MARCH 15, 2012
“THE BODDHIMAN AS A HERO OF A NEW AGE”

 

Acharya Gonbo Dordzhe, Prior of Orgakinsky Khurul "Bogdo Dalai Lama Rashi Lunpo" (founded in 1681 Kalmykia, Russia).

 

Our teacher, the 14th Dalai-Lama, has for the past 20 years been conducting an active dialogue with representatives of science, because he believes that this dialogue will allow us to solve many problems which are faced by mankind in general. There is the idea that Buddhism is a science about the mind, and it is this approach that is becoming the most relevant today, because our mind is the source of everything. And as Buddhists see it, it is the source of our physical world, our subtle worlds, and general we are all an inexhaustible source of happiness. And in fact, both I and the Dalai-Lama call on all the Lama’s followers to participate in this dialogue wherever this is possible. And I am very grateful for this invitation, which I was given to take part in the present congress.

 

Please forgive me, I don’t actually have a presentation. I am just going to talk.

 

The first thing I would like to talk about is the idea that the most important thing in space, and in this case lower space, according to the teachings of the Buddha, and outer space is the physical cosmos which we know about, and which science is actively studying. The second level is inner space. In Tibetan it is called simni long, or the space of our mind, and according to our ideas, it is in this space that the pure worlds are present where beings go that have overcome the boundaries of physical space. And the third space is the secret space, which is called djarma dhatu, in Tibetsan cho ing, the space of emptiness, the space where beings go that have realized their absolute potential. And each of these spaces is inhabited by beings of the appropriate level. The lower space is the space called samsara, which I think is a word that is familiar to you all.

 

This space is inhabited by the beings of six worlds: people, demi-gods, asuras, devas, gods and pretas – spirits suffering from hunger and thirst. There are also animals, the animal world, and of course there are the inhabitants of hells, cold and hot. But if you look at it from a purely phenomenological point of view, you can say that this lower space is formed by our conditions of our own limitations, because this lower space is primarily the space of our emotions. Emotions of hatred lead us to experience a state of hell, right here and now. The emotion of hunger and thirst allow us to experience the states of the beings which are located in the world of pretas. Emotions of delight, inspiration and bliss are primarily from the gods and demi-gods. People mainly suffer from misery and attachments, and these six emotions cause us to restrict ourselves more and more, and our enchainment in this state leads us to our suffering. So samsara is called the world of sorrow and suffering. But in the context of what can allow us to break out of these limitations of sorrow and suffering, this is primarily the state of love and compassion. All religions teach us this, and this is the foundation on which the entire spiritual tradition stands, you might say. Because love and compassion are the states that take us away from these restrictions and bring us towards one another.

 

And the possibility of developing these qualities, of love and compassion, reveals itself to us everywhere. Every day, at every step of our path, we have the opportunity to show love and compassion. But the teachings of the Buddha say that this is also not sufficient, because we must develop a greater quality, bodhicitta. Bodhi means enlightenment and citta means consciousness or thought. So, this is thought that is directed towards enlightenment for the good of all living beings, going from the idea that all living beings were our mothers in our past lives. The state of bodhicitta brings us into a state which is called an inner state, and this is an exit from the boundaries of our physical world. The beings that have passed this boundary are bodhisattvas, being which strive to help all living beings. Incidentally, they are capable of emanating into numerous bodies. You probably know that in the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, there is the concept of tulku or rimpoche – these are being which take on new incarnations consciously, and come into this world. And of course, bodhisattvas have the goal of realizing absolute space, namely emptiness. And moving into this space is the goal to which all Buddhists strive. And in this understanding, in this context, it must be understood that emptiness is the cornerstone which divides us, ordinary living beings from bodhisattvas and Buddhas.

 

Ordinary beings are trapped within the boundaries of existence, this physical space, and the concept of emptiness, the foundation, the fundamental principle of our lives, is in many ways inaccessible to us. Bodhisattvas are beings who can attain this, and primarily do so by philosophical contemplation, and realize it in their behavior, showing love, compassion and bodhicitta, and thus they move to meditation and the third level, the meditation level, because realization of emptiness means a state, a state between thoughts. And in this sense, the possibility of reaching this level is something that perhaps all people nowadays can benefit from, because teachings about emptiness are becoming increasingly accessible. This subject is taught at many universities, I know that in America and Europe there are departments of Tibetan and Buddhist studies. The theory of non-duality is studied extensively at present, not only in the Buddhist tradition, but also in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta.

