Saturday, December 12, 2015

India Adventure III: Intensive Study retreat on Acharya Dharmakirti's Skt. Pramāṇavārttika; (Chapter 2) led by Geshe Dorji Damdul at Deer Park Institute

When I last wrote, it was Thursday, November 19 and I was just beginning my six day journey to Bir Tibetan refugee settlement in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
Vancouver, British Columbia airport - the first of four airports
(and four countries) I would enter before reaching Deer Park Institute.
Over the course of those six days (thanks to long layovers) I got to visit with friends who live on Long Island in New York and in snowy Helsinki, Finland.
Anne, Eszti and Sierra on Long Island.
Maria and I in Helsinki, Finland.
After reaching India I also made a stop at His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s temple in Dharamsala to visit the Buddha image and set my intentions for this trip to India.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama's temple in Dharamsala
on Monday, Nov 23, 2015. Photo by Maggie.
May all beings experience happiness and the causes of happiness. May all beings be free of suffering and the causes of suffering. May I, through my study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism become a cause for that to happen.

Bir Tibetan Refugee Settlement

On the evening of Tuesday, November 24 I finally entered the gates of Deer Park Institute, the retreat center that would be my home for the next two weeks. But not before walking through a small, quiet village visibly altered since I left it six months ago. A wide, smooth, fast, light gray concrete road now runs from the entrance to Bir all of the way to the paragliding landing site on the opposite edge of town. The road was completed within days of the Paragliding World Cup that drew 4,000+ guests to Bir at the end of October. There are more buildings in town and additions and renovations are ongoing.
Bir main road in April 2015.
Bir main road in November 2015.
I initially felt out of place, but after spending a few magical afternoons and evenings lingering in the small shops and restaurants that line Bir’s main road I discovered the real source of Bir’s charm remains intact. The many young monks who study at the monasteries in town still stroll along the main road in groups of twos and threes talking and smiling, Tibetan and Indian villagers still sit in front of their small shops and vegetable stands chatting, and street dogs of all colors sunbathe along the roadside. It is still a luxury to get to spend time in Bir and at Deer Park Institute.
Side road leading  up to the entrance to Deer Park Institute.
Entrance to Deer Park Institute.
Intensive Study retreat on Acharya Dharmakirti's Skt. Pramāṇavārttika; (Chapter 2) led by Geshe Dorji Damdul

I was at Deer Park Institute to attend a residential Intensive Study retreat on Acharya Dharmakirti's Skt. Pramāṇavārttika; (Chapter 2) led by Geshe Dorji Damdul. The retreat began with a 1PM lecture on Wednesday, November 25 and concluded twelve days later with a tsok offering ceremony on the morning of Monday, December 7.

The retreat was led by Geshe Dorji Damdul, a Tibetan Buddhist monk who is the Director of Tibet House Delhi and a former English translator for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama with translator Geshe Dorji Damdul
at Mind and Its Potential Conference 2009. Photo by Brendan Read. Found online.
Geshe Dorji Damdul teaching at Deer Park Institute Nov 2015. Photo by Rajinder.
The retreat was attended by about 35 Indian, Ladakhi, and Tibetan students residing in India – including quite a few who live in Delhi and are blessed to be able to study with him at Tibet House - as well as about 20 foreign born students including two Thai monks and a German nun. It was so nice to be reunited with students from Geshe Dorji Damdul’s recent retreats. His retreats at Deer Park Institute are like reunions during which we gather from places near and far to learn from our much loved and respected teacher.
Intensive Study retreat on Acharya Dharmakirti's Skt. Pramāṇavārttika; (Chapter 2) led by Geshe Dorji Damdul at Deer Park Institute. Photo by Rajinder.
This retreat took place thanks in part to one of Geshe Dorji Damdul’s Ladahki students, Nilza Wangmo, a PhD candidate at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi who had been requesting Geshe Dorji Damdul to translate and teach the text we studied during this retreat.
Nilza (left) and Maggie (right) lighting candles on Lama Tsongkhapa Day 2015.
That text was Pramanavartika Chapter Two (Establishing the Reliable Guide) by Acharya Dharmakirti.
Our text prepared by Geshe Dorji Damdul.
In preparation for our retreat, Geshe Dorji Damdul spent the afternoons of his month long 2015 solitary retreat translating the original text Skt. Pramāṇavārttika; (Chapter 2) from Tibetan into English for us. Regarding the English translation, he explained Tibetans created words for Buddhism. When it comes to English translation we just have to work with the words we have available to us in the English language. The English translation of the text should be inspiring.

