Mind in Comfort and Ease - Preface
“Can you tell us something about your extraordinary destiny?” asked a journalist as His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived at Lerab Ling on the morning of September 17, 2000. His Holiness turned to him and said, “All human beings have an extraordinary destiny! Sometimes things bring us joy and, at other times, sadness. But these ups and downs are part of everyone’s destiny. I believe the most important thing in this existence of ours is to do something that can be of benefit to others. What we need more than anything is to develop an attitude of altruism—that is what truly gives meaning to life. The fact of having been recognized as the Dalai Lama allows me on various occasions to do a bit of good around me. This is the path I try to follow, to the best of my ability.”
In these few words, the Dalai Lama captured the message of compassion and altruism that has made him known throughout the world and that figured prominently throughout his visit to the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France in September 2000. This was His Holiness’ seventeenth visit to France, and in the course of the year leading up to it, three very different events took place that vividly displayed the scope of his compassionate action in the world. The first was in 1999 with the publication of Ethics for a New Millennium, in which the Dalai Lama distilled his sixty-year study and practice of Buddhism into a nonreligious, but fundamentally spiritual, vision for individuals and society, based on the training of the mind. He called for a spiritual and ethical revolution—“a radical reorientation away from our habitual preoccupation with self, toward the wider community of beings with whom we are connected.” Ethics for a New Millennium is a handbook for human survival, which begs to be put into action with imagination and rigor, by being translated into a practical program of training and education.
The second was in March 2000, when His Holiness met with a group of neuroscientists, psychologists, philosophers, and Buddhist practitioners in Dharamsala in India, for the eighth in the series of conferences organized by the Mind and Life Institute. These ground-breaking meetings have constituted the most profound and important collaboration ever to have taken place between Buddhism and the sciences. The 2000 dialogue studied destructive emotions and led directly to a number of far-reaching initiatives in research into the effects and applications of meditation training. Experiments took place the following year in the United States in Madison, Wisconsin, on the effects of meditation practices on brain function, which involved experienced Tibetan Buddhist practitioners and received attention not only from the world press but also from prestigious scientific journals. Many people began to realize the extraordinary repercussions if the universal value of Buddhist contemplative techniques for training the mind in meditation and compassion were to become more widely recognized. The momentum of this seminal meeting in 2000 continues still; in 2005 His Holiness addressed the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, DC, and the following year published The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality, wherein he describes this encounter of science and spirituality as having “far-reaching potential to help humanity meet the challenges before us.”
Lastly, after visiting Poland, Germany, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden in the early summer of 2000, His Holiness traveled to the United States on his last trip abroad before going to France in September. He took part in the massive Folklife Festival, “Tibetan Culture Beyond the Land of Snows,” in Washington, DC. There, on July 2, in an hour-long free public speech to fifteen thousand people on the National Mall, he made a powerful plea for inner values, basic human qualities, and concern for others: “In modern times, I feel it is vitally important to promote basic human values. Otherwise in the future, material development will be our only goal, and inner values will be neglected. Then humanity will face many more problems.” But what most people there will remember is His Holiness’ uncompromising words on the damage to the environment caused by the richer nations and by those striving to copy the American lifestyle and pattern of wealth and consumption. He warned of the long-term global dangers of economic and social inequality at its present scale, and he spoke explicitly about Washington’s poor. To a mounting tide of applause, he said: “This is the nation’s capital, in the richest country in the world, but in some sections of society here people are very, very poor. This is not just morally wrong, but practically wrong…We need to close the gap between the rich and poor.”
A revolutionary formula for a saner and more peaceful world, a groundbreaking collaboration of science and spirituality, and a deep and outspoken concern for humanity and the planet—these powerful examples of the Dalai Lama’s compassionate involvement with the world all formed part of the background to his visit to France in 2000.
