that in the event of a nuclear war there will be no victors because there will be no survivors! Is it not frightening just to contemplate such inhuman and heartless destruction? And, is it not logical that we should remove the cause for our own destruction when we know the cause and have both the time and the means to do so? Often we cannot overcome our problems because we either do not know the cause or, if we understand it, do not have the means to remove it. This is not the case with the nuclear threat.

  Whether they belong to more evolved species like humans or to simpler ones such as animals, all beings primarily seek peace, comfort, and security. Life is as dear to the mute animal as it is to any human being; even the simplest insect strives for protection from dangers that threaten its life. Just as each one of us wants to live and does not wish to die, so it is with all other creatures in the universe, though their power to effect this is a different matter.

  Broadly speaking there are two types of happiness and suffering, mental and physical, and of the two, I believe that mental suffering and happiness are the more acute. Hence, I stress the training of the mind to endure suffering and attain a more lasting state of happiness. However, I also have a more general and concrete idea of happiness: a combination of inner peace, economic development, and, above all, world peace. To achieve such goals I feel it is necessary to develop a sense of universal responsibility, a deep concern for all irrespective of creed, colour, sex, or nationality.

  The premise behind this idea of universal responsibility is the simple fact that, in general terms, all others' desires are the same as mine. Every being wants happiness and does not want suffering. If we, as intelligent human beings, do not accept this fact, there will be more and more suffering on this planet. If we adopt a self-centred approach to life and constantly try to use others for our own self-interest, we may gain temporary benefits, but in the long run we will not succeed in achieving even personal happiness, and world peace will be completely out of the question.

  In their quest for happiness, humans have used different methods, which all too often have been cruel and repellent. Behaving in ways utterly unbecoming to their status as humans, they inflict suffering upon fellow humans and other living beings for their own selfish gains. In the end, such short-sighted actions bring suffering to oneself as well as to others. To be born a human being is a rare event in itself, and it is wise to use this opportunity as effectively and skillfully as possible. We must have the proper perspective, that of the universal life process, so that the happiness or glory of one person or group is not sought at the expense of others.

  All this calls for a new approach to global problems. The world is becoming smaller and smaller -- and more and more interdependent -- as a result of rapid technological advances and international trade as well as increasing trans-national relations. We now depend very much on each other. In ancient times problems were mostly family-size, and they were naturally tackled at the family level, but the situation has changed. Today we are so interdependent, so closely interconnected with each other, that without a sense of universal responsibility, a feeling of universal brotherhood and sisterhood, and an understanding and belief that we really are part of one big human family, we cannot hope to overcome the dangers to our very existence -- let alone bring about peace and happiness.

  One nation's problems can no longer be satisfactorily solved by itself alone; too much depends on the interest, attitude, and cooperation of other nations. A universal humanitarian approach to world problems seems the only sound basis for world peace. What does this mean? We begin from the recognition mentioned previously that all beings cherish happiness and do not want suffering. It then becomes both morally wrong and pragmatically unwise to pursue only one's own happiness oblivious to the feelings and aspirations of all others who surround us as members of the same human family. The wiser course is to think of others also when pursuing our own happiness. This will lead to what I call 'wise self-interest', which hopefully will transform itself into 'compromised self-interest', or better still, 'mutual interest.'

  Although the increasing interdependence among nations might be expected to generate more sympathetic cooperation, it is difficult to achieve a spirit of genuine cooperation as long as people remain indifferent to the feelings and happiness of others. When people are motivated mostly by greed and jealousy, it is not possible for them to live in harmony. A spiritual approach may not solve all the political problems that have been caused by the existing self-centered approach, but in the long run it will overcome the very basis of the problems that we face today.

  On the other hand, if humankind continues to approach its problems considering only temporary expediency, future generations will have to face tremendous difficulties. The global population is increasing, and our resources are being rapidly depleted. Look at the trees, for example. No one knows exactly what adverse effects massive deforestation will have on the climate, the soil, and global ecology as a whole. We are facing problems because people are concentrating only on their short-term, selfish interests, not thinking of the entire human family. They are not thinking of the earth and the long-term effects on universal life as a whole. If we of the present generation do not think about these now, future generations may not be able to cope with them.

Compassion as the Pillar of World Peace
  According to Buddhist psychology, most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities. The pursuit of the objects of our desire and attachment involves the use of aggression and competitiveness as supposedly efficacious instruments. These mental processes easily translate into actions, breeding belligerence as an obvious effect. Such processes have been going on in the human mind since time immemorial, but their execution has become more effective under modern conditions. What can we do to control and regulate these 'poisons' -- delusion, greed, and aggression? For it is these poisons that are behind almost every trouble in the world.

  As one brought up in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, I feel that love and compassion are the moral fabric of world peace. Let me first define what I mean by compassion. When you have pity or compassion for a very poor person, you are showing sympathy because he or she is poor; your compassion is based on altruistic considerations. On the other hand, love towards your wife, your husband, your children, or a close friend is usually based on attachment. When your attachment changes, your kindness also changes; it may disappear. This is not true love. Real love is not based on attachment, but on altruism. In this case your compassion will remain as a humane response to suffering as long as beings continue to suffer.

  This type of compassion is what we must strive to cultivate in ourselves, and we must develop it from a limited amount to the limitless. Undiscriminating, spontaneous, and unlimited compassion for all sentient beings is obviously not the usual love that one has for friends or family, which is alloyed with ignorance, desire, and attachment. The kind of love we should advocate is this wider love that you can have even for someone who has done harm to you: your enemy.

  The rationale for compassion is that every one of us wants to avoid suffering and gain happiness. This, in turn, is based on the valid feeling of 'I', which determines the universal desire for happiness. Indeed, all beings are born with similar desires and should have an equal right to fulfil them. If I compare myself with others, who are countless, I feel that others are move important because I am just one person whereas others are many. Further, the Tibetan Buddhist tradition teaches us to view all sentient beings as our dear mothers and to show our gratitude by loving them all. For, according to Buddhist theory, we are born and reborn countless numbers of times, and it is conceivable that each being has been our parent at one time or another. In this way all beings in the universe share a family relationship.

  Whether one believes in religion or not, there is no one who does not appreciate love and compassion. Right from the moment of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our parents; later in life, when facing the sufferings of disease and old age, we are again dependent on the kindness of others. If at the beginning and end of our lives we depend upon others' kindness, why then in the middle should we not act kindly towards others? The development of a kind heart (a feeling of closeness for all human beings) does not involve the religiosity we normally associate with conventional religious practice. It is not only for people who believe in religion, but is for everyone regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation. It is for anyone who considers himself or herself, above all, a member of the human family and who sees things from this larger and longer perspective. This is a powerful feeling that we should develop and apply; instead, we often neglect it, particularly in our prime years when we experience a false sense of security.

  When we take into account a longer perspective, the fact that all wish to gain happiness and avoid suffering, and keep in mind our relative unimportance in relation to countless others, we can conclude that it is worthwhile to share our possessions with others. When you train in this sort of outlook, a true sense of compassion -- a true sense of love and respect for others -- becomes possible. Individual happiness ceases to be a conscious self-seeking effort; it becomes an automatic and far superior by-product of the whole process of loving and serving others.

  Another result of spiritual development, most useful in day-to-day life, is that it gives a calmness and presence of mind. Our lives are in constant flux, bringing many difficulties. When faced with a calm and clear mind, problems can be successfully resolved. When, instead, we lose control over our minds through hatred, selfishness, jealousy, and anger, we lose our sense of judgment. Our minds are blinded and at those wild moments anything can happen, including war. Thus, the practice of compassion and wisdom is useful to all, especially to those responsible for running national affairs, in whose hands lie the power and opportunity to create the structure of world peace.

World Religions for World Peace
  The principles discussed so far are in accordance with the ethical teachings of all world religions. I maintain that every major religion of the world -- Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism -- has similar ideals of love, the same goal of benefiting humanity through spiritual practice, and the same effect of making their followers into better human beings. All religions teach moral precepts for perfecting the functions of mind, body, and speech. All teach us not to lie or steal or take others' lives, and so on. The common goal of all moral precepts laid down by the great teachers of humanity is unselfishness. The great teachers wanted to lead their followers away from the paths of negative deeds caused by ignorance and to introduce them to paths of goodness.