Geshe Dorji Damdul annotated his English translation using commentaries on the original text written by the renowned saint-scholar, the most Venerable Khedrup Gelek Pelsang (14th Century CE), the second heir to the Omniscient Lama Tsongkhapa as well as the most Venerable Gyaltsab Dharma Rinchen (14th Century CE), the First Gaden Tripa. These additions were made to help us better understand the text.

Geshe Dorji Damdul’s English translation, Pramanavartika Chapter Two (Establishing the Reliable Guide) by Acharya Dharmakirti will be printed by Tibet House Delhi on a TBD date. I hope many people will have a chance to study it.
Geshe Dorji Damdul teaching from Acharya Dharmakirti's Pramanavartika Chapter Two
(Establishing the Reliable Guide) text.
Preparation for Our Studies

Geshe Dorji Damdul began the retreat at Deer Park Institute on November 25 by explaining that we were about to embark on a challenging endeavor. In the great Tibetan Buddhist monasteries that have been recreated in exile in India, monks are studying Tibetan Buddhism for seven to eight years before they even begin to study this text. Then, the monks study this text for seven years. In contrast, we would be studying the text at Deer Park Institute for just eleven days.

Class in Deer Park Institute's Manjushri Hall taught by Geshe Dorji Damdul.
I am sitting below the open windows closest to the right hand side of this photo,
with my head bent over the text and my notebook. Photo by Rajinder.
This retreat would prove to be a challenging but deeply meaningful undertaking.

As Geshe Dorji Damdul explained, first we need to know who Shakyamuni Buddha was. Then we need to know what he taught. Then we’ll know what Buddhism is. That was the goal of this retreat.

In Pramanavartika Chapter Two (Establishing the Reliable Guide), author Acharya Dharmakirti reveals how our minds work and teaches us it is logic and reason, and not blind faith that leads to Nirvana, Buddhahood, Enlightenment. If we are suffering and do not know how to solve our problems then we need a guide to show us the way. The great logician Acharya Dharmakirti proves through extremely thorough, scientific (and at most times very complicated) pure reasoning that Shakyamuni Buddha is the one true reliable guide for those seeking lasting happiness and freedom from all suffering.

We also learn that the way to get there (to Nirvana, Buddhahood, Enlightenment) is to follow the same path the young man Prince Siddhartha Gautama took in India that transformed him into the enlightened being Shakyamuni Buddha over 2,500 years ago. We do this by learning, reflecting, and meditating upon the teachings he left behind (the Dharma.)

While there is the much beloved story of Milarepa, who reached Enlightenment in a single lifetime we learn that the path to Enlightenment can take many lifetimes. Acharya Dharmakirti establishes that rebirth (reincarnation) exists in Pramanavartika Chapter Two (Establishing the Reliable Guide.) Geshe Dorji Damdul taught that Chapter Two is the best text to prove this concept.

Acharya Dharmakirti’s proof is in part based on the idea that in order to attain Enlightenment we must have first developed Bodhicitta, (pure loving kindness - without attachment) for all sentient beings. This alone can take more than one lifetime. Yet Acharya Dharmakirti’s text helps us develop the conviction that Bodhicitta and Buddhahood are possible. We find that we must – and we can, just like Prince Siddhartha Bautama - achieve Buddhahood so that we can lead all sentient beings to lasting happiness and freedom from all suffering, which is Buddhahood.

Geshe Dorji Damdul taught us that attending this retreat and studying Pramanavartika Chapter Two (Establishing the Reliable Guide) was not to prepare us to argue with others about reincarnation or any other topic, but to help us close the divisions between ourselves and other people, develop our own understanding of Buddhism, and to leave imprints on our minds, which move with us from lifetime to lifetime. This way no matter where we are born in future lives we will go searching for a spiritual teacher who can teach us Shakyamuni Buddha’s path to Nirvana, Enlightenment, Buddhahood.

The Teachings

In the 7th Century CE Acharya Dharmakirti saw the below passage, which was composed in the 6th Century CE by the founder of Buddhist logic, Acharya Dignaga (and translated into English here by Geshe Dorji Damdul.) Acharya Dharmakirti saw the passage explicitly and implicitly explains why Shakyamuni Buddha is the supreme reliable guide for those seeking Nirvana, Enlightenment, Buddhahood.

