His Holiness the Dalai Lama inaugurates the Great Tibetan Monlam dictionary at Tsuglagkhang, Dharamshala on May 27, 2022. Photo: TPI/ Yangchen Dolma

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Dharamshala — “We have techniques for dealing with anger and means to cultivate love and compassion. Practices for extending compassion to others give rise to peace of mind within individuals, which in turn has a positive effect on families and the wider community. Indeed we are today so interconnected that such methods can make a substantial contribution to peace in the world. Without peace of mind there will be no world peace,” said His Holiness the Dalai Lama on May 27, 2022.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama attended the launch of the Great Tibetan Monlam dictionary at Tsuglagkhang, the main Tibetan temple, in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamshala, HP, India, on May 27, 2022. The guests included Sakya Gongma Rinpoché, 43rd Sakya Trizin Khondung Gyana Vajra Rinpoche, 42nd Sakya Trizin Ratna Vajra Rinpoche, Menri Trizin Rinpoché, the Head of the Bön Tradition, H.E Ling Rinpoche, Kirti Rinpoche, Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, former Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche, Sikyong and Kalons (ministers), of the Central Tibetan Administration, Speaker and members of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile and Tibetans.

Venerable Lobsang Monlam, Director of Monlam Tibetan IT Research Center, introduced the Great Tibetan Dictionary project and explained that the 223-volume dictionary was completed with the support of the Dalai Lama Trust and edited by more than 200 people over nine years of work.

Ven Monlam proudly stated that with more than 200,000 entries, this is one of the most comprehensive dictionaries in any language in the world. It reveals the enormous depth of Tibetan culture. The completion of the dictionary is a historic achievement that will make an important contribution to the preservation of Tibetan cultural traditions.

“The Chinese are trying to eliminate our language and culture in Tibet, but here in exile, we are making even greater efforts to keep them alive. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to bringing this project to fruition. We will continue to work on it as we update it over the next ten years,” he added.

“I dedicate the virtue represented by this dictionary to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s long life and the fulfilment of his vision. I offer a complete set of 223 volumes to His Holiness’s Office and pray that His Holiness and the leaders of all the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism live long. May sunny days for Tibet come soon,” he concluded.

After that, His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressed the gathering and said, “We Tibetans have a rich religious and cultural tradition. While we were in Tibet, we were not aware of how it compared with other traditions, but once we came into exile we became aware of how precious our heritage is. It’s a practical tradition at the core of which are methods for tackling negative emotions and cultivating peace of mind. In my own daily practice, I focus on the awakening mind of bodhichitta and cultivating an understanding of emptiness, which together bring me deep inner peace.”

“Practitioners of other religious traditions focus on prayer, but we try to transform our mental attitudes. As Shantideva’s ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life’ explains, our enemy is our best teacher when it comes to cultivating patience. If we carefully think it through, there are no adverse conditions that cannot be transformed into favourable circumstances. Understanding the workings of the mind and emotions is at the heart of the Nalanda Tradition,” he said.

“People talk about peace in the world, but if you have anger and hatred in your heart, talking about peace is simply hypocritical. What we need instead is to cultivate the longstanding Indian traditions of doing no harm (ahimsa) on the basis of compassion for others (karuna),” His Holiness stated.

“Tibetan thinkers considered what to take from Chinese traditions and what to accept from India. What they found to be beneficial they assimilated. We Tibetans have faced all kinds of difficulties, but because of our practice of mind training, we have maintained our inner peace. When other people encounter challenges, they resort to taking sleeping pills to get some rest—something we have no need to do,” the spiritual leader of Tibet said.

“In exile, we requested the Government of India’s help in setting up Tibetan schools where our children could study in their own language. Preserving the Tibetan language has played a key role in our ability to keep our religion and culture alive. I’d like to remind all our friends and Dharma friends gathered here that what is precious about our heritage is that it helps us achieve and maintain peace of mind,” he explained. “We Tibetans have always lived between India and China, but during the reign of Songtsen Gampo we created our own written language based on an Indian model. Later, acknowledging that this gave us the means to do so, Shantarakshita encouraged Tibetans to translate Buddhist literature, including the words of the Buddha and the treatises of countless Indian scholars, into our own language. Consequently, I often tell Indian friends that you were our teachers in the past, but we may be the teachers now because we have preserved the Nalanda Tradition rooted as it is in reason and logic,” he said.

“We have techniques for dealing with anger and means to cultivate love and compassion. Practices for extending compassion to others give rise to peace of mind within individuals, which in turn has a positive effect in families and the wider community. Indeed we are today so interconnected that such methods can make a substantial contribution to peace in the world. Without peace of mind there will be no world peace,” he added.

“What is crucial to the teaching of the Buddha is his advice not to take his teaching for granted. He insisted that his followers should examine his words and investigate his arguments in the way that a goldsmith tests the purity of gold. When we read the works of logicians like Dignaga and Dharmakirti, we find they went to great lengths accordingly to appraise and evaluate the views of others,” His Holiness described.

“Today, Chinese communist hard-liners criticize Tibetan culture without really understanding what it is about. We may be unable to send these 223 volumes to China at present, but in Taiwan, there will be people who can appreciate what kind of culture we have preserved,” he said. “We are not seeking total independence from China, but we need to be able to keep our religion and culture alive. We shall be more than willing to share this knowledge with our Chinese brothers and sisters in the hope that doing so will promote peace between us,” His Holiness stated.

“Our culture originated in India, and today we have all sorts of means to make it better known. I think there would be a great benefit in combining aspects of ancient Indian knowledge with modern science. I’m looking forward to discussing how this might be done with educationists and others in Delhi. The most important element is understanding the workings of the mind and emotions, which leads to peace of mind and in the long run to peace in the world,” the Nobel laureate said.

“A Tibetan I know who studied in China told me that although we are currently under Chinese political control, in the long run, things will change and we will be able to help them spiritually. When Chairman Mao told me that religion is poison, it was because he didn’t know any better. There is great emotional distress in China. We can show people there how to find peace of mind,” His Holiness said.

“We woke up to the potential of our knowledge and culture when we came into exile and we have worked with courage and determination to keep them alive. I am only one person and I have done what I can, but all of you gathered here can contribute to this too,” the Spiritual leader concluded.

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