Manali: The Dalai Lama concluded his teachings in Manali with a short discourse on the Eight Verses for Training the Mind and gave the transmission of the mantras of the Buddha, Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri and Arya Tara. His Holiness received the explanation of the text of the Eight Verses from several of his teachers including Kyabjé Trijang Rinpoché, and has been reciting it daily since.“Today, we’ll look at the ‘Eight Verses for Training the Mind’,” His Holiness remarked, opening a copy of the book containing the texts he was teaching in Tibetan, Hindi, English and Chinese.
“Geshé Langri Thangpa was known for his practice of bodhichitta. Thinking of the sufferings of sentient beings he was so moved he wept. His face wore a perpetual doleful expression.” “Ask yourself what the word ‘I’ in the first verse means. We have feelings and sensations that seem to be like facilities for the ‘I’ that is their user and is the controller of the body and so forth. Non-Buddhists assert that the ‘I’ is something separate from the body-mind combination, but Buddhists say it can’t exist apart from that. Some assert that the ‘I’ or person can be identified with mental consciousness. The Mind Only school, for example, refer to the foundational consciousness in this way.
“However, the Middle Way School states that the ‘I’ or the person is merely designated on the basis of the body-mind combination, just as other things in the world are designated by our projections and preconceptions. The purpose of this instruction is to counter our misconception of an independent self. Middle Way scholars don’t say there is no conventional existence, they say things have no objective existence.“As I mentioned yesterday, the Buddha neither is the body-mind combination, nor is he different from it. The body-mind combination is not in him, nor is he in the body-mind combination. The Buddha does not possess the body-mind combination, but what else is the Buddha? Even the Buddha has no objective existence, but exists nominally, as a convention.
“We make ourselves unhappy because our sense of an independent self makes us selfish, on the basis of which we express all kinds of emotions. Day to day experience tells us that selfish people tend to be more easily upset, whereas those who are compassionate and naturally concerned about others are more broadminded and relaxed.
“Since we don’t want suffering and do want happiness, we need to reduce the causes of suffering and increase the causes of happiness. As human beings this is something we can think about and put into effect. The first verse shows that fulfilling our short and long term goals is dependent on others. Avoiding the unwholesome actions of killing, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, as well as acts of unwholesome speech is done in relation to others. Because happiness comes about in relation to them, the second verse advises ‘Cherish others as supreme’.”