The Context of the Teachings
Beginning in 1991, His Holiness the Dalai Lama began to give a regular series of Buddhist teachings for a federation of the Tibetan Buddhist centers in France, and in 2000 it was the turn of the centers grouped geographically in the Golfe du Lion region, near Montpellier in southern France. The honor of arranging His Holiness’ teachings fell to Lerab Ling, which is Rigpa’s main international center, founded by Sogyal Rinpoche and now at the heart of his work. Chosen and blessed by Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and consecrated in 1991 by Kyabjé Dodrupchen Rinpoche, Lerab Ling became the site for Rigpa’s summer retreats from 1992 onward, since when many eminent Tibetan Buddhist masters have been invited to teach and retreats have taken place continuously. In the ancient Occitan language, the original name for the site means “the place of springs,” and its wooded slopes, streams, and meadows lie on the edge of the immense Larzac plateau, most of which is national parkland.
In September 2000 for two weeks, monks from the Namgyal Monastery led by Khamtrul Rinpoche and their abbot Jadho Rinpoche, conducted an intensive group practice at Lerab Ling, a drupchen of Vajrakilaya according to the terma revelation of Lerab Lingpa, Sogyal Rinpoche’s previous incarnation. His Holiness’ arrival was timed to allow him to preside over the final day and culmination of the drupchen and to grant the empowerment for this practice the following day. Also present was Kyabjé Trulshik Rinpoche, from whom His Holiness was receiving the transmission of The Trilogy of Finding Comfort and Ease, an important work by the great Dzogchen master Longchen Rabjam (1308–64). This was the context for his choosing to comment on and explain one of the texts in the trilogy, Finding Comfort and Ease in Meditation on the Great Perfection, in Tibetan Samten Ngalso.
The teachings of Dzogchen, or Great Perfection, are treasured at the heart of the “Ancient,” or Nyingma, tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, which dates back to the eighth or ninth century, when Buddhism was established in Tibet by the great Guru Padmasambhava, King Trisong Detsen, and the scholar-abbot Shantarakshita. The origins of Dzogchen are traced to the primordial buddha, Samantabhadra, from whom a living heritage of wisdom has been transmitted from master to disciple in an unbroken lineage down to the present day. Dzogchen is described as “the primordial state, that state of total awakening that is the heart-essence of all the buddhas and all spiritual paths, and the summit of an individual’s spiritual evolution.” While considered the very pinnacle of all teachings, the practice of Dzogchen is also renowned as particularly clear, effective, and relevant to the modern world and the needs of today.
His Holiness divided his teachings into two sections. First, he gave an introduction to the key principles of the Buddhadharma. Second, to demonstrate how to take the teachings to heart and practice them, he began to explain the root text of Finding Comfort and Ease in Meditation on the Great Perfection. At the same time, he gave the oral transmission for the whole of the root text.
In choosing to teach on a text by Longchenpa, His Holiness was going to the very heart of the ancient Nyingma tradition and its Dzogchen teachings. The “omniscient” Longchen Rabjam was one of the greatest scholars and realized masters of Tibet, who gathered and synthesized all the traditions of Dzogchen in Tibet, setting out a complete foundation for the study and practice of Dzogchen in his extraordinary writings such as The Seven Treasuries, The Trilogy of Finding Comfort and Ease, The Trilogy of Natural Freedom, and The Three Inner Essences. The great Dzogchen master Patrul Rinpoche (1808–87), to whom His Holiness often refers in his teachings, wrote:
So did this omniscient master reveal in his sublime works
The entire range of the Victorious One’s teachings.
Never before had any of the wise masters of India or Tibet
Left such a legacy to the world.
Nyoshul Khenpo (1932–99), who was such an authority on Longchenpa and his works that many of his students regarded him as Longchenpa in the flesh, wrote: “Longchenpa appeared in this world as a second primordial buddha Samantabhadra, transmitting teachings with the lion’s roar of the three categories of Dzogchen…His works are indistinguishable from the words of the Victorious One and constitute an inconceivable body of secrets. Simply to read them causes realization of the wisdom mind that is the true nature of reality to arise in one’s mind.”
