His Holiness the Dalai
His Holiness the Dalai
New York, New York
September 17 -
September 21, 2003
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is returning
to New York City in September of 2003 to give four days of
teachings on training the mind and opening the heart, from
September 17 to 20. He will give a free public talk for New
York in Central Park on Sunday, September
Holiness the Dalai Lama will give a four day teaching on two
important Buddhist texts. He will give an explanation of Geshe
Chekawa's Seven Point Mind Training as well as Jamyang Shepa's
Root Verses on Indian Philosophies.
The Seven Point Mind Training, by Geshe Chekawa, is an
outline of the training Buddhist practitioners engage in while
working to open their hearts and assume responsibility for
their fellow living beings. It helps us take hardship,
sickness, and injustice as opportunities to develop our
virtue, patience and perseverance. It teaches the importance
of meditating on the great kindness of all by recognizing the
happiness derived from wishing others' happiness. It reminds
us that we must develop humility and modesty in order to
conquer our arrogance and pride. And it teaches us to
recognize that ultimately there is no self, no ego, though our
belief in ourselves inflates us to behave in the self-centered
ways that cause so much misery.
Root Verses on Indian Philosophies, by the 17th
century Tibetan scholar Jamyang Shepa, is a presentation of
the Buddhist and non-Buddhist philosophical schools of ancient
India. The Root Verses form a terse outline of a wide variety
of philosophical tenets, from those positing the existence of
an all pervasive self or soul to those negating the ultimate
existence of anything at all. His Holiness will point out the
particularities of each philosophical school in order to help
us recognize the qualities of certain views over the flaws of
others. His commentary will bring to life the philosophies
described as he teaches how, upon having established the
validity of a particular view, one would deepen one's
realization of it and live one's life in accordance with it.
teachings are sponsored by The Tibet
Center and The
information on the New York teachings, please visit http://www.dalailamanyc.org/.
information on all His Holiness' teachings, please visit the
Government of Tibet
in Exile's web site.
Teachings, Articles and
Holiness the Dalai Lama lays the Foundation Stone at the
new school being constructed for Pema Ts'al Mundgod. Read
about HH the Dalai Lama's visit to Pema Ts'al Mundgod. Photos
in the Lab" - April 26, 2003, New York Times
Peace Prize 1989 - His
Holiness' speech and biographical material from the Nobel
Prize ceremony. (The Nobel Foundation)
Dalai Lama on china, hatred, and optimism - A conversation
with Robert Thurman"
Mother Jones, November/December
Ironbird Flies - an Interview with His Holiness the Fourteenth
Interview by Mike Hellbach, translated by
Glenn Mullin. From the Lama Yeshe Wisdom
Archive. November 5th - 8th, 1982, New Delhi, India. First
published by Tushita Mahayana Meditation Centre, New Delhi,
New York Times
April 26, 2003
in the Lab
By TENZIN GYATSO
These are times when destructive
emotions like anger, fear and hatred are giving rise to
devastating problems throughout the world. While the daily
news offers grim reminders of the destructive power of such
emotions, the question we must ask is this: What can we do,
person by person, to overcome them?
Of course such disturbing emotions have always been
part of the human condition. Some — those who tend to believe
nothing will "cure" our impulses to hate or oppress one
another — might say that this is simply the price of being
human. But this view can create apathy in the face of
destructive emotions, leading us to conclude that
destructiveness is beyond our control.
I believe that there are practical ways for us as
individuals to curb our dangerous impulses — impulses that
collectively can lead to war and mass violence. As evidence I
have not only my spiritual practice and the understanding of
human existence based on Buddhist teachings, but now also the
work of scientists.
For the last 15 years I have engaged in a series of
conversations with Western scientists. We have exchanged views
on topics ranging from quantum physics and cosmology to
compassion and destructive emotions. I have found that while
scientific findings offer a deeper understanding of such
fields as cosmology, it seems that Buddhist explanations —
particularly in the cognitive, biological and brain sciences —
can sometimes give Western-trained scientists a new way to
look at their own fields.
