In Praise of His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Sydney, Australia September 1996

This praise and request to His Holiness the Dalai Lama was given at the long-life puja offered to His Holiness on September 29, 1996, after the Kalachakra initiation in Sydney, Australia. An excerpt from this teaching first appeared in the November-December 1997 issue of Mandala magazine. It also appears in the book Understanding the Dalai Lama, edited by Rajiv Mehrotra; New Delhi: Penguin/Viking, 2004.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama with Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the great treasure of infinite compassion embracing all sentient beings, the sole source of benefit and happiness, and the sole refuge. His Holiness is incomparably kinder to us the fortunate disciples in many countries of this world who are able to see his holy body and hear his holy speech, than all the past, present and future Buddhas.

The kind Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, out of his great compassion, descended to this world of Dzambu in the Arya land of India for the sole purpose of bringing benefit and happiness to migratory beings by leading us to liberation and full enlightenment.

It is said in The White Lotus Sutra:

At one time when the Buddha was residing in Milk-Plant Park, he turned to face the north and smiled. Five rays of light issued from the curled hair between his eyebrows. When the bodhisattva Meaningful to Behold asked why, the Buddha replied, “O son of the Mahayana type, there is a land in the north known as the Land of Snow where the Buddhas of the three times have not yet put their holy feet. However, in the future, the holy Dharma will spread and flourish there like the rising sun and all the living beings there will be liberated by Lord Avalokiteshvara, who once made the following prayer:

May I liberate all sentient beings in the Land of Snow, who are difficult to subdue. May I subdue them. May I lead the sentient beings in that outlying barbarous country [Tibet] on the path to liberation and full enlightenment. May even that barbarous country become a field that is subdued by me. May all the holy Dharma taught by all the Tathagatas be spread and flourish for a long time in that country. May the sentient beings there enjoy the holy Dharma by hearing the name of the Triple Gem, going for refuge and achieving the bodies of happy migratory beings.”

The bodhisattva Meaningful to Behold, to whom Guru Shakyamuni Buddha predicted the spread of Dharma in Tibet, saying, “In the future when my teaching has degenerated in India, the sentient beings in the Land of Snow in the north will be the objects to be subdued by you, the bodhisattva,” and the Compassion Buddha who made all those prayers and performed extensive benefit illuminating with the light of Dharma, is none other than the present Dalai Lama.

Even ordinary people can realize that the incomparable qualities and the holy actions of His Holiness’s body, speech and mind benefiting other sentient beings signify the infinitely compassionate aspiration that he made in the past. Not only did His Holiness make prayers to extensively benefit Tibet by subduing the sentient beings there, but nowadays he shines the light of Dharma to eliminate the darkness of ignorance and bring the sunshine of peace and happiness even in the Western world.

It is proven that His Holiness is the present living Compassionate-eyed Looking Buddha, Avalokiteshvara, even from the lineage of the incarnation, which starts from Avalokiteshvara and, during Buddha’s time, the bodhisattva Meaningful to Behold, King Jigten Ngawang and the Brahmin Khyeu Nan-che; then continues through Sangye Gyalwa; Nyatri Tsenpo; the first king of Tibet, Chogyal Trisong Duetsen; Chogyal Songsten Gampo; Lama Atisha’s translator, the great Dromtonpa, who is the forty-fifth incarnation; the first Dalai Lama, Gendun Trupa, who founded Tashi Lhunpo Monastery; Gendun Gyatso; Sonam Gyatso; Yonten Gyatso; the Fifth Dalai Lama; Tsangyang Gyatso; Kelsang Gyatso; Jampal Gyatso; Lungtok Gyatso; Tsultrim Gyatso; Khedrup Gyatso; Trinley Gyatso; Thubten Gyatso; and the present Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, the sixty-fourth incarnation.

His Holiness Serkong Dorje Chang, who passed away in Tibet, had a dream in which a spontaneously arisen statue of Avalokiteshvara with five faces predicted that he would see the Compassion Buddha the following day. The next day he saw His Holiness.