Longchenpa composed The Trilogy on Finding Comfort and Ease at his hermitage of Orgyen Dzong, located at Gangri Thökar in central Tibet to the south of Lhasa, where he taught and composed many of his works such as The Seven Treasuries. In his own catalog of his writings, dividing them into outer, inner, and secret, he placed The Trilogy in the secret category and within the more general explanations that, he said, “serve to show how the Dzogchen path, together with its fruition, is in accord with, and incorporates, all the other vehicles, so that one can understand the ultimate point of these vehicles: that they are simply skillful preliminary paths leading to the path of Dzogpachenpo.”
Nyoshul Khenpo gathered Longchenpa’s works on Dzogchen into three groups:
First are those that represent the extensive, scholarly, or pandita’s approach, principally The Seven Treasuries and The Trilogy of Natural Freedom. This group also contains commentaries such as Longchenpa’s overview of the tantra The All-Creating Monarch, which constitute the portion of his writings concerning the category of mind. The portion of his writings related to the category of space in this extensive scholarly mode includes a short text known as The Vast Array of Space, along with his commentary.
The second group is that of the profound, kusuli’s approach, that is, the streamlined approach of a Dzogchen yogi. This group consists of the three Yangtik cycles that Longchenpa revealed: The Innermost Heart Drop of the Guru (Lama Yangtik), The Innermost Heart Drop of the Dakini (Khandro Yangtik), and The Innermost Heart Drop of Profundity (Zapmo Yangtik). These teachings are designed for the very unelaborate lifestyle of a wandering yogi or someone in retreat.
The third group consists of the teachings that are the underpinnings of both the extensive, scholar’s approach and the profound, yogi’s approach. These are Longchenpa’s teachings on the graduated path—lamrim. The most well known is The Trilogy of Finding Comfort and Ease, which comprises Finding Comfort and Ease in the Nature of Mind (Semnyi Ngalso), Finding Comfort and Ease in Meditation (Samten Ngalso), and Finding Comfort and Ease in the Illusoriness of Things (Gyuma Ngalso).
Longchenpa explains the sequence of the three works in The Trilogy of Finding Comfort and Ease:
In the beginning, when we first set out on the path, it is important that we establish a good foundation in the Dharma, and that is why the thirteen chapters of Finding Comfort and Ease in the Nature of Mind offer an elaborate explanation of the bases for the view that is beyond the two extremes, from the difficulty of finding the freedoms and advantages onward. At the same time, they also explain aspects of the stages of the path and fruition.
Once we have understood the ground, we can begin meditation on the path, and so the four chapters of Finding Comfort and Ease in Meditation offer a step-by-step explanation of the places where meditation can be practiced, the types of individual suited to the practice, the techniques we can use in meditation, and the types of concentration that can be achieved.
While this path is being practiced it is important to have teachings on nonattachment and nonclinging toward phenomena. So, as a support, a clear and elaborate presentation of the stages of action is given in the eight chapters of Finding Comfort and Ease in the Illusoriness of Things. These chapters reveal, thoroughly and without any error, how to relate to all phenomena, and how to experience them as the eight similes of illusoriness.
His Holiness frequently quotes Longchenpa’s works in his teachings on Dzogchen in the West and in 1989 based his teachings in San Jose, California, on sections from The Precious Treasury of the Dharmadhatu. When he visited the Dzogchen monastery in south India in December 2000, at the invitation of His Eminence the Seventh Dzogchen Rinpoche, he also gave a transmission and teaching on both Finding Comfort and Ease in the Nature of Mind and Finding Comfort and Ease in Meditation.