  All religions agree upon the necessity to control the undisciplined mind that harbours selfishness and other roots of trouble, and each teaches a path leading to a spiritual state that is peaceful, disciplined, ethical, and wise. It is in this sense that I believe all religions have essentially the same message. Differences of dogma may be ascribed to differences of time and circumstance as well as cultural influences; indeed, there is no end to scholastic argument when we consider the purely metaphysical side of religion. However, it is much more beneficial to try to implement in daily life the shared precepts for goodness taught by all religions rather than to argue about minor differences in approach. There are many different religions to bring comfort and happiness to humanity in much the same way as there are particular treatments for different diseases. For, all religions endeavour in their own way to help living beings avoid misery and gain happiness. And, although we can find causes for preferring certain interpretations of religious truths, there is much greater cause for unity, stemming from the human heart. Each religion works in its own way to lessen human suffering and contribute to world civilization. Conversion is not the point. For instance, I do not think of converting others to Buddhism or merely furthering the Buddhist cause. Rather, I try to think of how I as a Buddhist humanitarian can contribute to human happiness.

  While pointing out the fundamental similarities between world religions, I do not advocate one particular religion at the expense of all others, nor do I seek a new 'world religion.' All the different religions of the world are needed to enrich human experience and world civilization. Our human minds, being of different calibre and disposition, need different approaches to peace and happiness. It is just like food. Certain people find Christianity more appealing, others prefer Buddhism because there is no creator in it and everything depends upon your own actions. We can make similar arguments for other religions as well. Thus, the point is clear: humanity needs all the world's religions to suit the ways of life, diverse spiritual needs, and inherited national traditions of individual human beings.

  It is from this perspective that I welcome efforts being made in various parts of the world for better understanding among religions. The need for this is particularly urgent now. If all religions make the betterment of humanity their main concern, then they can easily work together in harmony for world peace. Interfaith understanding will bring about the unity necessary for all religions to work together. However, although this is indeed an important step, we must remember that there are no quick or easy solutions. We cannot hide the doctrinal differences that exist among various faiths, nor can we hope to replace the existing religions by a new universal belief. Each religion has its own distinctive contributions to make, and each in its own way is suitable to a particular group of people as they understand life. The world needs them all.

  There are two primary tasks facing religious practitioners who are concerned with world peace. First, we must promote better interfaith understanding so as to create a workable degree of unity among all religions. This may be achieved in part by respecting each other's beliefs and by emphasizing our common concern for human well-being. Second, we must bring about a viable consensus on basic spiritual values that touch every human heart and enhance general human happiness. This means we must emphasize the common denominator of all world religions -- humanitarian ideals. These two steps will enable us to act both individually and together to create the necessary spiritual conditions for world peace.

  We practitioners of different faiths can work together for world peace when we view different religions as essentially instruments to develop a good heart -- love and respect for others, a true sense of community. The most important thing is to look at the purpose of religion and not at the details of theology or metaphysics, which can lead to mere intellectualism. I believe that all the major religions of the world can contribute to world peace and work together for the benefit of humanity if we put aside subtle metaphysical differences, which are really the internal business of each religion.

  Despite the progressive secularization brought about by worldwide modernization and despite systematic attempts in some parts of the world to destroy spiritual values, the vast majority of humanity continues to believe in one religion or another. The undying faith in religion, evident even under irreligious political systems, clearly demonstrates the potency of religion as such. This spiritual energy and power can be purposefully used to bring about the spiritual conditions necessary for world peace. Religious leaders and humanitarians all over the world have a special role to play in this respect. Whether we will be able to achieve world peace or not, we have no choice but to work towards that goal. If our minds are dominated by anger, we will lose the best part of human intelligence -- wisdom, the ability to decide between right and wrong. Anger is one of the most serious problems facing the world today.

Individual Power to Shape Institutions
  Anger plays no small role in current conflicts such as those in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, the North- South problem, and so forth. These conflicts arise from a failure to understand one another's humanness. The answer is not the development and use of greater military force, nor an arms race. Nor is it purely political or purely technological. Basically it is spiritual, in the sense that what is required is a sensitive understanding of our common human situation. Hatred and fighting cannot bring happiness to anyone, even to the winners of battles. Violence always produces misery and thus is essentially counter-productive. It is, therefore, time for world leaders to learn to transcend the differences of race, culture, and ideology and to regard one another through eyes that see the common human situation. To do so would benefit individuals, communities, nations, and the world at large.

  The greater part of present world tension seems to stem from the 'Eastern bloc' versus 'Western bloc' conflict that has been going on since World War II. These two blocs tend to describe and view each other in a totally unfavourable light. This continuing, unreasonable struggle is due to a lack of mutual affection and respect for each other as fellow human beings. Those of the Eastern bloc should reduce their hatred towards the Western bloc because the Western bloc is also made up of human beings -- men, women, and children. Similarly those of the Western bloc should reduce their hatred towards the Eastern bloc because the Eastern bloc is also human beings. In such a reduction of mutual hatred, the leaders of both blocs have a powerful role to play But first and foremost, leaders must realize their own and others' humanness. Without this basic realization, very little effective reduction of organized hatred can be achieved.

  If, for example, the leader of the United States of America and the leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics suddenly met each other in the middle of a desolate island, I am sure they would respond to each other spontaneously as fellow human beings. But a wall of mutual suspicion and misunderstanding separates them the moment they are identified as the 'President of the USA' and the 'Secretary-General of the USSR.' More human contact in the form of informal extended meetings, without any agenda, would improve their mutual understanding; they would learn to relate to each other as human beings and could then try to tackle international problems based on this understanding. No two parties, especially those with a history of antagonism, can negotiate fruitfully in an atmosphere of mutual suspicion and hatred.

  I suggest that world leaders meet about once a year in a beautiful place without any business, just to get to know each other as human beings. Then, later, they could meet to discuss mutual and global problems. I am sure many others share my wish that world leaders meet at the conference table in such an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding of each other's humanness.

  To improve person-to-person contact in the world at large, I would like to see greater encouragement of international tourism. Also, mass media, particularly in democratic societies, can make a considerable contribution to world peace by giving greater coverage to human interest items that reflect the ultimate oneness of humanity. With the rise of a few big powers in the international arena, the humanitarian role of international organizations is being bypassed and neglected. I hope that this will be corrected and that all international organizations, especially the United Nations, will be more active and effective in ensuring maximum benefit to humanity and promoting international understanding. It will indeed be tragic if the few powerful members continue to misuse world bodies like the UN for their one-sided interests. The UN must become the instrument of world peace. This world body must be respected by all, for the UN is the only source of hope for small oppressed nations and hence for the planet as a whole. As all nations are economically dependent upon one another more than ever before, human understanding must go beyond national boundaries and embrace the international community at large. Indeed, unless we can create an atmosphere of genuine cooperation, gained not by threatened or actual use of force but by heartfelt understanding, world problems will only increase. If people in poorer countries are denied the happiness they desire and deserve, they will naturally be dissatisfied and pose problems for the rich. If unwanted social, political, and cultural forms continue to be imposed upon unwilling people, the attainment of world peace is doubtful. However, if we satisfy people at a heart-to-heart level, peace will surely come.

  Within each nation, the individual ought to be given the right to happiness, and among nations, there must be equal concern for the welfare of even the smallest nations. I am not suggesting that one system is better than another and all should adopt it. On the contrary, a variety of political systems and ideologies is desirable and accords with the variety of dispositions within the human community. This variety enhances the ceaseless human quest for happiness. Thus each community should be free to evolve its own political and socioeconomic system, based on the principle of self-determination .

  The achievement of justice, harmony, and peace depends on many factors. We should think about them in terms of human benefit in the long run rather than the short term. I realize the enormity of the task before us, but I see no other alternative than the one I am proposing -- which is based on our common humanity. Nations have no choice but to be concerned about the welfare of others, not so much because of their belief in humanity, but because it is in the mutual and long-term interest of all concerned. An appreciation of this new reality is indicated by the emergence of regional or continental economic organizations such as the European Economic Community, the Association of South East Asian Nations, and so forth. I hope more such trans-national organizations will be formed, particularly in regions where economic development and regional stability seem in short supply.

  Under present conditions, there is definitely a growing need for human understanding and a sense of universal responsibility. In order to achieve such ideas, we must generate a good and kind heart, for without this, we can achieve neither universal happiness nor lasting world peace. We cannot create peace on paper. While advocating universal responsibility and universal brotherhood and sisterhood, the facts are that humanity is organized in separate entities in the form of national societies. Thus, in a realistic sense, I feel it is these societies that must act as the building-blocks for world peace.

  Attempts have been made in the past to create societies more just and equal. Institutions have been established with noble charters to combat anti-social forces. Unfortunately, such ideas have been cheated by selfishness. More than ever before, we witness today how ethics and noble principles are obscured by the shadow of self-interest, particularly in the political sphere. There is a school of thought that warns us to refrain from politics altogether, as politics has become synonymous with amorality. Politics devoid of ethics does not further human welfare, and life without morality reduces humans to the level of beasts. However, politics is not axiomatically 'dirty.' Rather, the instruments of our political culture have distorted the high ideals and noble concepts meant to further human welfare. Naturally, spiritual people express their concern about religious leaders 'messing' with politics, since they fear the contamination of religion by dirty politics.