One day the great scholar-yogi Tehor Kyorpön Rinpoche, renowned in Sera, Gaden and Drepung Monasteries, told all his disciples that they were going to meet Dromtönpa, an incarnation of Compassion Buddha. They then went to see His Holiness.

His Holiness is preserving the complete teaching of the Buddha, the three higher trainings of morality, meditation and wisdom in the three basket teachings, which is the essence of the Hinayana teaching and the foundation of the causal Mahayana Paramitayana path and the resultant secret Vajrayana, which flourished in the past in Tibet and now flourishes even outside Tibet. Because of that, His Holiness is able to produce continuously many hundreds of thousands of holy scholars and highly attained yogis, like stars in the sky. Even nowadays in various parts of the world so many people are able to receive teachings from highly qualified practitioner—teachers from the monasteries of Sera, Gaden, and Drepung and also from the monasteries of the other traditions. So many Westerners and others from many countries in the world are able to study with them in depth and learn everything they wish. By putting these teachings into practice, they are able to make their lives meaningful and find fulfillment. They have so much opportunity to enjoy peace and happiness and are able to direct their lives towards liberation and enlightenment, and this is increasing every year. This is solely due to His Holiness’s kindness.

Without His Holiness, Buddhism would suffer, and it would be extremely difficult to continue the preservation of the entire Buddhadharma. Without the teaching of the Buddha, sentient beings suffer because it is the only medicine to cure all the diseases, delusions, negative karma and their imprints. His Holiness is completely liberated from all the fears of samsara—the circling aggregates which are suffering in nature—and is highly skilled in liberating others from all suffering. Therefore, from the bottom of our hearts, we should always pray for His Holiness to have a stable life until samsara ends.

His Holiness’s holy body, speech and mind are the source of peace for all living beings. He is ultimate among those who are learned, ultimate among those who are pure in morality, and ultimate among those who are warm-hearted. He is unstained by delusion and ego-seeking happiness for self. He is unstained by even the subtlest obscurations.

For us sentient beings, both human and animal, just seeing or touching his holy body purifies our minds and makes our lives meaningful. It brings unforgettable peace and happiness and plants the seeds of liberation and enlightenment in our mental continuum. It gives incredible inspiration and the hope for a better life.

The ever-loving smile and compassionate face of His Holiness radiate warm rays of light that pacify all fears and anxieties, all the karma and delusions of sentient beings. No matter how much one looks at the holy body of the Compassion Buddha one never feels satiated. There is no limit to the qualities of the stainless holy body and to the extensive benefit that sentient beings receive from it.

From one hour or even a few minutes of the gentle, soothing nectar of his holy speech, people can understand immediately the very essence of Buddhism and make their lives most beneficial and meaningful. His holy words, which come solely from egoless, compassionate, loving thought, present everything in a very simple, clear, logical way and suit exactly the nature of mind of each person that hears them. Even if one hundred thousand people listen to His Holiness, every single person is uplifted with unbelievable joy and finds the answers to his questions. The problems in their lives are immediately solved.

In the very short time it takes to hear a few of his holy words, they receive a profound wisdom that illuminates the darkness of ignorance obscuring the clear nature of their minds. They develop the wisdom to know what is right and to be practiced, and what is wrong and to be abandoned. They are able to practice the Dharma and benefit others, as well as obtain the ultimate happiness of liberation from samsara, and full enlightenment.

Western countries are highly developed in the fields of science, technology, psychology and so forth, yet they are unable to find answers for many of the complicated issues of life especially relating to birth and death. Within Western countries, there are many unresolved doubts and wrong views concerning economic, legal, and social problems. Each of His Holiness’s holy words is a sword that immediately cuts through these problems. He gives simple solutions, none of which is separate from Dharma, not only to problems related to religious practice but also to business, family relationships and other aspects of our daily lives. Everything he advises is based on not harming others and on benefiting them. There is no contradiction between the spiritual and political because his advice comes not only from a pure motivation of compassion but from wisdom as well.

