Golden Pagoda Buddhist Temple, Singapore
Golden Pagoda Buddhist Temple officially opened to the public on 1st January 2017 after it closed for reconstruction for a few years.
Many young people today have lost their identity. They have difficulty understanding who they are, so they try to identify with different roles, different ideas. But then, not finding their identity in any of these roles, they become lost. Disturbed, they lead meaningless lives doing whatever comes to mind, without much thought. Such things are happening in this world.
From the moment we were born until now, each of us has tried to emanate in many different ways. Many of us have emanated as hippies and movie stars or as terrorists or politicians, capitalists or communists. We have tried almost everything, only to discover in the end that whatever we have tried to identify with has turned out to be illusion, not reality.
These are good examples. You can see how your concrete concept of “me” tries to identify with some outer philosophical viewpoint, thinking, “I am this; I am this.” But then “this” is not what you find that you are. Instead, today you have discovered that you have loving kindness wisdom energy. You know you have this within you. You should trust this energy and identify with it instead of trusting outer projections. Your loving kindness wisdom energy must be cultivated, fertilised, protected, and tended well, like a garden. It can be nourished and developed and unified as the deity Gyalwa Gyatso.
We carry within us a heavy blanket of concepts and projections about ourselves. Over time we have constructed a kind of concentration camp within us, one iron bar, then another and another and another — so many concrete projections. In order to break through these projections, we need a profound vision of method and wisdom. We need to clothe ourselves in the very finest image: the union of great compassion and nonduality. This is your identity — your identity and your reality. You should wear this image in order to break through your limited, closed projections of who you are.
In our twentieth-century world there is so much hatred, disunity, and conflict. People are fighting for material possessions, are trying to conquer each other, never feeling love for one another. You can see this going on everywhere. It is incredible. Sometimes, even with a beloved friend, when you are both angry, you can’t feel your friend’s love and you can’t feel love for them. So we all understand how much the world needs peace and love — each individual and mankind as a whole. Therefore, we can easily see how logical and how worthwhile it is to practice such a profound yoga method. With this practice there is no need for hesitation; there can be no philosophical objections. It is very scientific, very down to earth.
When we talk about loving kindness, we are just using words. But mere words do not help. We may know the words, but if we don’t actively energise loving kindness in our nervous system, then we have achieved nothing. This yoga method unifies loving kindness with our nervous system. This is exactly what we need, and this is why I am requesting you not to waste the time and energy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We should put concentrated effort and dedication into our retreat, then at least we will have been telling the truth when we promised, during the initiation, to engage seriously in this practice. And, of course, we will be doing something worthwhile.
Love and compassion come in different forms. There is pure love and pure compassion, which manifest in the form of Gyalwa Gyatso. But there is also selfish love. If we think about it, we can see that selfish love can be either positive or negative. It has both qualities. On the one hand, selfish love and selfish motivation are based on mental projections that fixate on their objects, such as family, husband, wife, or nationality, as “mine.” While the love you feel is, in fact, selfish, at the same time because of it, you give and share something. You give to your brother, your sister, your husband or wife thinking, “Because they are my relatives, because we Italian people are the same, because we all eat pizza, I therefore have an obligation to give them what I can.”
Selfish love, although limited, does have a kind of manipulative power to give, to serve. It has power that can aid in transforming you into a better, warmer person. For example, many men say, “Oh, I am not a bad man. I take care of twenty children and my wife. I send them to school, I give them good food, and I love them. They have a good home, and I do everything I can for them. Because of this, when I die, I shall die happy and satisfied.” There is some satisfaction in this. Do you understand? The motivation may be selfish and limited, but one’s actions bring benefit to others, and as a result a kind of transformation takes place.
Even though selfish love does have these positive attributes, it is clear that pure love and pure compassion serve in a much more profound, more dedicated way and bring about far more profound and far-reaching results. By practicing the profound highest yoga tantra method of Gyalwa Gyatso — the pure vision of the Dalai Lama — we are engaging in a mental exercise to eliminate the selfish mind completely. Through this profound practice of transformation, we can develop pure limitless love and compassion and thus experience directly their effectiveness in our own lives. We can experience this pure vision for ourselves. Because we so often see each other as objects of anger and hatred due to our mental projections, we are sorely in need of this pure vision. It is genuinely worthwhile and, happily, there is no doubt at all that we can achieve it.
What seems to be external, the domain of the grasped, is pure. What seems to be internal, the grasping mind, is empty. What seems to lie in between is luminosity. May I recognise it! Joyful Buddhas of the three times, look upon me with compassion. Bless beings such as me with liberation.
— Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche
Emptiness is form. Because of emptiness, therefore form exists. Because form is empty, therefore form exists. Emptiness is other than form. It explains the union of the two truths. Emptiness is the ultimate truth and form is the conventional existing object. This bring us to dependent origination. The conclusion of dependent arising is that all phenomena are the union of these two truths. They are empty and they arise out of causes and conditions.
— 4th Zong Rinpoche, Tenzin Wangdak
Losar Message from His Holiness Karmapa (Tibetan with English subtitles)