  I question the popular assumption that religion and ethics have no place in politics and that religious persons should seclude themselves as hermits. Such a view of religion is too one-sided; it lacks a proper perspective on the individual's relation to society and the role of religion in our lives. Ethics is as crucial to a politician as it is to a religious practitioner. Dangerous consequences will follow when politicians and rulers forget moral principles. Whether we believe in God or karma, ethics is the foundation of every religion.

  Such human qualities as morality, compassion, decency, wisdom, and so forth have been the foundations of all civilizations. These qualities must be cultivated and sustained through systematic moral education in a conducive social environment so that a more humane world may emerge. The qualities required to create such a world must be inculcated right from the beginning, from childhood. We cannot wait for the next generation to make this change; the present generation must attempt a renewal of basic human values. If there is any hope, it is in the future generations, but not unless we institute major change on a worldwide scale in our present educational system. We need a revolution in our commitment to and practice of universal humanitarian values

  It is not enough to make noisy calls to halt moral degeneration; we must do something about it. Since present-day governments do not shoulder such 'religious' responsibilities, humanitarian and religious leaders must strengthen the existing civic, social, cultural, educational, and religious organizations to revive human and spiritual values. Where necessary, we must create new organizations to achieve these goals. Only in so doing can we hope to create a more stable basis for world peace.

  Living in society, we should share the sufferings of our fellow citizens and practise compassion and tolerance not only towards our loved ones but also towards our enemies. This is the test of our moral strength. We must set an example by our own practice, for we cannot hope to convince others of the value of religion by mere words. We must live up to the same high standards of integrity and sacrifice that we ask of others. The ultimate purpose of all religions is to serve and benefit humanity. This is why it is so important that religion always be used to effect the happiness and peace of all beings and not merely to convert others.

  Still, in religion there are no national boundaries. A religion can and should be used by any people or person who finds it beneficial. What is important for each seeker is to choose a religion that is most suitable to himself or herself. But, the embracing of a particular religion does not mean the rejection of another religion or one's own community. In fact, it is important that those who embrace a religion should not cut themselves off from their own society; they should continue to live within their own community and in harmony with its members. By escaping from your own community, you cannot benefit others, whereas benefiting others is actually the basic aim of religion.

  In this regard there are two things important to keep in mind: self-examination and self-correction. We should constantly check our attitude toward others, examining ourselves carefully, and we should correct ourselves immediately when we find we are in the wrong.

  Finally, a few words about material progress. I have heard a great deal of complaint against material progress from Westerners, and yet, paradoxically, it has been the very pride of the Western world. I see nothing wrong with material progress per se, provided people are always given precedence. It is my firm belief that in order to solve human problems in all their dimensions, we must combine and harmonize economic development with spiritual growth.

  However, we must know its limitations. Although materialistic knowledge in the form of science and technology has contributed enormously to human welfare, it is not capable of creating lasting happiness. In America, for example, where technological development is perhaps more advanced than in any other country, there is still a great deal of mental suffering. This is because materialistic knowledge can only provide a type of happiness that is dependent upon physical conditions. It cannot provide happiness that springs from inner development independent of external factors.

  For renewal of human values and attainment of lasting happiness, we need to look to the common humanitarian heritage of all nations the world over. May this essay serve as an urgent reminder lest we forget the human values that unite us all as a single family on this planet.

  I have written the above lines To tell my constant feeling. Whenever I meet even a 'foreigner', I have always the same feeling: 'I am meeting another member of the human family.' This attitude has deepened My affection and respect for all beings. May this natural wish be My small contribution to world peace. I pray for a more friendly, More caring, and more understanding Human family on this planet. To all who dislike suffering, Who cherish lasting happiness -- This is my heartfelt appeal.



  Dimensions of Spirituality / by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

  This teaching was given at the National Tennis Centre, Melbourne, Australia on May 4, 1992.

Two Levels of Spirituality
  Brothers and Sisters, I would like to address the topic of spiritual values by defining two levels of spirituality.

  To begin, let me say that as human beings our basic aim is to have a happy life; we all want to experience happiness. It is natural for us to seek happiness. This is our life's purpose. The reason is quite clear: when we lose hope, the result is that we become depressed and perhaps even suicidal. Therefore, our very existence is strongly rooted in hope. Although there is no guarantee of what the future will bring, it is because we have hope that we are able to continue living. Therefore, we can say that the purpose of our life, our life's goal, is happiness. Human beings are not produced by machines. We are more than just matter; we have feeling and experience. For that reason, material comfort alone is not enough. We need something deeper, what I usually refer to as human affection, or compassion. With human affection, or compassion, all the material advantages that we have at our disposal can be very constructive and can produce good results. Without human affection, however, material advantages alone will not satisfy us, nor will they produce in us any measure of mental peace or happiness. In fact, material advantages without human affection may even create additional problems. Therefore, human affection, or compassion, is the key to human happiness.

The First Level of Spirituality: The Religions of the World and Their Value for Humanity
  The first level of spirituality, for human beings everywhere, is faith in one of the many religions of the world. I think there is an important role for each of the major world religions, but in order for them to make an effective contribution to the benefit of humanity from the religious side, there are two important factors to be considered. The first of these factors is that individual practitioners of the various religions -- that is, we ourselves -- must practice sincerely. Religious teachings must be an integral part of our lives; they should not be separated from our lives. Sometimes we go into a church or temple and say a prayer, or generate some kind of spiritual feeling, and then, when we step outside the church or temple, none of that religious feeling remains. This is not the proper way to practice. The religious message must be with us wherever we are. The teachings of our religion must be present in our lives so that, when we really need or require blessings or inner strength, those teachings will be there even at such times; they will be there when we experience difficulties because they are constantly present. Only when religion has become an integral part of our lives can it be really effective. We also need to experience more deeply the meanings and spiritual values of our own religious tradition -- we need to know these teachings not only on an intellectual level but also through our own deeper experience. Sometimes we understand different religious ideas on an overly superficial or intellectual level. Without a deeper feeling, the effectiveness of religion becomes limited. Therefore, we must practice sincerely, and religion must become part of our lives.