The one who is transformed into the Supreme Reliable Guide,
Being motivated by altruism to benefit sentient beings,
The Teacher, Sugata, and Protector
To You, I make prostrations.

Acharya Dharmakirti then composed all of Pramanavartika Chapter Two (Establishing The Reliable Guide) as a commentary to explain Acharya Dignaga’s single passage. Geshe Dorji Damdul shared from his personal observation that His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is also deeply moved by Acharya Dignaga’s passage. Geshe Dorji Damdul explained if we study Pramanavartika Chapter Two (Establishing The Reliable Guide) then we will also find inspiration in Acharya Dharmakirti’s passage.

Geshe Dorji Damdul recommended when we are feeling tired or are in need of inspiration that we recite this passage and do a twenty minute meditation on the teachings revealed by the passage.
Geshe Dorji Damdul gifted us each a framed series of photos of the saint scholars
we would be studying as well as Shakyamuni Buddha and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
These framed photos were intended for our personal altars. Geshe Dorji Damdul
encouraged us to make use of them during the retreat, also ensuring we had water bowls,
a candle holder, candles, incense, and a cloth to clean the water bowls.
From studying Acharya Dharmakirti’s text I learned that before we can teach other sentient beings the path that will liberate them from suffering, we need to experience the path ourselves just as Prince Siddhartha Gautama did 2,500+ years ago. Acharya Dharmakirti saw in Acharya Dignaga’s passage that Prince Siddhartha Gautama was transformed into the supreme reliable guide through his altruism, discoveries, and experimentation on himself. He lived in austerity for years until he discovered the wisdom of emptiness which had not been previously discovered by any other spiritual teacher. He then became the Sugata, the one gone to bliss, and the supreme reliable guide to all seeking liberation from suffering.

Since he transformed in this way, Shakyamuni Buddha was a dependently originated being, not based on causes and conditions produced by the universe. As such, Shakyamuni Buddha was not a primordially pure, objectively existing creator, dictating all. (Buddhism is the only spiritual tradition without a creator god.) Since he was not dependent on or controlled by any other causes, he was able to slowly liberate himself over time from suffering by walking the path that took him from a prince to Buddha. Had he been dependent on outside causes and conditions, then he would not have been able to free himself from suffering.

We have the same ability to liberate ourselves from suffering. Buddhism teaches that all sentient beings have Buddha nature; it is just obscured like dirt obscures the surface of a mirror. Both the mirror and our minds can be cleansed. We just need to follow a supreme reliable guide. Then, like Shakyamuni Buddha we can liberate all sentient beings from suffering.
Geshe Dorji Damdul teaching in Manjushri Hall.
Photo by Rajinder.
In teaching us the qualities of a supreme reliable guide, Acharya Dharmakirti taught even if a teacher can levitate into the air, that does not make that teacher the supreme reliable guide. How does a teacher’s ability to levitate help us? Geshe Dorji Damdul pointed out if that were the case, then technology should be our guru. But as Geshe Dorji Damdul said, there is no need to rely upon technology or levitating gurus when we have His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama who guides us along the path discovered by Shakyamuni Buddha.
Geshe Dorji Damdul teaching in Manjushri Hall. I am on the far left in the turquoise blue,
sitting next to the open window. Photo by Rajinder.
Geshe Dorji Damdul also elaborated upon Acharya Dharmakirti’s text, pointing out that if empowerments have the power to liberate us, then why don’t we become liberated directly after the empowerment is completed? In fact, some people who receive empowerments become angry even after they have received empowerments. Therefore, empowerments must be complemented by the study of the wisdom of emptiness and Bodhicitta.

Like the rest of the teachings revealed to us during the retreat, the truth of these words is so apparent to me when I subject them to analysis. Geshe Dorji Damdul taught us that just as math is used to prove physics, epistemology and logic is used to prove Buddhist philosophy. I have heard that His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has said if scientists prove Buddhism is wrong on something then Buddhism has to change.

I also learned from Geshe Dorji Damdul that there are great logic teachers, and then there are great logicians. A logic teacher knows the system they teach, but great logicians are highly trained and can debate with you on the spot. So this is what was meant when Geshe Dorji Damdul referred to his teacher Venerable Geshe Yeshe Thabkhey la as a renowned great logician.

