“Buddhism is like a mother to all activities in our life, such as business, society, tradition, mentality and everything,” the rinpoche said. “We aren’t putting any interest in it and it’s a big problem today.”
Buddhism is not a religion, rinpoche said. “Buddhism has many aspects, sometimes it has aspects of ceremonies or concentration of mind and meditation, or sometimes it’s a practice of retreat,” he said.
“If there was no Buddhism at all, then nothing will appear and many will think of it as rubbish and that we don’t need Buddhism,” he said. “But whatever it is, we need a little antidote to help us go in that particular path; I’m here begging you not to deny Buddhism.”
Today, many used Buddhism as a weapon, as a self-gaining method, business, and money and to attract people, he said, which is not true Buddhism, nor what the Buddha taught, rinpoche said. “What Buddha taught was a medicine, an antibiotic to clean our mind and we’re forgetting that.”
He said people, especially students, today think of Buddhism only when there is an examination or an important event. “That is not true Buddhism, that’s the using of Buddhism,” rinpoche said. “That’s like a small piece of how one sees Buddhism.”
When one learns true Buddhism, it’s a totally different mentality and that is why it was important that whatever one does in one’s life, one should never forget what is Buddhism, why we learn it, the purpose of Buddhism and recycle the concept of Buddhism, rinpoche said.
“Buddhism is our life, not a page to look at and throw,” he said. “It’s something we must think about because nothing is going to harm you if you learn Buddhism.” If you learn Buddhism, it’s going to reconstruct your mentality, way of living and doing things, rinpoche added.
Rinpoche then shared about his visits to many western countries, where the living quality was much better compared to Bhutan. But he always found something missing in their society, which was Buddhism, he said.
“We have Buddhism in Bhutan, instead of commercials and advertisements for everything, like in other countries,” rinpoche said. “In Bhutan, Buddhism is so much emphasised that one even can eat or taste Buddhism.”
“One should study and practise Buddhism instead of just stacking kanjur tenjur (religious texts) in one’s house,” rinpoche said. “For Buddhism to live on, only books and texts aren’t going to help us, what we need is the mind.”
Even in ancient India, in Nalanda, Buddhism did not die when thousands of monks were slaughtered. It instead flourished, rinpoche said.
“The impact of Buddhism doesn’t only rely on textbooks or books; we need to learn, practise and imply on ourselves,” he said. “Once we learn and practise, it will flourish and increase, that’s why many great tutors always emphasise on that.”
Even science has limitations to knowledge and certain things aren’t believed because they don’t have live proof of reincarnation, previous life, next life or clairvoyance, rinpoche said.
“Nowadays, science has come to the point that many teachings about Buddhism are true, that they’re not unrealistic legends,” he said. “Buddhism is the answer to all our questions.”
The rinpoche also spoke on how Buddhism is not a religion and that there is no such thing as a ‘god or creator.’
“They’re great enlightened beings in the form of human beings to show us that there’s a way to become enlightened,” rinpoche said. “Anyone can become like the Buddha, because we all have the Buddha nature in our mind, that pure, untouched and undamaged human mind.”
One can’t become enlightened right away, but it takes effort, time, discipline and circumstances, rinpoche explained.
Rinpoche then filled the hall with laughter when he called everyone to be very boring because, due to the whole system of protocol, people hardly talked to him, rinpoche said.
“The foreigners, sometimes, are the only people to talk to, even though I love to talk to Bhutanese and Tibetan people,” he said. “I really want to communicate with people.”
Tradition and Buddhism are different things, rinpoche said, and that it was important to understand the difference. “We need tradition to organise the society but if we join tradition and religion, it becomes complicated and problem arises,” rinpoche said.
Buddhism talks about ‘mind’ a lot, he said. “The mind is very dangerous; the deadliest weapon in the universe,” rinpoche said.
All conflicts until now started because of the mind’s aggression, hatred, lack of contentment of wanting more, ignorance of superior, which made everything destructible, rinpoche said.
“It’s not the phenomenon that does damage but the mind,” he said. “If I had a choice, I’d like to take my mind out and wash for few hundred years to get all the dirt out, because I’m so disgusted with my mind.”
Each time when I look at my mind, I want to vomit and, because of Buddhism, tutors and learning for many years, made me think that, even if my mind is terrible, there’s a way to cure it, he said.
“I understood that I shouldn’t feel guilty or damaged and that there’s a possible way to fix it,” rinpoche said. “I was created in your image and every one of you is created in your own image and perception; Buddhism talks about breaking away from such images because there’s no such thing as an image; everything is projected by the mind.”
Buddhism is like an ongoing education that will never stop and each time one learns more, it will give a wide range of understanding, education, mentality and intelligence. “This is the biggest gift, something many of us don’t appreciate,” rinpoche said. “Buddhism is the biggest therapist in the world.”
Rinpoche also explained on how the modern world, pumping out all the technologies, advertisements and accessories make younger generation lose interest in Buddhism.
“Our greed is so powerful that it’s destroying everything,” rinpoche said. “There’s so much of unfriendliness among people today and it’s so sad.”
The sad part in Bhutan is to learn that many young people are committing suicide, rinpoche said, adding how animals or insects would not ever think of committing suicide, even during extreme times.
“It’s very sad to learn that and it’s important to learn that there’s always a solution to every problem or difficulty you go through,” rinpoche said. “We can’t buy human life anywhere; it’s a gift and it’s not something we get easily,” he said.
Rinpoche advised the audience never to deny Buddhism and lose connection with people around and help one another.
“May Buddhism spread in Thimphu, because many are becoming materialistic,” rinpoche said. The program ended with rinpoche giving mani and benza guru lung and aspirations to the audience, motivating them to recite the prayers, instead of just listening to him.