The Importance of a Close Relationship Among Religions
  The second factor is concerned more with interaction among the various world religions. Today, because of increasing technological change and the nature of the world economy, we are much more dependent on one another than ever before. Different countries, different continents, have become more closely associated with one another. In reality the survival of one region of the world depends on that of others. Therefore, the world has become much closer, much more interdependent. As a result, there is more human interaction. Under such circumstances, the idea of pluralism among the world's religions is very important. In previous times, when communities lived separately from one another and religions arose in relative isolation, the idea that there was only one religion was very useful. But now the situation has changed, and the circumstances are entirely different. Now, therefore, it is crucial to accept the fact that different religions exist, and in order to develop genuine mutual respect among them, close contact among the various religions is essential. This is the second factor that will enable the world's religions to be effective in benefiting humanity....... When I was in Tibet, I had no contact with people of different religious faiths, so my attitude toward other religions was not very positive. But once I had had the opportunity to meet with people of different faiths and to learn from personal contact and experience, my attitude toward other religions changed. I realized how useful to humanity other religions are, and what potential each has to contribute to a better world. In the last several centuries the various religions have made marvelous contributions toward the betterment of human beings, and even today there are large numbers of followers of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and so forth. Millions of people are benefiting from all these religions....... To give an example of the value of meeting people of different faiths, my meetings with the late Thomas Merton made me realize what a beautiful, wonderful person he was. On another occasion I met with a Catholic monk in Monserrat, one of Spain's famous monasteries. I was told that this monk had lived for several years as a hermit on a hill just behind the monastery. When I visited the monastery, he came down from his hermitage especially to meet me. As it happened, his English was even worse than mine, and this gave me more courage to speak with him! We remained face to face, and I inquired, "In those few years, what were you doing on that hill!" He looked at me and answered, "Meditation on compassion, on love." As he said those few words, I understood the message through his eyes. I truly developed genuine admiration for this person and for others like him. Such experiences have helped confirm in my mind that all the world's religions have the potential to produce good people, despite their differences of philosophy and doctrine. Each religious tradition has its own wonderful message to convey....... For example, from the Buddhist point of view the concept of a creator is illogical; because of the ways in which Buddhists analyze causality, it is a difficult concept for Buddhists to understand. However, this is not the place to discuss philosophical issues. The important point here is that for the people who do follow those teachings in which the basic faith is in a creator, that approach is very effective. According to those traditions, the individual human being is created by God. Moreover, as I recently learned from one of my Christian friends, they do not accept the theory of rebirth and, thus, do not accept past or future lives. They accept only this life. However, they hold that this very life is created by God, by the creator, and that idea develops in them a feeling of intimacy with God. Their most important teaching is that since it is by God's will that we are here, our future depends upon the creator, and that because the creator is considered to be holy and supreme, we must love God, the creator....... What follows from this is the teaching that we should love our fellow human beings -- this is the primary message here. The reasoning is that if we love God, we must love our fellow human beings because they, like us, were created by God. Their future, like ours, depends on the creator; therefore, their situation is like our own. Consequently, the faith of people who say, "Love God," but who themselves do not show genuine love toward their fellow human beings is questionable. The person who believes in God and in love for God must demonstrate the sincerity of his or her love of God through love directed toward fellow human beings. This approach is very powerful, isn't it?...... Thus, if we examine each religion from various angles in the same way -- not simply from our own philosophical position but from several points of view -- there can be no doubt that all major religions have the potential to improve human beings. This is obvious. Through close contact with those of other faiths it is possible to develop a broadminded attitude and mutual respect with regard to other religions. Close contact with different religions helps me to learn new ideas, new practices, and new methods or techniques that I can incorporate into my own practice. Similarly, some of my Christian brothers and sisters have adopted certain Buddhist methods -- for example, the practice of one-pointedness of mind as well as techniques to help improve tolerance, compassion, and love. There is great benefit when practitioners of different religions come together for this kind of interchange. In addition to the development of harmony among them, there are other benefits to be gained as well....... Politicians and national leaders frequently talk about "coexistence" and "coming together." Why not we religious people too? I think the time has come. At Assisi in 1987, for example, leaders and representatives of various world religions met to pray together, although I am not certain whether "prayer" is the exact word to describe the practice of all these religions accurately. In any case, what is important is that representatives of the various religions come together in one place and, according to their own belief, pray. This is already happening and is, I think, a very positive development. Nevertheless, we still need to put more effort toward developing harmony and closeness among the world's religions, since without such effort, we will continue to experience the many problems that divide humanity....... If religion were the only remedy for reducing human conflict, but that remedy itself became another source of conflict, it would be disastrous. Today, as in the past, conflicts take place in the name of religion, because of religious differences, and I think this is very, very sad. But as I mentioned earlier, if we think broadly, deeply, we will realize that the situation in the past is entirely different from the situation today. We are no longer isolated but are instead interdependent. Today, therefore, it is very important to realize that a close relationship among the various religions is essential, so that different religious groups may work closely together and make a common effort for the benefit of humankind....... Thus, sincerity and faith in religious practice on the one hand, and religious tolerance and cooperation on the other, comprise this first level of the value of spiritual practice to humanity.

The Second Level of Spirituality: Compassion as the Universal Religion
  The second level of spirituality is more important than the first because, no matter how wonderful any religion may be, it is still accepted only by a very limited number of people. The majority of the five or six billion human beings on our planet probably do not practice any religion at all. According to their family background they might identify themselves as belonging to one religious group or another -- "I am Hindu"; "I am Buddhist"; "I am Christian" -- but deep down, most of these individuals are not necessarily practitioners of any religious faith. That is all right; whether or not a person embraces a religion is that person's right as an individual. All the great ancient masters, such as Buddha, Mahavira, Jesus Christ, and Mohammed, failed to make the entire human population spiritually minded. The fact is that nobody can do that. Whether those nonbelievers are called atheists does not matter. Indeed, according to some Western scholars, Buddhists are also atheists, since they do not accept a creator. Therefore, I sometimes add one more word to describe these nonbelievers, and that is "extreme"; I call them extreme nonbelievers. They are not only nonbelievers but are extreme in their view in that they hold that spirituality has no value. However, we must remember that these people are also a part of humanity, and that they also, like all human beings, have the desire to be happy -- to have a happy and peaceful life. This is the important point....... I believe that it is all right to remain a nonbeliever, but as long as you are a part of humanity, as long as you are a human being, you need human affection, human compassion. This is actually the essential teaching of all the religious traditions: the crucial point is compassion, or human affection. Without human affection, even religious beliefs can become destructive. Thus, the essence, even in religion, is a good heart. I consider human affection, or compassion, to be the universal religion. Whether a believer or a nonbeliever, everyone needs human affection and compassion, because compassion gives us inner strength, hope, and mental peace. Thus, it is indispensable for everyone....... Let us, for example, examine the usefulness of the good heart in daily life. If we are in a good mood when we get up in the morning, if there is a warm-hearted feeling within, automatically our inner door is opened for that day. Even should an unfriendly person happen along, we would not experience much disturbance and may even manage to say something nice to that person. We could chat with the not-so-friendly person and perhaps even have a meaningful conversation. But on a day when our mood is less positive and we are feeling irritated, automatically our inner door closes. As a result, even if we encounter our best friend, we feel uncomfortable and strained. These instances shows how our inner attitude makes a great difference in our daily experiences. Therefore, in order to create a pleasant atmosphere within ourselves, within our families, within our communities, we have to realize that the ultimate source of that pleasant atmosphere is within the individual, within each of us -- a good heart, human compassion, love....... Once we create a friendly and positive atmosphere, it automatically helps to reduce fear and insecurity. In this way we can easily make more friends and create more smiles. After all, we are social animals. Without human friendship, without the human smile, our life becomes miserable. The lonely feeling becomes unbearable. It is a natural law -- that is to say, according to natural law we depend on others to live. If, under certain circumstances, because something is wrong inside us, our attitude toward fellow human beings, on whom we depend, becomes hostile, how can we hope to attain peace of mind or a happy life? According to basic human nature, or natural law, affection-compassion-is the key to happiness....... According to contemporary medicine, a positive mental state, or peace of mind, is also beneficial for our physical health. If we are constantly agitated, we end up harming our own health. Therefore, even from the point of view of our health, mental calmness and peacefulness are very important. This shows that the physical body itself appreciates and responds to human affection, human peace of mind.

Basic Huamn Nature
  If we look at basic human nature, we see that our nature is more gentle than aggressive. For example, if we examine various animals, we notice that animals of a more peaceful nature have a corresponding body structure, whereas predatory animals have a body structure that has developed according to their nature. Compare the tiger and the deer: there are great differences in their physical structures. When we compare our own body structure to theirs, we see that we resemble deer and rabbits more than tigers. Even our teeth are more like theirs, are they not? They are not like a tiger's. Our nails are another good example -- I cannot even catch a rat with my human fingernails alone. Of course, because of human intelligence, we are able to devise and use various tools and methods to accomplish things that would be difficult to accomplish without them. Thus, as you can see, because of our physical situation we belong to the gentle- animal category. I think this is our fundamental human nature as shown by our basic physical structure.

Compassion and Conflict Resolution
  Given our current global situation, cooperation is essential, especially in fields such as economics and education. The concept that differences are important is now more or less gone, as demonstrated by the movement toward a unified Western Europe. This movement is, I think, truly marvelous and very timely. Yet this close work between nations did not come about because of compassion or religious faith, but rather because of necessity. There is a growing tendency in the world toward global awareness. Under current circumstances a closer relationship with others has become an element of our very survival. Therefore, the concept of universal responsibility based on compassion and on a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood is now essential. The world is full of conflicts -- conflicts because of ideology, because of religion, even conflicts within families: conflicts based on one person wanting one thing and another wanting something else. So if we examine the sources of these many conflicts, we find that there are many different sources, many different causes, even within ourselves....... Yet, in the meantime, we have the potential and ability to come together in harmony. All these other things are relative. Although there are many sources of conflict, there are at the same time many sources that bring about unity and harmony. The time has come to put more emphasis on unity. Here again there must be human affection. For example, you many have a different ideological or religious opinion from someone else. If you respect the other's rights and sincerely show a compassionate attitude toward that person, then it does not matter whether his or her idea is suitable for yourself; that is secondary. As long as the other person believes in it, as long as that person benefits from such a viewpoint, it is his or her absolute right. So we must respect that and accept the fact that different viewpoints exist. In the realm of economics as well, one's competitors must also receive some profit, because they too have to survive. When we have a broader perspective based on compassion, I think things become much easier. Once again, compassion is the key factor.