I am constantly learning but it is far from easy.
Geshe Dorji Damdul speaking with students after the 9AM morning class on
Thanksgiving morning, Nov 27, 2015.
Near the end of the retreat Geshe Dorji Damdul raised our spirits by telling us even if we are seeing just 0.001% progress in our studies then that’s good enough. Better to keep improving than to be at a high level and not making any improvement. If we persist then we can overtake the student who is now at 80% and not improving. Geshe Dorji Damdul urged us not to be too ambitious. Climb slowly and steadily. He said “The nobler the task, the longer is the journey. The more tedious the journey.” The little light we have – our inclination towards Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings – there is a bigger light there. We should read a stanza or more each day. This is what will guarantee we’ll reach Buddhahood.

I also found encouragement in the teachings from Acharya Dharmakirti. If you run two miles today and two miles tomorrow, you cannot expect to be able to run four (2+2) miles on the third day. But our training in Bodhicitta (compassion) from life to life is cumulative. Because the mind is stable and goes with us from lifetime to lifetime unlike the body, our inclination towards Bodhicitta comes with us and continues to grow.
Geshe Dorji Damdul and students between class sessions.
Photo by Rajinder.
Morning Prayers

Beginning on the second day of the retreat, November 26 and ending on the last day, December 7 we gathered together at 6AM in Deer Park’s Manjushri Hall where all of our teachings were held to do 90 minutes of mediation and prayers. Most mornings Geshe Dorji Damdul led us in our morning practice in person; other days we listened to a recording from a previous day.

He explained our morning practice should include prayer recitation and meditation focused on the wisdom of emptiness with a push for Bodhicitta. This clears our internal clutter and reveals the Buddha nature we all have within ourselves, obscured like the surface of the mirror by the dust. He welcomed us to come to the 6AM morning practice session during the retreat so we could learn how to develop our own morning practices.

Following five minutes of prostrations to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to cleanse our minds and prepare us for the path, we lit lamps at the altar below the large Manjushri statue at the front of the room while reciting:

With folded hands I beseech the Buddhas of all directions to shine the lamp of Dharma for all bewildered in misery’s gloom.
Reciting prayers while lighting the lamps in Manjushri Hall during Morning Prayers,
led by Geshe Dorji Damdul. Photo by Rajinder.
Kathy lighting a lamp (candle) in Manjushri Hall as Geshe Dorji Damdul looks on.
Photo by Rajinder.
We would then take our seats and recite prayers in unison out of the Prayer and Meditation Manual created for us by Geshe Dorji Damdul. Each morning he would explain the meanings of the prayers, ensuring that our recitations were beneficial to us and all sentient beings. For example, Geshe Dorji Damdul taught that when we recite the prayer “May I become Buddha for the benefit of all my dear mother sentient beings” we are removing the factors that are blocking our Bodhicitta.
Prayer and Meditation Manual prepared by Geshe Dorji Damdul.
After the prayers he would lead us in a short breathing meditation followed by renunciation and guided meditations on the wisdom of emptiness and Bodhicitta. He explained the meditations were to activate the Buddha nature within all of us, and to overcome self centeredness and self grasping. Geshe Dorji Damdul told us in meditation, we should be guiding our minds. Our minds should not be guiding us.

We learned there are three elements to the study of Buddhism, and that all three must be cultivated. First, we gain wisdom by learning and hearing the teachings. Next, we subject those learnings to repeated reflection. Finally, we meditate to make the wisdom spontaneous and intense through concerted effort and repeated practice.

Making Offerings to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas

We celebrated Lama Tsongkhapa Day on December 5 so that we can learn from Lama Tsongkhapa for the benefit of all sentient beings. Lama Tsongkhapa Day is celebrated annually on the day that Lama Tsongkhapa attained Buddhahood.
Large Lama Tsongkhapa statue at Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal.
At 10:30AM we participated in a sutra resounding to put one of Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings (a sutra) out into the world. Geshe Dorji Damdul explained to us that it has been tradition since Shakyamuni Buddha’s time to teach via oral transmissions because this puts imprints on our minds. Then one month later, when listening to the recording or hearing another teacher giving a teaching, then we can learn so quickly.