The Sequence of the Teachings
The Dalai Lama’s five-day teaching, entitled “The Path to Enlightenment,” took place close to Lerab Ling on a site that was given the name Lerab Gar. An enormous teaching tent stood surrounded by other tents housing restaurants, information resources, publications, an exhibition on the history of Rigpa, services, and the press. Seventy percent of the audience of over ten thousand came from France and the rest from twenty-one other countries. Over a hundred lamas and geshes, monks from the Namgyal, Gomang, and Gyutö monasteries, and two hundred Western monks and nuns attended, along with a hundred friends of His Holiness and Tibet. Two hundred people from the surrounding villages were invited to attend the teachings for a day. Sogyal Rinpoche conveyed the feeling of those present in his welcome to His Holiness:
Here in France we know you will feel at home and among friends. France is a land that has been touched deeply by the Dharma and its healing message, and that has opened its arms to embrace Tibet and the Tibetans…People have gathered here from all over the world. They realize that you are one of the greatest scholars and Buddhist teachers of our time, and so they know that to receive these teachings from you is the opportunity of a lifetime. We rejoice that these teachings are taking place in the year of the sixtieth anniversary of your enthronement and also in the millennial year 2000. It seems to remind us of your importance for the world, the human race, and its future.
His Holiness began by apologizing for the late start due to the unusual weather conditions. “We have started slightly late on this first day of the teachings,” he announced. “This has been because of all kinds of difficulties due to the climate. I am sorry about this, although it is not really my fault. You seem to be in some difficulty; I probably look more comfortable, but it’s not very warm up here either.” In fact, a devastating storm had hit the south coast of France the previous afternoon, causing severe flooding and damage in Montpellier. Driving rain and gale force winds had flattened the smaller tents on the site, flooded the main tent, and turned much of the area into a quagmire. However, the audience had been so intent on getting there that the teaching was able to begin after a delay of merely an hour.
His Holiness then set the scene for his teachings by speaking about the common objectives of the different religions and the value of maintaining one’s tradition and learning from other faiths. He dwelled on the themes of personal transformation, human intelligence and reason, and the importance of altruism and love, speaking of the power of the mind in attaining true happiness. From time to time throughout his teachings, he would strike a personal note or tell an anecdote, as he deftly introduced the key principles of Buddhadharma in a way that was accessible for those present. The topics he explained were: the four noble truths, interdependence, absolute and relative truth, shunyata, the nature of consciousness, the continuity of mind and matter, the disturbing emotions, and enlightenment. These all form the first part of this book: Key Principles of the Buddhadharma.
It was on the third day that His Holiness started to give a commentary on Longchen Rabjam’s Finding Comfort and Ease in Meditation on the Great Perfection, and these teachings comprise the second part of this book. He began by speaking on the schools of Buddhism in Tibet and the great scholars and realized masters of the Nyingma tradition. This led him to present the unique features of the Great Perfection as compared to other vehicles and the distinction made between ordinary mind and the pure awareness of rigpa, quoting the Great Fifth Dalai Lama as he did so.
Longchenpa’s text is composed of three parts: the locations for cultivating meditation, the individual meditator or practitioner, and the Dharma to be practiced. His Holiness commented on the first two parts in detail. Here he spoke on renunciation, following a spiritual teacher, overcoming and transforming the negative emotions, mindfulness and vigilance, the different views of selflessness, anger and patience, impermanence and death. He then came to the third part, the main practice, and the four kinds of preliminary: (1) renunciation, (2) compassion and bodhichitta, (3) pure vision, and (4) guru yoga.
In connection with the preliminary of bodhichitta, on the following day His Holiness gave a teaching on compassion and bodhichitta, which grew progressively more moving till he spoke very personally of the value and benefit of bodhichitta, at which point he wept for a few moments. He then conferred the bodhisattva vow, in the most beautiful ceremony based on Asanga’s Bodhisattva Stages. During the series of questions and responses between the master and disciples that form part of the ceremony, His Holiness introduced an air of lightness and comedy by improvising a set of wry, but probably truthful, replies on behalf of the audience. For the bodhisattva vow ceremony, His Holiness’ throne and table had been garlanded with white and yellow Tokyo lilies, and at the conclusion of the transmission of the vow, His Holiness stood on the throne and cast flowers to the buddhas and bodhisattvas in all directions, imploring everyone not to let their aspirations be mediocre or ordinary but to make the most heartfelt prayers to reach buddhahood for the benefit of both themselves and others.