  Today, our world situation has eased considerably. Fortunately, we can now think and talk seriously about demilitarization, or at least the idea of demilirarization. Five years ago, or perhaps even as recently as two years ago, it was difficult even to think about it, but now the Cold War between the former Soviet Union and the United States is over. With regard to the United States, I always tell my American friends, "Your strength comes not from nuclear weapons but from your ancestors' noble ideas of freedom, liberty, and democracy." When I was in the United States in 1991, I had the opportunity of meeting with former President George Bush. At that time we discussed the New World Order, and I said to him, "A New World Order with compassion is very good. I'm not so sure about a New World Order without compassion." I now believe that the time is ripe to think and talk about demilitarization. There are already some signs of weapons reduction and for the first time, denuclearization. Step by step, we are seeing a reduction in weapons, and I think our goal should be to free the world -- our small planet -- from weapons. This does not mean, however, that we should abolish all forms of weapons. We may need to keep some, since there are always some mischievous people and groups among us. In order to take precautions and be safeguarded from these sources, we could create a system of regionally monitored international police forces, not necessarily belonging to any one nation but controlled collectively and supervised ultimately by an organization like the United Nations or another similar international body. That way, with no weapons available, there would be no danger of military conflict between nations, and there would also be no civil wars. War has remained, sadly, a part of human history up to the present, but I think the time has come to change the concepts that lead to war. Some people consider war to be something glorious; they think that through war they can become heroes. This usual attitude toward war is very wrong. Recently an interviewer remarked to me, "Westerners have a great fear of death, but Easterners seem to have very little fear of death." To that I half-jokingly responded, "It seems to me that, to the Western mind, war and the military establishment are extremely important. War means death -- by killing, not by natural causes. So it seems that, in fact, you are the ones who do not fear death, because you are so fond of war. We Easterners, particularly Tibetans, cannot even begin to consider war; we cannot conceive of fighting, because the inevitable result of war is disaster: death, injuries, and misery. Therefore, the concept of war, in our minds, is extremely negative. That means we actually have more fear of death than you. Don't you think?" Unfortunately, because of certain factors, our ideas about war are incorrect. Therefore, the time has come to think seriously about demilitarization....... I felt this very strongly during and after the Persian Gulf crisis. Of course, everybody blamed Saddam Hussein, and there is no question that Saddam Hussein is negative -- he made many mistakes and acted wrongly in many ways. After all, he is a dictator, and a dictator is, of course, something negative. However, without his military establishment, without his weapons, Saddam Hussein could not function as that kind of dictator. Who supplied those weapons? The suppliers also bear the responsibility. Some Western nations supplied him with weapons without regard for the consequences....... To think only of money, of making a profit from selling weapons, is really terrible. I once met a French woman who had spent many years in Beirut, Lebanon. She told me with great sadness that during the crisis in Beirut there were people at one end of the city making a profit selling weapons, and that every day, at the other end of the city, other-innocent-people were being killed with those very weapons. Similarly, on one side of our planet there are people living a lavish life with the profits made from selling arms, while innocent people are getting killed with those fancy bullets on the other side of our planet. Therefore, the first step is to stop selling weapons. Sometimes I tease my Swedish friends: "Oh, you are really wonderful. During the last period of conflict you remained neutral. And you always consider the importance of human rights and world peace. Very good. But in the meantime you are selling many weapons. This is a little bit of a contradiction, isn't it."...... Therefore, since the time of the Persian Gulf crisis I myself made an inner pledge -- a commitment that for the rest of my life I will contribute to furthering the idea of demilitarizarion. As far as my own country is concerned, I have made up my mind that in the future, Tibet should be a completely demilirarized zone. Once again, in working to bring about demilitarization, the key factor is human compassion.

Conclusion: The Meaning of Compassion
  I have talked a great deal about compassion without explaining its precise meaning. I would like to conclude by explaining the meaning of compassion, which is often misunderstood. Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the rights of the other: irrespective of whether another person is a close friend or an enemy, as long as that person wishes for peace and happiness and wishes to overcome suffering, then on that basis we develop genuine concern for his or her problem. This is genuine compassion....... Usually when we are concerned about a close friend, we call this compassion. This is not compassion; it is attachment. Even in marriage, those marriages that last a long time do so not because of attachment -- although it is generally present -- but because there is also compassion. Marriages that last only a short time do so because of a lack of compassion; there is only emotional attachment based on projection and expectation. When the only bond between close friends is attachment, then even a minor issue may cause one's projections to change. As soon as our projections change, the attachment disappears -- because that attachment was based solely on projection and expectation....... It is possible to have compassion without attachment -- and similarly, to have anger without hatred. Therefore, we need to clarify the distinctions between compassion and attachment, and between anger and hatred. Such clarity is useful in our daily life and in our efforts toward world peace. I consider these to be basic spiritual values for the happiness of all human beings.......



  Compassion and the Individual / by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

The Purpose of Life
  One great question underlies our experience, whether we think about it consciously or not: What is the purpose of life? I have considered this question and would like to share my thoughts in the hope that they may be of direct, practical benefit to those who read them. I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. From the moment of birth, every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affect this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. I don't know whether the universe, with its countless galaxies, stars and planets, has a deeper meaning or not, but at the very least, it is clear that we humans who live on this earth face the task of making a happy life for ourselves. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.

How to Achieve Happiness
  For a start, it is possible to divide every kind of happiness and suffering into two main categories: mental and physical. Of the two, it is the mind that exerts the greatest influence on most of us. Unless we are either gravely ill or deprived of basic necessities, our physical condition plays a secondary role in life. If the body is content, we virtually ignore it. The mind, however, registers every event, no matter how small. Hence we should devote our most serious efforts to bringing about mental peace....... From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquillity comes from the development of love and compassion....... The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life....... As long as we live in this world we are bound to encounter problems. If, at such times, we lose hope and become discouraged, we diminish our ability to face difficulties. If, on the other hand, we remember that it is not just ourselves but everyone who has to undergo suffering, this more realistic perspective will increase our determination and capacity to overcome troubles. Indeed, with this attitude, each new obstacle can be seen as yet another valuable opportunity to improve our mind!...... Thus we can strive gradually to become more compassionate, that is we can develop both genuine sympathy for others' suffering and the will to help remove their pain. As a result, our own serenity and inner strength will increase.

Our Need for Love
  Ultimately, the reason why love and compassion bring the greatest happiness is simply that our nature cherishes them above all else. The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. It results from the profound interdependence we all share with one another. However capable and skillful an individual may be, left alone, he or she will not survive. However vigorous and independent one may feel during the most prosperous periods of life, when one is sick or very young or very old, one must depend on the support of others...... Interdependence, of course, is a fundamental law of nature. Not only higher forms of life but also many of the smallest insects are social beings who, without any religion, law or education, survive by mutual cooperation based on an innate recognition of their interconnectedness. The most subtle level of material phenomena is also governed by interdependence. All phenomena, from the planet we inhabit to the oceans, clouds, forests and flowers that surround us, arise in dependence upon subtle patterns of energy. Without their proper interaction, they dissolve and decay. It is because our own human existence is so dependent on the help of others that our need for love lies at the very foundation of our existence. Therefore we need a genuine sense of responsibility and a sincere concern for the welfare of others....... We have to consider what we human beings really are. We are not like machine-made objects. If we were merely mechanical entities, then machines themselves could alleviate all of our sufferings and fulfil our needs. However, since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. Instead, we should consider our origins and nature to discover what we require....... Leaving aside the complex question of the creation and evolution of our universe, we can at least agree that each of us is the product of our own parents. In general, our conception took place not just in the context of sexual desire but from our parents' decision to have a child. Such decisions are founded on responsibility and altruism -- the parents' compassionate commitment to care for their child until it is able to take care of itself. Thus, from the very moment of our conception, our parents' love is directly involved in our creation....... Moreover, we are completely dependent upon our mother's care from the earliest stages of our growth. According to some scientists, a pregnant woman's mental state, be it calm or agitated, has a direct physical effect on her unborn child....... The expression of love is also very important at the time of birth. Since the very first thing we do is suck milk from our mother's breast, we naturally feel close to her, and she must feel love for us in order to feed us properly; if she feels anger or resentment her milk may not flow freely...... Then there is the critical period of brain development from the time of birth up to at least the age of three or four, during which time loving physical contact is the single most important factor for the normal growth of the child. If the child is not held, hugged, cuddled or loved, its development will be impaired and its brain will not mature properly....... Since a child cannot survive without the care of others, love is its most important nourishment. The happiness of childhood, the allaying of the child's many fears and the healthy development of its self- confidence all depend directly upon love....... Nowadays, many children grow up in unhappy homes. If they do not receive proper affection, in later life they will rarely love their parents and, not infrequently, will find it hard to love others. This is very sad....... As children grow older and enter school, their need for support must be met by their teachers. If a teacher not only imparts academic education but also assumes responsibility for preparing students for life, his or her pupils will feel trust and respect and what has been taught will leave an indelible impression on their minds. On the other hand, subjects taught by a teacher who does not show true concern for his or her students' overall well-being will be regarded as temporary and not retained for long. Similarly, if one is sick and being treated in hospital by a doctor who evinces a warm human feeling, one feels at ease and the doctor's desire to give the best possible care is itself curative, irrespective of the degree of his or her technical skill. On the other hand, if one's doctor lacks human feeling and displays an unfriendly expression, impatience or casual disregard, one will feel anxious, even if he or she is the most highly qualified doctor and the disease has been correctly diagnosed and the right medication prescribed. Inevitably, patients' feelings make a difference to the quality and completeness of their recovery....... Even when we engage in ordinary conversation in everyday life, if someone speaks with human feeling we enjoy listening, and respond accordingly; the whole conversation becomes interesting, however unimportant the topic may be. On the other hand, if a person speaks coldly or harshly, we feel uneasy and wish for a quick end to the interaction. From the least to the most important event, the affection and respect of others are vital for our happiness....... Recently I met a group of scientists in America who said that the rate of mental illness in their country was quite high around twelve percent of the population. it became clear during our discussion that the main cause of depression was not a lack of material necessities but a deprivation of the affection of others....... So, as you can see from everything I have written so far, one thing seems clear to me: whether or not we are consciously aware of it, from the day we are born, the need for human affection is in our very blood. Even if the affection comes from an animal or someone we would normally consider an enemy, both children and adults will naturally gravitate towards it....... I believe that no one is born free from the need for love. And this demonstrates that, although some modern schools of thought seek to do so, human beings cannot be defined as solely physical. No material object, however beautiful or valuable, can make us feel loved, because our deeper identity and true character lie in the subjective nature of the mind.

