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Dalai Lama says many Buddhist texts yet to be translated in Japan

June 24, 2010

By Tsering Tsomo
Phayul
June 23, 2010

Kanazawa (Japan), June 22 -- Over 300 Buddhist
texts written by great Indian masters of the
ancient Nalanda University including Nagarjuna,
Shantarakshita, Dhigna, Dharmakirti are available
only in Tibetan language and not in Japanese and
Chinese languages, said His Holiness the Dalai
Lama in his teaching of the Heart Sutra at
Ishikawa concert hall this afternoon in Kanazawa,
the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture.

His Holiness said translating these texts which
are commentaries on Lord Buddha's original
teachings would benefit many Buddhists in having
a deeper and more thorough understanding of
Buddhist teachings especially the concept of
emptiness or shunyata. A Japanese Buddhist nun
has already expressed her interests in
translating these texts. His Holiness said he is
hopeful that some Chinese Buddhists will also
translate them into Chinese in future.

By using critical analysis, these great Nalanda
masters had demonstrated that even Buddha's
teachings can be questioned, examined and
investigated. His Holiness said these great
masters took the scientific approach of being
sceptical and yet, like modern scientists were
open to all ideas and possibilities. "Even Lord
Buddha himself asked his disciples not to accept
his word as the ultimate truth but to investigate
them using their intelligence and cognitive ability," he said.

His Holiness said he would rather call them
"great professors" of the ancient Buddhist
university of Nalanda although Buddhists prefer
to call them "great masters". Some scientists say
Buddhism is not religion but science which, His Holiness said, is also true.

Explaining the Heart Sutra, also called Hannya
Shingyo in Japanese, he advised the 1500-strong
audience to study the teachings and understand
their meanings, and not just to recite them.
"Read it, think, and question it. Be a 21st
century Buddhist." He also emphasized the daily
practice of Buddhist teachings to serve others in
need and the importance analytical meditation in
generating infinite compassion. "Just closing
your eyes and reflecting on these great ideas is
just wishful thinking if you don't practice it."

His Holiness shared his own experience as a child
keenly interested in modern science although he
has never received a single session of science
education. However, for the last 30 years, he has
engaged in dialogues and conversations with
scientists on the subject of cosmology,
neurology, atomic physics particularly quantum
physics, etc, at international seminars and
meetings. In the process, he discovered that
quantum physics is very similar to Nagarjuna's
commentary on Buddhist philosophy.

A Japanese woman in the audience who had visited
Tibet nine times in the past shared her
experience of witnessing Tibetan Buddhists' deep
respect for all living things. Once when she was
travelling by a chartered bus, the Tibetan driver
stopped the vehicle midway to spare a trapped
fly. At a hotel in Lhasa, a Tibetan staff caught
a mouse and released it through the window after
being asked by a harried tourist to get rid of
the animal. She said Japan has an annual suicide
rate of 30,000 and wondered if this extraordinary
respect for life was part of Buddhist teachings.

His Holiness replied that Tibetan culture is a
culture of compassion and non-violence which
inculcates in every Tibetan from early on the
spirit of compassion and non-violence. "It is
worthwhile to preserve Tibetan culture," he said.
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