Leh, Ladakh, India, Shewatsel, July 24, 2023: As His Holiness the Dalai Lama departed from his house, the sky was brighter and schoolchildren were practicing their debating skills in front of the teaching pavilion. He bowed before the Buddha picture in the pavilion as is his routine before walking outside to wave to the throng.
He addressed the gathering of some 50,000 people after taking his place on the throne.
The lessons over the last three days have gone well, and now you are praying for my long life. It becomes an auspicious circumstance that adds to the Lama’s ability to live a long life when faith and the spiritual tie between followers and the Lama are steadfast.
I’ve seen indications in my dreams that suggest I could be able to live to be about 110 years old. Do I seem to be in my eighties when you look at me right now? I don’t think I look that old.
“As far as I’m concerned, I have a spiritual connection with the inhabitants of the Land of Snow, and both they and the inhabitants of the Himalayan Region have unflinching confidence in me. In addition, individuals from all around the globe, whether or not they identify as Buddhists, have expressed gratitude for what I’ve accomplished.
“As a devotee of the Buddha, my major practice is to develop bodhichitta, the waking mind, and an awareness of emptiness. You should attempt to practice in this manner as well. And if you do, it will make it more likely for me to live a long life.
There was provided tea and sweet rice.
The current long-life ritual was based on Prayers to the Sixteen Arhats and was a part of the Sutra tradition. Praise for the Buddha, the Prayer to the Sixteen Arhats, a Seven Limb Prayer, a brief Mandala Offering, and a Request for the Lama to Remain were all included in it.
Representatives of the organizers made a special plea for His Holiness to live a long life during a lengthy mandala offering conducted by Taktsak Kundeling Rinpoché. A Buddha statue, a book of verse, a chörten, a pair of robes, an alms bowl filled with fruit, and a monk’s staff were the next offerings. Offerings of the eight auspicious symbols, the eight auspicious substances, and the seven royal symbols were made after these.
A lengthy procession of locals, both young and elderly, marched past the platform while the “Song of Immortality”—an Extensive Prayer for the Long Life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama—was being chanted. This song was written by his two tutors, Kyabjé Ling Rinpoché and Kyabjé Trijang Rinpoché. The participants brought a variety of offerings, including carved tables, bundles of grain, and a collection of texts. Drums, horns, and vocalists all played simultaneously.
With the Indian, Tibetan, and Buddhist flags raised in the air, the procession came to an auspicious conclusion. A white-haired elderly man in a white robe came in last and presented His Holiness a silk scarf.
In appreciation for His Holiness attending today’s event, representatives of the organizers, the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA), the Ladakh Gonpa Association (LGA), and others presented a mandala and the three images of the body, speech, and mind of enlightenment to him.
His Holiness wrote two prayers for the dedication: “A Prayer for the Flourishing of the Non-Sectarian Teachings of the Buddha” and “The Prayer of The Words of Truth.”
When His Holiness was asked to speak to the audience once again, he first said he had nothing noteworthy to say.
“You increase the chances that the Dalai Lama will live a long life the more strong your faith and dedication are shown to be. I’ve got the chance to interact with the general audience and impart knowledge. I’ve previously said that there are signs that I might live to reach 110 years old. You have seen how I have tried to help the teachings and all sentient creatures, and I shall keep trying.
The most essential thing is to have a decent heart with no intention to hurt others, even if there may be individuals who seem to be practitioners but lack the true traits inside. We have to stop hurting people. Instead of doing what is improper, we need to do what is right. The Buddhas would be happy if we could do it.
I meditate on bodhichitta and emptiness every day, as I’ve previously told you. The same applies to you. Perform a scanning meditation on the key ideas first, and then, after thinking about them, integrate them within. If you’re able to achieve it, you’ll get experience. You’ll be able to climb the five routes after you have a true understanding of bodhichitta and emptiness. You’ll make progress that will result in the achievement of enlightenment from the route of accumulation to the path of preparation to the path of perceiving.We all recite this prayer:
Salutations to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Highest Assembly
I will seek sanctuary till I reach enlightenment.
Through the wealth of knowledge and merit accumulated through generosity and other qualities
May I become a Buddha to help all roving creatures.
“The second two lines denote the consequent refuge when you achieve the Buddha, Dharma, and Highest Assembly within yourself. The first two lines relate to the causal refuge. Remember these words.
“Over the last two or three teaching days, everything went well from beginning to finish. I want to thank everyone who was a part of the organizing, including police and security professionals, volunteers, members of the LBA and LGA, and local government officials. I also want to express my gratitude to the general people for your outstanding faith and upbeat attitude. You motivate me to go to Ladakh each year so that I may escape the lowlands’ rainy season. So, we’ll cross paths once again. I’m grateful.
The audience erupted in cheers.