Of the four sutras translated into English by the 84,000 Project given to Geshe Dorji Damdul by Deer Park, Geshe Dorji Damdul chose to read extracts from The Noble Great Vehicle Sutra, Teaching the Relative and Ultimate Truths. The sutra we read extracts from was from Manjushri, the manifestation of the wisdom of all Buddhas just as he was about to become a Buddha.
The Noble Great Vehicle Sutra, Teaching the Relative and Ultimate Truths
booklet prepared for us by Deer Park Institute.
The text we recited together in unison was translated into English by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee and beautifully bound for us into a booklet by Deer Park Institute staff. We prayed may we all be able to know all of the concepts Shakyamuni Buddha wants us to learn so that we can benefit sentient beings.

Deer Park Institute staff member Preetu designed the sutra booklet for us and created a video of our sutra resounding.

.

At 5:30PM we did a tsok offering to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas including Lama Tsongkhapa. We offered food transformed into nectar, representing the bliss of Buddhahood, to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. We did this with the intention of activating our minds, and to remind us of our potential to also experience this bliss 24/7.
The beginning of the Lama Tsongkhapa Day tsok offering after we had lit the lamps (candles)
on the altar beneath the large Manjushri statute.
Geshe Dorji Damdul explained we read from the Guru Puja text during the tsok offering to remind ourselves that we do not see reality clearly, but through dirty eyeglasses. The text also reminds us of our impermanence. If we cleanse our mind just as we can clean our eye glasses then we can reveal our Buddha nature, see Buddhahood, and change how we interact with the world.
Offering the tsok on Lama Tsongkhapa Day.
On the evening of the first day of the retreat, Geshe Dorji Damdul led a short session on how to make offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. When we make offerings, the goal is for our minds to grow. It is particularly auspicious to offer fruits as blessings because the fruits represent “the fruit of Bodhicitta” for example. We should then remove the fruit from the altar the following day and eat it, receiving those blessings.

Geshe Dorji Damdul also explained how to use the water bowls he had given us, so that we could make offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in our personal practices. He said in India guests have always been treated well, and are offered these things: water to drink, water to wash their feet, flowers are thrown, incense is burned to create a beautiful smell, lights are present, creams are offered to have a cooling effect on the guests’ bodies, and then the guests are offered food, then offer music. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are our most honored guests. We offer water bowls representing these things to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Geshe Dorji Damdul taught we should recite “Om Ah Hum” to transform the water into nectar before offering it.

When we offer candles, we should have the intention of not only lighting candles to illuminate the statue of the Buddha, but to also bring benefit. When we make offerings, the goal is for our minds to be growing. On the evening of Lama Tsongkhapa Day Geshe Dorji Damdul joined us on the roof of one of the Deer Park Institute buildings to offer many, many lights to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. We each got to light lamps.
Lighting the lamps (candles) on the roof at Deer Park Institute on Lama Tsongkhapa Day.
Photo by Rajinder.
The lamps all lit.
We also lit candles outside of the Deer Park Institute gompa. Photo by Rajinder.
The retreat Comes to a Close

On the last full day of the retreat, December 6 Geshe Dorji Damdul left us with some parting words and awarded certificates to those students who had attended at least 70% of the class sessions. Our names were called one by one. When our name was called we went to the front of the room to receive a blessing and khata (white silk scarf) from Geshe Dorji Damdul. Our teacher then handed us a certificate of completion as we posed for a photo with Geshe Dorji Damdul. It was special.
Nilza receiving her khata, blessing, and certificate from Geshe Dorji Damdul.
Geshe Dorji Damdul and Migmar during the ceremony.
It felt great to receive this certificate from Geshe Dorji Damdul.
Photo by Pattana.
Geshe Dorji Damdul giving remarks following the awarding of the certificates.
Geshe Dorji Damdul also reminded us that we should wake up from this bad dream and find relief. We do exist and have since beginningless time, but are seeing things wrongly, which results in our suffering. We are dependently originated just like the young man Prince Siddhartha Gautama and Shakyamuni Buddha. We should not feel demoralized.

We also learned if we remove the idea underlying each bad thought, then the bad thought itself will disappear because that bad thought is reliant upon the idea that is making us feel bad.

Geshe Dorji Damdul told us it would be good to memorize verses #217-8 and #219 from Acharya Dharmakirti’s text. If we cannot memorize all three then we should at least memorize #219.