His Holiness’s holy speech takes care of the earth and the living beings inhabiting the earth. If people were to put his holy speech into practice, it would protect even the environment from destruction. He gives so much love and compassion that each person’s mind is transformed into that love and compassion. Each person who hears His Holiness speak and then practices according to his words transforms his mind into the qualities His Holiness speaks about and brings peace and happiness to the world. Millions of people have heard his holy speech and been inspired with hope and courage in their lives. They become more sensitive to others, with the loving compassionate thought of caring for others’ rights and needs. At the very least they decide not to kill other beings.

Even if they cannot completely stop harming others, if one person in an audience stops causing one harm to others—for example, by refraining from killing or getting angry—it brings peace to all other living beings. All this peace given to the world by one person refraining from one harm came from hearing His Holiness speak. There is no question about the benefit when millions of people put his holy speech into practice. Therefore, it is easy to understand how His Holiness is the source of all the temporary and ultimate joy and peace for all sentient beings.

With a very few words, he gives us insight into the whole path to enlightenment, bringing us incredible light. The qualities of His Holiness’s speech, as well as the benefits sentient beings receive from it, are limitless.

As to the qualities of the holy mind, His Holiness has infinite qualities, such as the ten powers, the four fearlessnesses, the eighteen qualities of unmixed Dharma and so forth, which cannot be comprehended by even a tenth level bodhisattva let alone by an ordinary sentient being. Each pore of his holy body is able to perform the function of his holy mind and directly see all existence and benefit all sentient beings. His holy wisdom, which is immovable forever from emptiness, without concept simultaneously manifests and works for each sentient being exactly in accordance with their karma.

A special quality of His Holiness that ordinary people can see is that he seeks to benefit even those who harm him. Even though some evil beings criticize His Holiness, unlike common people and even other religious leaders, he only benefits them in return. He feels even greater compassion for them and cherishes them most in his heart. He praises their qualities and prays only for their well-being, for their temporary and ultimate happiness up to enlightenment. This leaves no doubt that His Holiness is a bodhisattva, the Compassion Buddha.

When the Chinese Communists invaded Tibet, they caused unbelievable destruction of buildings, especially monasteries, and the environment, and tortured and killed not only ordinary people but many high lamas and highly educated monks and nuns. Not only did they destroy buildings and holy objects in the monasteries, but they prevented monks and nuns teaching Buddhism, especially the higher training of morality.

In such a situation, there is no doubt that an ordinary world leader would hold a grudge and regard the Chinese Communists as enemies. His Holiness, however, is not solely concerned about the freedom, peace and happiness of the six million Tibetan people and the future of the most precious, profound culture in the world, which preserves the entire teaching of the Buddha. He also cherishes deeply the Chinese Communists. He is greatly concerned about their sufferings and always prays for their freedom, peace and happiness. He feels a special concern and unbearable compassion for Mao Tse-tung. There is no question that this is His Holiness’s attitude and action, and it proves even to an ordinary person that he is a bodhisattva, that in reality he is Avalokiteshvara, the Compassion Buddha.

If the Chinese Communists are unable to open their hearts to His Holiness and accept his holy wishes, it will be a great pity and a great loss of opportunity. If they can open their hearts, it will mean not only freedom, peace and happiness for six million Tibetan people, but the opportunity to continue to preserve and strengthen the whole of Buddhism, as happened previously in Tibet where so many highly attained beings experienced the path shown by Buddha, and were enlightened. It will also mean that the rest of the world will be able to deepen their understanding of the cause of happiness and suffering, and have the opportunity to attain enlightenment, which is the ultimate source of peace and happiness for all.

In addition, millions of Chinese will receive unbelievable peace and happiness from His Holiness. If the key figures in the Chinese government used His Holiness to communicate with and help their people, there would be incredible benefit in terms of peace and happiness, which these non-religious officials cannot offer because they lack his qualities. In the past, the emperors of Chinese dynasties invited prominent Tibetan lamas to China to learn from them. They received many teachings and initiations and studied the path to enlightenment in order to bring the greatest benefit to their lives.