 

One of the first philosophers in the western tradition to raise this issue was Martin Heidegger, who said that teachings about Nothing did not become dominant in the philosophical tradition of western culture. He even proposed the German word “Dasein”, philosophers may correct me here. He proposed something different that he called “Dasein”, as the context of what constitutes Nothing, i.e. the emptiness which has the absolute potentiality of everything, and in fact it is the most extensive thing that is capable of inspiring us. We can take many, many sources from here, and incidentally Heidegger wrote about this in his commentary on Nietzsche, saying that the western tradition, unfortunately, is only conditioned in categories of existence, and this to a certain extent exhausted the response to the challenges posed by life itself. Because technical, technological progress leads to this exhaustion, as many question become repetitive, they lead to a greater miniaturization of the problems which, unfortunately, are accessible to scientists, but completely inaccessible and cut off from the life of ordinary people.

 

In this connection, one of the most important figures who has built a bridge between the dichotomy of East and West, in my opinion, is the Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida, who initially studied European philosophy, was well-acquainted with Heidegger, and was a follower of Husserl. He advanced the hypothesis that western culture, which is trapped within the boundaries of existence, is built on the dialectics of the process, the causality of which leads to a situation where there is no freedom, no source, no power and no freshness which could be taken from the category of non-existence, or emptiness. And in response to this, he proposed, using the categories of the western philosophical tradition, the category of place or space, the dialectics of place, the dialectics of space. This is the theory of basho, which says that each of us is trapped in a certain small space, and each of us is usually limited by the category of comfort. Comfort is the most important credo that we follow.

 

But within this comfort zone, we cannot recognize the essence of the place where we are, because we can only leave this zone and understand where we are when we move beyond this boundary. But the boundary of our discomfort, when we go there, is something that we often imagine to be death. But Nishida proposes that we make use of this possibility to leave this boundaries. When we go beyond the boundary of our restricted zone, our small lower space, we go to this place, and there we understand where we have been. But then a new space opens up before us, which we come to inhabit, and which eventually becomes stifling for us, and we move on. The methods of this samurai approach, to move beyond these boundaries through existence, is called the “basho of existence” – when we overcome our limitations within the boundaries of existence, and then reach the basho of relative emptiness, the inner space of bodhisattvas, and reach this space. And then we enter the basho of absolute emptiness. Kitaro Nishida’s message, and the questions that were left by Heidegger, are becoming increasingly relevant today.

 

On the front page of my presentation, I had a quote from Herman Hesse, who said that the wisdom of the East and the wisdom of the West were like poles in which life itself is contained, the cradle holding life itself. In this regard, I would like to say that 100 years ago, Russian culture and the Russian philosophical tradition were at the forefront in the study of emptiness. Such scholars as Shcherbatsky, Albenburg, Ukhtomsky and Lev Tolstoy wrote on this topic, and Andrei Bely also commented on it. Konstantin Balmont also translated Sanskrit texts, and the school of Sanskrit studies at that moment was at a very high level.

 

So, I would now like to move on a little and discuss heroes of existence. Heroes of existence, according to the philosopher Ortega-y-Gasset, are above all gentlemen and intellectuals. He also gives the example of the hidalgo. They are people who made the past centuries, and are now the most important moderators of the reality in which we now live. The gentleman in the English tradition, then the American tradition, and now the international tradition, is a person who plays, who is located in this external existence. He creates, he rides the wave, a gentleman cannot be poor. He becomes very active and shows himself when he has the money to do so. But he plays with this existence, he forms it, he creates it. This is the force which currently drags along and leads this external reality. The other type is the intellectual – these are the people who form the moral and cultural, and probably also the scientific movement of this existence. They create certain moral and scientific cultural imperatives, so that these gentlemen cannot destroy this world, and cannot reduce it to the ruin which is under discussion at present. And you might say that this eschatology and pessimism about where we will be in 2045 is above all connected with the problem of being trapped in existence alone. The heroes of non-existence in the category of nirvana, about which there is a stereotype that a person goes to nirvana and looks at his belly-button – this is the ideal of Buddhism. I was talking about bodhisattvas. Bodhisattvas are active beings which work among people, they help other beings, and create all the conditions for this. Here they acquire a sort of hologram vision, because there is an expression that they look at this world through the eyes of a large space, projecting space into space, in other words, with an understanding that in the category of large space, all of this is nothing less than light and energy. They say and understand that freedom exists everywhere, freedom exists in every moment.