That same afternoon, in light of the teaching on the preliminaries of pure vision and guru yoga, His Holiness conferred the empowerment of Padmasambhava and his Eight Manifestations, the mind sadhana of The Union of All Innermost Essences from the cycle of pure visions of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama (1617–82), an empowerment he had granted when giving Dzogchen teachings at Rigpa’s request in 1982 in Paris and in 1989 in San Jose. His Holiness spoke about the Great Fifth Dalai Lama and his pure visions, which are entitled Bearing the Seal of Secrecy. The eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche, or Pema Tötreng, as listed in the empowerment are: the lotus-born vidyadhara Padmakara, the bhikshu Padmasambhava, the learned Loden Choksé, the magnificent Padma Gyalpo, the yogi Nyima Özer, the enlightened lord Shakya Sengé, the wrathful Sengé Dradok, and the embodiment of “crazy wisdom,” Dorjé Drolö. In Dharamsala in 2004, when explaining the importance of invoking and praying to Guru Rinpoche, His Holiness spoke of the unique inspiration that the Great Fifth Dalai Lama drew from Guru Padmasambhava:
The precious guru Padmasambhava—Lopön Rinpoche—was not only endowed with all the true qualities of a great spiritual guide—knowledge, compassion and infinite capacity—but he was also a great master who commanded extraordinary power. Most of the great historical figures of Tibet, both spiritual and secular, have placed themselves under the compassionate protection of the great master Padmasambhava and received his blessing. The Great Fifth Dalai Lama, for example, clearly had a very special link with Guru Rinpoche, and the thirteenth Dalai Lama, too, quite evidently enjoyed a unique connection with the precious master.
Immediately after the empowerment, His Holiness then embarked on the main practice from the third part of Finding Comfort and Ease in Meditation on the Great Perfection: the Dharma to be practiced. Straightaway he taught on the Great Perfection, the clear light, and the ultimate nature of the mind, introducing the higher two truths, identifying the clear light as the profound feature of both highest yoga tantra and Dzogchen, and clarifying the place of analytical meditation and the Middle Way view. At this juncture, he quoted from Longchen Rabjam’s Seven Treasuries and referred to instructions by the third Dodrupchen, Jikmé Tenpé Nyima (1865–1926), for whose writings His Holiness always expresses the deepest admiration and whom he invariably quotes when teaching on Dzogchen. Dodrupchen Jikmé Tenpé Nyima was one of the foremost masters in the Nyingma tradition in the early twentieth century and was himself a student of legendary figures such as Patrul Rinpoche and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. In shaping his own understanding of the profound correspondences between highest yoga tantra and Dzogchen, the Dalai Lama wrote, “reading Dodrupchen was as if he were stroking my head in confirmation, giving me confidence that my insight was not unfounded.”
On the morning of the final day of the teachings, Kyabjé Trulshik Rinpoche led everyone present in a long-life ceremony for His Holiness. This was especially meaningful, as every year Kyabjé Trulshik Rinpoche accomplishes a retreat for His Holiness’ longevity at the Maratika Cave in Nepal, where Padmasambhava attained the stage of vidyadhara of immortal life. The actual ceremony, entitled Sublime Vase of Nectar of Immortality, was compiled by Trulshik Rinpoche himself from the long-life practice Light of Immortality, a terma revelation from the Northern Terma tradition, along with elements from Lhatsün Namkha Jikmé’s pure visions, a dream revelation of Minling Terchen Gyurmé Dorjé, and the Sangwa Gyachen visions of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama. It was chosen for this occasion by His Holiness, and it was performed, for the first time in the West, with meticulous perfection and grace by the Namgyal monks, just as it would have been in Dharamsala. Two features stood out: the deep rapport and devotion between Trulshik Rinpoche and His Holiness and also the quality of completeness created by the combined presence of His Holiness, Trulshik Rinpoche, the Namgyal monks, His Holiness’ associates from Dharamsala, supporters of Tibet, and the whole assembly. This was the only longevity ceremony of such scope carried out in the West to mark the sixtieth anniversary year of the Dalai Lama’s enthronement.
