Example Of Essay On Dalai Lama’s Teachings From Hinayana And Mahayana Perspectives

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Dalai Lama, Buddhism, Religion, Lama, Suffering, Life, Actions, Buddha

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2021/02/12

Dalai Lama is a consciously reborn Lama, one of many so-called “thulku” lamas in Buddhism. He belongs to Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism, which, in turn, takes root in Mahayana tradition. Mahayana Buddhism originated between 100 BCE and 100 AD. It was the era of decline of the Buddhist teachings in India, that were later brought by Marpa, a famous translator and a Tibetan Buddhist “saint”, to the highlands of Tibet. Thus when we compare Indian and Tibetan Buddhism we generally juxtapose Hinayana tradition that prevailed in India and Mahayana teachings that were predominant in Tibet from the very beginning. In Tibet the teachings assimilated local shamanic cults but the Mahayana philosophical basis remained intact. Before we proceed to the analysis of Dalai Lama’s article “Different Paths but One Goal” and his Nobel lecture, a short introduction to these two systems of Buddhism is necessary.
It is important to note that there are no logical discrepancies between the traditions of Hinayana and Mahayana. Both are considered to have evolved from the teachings of Lord Buddha. However, Buddhists believe, and that seems to me perfectly logical, that there cannot be, metaphorically speaking, one single medicine to cure all diseases. All people have different characters, inclinations, mental and psychic faculties, which means that they are inspired by different “styles” of teachings, and are prone to distinct approaches to practice. For example, it is difficult for some people to accept the motivation of achieving enlightenment for the benefit of all living beings. This motivation is characteristic of Mahayana teachings that also have the notions of “bodhichitta” or enlightened attitude and “bodhisattvas”, the beings that are on the way to enlightenment, who give a vow to help all living beings on their way to escape samsaric existence. The also have the intention to stay in the cycle of death and rebirth until they are instrumental in helping others, that is, in fact, till the end of times since there will always be creatures in lower states of existence. Hinayana teaches a way of personal liberation, whereby a man becomes an “arhat”. An arhat is no longer in the cycle of death and rebirth, he has reached the so-called personal nirvana, but in Mahayana it is not considered enlightenment because it lacks certain characteristics such as omniscience and the ability to manifest and emanate its forms in this and other worlds. From this basic motivational difference arise other additional concepts. In Mahayana, or Tibetan Buddhism for the purposes of this essay, one needs to get rid of both disturbing emotions and stiff ideas, whereas in Indian Hinayana only the former was given credit. The other conceptual “expansion” of the Buddhist theory in Mahayana compared to Hinayana is that enlightenment, or nirvana, permeates both samsaric existence and that of “classical” nirvana, that is the state of mind beyond the wheel of samsara.
Reading both of the articles, it is evident that a Mahayana practitioner wrote them. Dalai Lama finishes his Nobel Lecture of 1989 with a prayer that is fully compliant with the Bodhisattva promise. In the prayer he makes a wish to “abide to dispel the misery of the world [for as long as living beings remain]” However, he starts the lecture with more general observations that are common for Buddhism regardless of school or location where the teachings evolved. “The realization that we are all basically the same human beings, who seek happiness and try to avoid suffering”, starts the Tibetan leader. And this lies at the core of the Buddhist philosophy in general. Every living being possesses a Buddha nature. According to Buddhism we are the same in essence, we are all potentially enlightened beings who are not aware of our true nature and thus suffer. That’s also one of the noble truths that Buddha Sakyamuni discovered and gave to his followers. Same notion of unity inherent to our human nature is found in Dalai Lama’s article “Different Paths But One Goal”. In this article Dalai Lama implies that we all strive to happiness and good behavior, which is why there are so many religions that all, according to the simple monk, as Dalai Lama humbly refers to himself in the Noble Lecture, serve the purpose of making this world better.
Another important aspect of the Mahayana teachings is active compassion. Monks in Hinayana live in monasteries to scape from the turmoil of worldly emotions. They do not get involved with worldly passions that are considered a distraction from practice. Therefore an active social stance of Dalai Lama is also a feature of Mahayana tradition of Tibetan Bhuddism. His compassion extends to the Chinese occupants, as he says that they are not to blame as individuals and that every one of them deserves compassion as a sentient being. This act is also beyond Hinayana concepts as it presents a clear example of getting rid of stiff ideas.
The notion of karma, which common to all Buddhist teachings, is present in both the article and the lecture. Although he does not use this term in the open, his message of peace, nonviolence and virtuous behavior perfectly fit in the concept of cause and effect, that is karma, or “action” in translation from Sanskrit.
Buddha explained the cause of suffering in Mahayana perspective as follows. There are two fundamental causes of suffering: all kinds of negative actions on the one hand, and disturbing emotions on the other. Negative actions generate negative consequences, various kinds of suffering and hardship and thus become a direct cause of suffering. The reasons for negative actions are disturbing emotions, and among them the main reason is basic ignorance.
Buddha taught that the gradual replacement of negative habits by positive ones leading to the cessation of all habitual mind tendencies is the way to end all suffering. Once we clearly recognize the causes of the problems, we can immediately put an end to all the difficulties. So by changing the reasons we get control of the consequences. Buddha gave these fundamental teachings with the sole purpose of enabling us to finally overcome all suffering and attain the state of true freedom. This is the Buddhist truth about the end of suffering.
Also it is necessary to know how this can be achieved. For this reason, the fourth of the Noble Truths refers to the path that leads to the end of all suffering. This path can be described as follows. Those who understand the law of cause and effect develop refined perception and understand what actions lead to difficulties. Then one is able to change bad habits, especially those that harm them or others, to develop greater confidence in one’s mind and make it stable and clear. At this point one can recognize that it is disturbing emotions that force people to commit negative actions.
Dalai Lama writes about the possibility of extraterrestrial life and our future exploration of cosmos. His point is that whomever we may meet there we will have to treat with respect and compassion. But for the humanity to be able to do this, we need to work on ourselves and overcome all differences within our world, find common ground for all religions and nations. He implies that until we achieve this unity of high moral standards and wisdom, we will not be in the position to bring anything to the table but our problems. So, again, not to earn bad karma by not benefitting the aliens, this venture should not be undertaken until then. He again demonstrates the absence of stiff ideas in mentioning that science and technology is crucial in modern societies and admits that Tibetans should have invested more effort in such a development. That is unheard of that a religious leader ever doubts the correctness of their actions, but Buddhism is special in this respect as well. It is, so to say, a religion of common sense, a religion of experience, not faith. There is no god that created our present conditions and there is nobody to blame. People must understand that what they see is a result of their karma, both individual and collective.