 

I have three minutes left. Bodhiman is a neologism that I propose, because this period has arrived, especially in the western tradition. I would like to say that the step that was taken in 1959 by the Chinese government, when Tibet was occupied, and Tibetan teachers, the bearers of all of this knowledge about emptiness, went all over the world. Now they are practically the representatives of these technologies of internal order, they are practically in every country, in every large city. And in fact they create all the conditions for the contemporary person to become familiar with this, to be inspired by it and move on. And Bodhimen are the people who combine this intension of the inner drive to free people, to help them, to bring love, compassion and bodhicitta, and external realization as gentlemen, as intellectuals, in the most painful points of our existence. And the create condition so that this new world can grow, in which the Western and Eastern traditions can be united. Or, to put it more simply, if we take our appeals to be happy in this external world, but at the same time to be happy inside, so that we do not have this inner frustration, this depression that is unfortunately common in the modern world. We solve the tasks actively, the tasks to survive and live physically without suffering from hunger or thirst, but psychological instability constantly increases. And here teachings about emptiness and these technologies are very active. 

 

I had some slides here, and I gave a few people as examples. This is also debatable. The first person I would like to present is Steve Jobs, a person who you might say was an example of a bodhiman, because throughout his life he practiced spiritual instruction. His tutor was a Zen master, and he called on all his employees, everyone who understood him, to join him. His speech to students at Stepford University was a hymn to the fact that a person should take their own path, realize their own being, the being that is in us, within. And the key to this was emptiness. But as I am mainly in agreement with Professor Nazaretian, that artificial intellect has already been created, and that in many ways everything is laid on the neo-cortex – this is usually what has been acquired and placed in us by our parents, culture  and dialogue with the surrounding world. And the exit to the place between ideas – this is what we should do ourselves. And this path of inner realization allows us to discover what we perhaps in fact are.

 

The next person I would name is Kazuo Inamori, the person who created the Kyocera corporation, and is not just… All of Japanese industry, as we know, is founded primarily on corporations, but Inamori created an entire industry, connected with silicon and ceramics in the field of microchips, in the field of information technologies. While he was a very rich person, he was also a very spiritual person, and his life was constantly accompanied by meditation and studying the inner world, studying forms of how to realize this rich inner potential around oneself. And as he had given his word, at the age of 65 he became a Buddhist monk. He also helps people, and his books have been published in Russian, one is called “How to stage a happy play called ‘Your Life’”.

 

The next author is Geshe Michael Roach. He is a person who studied Buddhist philosophy in a Buddhist monastery for 20 years, while continuing to be a successful businessman. At present, after studying Buddhist theory about mind and emptiness, he has created a very good discipline called Karmic management. He combines these qualities of a bodhisattva and gentleman, and brings these teaching and this knowledge to the world.

 

I would like to mention another person, whom the Russian-speaking part of the audience probably know. This is our Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a person who for many years was the president of our republic, and is now the president of FIDE. I worked with him for some time, and observed how he acts, how he works. And I must say that he can also be classified in this category, because he is a person with completely non-standard approaches, a person who never makes a decision based on logical arguments which are clearly laid out. He always studies things using his internal approaches, and intuition is very important for him, probably the most important thing. Decisions that are adapted through his inner insight are what allow him to realize many strategies successfully in real life. And he actively helps living beings. He builds Buddhist temples and Christian churches, does extensive charity work, and creates conditions so that through chess, children can become smarter, more active and more creative. And we talked about this one and a half years ago, when the first conference was held, the forum with leading experts. I believe that at that moment it was the largest concentration of minds…

 

Gubin. You mean that we could invite Ilyumzhinov to the next congress?

Dordzhe Acharya. Yes, perhaps. I’ve almost finished. At this conference we discussed that we are on the brink of an era of creative technologies, a creative world and a creative economy. What it will consist of depends on what we bring from our inner worlds, from our being. It’s unfortunate that I lost my presentation somewhere. But I think that I was able to bring across the main idea, the reason that I came here. Thank you very much. All the best.

 


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