About the classes
The Buddha and Buddhism
- True Suffering
- True Cause of suffering
- True Cessation of suffering
- True Path to Cessation.Thus, in the first truth he proclaimed the suffering experienced by beings to be the real issue. He was not interested in philosophical speculations about creation and the like. He valued a solution to suffering. In fact, his primary concern was human happiness. But a real happiness, an inner peace free from suffering.To deal with suffering he identified its true cause as being karma and delusion. He said that by purifying these we achieve a true cessation of suffering. Further, the true path to this cessation is practising the three higher trainings:
Ultimately, the actual counter to suffering and its cause is wisdom. This is an awakening to the nature of being and the phenomena of being.
Buddha, Dharma and SanghaThis ‘awakening’ or enlightenment and the path to it became the teachings, the Dharma. It gave rise to the Sangha, the spiritual community. These are the three jewels of refuge: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. They have become the anchor and refuge for those who followed over millenia.In other words, there is the Buddha’s spiritual attainment by way of study and meditation. The path he taught is the Dharma, and those that practiced the path are the Sangha. All are essential aspects of a journey of discovery. They also give a means for waking up to things as they are, both within oneself and in the world that presents.After his awakening the Buddha went on to share his understanding. He travelled and taught others for the rest of his life. These Buddhist meditation teachings continue to this day in the various forms of Buddhism around the world.
The Buddha Shakyamuni
Tibetan BuddhismOver centuries the Buddha’s teachings spread through India and from there to the south and north. First came the southern schools through Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. They followed the traditional Theravadin approach. Then the northern schools developed in Tibet, China, Japan, Korea and parts of Vietnam. They followed the approach of Mahayana Buddhism.A common theme in the Theravada is an ethic of disciplined restraint. It is to hold oneself back from self indulgence, and causing harm. The Mahayana schools emphasised an altruism seeking the awakened state of enlightenment. They held enlightenment as the means to bring greatest benefit to all beings. A subset of the Mahayana developed an esoteric system of divine transformation. It aimed to bring about rapid enlightenment. This Vajrayana, or Buddhist tantra, became most popular in Tibet.
Behind snow mountainsA unique form of Buddhism flourished in remote and isolated Tibet. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has referred to it as a ‘complete form’ of Buddhist practice. This is because it contains elements of all the various forms. Hence Tibetan Buddhism includes the discipline of the Theravada. It encompasses the beneficial wish for Enlightenment of the Mahayana. These provide the foundation for the transformative yogas of its favoured Vajrayana. So Tibetan Buddhism contains elements of the all the various forms of Buddhism in the world.Over time Tibet’s monasteries became the greatest seats of Buddhist learning. Four main schools developed: Nyingma, Kargyu, Sakya and Gelug. The most recently formed is the Gelug, the lineage of virtue. It has the most adherents and seats of learning. The most renowned are the monastic universities of Drepung with 7700 monks, Sera with 5500 and Ganden with 3300 monks. His Holiness the Dalai Lama teaches Gelug in the main.The Gelug school has a rigorous scholastic system based on vigorous debate. Thus, scholar-monks spend as much as thirty years studying. They meditate on and debate the five major fields. The five are: Logic, Perfection of Wisdom, the Middle-way Philosophy, Metaphysics and Discipline. Completing these five, and their examinations, confers the revered title of Geshe. There is no real equal of this in Western academia.
The Shangri-la that was Tibet
His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet
Tibetan Buddhism in the West today
Over the last fifty years Tibetan Buddhism has proven a great influence in the modern world. This ancient tradition has contributed much to the fields of philosophy, psychology, neuro-science and a variety of disciplines exploring human potential.
The Dharma comes to Australia
Geshe Thubten Loden
The Dalai Lama officially welcomed to Australia in 1982 by Toby Gillies for his first visit to this continent.
Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden
Venerable Toby Gillies
The meditation classes in Melbourne
Venerable Toby Gillies shortly after taking ordination with his Abbot and principle guru, Geshe Thubten Loden