In the realm encircled by snow mountains,
You are the source of all benefit and happiness.
Tenzin Gyatso, powerful Chenrezik,
May you remain until samsara’s end.
To His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nobel Laureate, the kind protector of the Land of Snow, Lord of the Victorious Ones, I offer my infinite good wishes on his eighty-fifth birthday. Along with these, I wish him a very long life and pray that all his compassionate wishes and instructions will be spontaneously accomplished.
This year the Central Tibetan Administration has organized a celebration to remember His Holiness’ kindness. Ignoring numerous difficulties and full of life, from the past to the present moment His Holiness has been engaging with powerful compassion in immense and vast activity for the planet in general and for Tibet in particular. It goes without saying that with a mind filled with gratitude, we should support his efforts with our body, speech, and mind.
Especially, for the sake of all Tibetan people, through his loving-kindness, His Holiness seeks to increase their harmonious relationships with each other as well as their freedom and happiness. Further, for benefit of the whole world, through his kindness and promotion of nonviolence, he encourages us to study Buddhist philosophy and engage in practice. By uniting traditional Buddhist teachings with contemporary ways of scientific thinking, he makes clear what we should abandon and embody.
All of these activities bring benefit universally and individually, for self and other. For this reason, more than ever before, we should pay attention and make serious efforts to follow his teachings, which give clear guidance on what we should give up and take up.
What is most important is that for our part, we strive to foster activity that, in accord with the wishes of His Holiness, benefits living beings in general as well as all Tibetans and those who walk the path of virtue.
All along, His Holiness has been giving us abundant advice. The two main points we should take away from his teachings are the need to transform our minds and to increase our understanding of what to abandon and what to embody. The outcome of our practice depends on our individual efforts. If we do not try to do this, then the counsel he has given us becomes meaningless: it is critical that we put it into practice.
At this fortunate time, we are able to meet and listen to the teachings of His Holiness, who is like the Buddha himself. If we are going to make these connections with him, now is the time to do it. Thinking that we will do it in the future has no benefit. Using his Holiness’ name to seek benefit to ourselves brings us no advantage. Not only will it not help us, we could actually be harming ourselves and others as well. One could say that there is no greater negative action that using Chenrezik’s name for our own benefit and harming others.
His Holiness looks after the Tibetan people like a parent cares for their child nurturing them with affection and love. Tibetans argue about the three different regions of Tibet and about the different spiritual traditions in Tibet. This is like a child who does not care for its elderly parents and upsets them. This disruption of harmony will be the greatest disappointment for His Holiness. To speak honestly, I have the feeling that from his point of view, more than those who criticize him personally, he is disturbed by those who do not take into consideration all Tibetans, but promote inner strife among them.
It is very easy to say “gratitude,” and very difficult to analyze one’s own inner feelings and actually put gratitude into practice. Why is this so? Naturally and innately, we all have a very dense habit of grasping onto the characteristics of an object and grasping onto the reality of a self. Therefore, we must train by making a real effort to develop our ability to care for others more than ourselves and think carefully about the meaning of what constitutes the public good.
We should listen to and reflect again and again on His Holiness’ teachings, and not only think about them but actually put them into practice. This way we will become better people and continue to develop ourselves further.
In conclusion, I pray that His Holiness will remain with us for a long time and that all his activity will be spontaneously accomplished. Thank you.