Developing Compassion
  Some of my friends have told me that, while love and compassion are marvelous and good, they are not really very relevant. Our world, they say, is not a place where such beliefs have much influence or power. They claim that anger and hatred are so much a part of human nature that humanity will always be dominated by them. I do not agree....... We humans have existed in our present form for about a hundred thousand years. I believe that if during this time the human mind had been primarily controlled by anger and hatred, our overall population would have decreased. But today, despite all our wars, we find that the human population is greater than ever. This clearly indicates to me that love and compassion predominate in the world. And this is why unpleasant events are "news"; compassionate activities are so much a part of daily life that they are taken for granted and, therefore, largely ignored....... So far I have been discussing mainly the mental benefits of compassion, but it contributes to good physical health as well. According to my personal experience, mental stability and physical well-being are directly related. Without question, anger and agitation make us more susceptible to illness. On the other hand, if the mind is tranquil and occupied with positive thoughts, the body will not easily fall prey to disease....... But of course it is also true that we all have an innate self-centeredness that inhibits our love for others. So, since we desire the true happiness that is brought about by only a calm mind, and since such peace of mind is brought about by only a compassionate attitude, how can we develop this? Obviously, it is not enough for us simply to think about how nice compassion is! We need to make a concerted effort to develop it; we must use all the events of our daily life to transform our thoughts and behavior....... First of all, we must be clear about what we mean by compassion. Many forms of compassionate feeling are mixed with desire and attachment. For instance, the love parents feel for their child is often strongly associated with their own emotional needs, so it is not fully compassionate. Again, in marriage, the love between husband and wife -- particularly at the beginning, when each partner still may not know the other's deeper character very well -- depends more on attachment than genuine love. Our desire can be so strong that the person to whom we are attached appears to be good, when in fact he or she is very negative. In addition, we have a tendency to exaggerate small positive qualities. Thus when one partner's attitude changes, the other partner is often disappointed and his or her attitude changes too. This is an indication that love has been motivated more by personal need than by genuine care for the other individual....... True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude towards others does not change even if they behave negatively....... Of course, developing this kind of compassion is not at all easy! As a start, let us consider the following facts: Whether people are beautiful and friendly or unattractive and disruptive, ultimately they are human beings, just like oneself. Like oneself, they want happiness and do not want suffering. Furthermore, their right to overcome suffering and be happy is equal to one's own. Now, when you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them. Through accustoming your mind to this sense of universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others: the wish to help them actively overcome their problems. Nor is this wish selective; it applies equally to all. As long as they are human beings experiencing pleasure and pain just as you do, there is no logical basis to discriminate between them or to alter your concern for them if they behave negatively. Let me emphasize that it is within our power, given patience and time, to develop this kind of compassion. Of course, our self-centeredness, our distinctive attachment to the feeling of an independent, self-existent "I: works fundamentally to inhibit our compassion. Indeed, true compassion can be experienced only when this type of self-grasping is eliminated. But this does not mean that we cannot start and make progress now.

How We Can Start
  We should begin by removing the greatest hindrances to compassion: anger and hatred. As we all know, these are extremely powerful emotions and they can overwhelm our entire mind. Nevertheless, they can be controlled. If, however, they are not, these negative emotions will plague us -- with no extra effort on their part! -- and impede our quest for the happiness of a loving mind....... So as a start, it is useful to investigate whether or not anger is of value. Sometimes, when we are discouraged by a difficult situation, anger does seem helpful, appearing to bring with it more energy, confidence and determination. Here, though, we must examine our mental state carefully. While it is true that anger brings extra energy, if we explore the nature of this energy, we discover that it is blind: we cannot be sure whether its result will be positive or negative. This is because anger eclipses the best part of our brain: its rationality. So the energy of anger is almost always unreliable. It can cause an immense amount of destructive, unfortunate behavior. Moreover, if anger increases to the extreme, one becomes like a mad person, acting in ways that are as damaging to oneself as they are to others....... It is possible, however, to develop an equally forceful but far more controlled energy with which to handle difficult situations....... This controlled energy comes not only from a compassionate attitude, but also from reason and patience. These are the most powerful antidotes to anger. Unfortunately, many people misjudge these qualities as signs of weakness. I believe the opposite to be true: that they are the true signs of inner strength. Compassion is by nature gentle, peaceful and soft, but it is also very powerful. It is those who easily lose their patience who are insecure and unstable. Thus, to me, the arousal of anger is a direct sign of weakness....... So, when a problem first arises, try to remain humble and maintain a sincere attitude and be concerned that the outcome is fair. Of course, others may try to take advantage of you, and if your remaining detached only encourages unjust aggression, adopt a strong stand. This, however, should be done with compassion, and if it is necessary to express your views and take strong countermeasures, do so without anger or ill-intent. You should realize that even though your opponents appear to be harming you, in the end, their destructive activity will damage only themselves. In order to check your own selfish impulse to retaliate, you should recall your desire to practice compassion and assume responsibility for helping prevent the other person from suffering the consequences of his or her acts....... Thus, because the measures you employ have been calmly chosen, they will be more effective, more accurate and more forceful. Retaliation based on the blind energy of anger seldom hits the target.

Friends and Enemies
  I must emphasize again that merely thinking that compassion and reason and patience are good will not be enough to develop them. We must wait for difficulties to arise and then attempt to practice them....... And who creates such opportunities? Not our friends, of course, but our enemies. They are the ones who give us the most trouble. So if we truly wish to learn, we should consider enemies to be our best teacher!...... For a person who cherishes compassion and love, the practice of tolerance is essential, and for that, an enemy is indispensable. So we should feel grateful to our enemies, for it is they who can best help us develop a tranquil mind! Also, it is often the case in both personal and public life, that with a change in circumstances, enemies become friends....... So anger and hatred are always harmful, and unless we train our minds and work to reduce their negative force, they will continue to disturb us and disrupt our attempts to develop a calm mind. Anger and hatred are our real enemies. These are the forces we most need to confront and defeat, not the temporary "enemies" who appear intermittently throughout life....... Of course, it is natural and right that we all want friends. I often joke that if you really want to be selfish, you should be very altruistic! You should take good care of others, be concerned for their welfare, help them, serve them, make more friends, make more smiles. The result? When you yourself need help, you find plenty of helpers! If, on the other hand, you neglect the happiness of others, in the long term you will be the loser. And is friendship produced through quarrels and anger, jealousy and intense competitiveness? I do not think so. Only affection brings us genuine close friends....... In today's materialistic society, if you have money and power, you seem to have many friends. But they are not friends of yours; they are the friends of your money and power. When you lose your wealth and influence, you will find it very difficult to track these people down....... The trouble is that when things in the world go well for us, we become confident that we can manage by ourselves and feel we do not need friends, but as our status and health decline, we quickly realize how wrong we were. That is the moment when we learn who is really helpful and who is completely useless. So to prepare for that moment, to make genuine friends who will help us when the need arises, we ourselves must cultivate altruism!...... Though sometimes people laugh when I say it, I myself always want more friends. I love smiles. Because of this I have the problem of knowing how to make more friends and how to get more smiles, in particular, genuine smiles. For there are many kinds of smile, such as sarcastic, artificial or diplomatic smiles. Many smiles produce no feeling of satisfaction, and sometimes they can even create suspicion or fear, can't they? But a genuine smile really gives us a feeling of freshness and is, I believe, unique to human beings. If these are the smiles we want, then we ourselves must create the reasons for them to appear.