All sentient beings receive loving kindness and compassion from His Holiness without discrimination. His Holiness works to benefit all sentient beings, regardless of whether they have benefited him or not.

In particular, this present Dalai Lama has been able to benefit extensively in the West, where he has opened the hearts of millions. He shows the aspect of understanding everything about the Western world and culture and is able to deal with issues by bringing them down to earth with a humour that uplifts the spirit. Every time His Holiness comes to the West, he brings many thousands of people unforgettable joy, peace, and satisfaction. He brings great benefit to people who are religious by giving them essential, practical advice about how to make their lives most profitable and enjoyable. He also shows people who are not religious practical ways to make their lives meaningful.

Such extensive benefit was not offered in this way by previous Dalai Lamas. His Holiness has accomplished much more in the world than the independence of Tibet for six million people. Therefore, this aspect is extremely important for us sentient beings, who are in danger of nuclear war and in danger of dying from new diseases, and who suffer so much from desire, violence, anger and the gloom of ignorance.

Most precious is the Buddha’s psychology, the Buddha’s way of pacifying suffering and achieving happiness. There is no way that we can repay the kindness of His Holiness who is preserving the doctrine even if we offer the whole world filled with wish-fulfilling jewels for eons. Through hearing His Holiness’s teaching unbelievable preparation is made in our mental continuum for every happiness, including liberation and enlightenment. So we should practice his essential advice of loving kindness and compassion, caring more for others and serving them. We should put into practice as much as possible all his holy teachings and fulfil his holy wishes, particularly his wish to free the Tibetans from the misery and fear they are now facing and help them to have freedom like before.

With palms together we should constantly pray for His Holiness to guide us continuously in all our lifetimes until we achieve enlightenment, and for our lives to be most beneficial for all sentient beings—just like His Holiness, the Compassion Buddha.

When we see His Holiness the Dalai Lama, what we are actually seeing is the holy body of the Compassion Buddha in human form. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the actual living Compassion Buddha, so besides hearing his holy speech, even just seeing his holy body is great purification—it makes preparation in our mind for us to be liberated from the oceans of samsaric suffering and plants the seed of enlightenment.

Even a yogi who is not enlightened but has realizations of the graduated generation stage, which ripens the mind, and the completion stage, which liberates the mind, of the Highest Yoga Tantra or maha-anuttara yoga tantra path is unbelievably meaningful for us sentient beings. Due to the realizations of such yogas, just to be able to see the holy body or be in the same place as such a yogi is meaningful. It is said in the Heruka root tantra, “Just by seeing, touching, hearing and remembering (the yogi), one gets liberated from all negative karmas (sins). There is no doubt that it happens exactly like that. And one gets born in the race of the Tathagata and will become a king endowed with Dharma.” This is the benefit of someone who is practicing the deity Heruka.

The same Heruka root tantra text also says, “The hero or heroine, the supreme yogi, wherever he or she is abiding blesses the whole place and the living beings in that area.” Such a yogi extensively benefits not only the human beings but even the insects in that area, purifying their negative karmas and liberating them. Even when a practitioner of Heruka is passing over a bridge, the insects under the bridge are purified and liberated.

Besides the actual yogi, an unenlightened being who has those realizations, or even a practitioner of the Heruka deity becomes meaningful to behold for sentient beings. So there is no question about the benefit of seeing an actual enlightened being, what is historically known as Avalokiteshvara. We can understand from these valid quotations from the Heruka root tantra how much benefit we get just by being near His Holiness.

This is just the benefit of being able to see or be near the holy body. Then, with each hour that we hear the holy speech it plants the seeds of liberation and enlightenment—so much preparation is made in our mental continuum to achieve liberation from samsara and full enlightenment. His Holiness’s holy speech is simplified and easy to understand, but it contains the depth and extensiveness of everything that is explained in Buddha’s holy texts.

Each word is like an atomic bomb that destroys our inner enemy, the delusions, and defeats the strong selfish mind. His Holiness’ words also destroy the creator of not only human problems but all samsaric sufferings—the mind un-knowing the ultimate nature of the I and the ultimate nature of the mind, which creates death and rebirth. old age and sickness, dissatisfaction, emotional pain; and other sufferings.

