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A lecture given by the Most Venerable Gonsar Tulku Rinpoche at an international Buddhist convention in Bangkok, Thailand. With reference to history as well as content Rinpoche presents the authentic origin of the Buddha's teachings transmitted in Tibet in relation to the various other great transmissions spread in the world.

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Gonsar Tulku Rinpoche:

Twelve centuries after the Buddha's presence in India, his Teachings spread from India to Tibet. The Buddha Shasana that came to Tibet corresponds to the form as it was taught and practised at that time in India in the great monastic universities like Nalanda and Vikramashila. Buddha's Teaching has three important aspects. All of them were practised in these monasteries in a united way.

Buddha has taught the Teachings of the Sravakayana. These are the Teachings nowadays taught and practised in the Theravada-traditions. Buddha has also taught special Teachings to be practised by the Bodhisattvas. This we call the Bodhisattvayana, or Mahayana. Within the Teachings for the Bodhisattvas there are two aspects, the Paramitayana and the Vajrayana. Thus Vajrayana is a part of the Bodhisattvayana, or Mahayana. In the Teachings of the Vajrayana Buddha has taught many special techniques of meditation, which are actually the "Vajrayana", meaning "diamond way". Vajrayana is therefore not to be understood as a separate sect or tradition, but rather as a set of meditational methods.

The practices in the great monasteries of ancient India consisted of the Sravakayana, the Bodhisattvayana, including the Vajrayana. These three aspects were practised together. The great Panditas like Nagarjuna, Asangha, Vasubandu and so on, all practised such a Shasana, and such a Dharma spread from India to Tibet, and in our time to the West. Therefore it is not quite correct, to call the Tibetan form of Buddhism just "Vajrayana".

In order to practise Vajrayana, it is indispensable to practise the Paramitayana, what is generally understood as "common path of Mahayana". In order to practise that, it is absolutely necessary to practise the Sravakayana. These three levels of the Teaching are like the foundation, the walls and the roof of a house. A roof alone cannot stand, and has no meaning without the walls and the foundation. If one wants to practise the further aspects, one must practise them on the basis of the preceding ones.


© 27.05.20 Rabten Choeling • EditorialData protection