Compassion and the World
  In conclusion, I would like briefly to expand my thoughts beyond the topic of this short piece and make a wider point: individual happiness can contribute in a profound and effective way to the overall improvement of our entire human community....... Because we all share an identical need for love, it is possible to feel that anybody we meet, in whatever circumstances, is a brother or sister. No matter how new the face or how different the dress and behavior, there is no significant division between us and other people. It is foolish to dwell on external differences, because our basic natures are the same....... Ultimately, humanity is one and this small planet is our only home. If we are to protect this home of ours, each of us needs to experience a vivid sense of universal altruism. It is only this feeling that can remove the self-centered motives that cause people to deceive and misuse one another. If you have a sincere and open heart, you naturally feel self-worth and confidence, and there is no need to be fearful of others....... I believe that at every level of society -- familial, tribal, national and international -- the key to a happier and more successful world is the growth of compassion. We do not need to become religious, nor do we need to believe in an ideology. All that is necessary is for each of us to develop our good human qualities....... I try to treat whoever I meet as an old friend. This gives me a genuine feeling of happiness. It is the time to help create a happier world.



Divisions of the Vehicles
  By Dalai Lama / The Divisions of the Vehicles (excerpt)

  Various systems of thought and practice are mentioned in classical Buddhist literature. Such systems are referred to as yanas or "vehicles." There are, for instance, the various vehicles of humans and divine beings in addition to the Buddhist vehicles: the vehicle of individual liberation (hinayana), the vehicle of universal salvation (mahayana), and the vehicle of tantra (vajrayana). In this context, vehicles of humans and divine beings refer to systems that outline the essential training and methods for both fulfilling the major aspirations of this life and, in addition, obtaining a favorable rebirth as either a human or a divine being. Such systems emphasize the importance of maintaining an ethically sound lifestyle--grounded in refraining from engaging in negative actions--since leading a life of righteousness and good behavior is perceived to be the most crucial factor for ensuring a favorable rebirth.

  The Buddha also spoke of another category of vehicle, the Brahma Vehicle, comprising principally those techniques of meditation that aim at achieving the highest possible form of life within samsara, the karmically conditioned cycle of existence. Such meditative techniques include, among other things, withdrawing the mind from all external objects, which leads to a state of single-pointedness. The meditative states experienced as a result of having generated single-pointedness of mind are altered states of consciousness that, in terms of their phenomenological aspects and also their mode of engagement with objects, closely correspond to states of existence in the form and formless realms.

  From a Buddhist point of view, all these diverse systems are worthy of respect since they all have the potential to bring about great benefit to a large number of sentient beings. However, this does not mean that all these systems are complete in themselves in presenting a path leading to full liberation from suffering and from the cycle of existence. Genuine freedom and liberation can only be achieved when our fundamental ignorance, our habitual misapprehension of the nature of reality, is totally overcome. This ignorance, which underlies all our emotional and cognitive states, is the root factor that binds us to the perpetual cycle of life and death in samsara. The system of thought and practice that presents a complete path towards liberation from this bondage is called the vehicle of the Buddha (buddhayana).

  Within the Buddha's Vehicle there are two major systems of thought and practice: the Individual Vehicle, or Hinayana, and the Universal Vehicle, or Mahayana. The former includes the Theravada system, which is the predominant form of Buddhism in many Asian countries, such as Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, and others. In classical Buddhist literature, the Individual Vehicle is described as having two main divisions: the Hearers' Vehicle and the Solitary Realizers' Vehicle. A principal difference between the Individual Vehicle and the Universal Vehicle exists in their views on the Buddhist doctrine of selflessness and the scope of its application. The Individual Vehicle expounds the view of selflessness only in relation to person or personal identity but not in relation to things and events in general, whereas in the Universal Vehicle, the principle of selflessness is not confined to the limited scope of the person but encompasses the entire spectrum of existence, all phenomena. In other words, the Universal Vehicle system understands selflessness as a universal principle. Interpreted in this way, the principle of selflessness acquires greater profundity. According to the Universal Vehicle teachings, it is only when a practitioner's experience of selflessness is rooted in this universal interpretation that the experience will bring about the elimination of the delusions and their underlying states of ignorance. It is by eliminating these underlying states of ignorance that we are able to cut off the root of samsara. Furthermore, a profound experience of selflessness can also lead, ultimately, to full enlightenment, a state of total freedom from the subtle imprints and the obstructive habitual tendencies created by our misconception of the nature of reality. The system of thought and practice which presents such a view of selflessness is called Mahayana, the Universal Vehicle.

  The Tantric Vehicle, or Vajrayana, which is considered by the Tibetan tradition to be the highest vehicle, is included within the Universal Vehicle. In addition to meditative practices for enhancing one's realization of emptiness and bodhicitta, this system also includes certain advanced techniques for utilizing the various elements of the physical body in one's meditative practice. Such feats are accomplished on the basis of sophisticated yogic practices that principally involve mentally penetrating the essential points within the body where the cakras, or energy centers, are located. By means of this subtle and refined coordination of mind and body, the practitioner is able to accelerate the process of getting at the root of ignorance and completely overcoming its effects and imprints, a process that culminates, finally, in the realization of full enlightenment. This feature--of engaging in meditative practices involving the subtle coordination of both mental and physiological elements within the practitioner--is unique to the Tantric Vehicle.



  A dharma discourse by HH the Dalai Lama / This is an excerpt on Dependent Arising (karma) and The 3 Poisons (which cause all suffering):

  When in the first rendition Buddha says, "Due to the existence of this, that arises," he indicates that the phenomena of cyclic existence arise not through the force of supervision by a permanent deity but due to specific conditions. Merely due to the presence of certain causes and conditions, specific effects arise.

  Dependent Arising --- The first two links: Ignorance (the blind man) and Action (the potter)

  With respect to the Buddhist view, dependent-arising is the general philosophy of all Buddhist systems even though there are many different interpretations of it. In Sanskrit the word for dependent- arising is pratityasamutpada The word pratitya has three different meanings--meeting, relying, and depending--but all three, in terms of their basic import, mean dependence. Samutpada means arising. Hence, the meaning of pratityasamutpada is that which arises in dependence upon conditions, in reliance upon conditions, through the force of conditions. On a subtle level, it is explained as the main reason why phenomena are empty of inherent existence....... When Buddha set forth the twelve links of dependent- arising, he spoke from a vast perspective and with great import. He taught the twelve links in detail in the Rice Seedling Sutra As in other discourses, the context is one of questions which Buddha's answers. In this Sutra, Buddha speaks of dependent-arising in three ways:

  Due to the existence of this, that arises... Due to the production of this, that is produced... It is thus: due to ignorance there is compositional action; due to compositional action there is consciousness; due to consciousness there are name and form; due to name and form there are the six sense spheres; due to the six sense spheres there is contact; due to contact there is feeling; due to feeling there is attachment; due to attachment there is grasping; due to grasping there is the potentialized level of karma called "existence"; due to "existence" there is birth; and due to birth there are aging and death.

  When in the first rendition Buddha says, "Due to the existence of this, that arises," he indicates that the phenomena of cyclic existence arise not through the force of supervision by a permanent deity but due to specific conditions. Merely due to the presence of certain causes and conditions, specific effects arise....... In the second phase, when Buddha says, "Due to the production of this, that is produced," he indicates that an unproduced, permanent phenomenon such as the general nature propounded by the Samkhya system (of thought) cannot perform the function of creating effects. Rather, the phenomena of cyclic existence arise from conditions that are impermanent by nature....... Then the question arises: If the phenomena of cyclic existence are produced from impermanent conditions, could they be produced from just any impermanent factors? This would not be sufficient; thus, in the third phase, he indicates that the phenomena of cyclic existence are not produced from just any impermanent causes and conditions but rather from specific ones that have the potential to give rise to specific phenomena....... Setting forth the dependent- arising of suffering, Buddha shows that suffering has ignorance--obscuration--as its root cause. This impure, faulty seed produces an activity that deposits in the mind a potency that will generate suffering by producing a new life in cyclic existence. It eventually has as its fruit the last link of dependent- arising, the suffering of aging and death....... With regard to the twelve links of dependent- arising, there are basically two modes of explanation, one in terms of thoroughly afflicted phenomena and another in terms of pure phenomena. Just as in the four noble truths, which are Buddha's root teaching, there are two sets of cause and effect, one set for the afflicted class of phenomena and another for the pure class, so here in the twelve links of dependent- arising, there are procedures in terms of both afflicted phenomena and pure phenomena. From among the four noble truths, true sufferings--the first truth--are effects in the afflicted class of phenomena, and true sources--the second truth--are their causes. In the pure class of phenomena, true cessations, the third truth, are effects in the pure class, and true paths, the fourth truth, are their causes. Similarly, when it is explained in the twelve links of dependent- arising that due to the r condition of ignorance, action is produced and so forth, the explanation is in terms of the afflicted procedure, and when it is explained that due to the cessation of ignorance, action ceases ; and so forth, it is in terms of the procedure of the pure class. The first is the procedure of the production of suffering, and the second is the procedure of the cessation of suffering.