#217-8.

Whoever sees the self?
Will at times grasp at [the self] as ‘I.’
This grasping leads to attachment to happiness.
The attachment obscures the faults,
And makes one see [only the pleasing], which in turn will
Intensify the attachment.
This compels one to grasp at the causes [of happiness] as ‘mine.’
Therefore as long as there is attachment to the self,
For that long, one will cycle in samsara.

#219.

Seeing the ‘self,’ will lead to seeing ‘others.’
Bifurcating self and others leads to attachment and aversion.
Associated with these [attachment and aversion,]
All faults [such as killing, fears and so forth] ensue.

Now that we have studied Acharya Dharmakirti’s Pramanavartika Chapter Two (Establishing The Reliable Guide), Geshe Dorji Damdul told us we should contemplate the meanings and implications of these verses as we recite Acharya Dignaga’s passage. We should bring all we have learned to the recitation of all of our prayers.

Geshe Dorji Damdul recommended we recite this prayer each night, before we go to bed just as he does. We should see how many sentient beings we can share this prayer with so that no one has fear and enjoys the greatest happiness, which is Buddhahood:

Throughout my future lifetimes,
May I always be guided by Arya Manjushri
And be able to uphold the Dharma in general and the teachings on Dependent Origination in particular
Even at the cost of my life.
Geshe Dorji Damdul in prayer. Photo by Rajinder.
The Last Day

The retreat concluded with the 6AM morning meditation and prayers session followed by a tsok offering to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, Acharya Dignaga, Acharya Dharmakirti and other saint scholars.
Pattana, Sonam and Marisa assisting Geshe Dorji Damdul with the tsok offering.
The previous night I had gotten to help assemble the tsok offering bags that would be distributed to all of the students and Deer Park Institute staff during the tsok offering. I was surrounded by friends speaking to each other in Hindi and Tibetan while we put fruit, cookies, chocolates, boxed juices and Indian sweets into gift size bags handmade from recycled newspaper. It was fun. I also got to help put the finishing touches on the altar in front of Manjushri.
Final tsok offering altar.
Distribution of the bags of tsok during the tsok offering.
After the tsok offering had been completed the two Thai monks offered prayers and a gift to Geshe Dorji Damdul. We joined them in Thai style prostrations from our seats. It was beautiful.
The Thai monks making offerings to Geshe Dorji Damdul.
Students started departing from Deer Park Institute after breakfast for Singapore, Delhi, Dharamsala etc.
Some of the men of Tibet. They were so funny.
Just for fun.
Tashi and Migmar in a taxi.
Geshe Dorji Damdul left Deer Park Institute closer to noon for the Dharamsala airport, bound for Delhi. I was happy to have a flexible schedule that allowed me to be there to say goodbye.
Rhadika saying goodbye to Geshe Dorji Damdul. He stopped to say goodbye to each student.
Geshe Dorji Damdul preparing to leave in his taxi.
With that, the Intensive Study retreat on Acharya Dharmakirti's Skt. Pramāṇavārttika; (Chapter 2) led by Geshe Dorji Damdul at Deer Park Institute came to a close.

Further Reflections

My greatest take away from the retreat is something Geshe Dorji Damdul said during one of the class sessions.

The Bodhisattva’s mind simply flows because of genuine love. If a person does something bad, then the Bodhisattva will be mad at the condition that caused the person to perform the bad act, not at the person. The Bodhisattva will wish for that condition to go away so the person can be brilliant.

As Acharya Dharmakirti stated in Pramanavartika Chapter Two (Establishing The Reliable Guide):

#198:

The compassion [Arhats] have is less,
Thus they do not strive too hard to remain [for too long.]
Whereas the ones with great love
Will remain for others [until samsara ends.]

Geshe Dorji Damdul explained “the ones with great love” are the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

I also found great meaning in this sentence spoken by Geshe Dorji Damdul during another class session:

“Because everything is dependently originated, things can be changed.”

Moving Forward

I am now in Bangalore, looking forward to attending His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery located within Dickyi Larsoe Tibetan Settlement in the town of Bylakuppe, south India that begin on December 19.

On the afternoon of December 19 His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be teaching in part on Acharya Dharmakirti’s Pramanavartika Chapter Two. Since His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the holder of the text it will be a great blessing for everyone present to receive this teaching from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I can’t wait.