It may seem odd that a religious leader is so involved
with science, but Buddhist teachings stress the importance of
understanding reality, and so we should pay attention to what
scientists have learned about our world through
experimentation and measurement.
Similarly, Buddhists have a 2,500-year history of
investigating the workings of the mind. Over the millenniums,
many practitioners have carried out what we might call
"experiments" in how to overcome our tendencies toward
I have been encouraging scientists to examine advanced
Tibetan spiritual practitioners, to see what benefits these
practices might have for others, outside the religious
context. The goal here is to increase our understanding of the
world of the mind, of consciousness, and of our
It is for this reason that I visited the neuroscience
laboratory of Dr. Richard Davidson at the University of
Wisconsin. Using imaging devices that show what occurs in the
brain during meditation, Dr. Davidson has been able to study
the effects of Buddhist practices for cultivating compassion,
equanimity or mindfulness. For centuries Buddhists have
believed that pursuing such practices seems to make people
calmer, happier and more loving. At the same time they are
less and less prone to destructive emotions.
According to Dr. Davidson, there is now science to
underscore this belief. Dr. Davidson tells me that the
emergence of positive emotions may be due to this: Mindfulness
meditation strengthens the neurological circuits that calm a
part of the brain that acts as a trigger for fear and anger.
This raises the possibility that we have a way to create a
kind of buffer between the brain's violent impulses and our
Experiments have already been carried out that show
some practitioners can achieve a state of inner peace, even
when facing extremely disturbing circumstances. Dr. Paul Ekman
of the University of California at San Francisco told me that
jarring noises (one as loud as a gunshot) failed to startle
the Buddhist monk he was testing. Dr. Ekman said he had never
seen anyone stay so calm in the presence of such a
Another monk, the abbot of one of our monasteries in
India, was tested by Dr. Davidson using electroencephalographs
to measure brain waves. According to Dr. Davidson, the abbot
had the highest amount of activity in the brain centers
associated with positive emotions that had ever been measured
by his laboratory.
Of course, the benefits of these practices are not
just for monks who spend months at a time in meditation
retreat. Dr. Davidson told me about his research with people
working in highly stressful jobs. These people — non-Buddhists
— were taught mindfulness, a state of alertness in which the
mind does not get caught up in thoughts or sensations, but
lets them come and go, much like watching a river flow by.
After eight weeks, Dr. Davidson found that in these people,
the parts of their brains that help to form positive emotions
became increasingly active.
The implications of all this are clear: the world
today needs citizens and leaders who can work toward ensuring
stability and engage in dialogue with the "enemy" — no matter
what kind of aggression or assault they may have endured.
It's worth noting that these methods are not just
useful, but inexpensive. You don't need a drug or an
injection. You don't have to become a Buddhist, or adopt any
particular religious faith. Everybody has the potential to
lead a peaceful, meaningful life. We must explore as far as we
can how that can be brought about.
I try to put these methods into effect in my own life.
When I hear bad news, especially the tragic stories I often
hear from my fellow Tibetans, naturally my own response is
sadness. However, by placing it in context, I find I can cope
reasonably well. And feelings of helpless anger, which simply
poison the mind and embitter the heart, seldom arise, even
following the worst news.
But reflection shows that in our lives much of our
suffering is caused not by external causes but by such
internal events as the arising of disturbing emotions. The
best antidote to this disruption is enhancing our ability to
handle these emotions.
If humanity is to survive, happiness and inner balance
are crucial. Otherwise the lives of our children and their
children are more likely to be unhappy, desperate and short.
Material development certainly contributes to happiness — to
some extent — and a comfortable way of life. But this is not
sufficient. To achieve a deeper level of happiness we cannot
neglect our inner development.
The calamity of 9/11 demonstrated that modern
technology and human intelligence guided by hatred can lead to
immense destruction. Such terrible acts are a violent symptom
of an afflicted mental state. To respond wisely and
effectively, we need to be guided by more healthy states of
mind, not just to avoid feeding the flames of hatred, but to
respond skillfully. We would do well to remember that the war
against hatred and terror can be waged on this, the internal
Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th Dalai