  To repeat: the twelve links of dependent- arising are laid out in terms of a process of affliction and in terms of a process of purification, and each of these is presented in forward and reverse orders. Thus, in the forward process, it is explained that: Due to the condition of ignorance, action arises; due to the condition of action, consciousness arises; due to the condition of consciousness, name and form arise; due to the condition of name and form, the six sense spheres arise; due to the condition of the six sense spheres, contact arises; due to the condition of contact, feeling arises; due to the condition of feeling, attachment arises; due to the condition of attachment, grasping arises; due to the condition of grasping, the potentialized level of karma called "existence" arises; due to the condition of "existence", birth arises; due to the condition of birth, aging and death arise. Because this mode describes how suffering is produced, it is an a explanation of the sources that produce suffering. In reverse order it is explained that:

  The unwanted sufferings of aging and death are produced in dependence upon birth; birth is produced in dependence upon the potentialized level of action called "existence"; "existence" is produced in dependence upon grasping; grasping is produced in dependence upon attachment; attachment is produced in dependence upon feeling; feeling is produced in dependence upon contact; contact is produced in dependence upon the six sense spheres; the six sense spheres are produced in dependence upon name and form; name and form are produced in dependence upon consciousness; consciousness is produced in dependence upon action; action is produced in dependence upon ignorance....... Here the emphasis is on the first of the four noble truths, true sufferings themselves, which are the effects. Then, in terms of the process of purification, it is explained that: When ignorance ceases, action ceases; when action ceases, consciousness ceases; when consciousness ceases, name and form cease; when name and form cease, the six sense spheres cease; when the six sense spheres cease, contact ceases; when contact ceases, feeling ceases; when feeling ceases, attachment ceases; when attachment ceases, grasping ceases; when grasping ceases, the potentialized level of karma called "existence" ceases; when the potentialized level of karma called "existence" ceases, birth ceases; when birth ceases, aging and death cease....... This explanation is in terms of the purified class of phenomena with the emphasis being on the causes, that is to say, true paths, from among the four noble truths. In reverse order, it is explained that: The cessation of aging and death arises in dependence upon the cessation of birth; the cessation of birth arises in dependence upon the cessation of the potentialized level of karma called "existence"; the cessation of the potentialized level of karma called "existence" arises in dependence upon the cessation of grasping; the cessation of grasping arises in dependence upon the cessation of attachment; the cessation of attachment arises in dependence upon the cessation of feeling; the cessation of feeling arises in dependence upon the cessation of contact; the cessation of contact arises in dependence upon the cessation of the six sense spheres; the cessation of the six sense spheres arises in dependence upon the cessation of name and form; the cessation of name and form arises in dependence upon the cessation of consciousness; the cessation of consciousness arises in dependence upon the cessation of action; the cessation of action arises in dependence upon the cessation of ignorance.

  Here, within the process of purification the emphasis is on the effects, true cessations, the third of the four noble truths....... These processes are depicted in a painting called the wheel of cyclic existence with five sectors Within cyclic existence, the levels of gods and demi- gods are combined in one sector, and then there is a sector of humans, these comprising the happy transmigrations, depicted in the top half of the wheel. The three sectors in the bottom half are bad or low transmigrations-- those of animals, hungry ghosts, and hell-beings. All of these sectors represent the levels of suffering in terms of types of birth....... Due to what conditions do these forms of suffering arise?



  The circle just inside the five sectors of beings indicates that these levels of suffering are produced by karma--by actions. It is in two halves. The half on the right, which has a white base with people looking and moving upward, symbolizes virtuous actions, these being of two types, meritorious and unfluctuating; such actions are the means of attaining lives as humans, demi-gods, and gods. The left half, which has a dark base with people facing downward, symbolizes non-virtuous actions, which impel lifetimes in the lower realms....... From what do these karmas that are sources of suffering arise? They stem from a further source of suffering--the afflictive emotions of desire, hatred and ignorance--indicated by the innermost circle where a pig, a snake, and a rooster are drawn. The pig symbolizes ignorance; the snake, hatred; and the rooster, desire. In some versions of the painting, the tails of the rooster and the snake are grasped by the mouth of the pig, thereby indicating that desire and hatred have ignorance as their root. Also, the tail of the pig is grasped in their mouths to indicate that each of them acts to assist and further the other....... The symbolism of these three circles, moving from the center outwards, is that the three afflictive emotions of desire, hatred, and ignorance give rise to virtuous and non-virtuous actions, which, in turn, give rise to the various levels of suffering in cyclic existence. The outer rim symbolizing the twelve links of dependent-arising indicates how the sources of suffering-- actions and afflictive emotions--produce lives within cyclic existence. The fierce being holding the wheel symbolizes impermanence. If I may make a joke, it does not symbolize a creator-deity!...... The essential point is to symbolize impermanence; this is why the being is a wrathful monster, though there is no need for it to be drawn with ornaments and so forth as it is here. Once I had such a painting drawn with a skeleton rather than a monster, in order more clearly to symbolize impermanence....... The moon on the far right side indicates liberation. The Buddha on the left is pointing to the moon, indicating that the liberation that causes one to cross the ocean of suffering of cyclic existence should be actualized....... With regard to the history of this painting, at the time of Shakyamuni Buddha, an outlying king, Udayana, made a present of a jewelled robe to the king of Magadha, Bimbisara, who did not have anything of equivalent worth to give in return. Bimbisara was worried about this and asked Buddha what he should give. Buddha indicated that he should have a wheel of cyclic existence with five sectors drawn and have the following stanzas put with it:

  Undertaking this and leaving that, Enter into the teaching of the Buddha. Like an elephant in a thatch house, Destroy the forces of the Lord of Death....... Those who with thorough conscientiousness Practice this disciplinary doctrine Will forsake the wheel of birth, Bringing suffering to an end....... Buddha told Bimbisara to send this to King Udayana. It is said that when the king received the picture and studied it, he attained realizations.

  The twelve links of dependent- arising are symbolized by the twelve pictures around the outside. The first, at the top--an old person, blind and hobbling with a cane--symbolizes ignorance, the first link. In this context, ignorance is obscuration with respect to the actual mode of being of phenomena. Since within, the Buddhist philosophical schools there are four main systems of tenets and, within those schools, there are many different divisions, there are many interpretations of what ignorance is. Not only do we not have time to discuss all of these, I do not even remember all of them!...... In general, with respect to ignorance, there is a factor that is a mere non- knowing of how things actually exist, a factor of mere obscuration. Also, in Sutra, nineteen different types of ignorance are described--various types of wrong views related with extreme positions. However, here in the twelve links of dependent arising, ignorance is explained to be a wrong consciousness that conceives the opposite of how things actually do exist....... Ignorance is the chief of the afflictive emotions that we are seeking to abandon, each of which is of two types, innate and intellectually acquired. Intellectually acquired afflictive emotions are based on inadequate systems of tenets, such that the mind imputes or fosters new afflictive emotions through conceptuality. These are not afflictive emotions that all sentient beings have and cannot be the ones that are at the root of the ruination of beings--the latter are innate.

  As Nagarjuna says in his Seventy Stanzas on Emptiness: That consciousness conceiving things--which are produced In dependence upon causes and conditions--to ultimately exist, Was said by the Teacher to be ignorance. From it the twelve links arise.

|Purify Mind| |Glossary A-| |Glossary N-| |Pure Land| |Outlook| |Power Of Mind| |Emptiness| |Hua Yen| |No Ego| |RealMeaning| |Chanting| |Heart Sutra| |FortyEightVows| |Sutras| |HuaYen Sutra| |Bequeathed| |Amitabha| |Wisdom| |Giving| |HELP| |Refuge| |Education| |Practice| |Buddhism| |Treatise| |Philosophy| |Vimalakirti| |Teaching| |Tibetan| |Karma| |HEALTH| |Hinayana| |Study| |Ideas| |Meditation| |Dharma| |Diamond| |Scriptures| |Intro| |DalaiLama| |Rinpoche| |Science| |Teaching I| |Teaching II| |Lama| |Zen| |Buddha| |Hinayana I| |Study I| |Guide| |Practice I | |How To| |Rinpoche I| |Teaching III|