As amrita nectar is the most enjoyable thing we can drink, His Holiness’s speech is the supreme nectar for our minds. And even though at the moment we cannot see His Holiness’s infinite qualities, we can see that His Holiness is filled with wisdom, offering the solutions to every difficulty in every aspect of life, and showing all those people who think their life has no meaning and no hope, not only in the East but in the West also, how to make their lives most meaningful. We can also see that His Holiness is filled with loving kindness, compassion and respect for everyone, whether they praise him or criticize him, whether they are rich or poor.

By seeing His Holiness, especially by hearing his holy speech, and by seeing all his qualities, the hearts of many millions in the world have been filled with hope, joy and peace. Of course, we should see His Holiness in the pure aspect of Buddha Avalokiteshvara, in the aspect of the Compassionate Buddha Avalokiteshvara’s holy body, but as it is mentioned in the teachings, “Even if all the Buddhas actually descend in front of us, one does not have the fortune to see the holy body with the holy signs and exemplifications except the present appearance (the ordinary impure appearance projected by the ordinary impure mind) until one is free from karmic obscuration.” Since ordinary beings like myself only have the karma to see the Buddha in a human form, His Holiness has manifested in this inspiring human form exactly in accordance with our karma, giving us the opportunity to hear and see directly this aspect. This kindness of His Holiness is without limit or measure, like the limitless sky. By being able to see His Holiness and hear his holy speech we can awaken or enlighten our mind—this is the best gift we can receive in this life.

By showing the Four Noble Truths, His Holiness introduces true suffering and where it comes from—the true cause of suffering. Because they are dependent arisings, existing in dependence upon cause and conditions, they can be ceased by other causes and conditions, so we can achieve the cessation of suffering. How is this possible? Because there is the true path, and by showing us the Four Noble Truths, His Holiness liberates sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering and brings us to liberation. This is the most important education a teacher can give.

Many of us have no idea what the I is, what the mind is; we have no idea of ultimate truth and conventional truth. Our minds are totally dark. Even though everything—including the I, the self—exists by being merely labelled by the mind and because of that is totally empty, we are constantly overwhelmed by a wrong belief in apparently true appearances projected by ignorance. All that we see as real, His Holiness sees as empty; His Holiness sees all phenomena as existing because they are merely labelled so by the mind. Not only that, but all the sense objects appear most pure to His Holiness. We constantly suffer, overwhelmed by negative emotional thoughts, if not by anger then by ignorance or desire, like a city covered by the ocean waves. But His Holiness’s holy mind is totally free from obscuration, from disturbing emotional thoughts such as desire and so forth. His Holiness’s holy mind does not have even the slightest stain or taint of this.

We are like oil spilt on paper. Whatever we do, even breathing in and out, we are totally overwhelmed by self-cherishing thought. But numberless eons ago His Holiness became free from the stain of self-cherishing thought, with no thought arising even for a second of seeking happiness for the self.

His Holiness has made even being the political leader of Tibet total Dharma, which means only benefiting others. In this world the best politician, the one who gives no harm to any being but only benefits them, is Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and Avalokiteshvara - His Holiness. His Holiness is also purest in morality, or ethics, and is the Omniscient One whose compassion embraces numberless sentient beings, never giving them up even for one second.

In conclusion, until we remove the cause of suffering, which is within us, the wrong concepts, the delusions and their imprints left on our mental continuum, those negative imprints will give rise to delusions, which motivate karma, then create the suffering of samsara. We need to develop wisdom, analyzing the spiritual path and then practice it.

There is no way to repay the kindness of each word of advice, or teaching, even if we offered the whole universe filled with billions of dollars or jewels for many eons. Putting into practice whatever advice we are given is the best way to repay the kindness. And along with that, everyone should pray for the freedom of the Tibetan people to happen as quickly as possible, which is one of His Holiness’s main holy wishes, and do what they can to help this cause. And, finally, we should constantly request His Holiness to live until samsara ends and guide us all the time.