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WePapers. (2021, February, 12) Example Of Essay On Dalai Lama’s Teachings From Hinayana And Mahayana Perspectives. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-essay-on-dalai-lamas-teachings-from-hinayana-and-mahayana-perspectives/
"Example Of Essay On Dalai Lama’s Teachings From Hinayana And Mahayana Perspectives." WePapers, 12 Feb. 2021, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-essay-on-dalai-lamas-teachings-from-hinayana-and-mahayana-perspectives/. Accessed 26 March 2023.
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"Example Of Essay On Dalai Lama’s Teachings From Hinayana And Mahayana Perspectives." WePapers, Feb 12, 2021. Accessed March 26, 2023. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-essay-on-dalai-lamas-teachings-from-hinayana-and-mahayana-perspectives/
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"Example Of Essay On Dalai Lama’s Teachings From Hinayana And Mahayana Perspectives," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 12-Feb-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-essay-on-dalai-lamas-teachings-from-hinayana-and-mahayana-perspectives/. [Accessed: 26-Mar-2023].
Example Of Essay On Dalai Lama’s Teachings From Hinayana And Mahayana Perspectives. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-essay-on-dalai-lamas-teachings-from-hinayana-and-mahayana-perspectives/. Published Feb 12, 2021. Accessed March 26, 2023.

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