It was the weekend, and, learning that there were some people who had just arrived, His Holiness presented a masterful summary of the teachings so far, including themes such as happiness and suffering, understanding interdependence, altruism and love, the essence of religion, the view and conduct of the Buddhadharma, caution on the spiritual path, and the need to maintain authenticity.
His Holiness then continued to deepen the teaching on Dzogchen, clarifying the wisdom of rigpa, the introduction to the nature of mind, the view of Dzogchen, essence, nature and compassion, and many other key points of Dzogchen practice. As well as quoting from Dodrupchen Jikmé Tenpé Nyima, His Holiness read a passage from the writings of Tulku Tsullo, or Tsultrim Zangpo (1884–1957), a disciple of Dodrupchen and Tertön Sogyal Lerab Lingpa. Speaking later to the directors of studies at Lerab Ling about how to implement a Rimé, unbiased, approach in practical terms, His Holiness made mention of Tulku Tsullo:
In my own experience, when I read a Nyingma text written by a great Nyingma teacher who does not know the terminology of other traditions, it can create confusion for me. When I read a pure Geluk lama, who only knows about the Geluk tradition, it is not much help either in developing a deeper understanding of other traditions. However, as I mentioned earlier, there are some remarkable teachers such as Dodrupchen Jikmé Tenpé Nyima, and particularly his student, Tsullo. His background was Nyingma, but at the same time he was familiar with the Geluk tradition. Tsullo knew all about Lama Tsongkhapa’s way of presenting things and the terminology involved, and so he often makes the connections in his writings.
There is another author who has a similar grasp of the different traditions. I just received a book from Tibet by Nyengön Tulku Sungrap. He was a lama from the Geluk tradition, who at the same time received teaching from the previous Tertön Sogyal Rinpoche and other Nyingma lamas. He had a real experience and through this experience developed a deep respect and admiration for the Dzogchen tradition. In his work, he draws out comparisons, and so it becomes very clear.
Say, for example, individuals who are already familiar with the Nyingma and Dzogchen teachings, and especially trekchö, study such comparative explanations. If they then come across the explanation of emptiness or clear light according to the work of Lama Tsongkhapa, they will be able to connect and correlate one with the other. Once these students have a more complete picture, if they receive teachings from a Geluk scholar, they will already have the basis for understanding. Subsequently they can receive further explanation from a Geluk lama, or from a Sakya lama on “the inseparability of samsara and nirvana,” for example. Even though the lamas may not know all these different traditions, at least on the student’s side there will already be some background. Then, with the help of these different teachers, the student’s knowledge can increase. That is the way, I think, to create genuine Rimé practitioners.
His Holiness concluded the teachings by granting the oral transmission for the remaining part of the main practice and concluding practices from Finding Comfort and Ease in Meditation on the Great Perfection.
Throughout these five days, His Holiness gave the impression of being impelled by a singular inspiration, and he did not allot any time for questions and answers. His closing words were: “To sum up, I think that the main point is to try to be a good human being. This is the way to give meaning to our present existence and to all the existences to come… At any rate, as the Buddha said, it is up to us to travel the path. It is entirely in our hands: we are our own guide and our own protector. So, be diligent in your spiritual practice.” Finally, Sogyal Rinpoche thanked everyone and dedicated the whole event: “By the truth of these teachings, may Your Holiness’ deepest aspirations and hopes for the Tibetan people be fulfilled. May they find freedom, may their suffering be ended, and may you return soon to Tibet.” The entire audience gave His Holiness a standing ovation.
