Talk Categories Tibetan Buddhism | Talk Locations University of Virginia

Contemporary Tibetan Buddhist Meditation in China

Khenpo Sodargye mainly talks about how he has been promoting Buddha Dharma in the Han region since 1980s. He also emphasizes that, to become a good practitioner, one should systematically listen to, contemplate and practice Buddha Dharma. At the end of the speech, Khenpo proposes three desires for the teachers and students, and encourages them to explore the truth of Mind.

Speech by Khenpo Sodargye

Nothing but Karma Will Always Follow You

Excerpt 1: Having Compassion for All Sentient Beings

According to Mahayana teachings, having compassion for and caring about human beings only is not the heart essence of Buddhism. Why? The object should be all sentient beings because all sentient beings with no exception wish for happiness and try to avoid sufferings. However, many people fail to realize it. As Shantideva said:

     Beings long for joy, but in their ignorance,

    Destroy it, as they would their foe.

Although all sentient beings wish for happiness, they destroy the source of it just like destroying their enemies.

Excerpt 2: Learning Buddha Dharma in Sequence

To achieve liberation or even Buddhahood, one must eliminate his self-grasping. Otherwise, he can only enjoy the temporary worldly happiness and comfort, and it’s hard for him to achieve liberation from Samsara ultimately. Therefore, we should listen to, contemplate and meditate on Buddha Dharma in sequence. The core of Buddha Dharma is to listen to it first, then reflect on it and finally practice it, through which the wisdom of Sunyata (“Emptiness”) can be generated in one’s mind, and thus one can stop taking rebirth in samsara and get the ultimate liberation from it.

Excerpt 3: Learning Buddha Dharma with the Guidance of a Guru

As it is written in the Avatamsaka Sutra:

    The Dharma, without interpretation of a teacher,

    Cannot be understood, although one is wise.

A man of high intelligence still finds it difficult to fully understand the profound meaning of Buddha Dharma, let alone an ordinary person, to understand it in a short time. All of you should think about it. Even to do research in Buddhism, it should be done in sequence. It is very important, therefore, to do research properly and learn Buddha Dharma systematically through listening, contemplating and meditating.

Excerpt 4: Nothing but Karma Will Always Follow You

My second hope is that, for both teachers and students here, I hope you can be cautious about what to do and not do in accordance with the law of cause and effect. In this way, when we leave this world, which definitely will happen to everyone, we won’t be afraid, since not much suffering will befall us if we have done a lot of virtuous things. As is written in the famous Sutra for the Teaching of the King, when a king is on his deathbed, his relatives and wealth don’t follow him. Wherever a man goes, karma will always follow him like his shadow. In other words, as honorable as a king is, his retinues and wealth will not follow him when he is faced with death. The only thing that will follow him is his karma. Hopefully you believe it; that is my sincere hope.

Excerpt 5: Exploring the Truth of Mind

Although research on external materials is necessary, it’s more crucial to pay attention to the inner mind. Studying the nature and the essence of the mind is very important. As Shantideva said:

     All those who fail to understand,

    The secret of the mind, the greatest of all things,

    Although they wish for joy and sorrow’s end,

    Will wander to no purpose, uselessly.

So we should realizethe nature of the mind. Knowledgeable as a scholar is, he still wishes for happiness and tries to avoid sufferings, but it’s hard to do it because of his weakness in controlling the mind. Therefore, I hope that all of you present here should explore the truth of your mind. If you can reflect on your own mind, I believe you will definitely become a wise person.

Learning Buddha Dharma in Sequence

To achieve liberation or even Buddhahood, one must eliminate his self-grasping. Otherwise, he can only enjoy the temporary worldly happiness and comfort, and it’s hard for him to achieve liberation from Samsara ultimately. Therefore, we should listen to, contemplate and meditate on Buddha Dharma in sequence. The core of Buddha Dharma is to listen to it first, then reflect on it and finally practice it, through which the wisdom of Sunyata (“Emptiness”) can be generated in one’s mind, and thus one can stop taking rebirth in samsara and get the ultimate liberation from it.

Learning Buddha Dharma with the Guidance of a Guru

As it is written in the Avatamsaka Sutra:

    The Dharma, without interpretation of a teacher,

    Cannot be understood, although one is wise.

A man of high intelligence still finds it difficult to fully understand the profound meaning of Buddha Dharma, let alone an ordinary person, to understand it in a short time. All of you should think about it. Even to do research in Buddhism, it should be done in sequence. It is very important, therefore, to do research properly and learn Buddha Dharma systematically through listening, contemplating and meditating.

Question & Answer Session

In my life, I will benefit all sentient beings with Buddha Dharma, and I’ll do it to benefit their present life and hereafter. Buddha Dharma will not only grant ourselves happiness, but also make other sentient beings happy and eliminate their sufferings. I think that is the ultimate meaning of Buddha Dharma.”

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