When it came time for His Holiness to depart from Lerab Ling, a squad of stout uniformed policemen scrambled into line to have their photo taken with him. Catching sight of one of the officers who had a handlebar moustache worthy of Salvador Dalí or Kaiser Wilhelm, His Holiness leaned over and tweaked it, a playful glint in his eye.
His Holiness then took part in an interreligious gathering in the neighboring town of Lodève, an event that became a milestone in interfaith understanding for the area and was widely covered in the national newspapers. He spoke on “Human Values, the Heart of Religion.” From there, he went to Montpellier, home to one of France’s oldest universities (the medical school is Western Europe’s oldest center of medical learning), and now a city known for new industries and information technology. His Holiness gave a public talk, entitled “Peace of Mind, the Source of Happiness,” which was attended by over five thousand people. On this occasion he was introduced by Jean-Claude Carrière, the well-known scriptwriter, author, and dramatist, who has written a book, The Power of Buddhism, based on a series of dialogues with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. Once again, His Holiness made the link between inner and outer peace and in particular emphasized how vital it is to develop mastery over the emotions and to nurture the true qualities of a human being. At the end of the talk, His Holiness visited the adjacent hall where he had been relayed on video to another thousand people or more. Striding briskly toward the hall, with his security team sprinting to catch up, he climbed onto a podium and, in two minutes, encapsulated the heart of his talk. The atmosphere in the hall was alive with appreciation at his gesture of coming to address a second audience, and, as he left, he kept plunging into the crowd to shake hands, as if he were somehow attached to each of the people in the room, and each step he made toward the door took him no nearer. If the applause in the main hall had been rapturous, here it bordered on the overwhelming.
His Holiness’ teaching “The Path to Enlightenment,” given on September 20–24, 2000, was translated live into French by Matthieu Ricard, and the transcript was then translated into English by Ane Samten Palmo. A Tibetan transcription of the teachings was made in Dharamsala under the supervision of Ven. Geshe Lhakdor, the main English translator at the teachings in France. On the basis of this, the translation was then revised, with reference to the recording of His Holiness’ own words, by Richard Barron (Lama Chökyi Nyima) and Adam Pearcey. For the sake of completeness and with His Holiness’ blessing, a translation of Longchenpa’s Finding Comfort and Ease in Meditation on the Great Perfection has been included here at the end of His Holiness’ teaching. This translation is by Adam Pearcey, based on an earlier translation made jointly with B. Alan Wallace in 2000. A number of difficult points and references from the teachings and this text have been graciously clarified by Tulku Thondup Rinpoche, Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, Geshe Thupten Jinpa, and Geshe Tashi Tsering.
The appendix offers a historical perspective, based on His Holiness’ own explanation of the history and significance of the Vajrayana practices—the empowerment, the drupchen, and the mendrup—that took place at Lerab Ling.
All in all, His Holiness’ teachings and his visit to the south of France surpassed everyone’s expectations and had repercussions on various levels. For France, this visit by His Holiness witnessed a deepening and maturing of the interest in the Buddhist teachings. His Holiness himself and others commented on the rapt attention and appreciativeness of the audience, who frequently applauded and at the end rose in a long, standing ovation. With the largest gathering to date for a Buddhist teaching by His Holiness in France, news of Lerab Gar was broadcast as far away as Korea and Tibet. For Europe and beyond, these events underlined the respect that Buddhism has increasingly won in the modern world as a great source of wisdom, offered with no notion of conversion but simply to benefit human beings and bring them ever closer to their ultimate nature.
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© The Tertön Sogyal Trust and Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, Mind in Comfort and Ease (Wisdom Publications, 2007)
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