Introduction by H.E. Ganteng Tulku Rinpoche - October 2010

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[Opening prayer (Manjushri).]
0:58
Now we will engage in listening to the dharma in order to liberate all sentient beings from the ocean of suffering, the ocean of samsara. And we will have the motivation to establish them on the level of the Buddha. With this motivation we now listen to the deep dharma, the deep teachings.
2:08
In this fortunate kalpa, from amongst the 1002 buddhas that are about to appear, we are in the period of the fourth Buddha, the Buddha Shakyamuni, who gathered the accumulations and purified his obscurations for immeasurable kalpas with the attitude of bodhichitta.  After this, he attained enlightenment in Bodhgaya, and then he expounded the dharma in the 3 turnings of the wheel of the dharma.
3:40 
We talk about the 3 turnings of the wheel of dharma. We can also summarize the 3 turnings of the wheel of dharma, from a different point [of view], in the 9 yanas.  If we talk about 9 yanas, we can talk about the 3 sets of 3 yanas. So first we have the 3 lower yanas of the remembrance of the renunciation, second we have the yanas of the skillful means, the 3 outer yogas, and then we have the 3 secret yanas of the 3 higher yogas.  That's 9 yanas.
4:46
Whether we talk about 9 vehicles or [3] turnings of the dharma, all we talk about is dharma. And dharma - what it really is - is the means, an antidote for us, to revert the non-virtue of body, speech, and mind into the virtue of body, speech, and mind. That's dharma.
6:26
In this world, there are many traditions, many religions, different traditions: there are thousands of them. What we are talking about here is buddhism. If we talk about the essence of buddhism, we can talk about the 2 yanas: first, there is the - Rinpoche said:  Theravada [translator adds/inserts: the hinayana level; but Rinpoche interrupts:] first we say: the Theravada; and the essence of this is trying to avoid harming beings as much as we can, trying to get rid of being harmful. And the second yana is the mahayana, the great vehicle, where we talk about, on top of not harming beings, with the power of mind, we are trying to help others, as much as we can, to the fullest of our ability.
8:09
So what we talk about is these 2 yanas. In these 2 yanas, what is very important is the listening, the contemplation, and the meditation. First, if we have not listened to the teachings, we don't know what is there to be abandoned, what is there to be accepted. We don't know what dharma is, we don't know what kind of benefits dharma brings, we also don't know what kind of fruit dharma is about to bear. In order to avoid that, we have to listen. We have to study.
9:17
In this day and age, it is not sufficient just to think about the dharma only, we also need to know what is going on, we need to investigate the situation we are in. Especially right now, we are about to embark on the program, we are about to begin the program of the shedra, buddhist studies.
9:46
The name of the school, the name of the shedra, will be "the shedra of Longchen Rabjam."
10:28
This shedra, that we are about to begin, would be something unlike that we would find in different… it would be different from the old style of doing this, of running these things.  We are talking about having a gompa and many monks, anis and monks staying in one place and engaging in studies and contemplation. Here, we have the new time, so we will have the new tradition. We will have a new style of doing the shedra.
11:30
Why do we have to establish a new tradition, a new style of the shedra? Because the times have changed and people's minds, and their way of thinking and way of living, have changed. So in order to benefit them, based on the old style, we will try to suit the shedra program to the new recipients.
12:49
What we have is new tools, new technology. We have computers and we know how to use them, and they are very widespread. In the future, taking this Gangteng Gompa as the center, we will be sending, through the computers and the internet, these teachings all around the world, so people all around the world can benefit from this and can learn.
14:11
When people have computers and laptops, they have them in their offices, they have them in their homes, wherever you go, you have access to computers. People use them on a regular basis.  If you want to study, you can take a laptop even if you go to a toilet! You can take a laptop to the kitchen, use it in your office, you can use it at home, you can take it to the mountains. If you wish to study - you always can, because of this technology. So thanks to this, now we are able to spread these teachings all around the world, so that the benefit is really great, really huge.
15:17
The on-line shedra, "Longchen Rabjam," - we are starting it now, today. We are trying to make a connection to all of those who have enrolled, all of you who have enrolled in the shedra, now - this is the beginning.
17:02
What is the benefit of the shedra, the benefit of studying in this shedra? Now we are in the new times, and people are also different. These days, the economy, the technology, they are really progressing very rapidly. Things are happening very fast, and things are getting more and more sophisticated. Today's cameras and computers and technology will be old tomorrow, this year's new gadgets will be forgotten next year. Everything is progressing so fast. So, because of that, sometimes people get distracted and people get disturbed. Some people really become unhappy, and even crazy. In order to remedy this, we are trying to revive the tradition, we are trying to revive the dharma that is getting degenerated these days. This is what we are trying to do with this on-line program.
19:35
Because of the outer conditions of the world, because of what is happening, people's inner emotions, such as desire and anger, become stronger and stronger, bigger and bigger. For instance, people who have money, still want more money, they are never satisfied. No matter how beautiful you are, you still try to put more make-up on, you still try to become more beautiful, never satisfied. This is because we don't know limits, and because of that, out hopes become bigger and bigger, and so are our problems. People get no sleep these days because of their problems, sometimes people also cannot eat, and because of this many times it happens that people really get sick, all kinds of sicknesses are coming, so we need to find a way to remedy this, we have to find some way to get peace, to get some kind of happiness.
22:09
So what we are talking about is the methods, that are supposed to bring us the flexibility of the mind, some kind of peace of the mind, some kind of happiness. There are many methods, all around the world, there are so many different traditions. What we are talking about here is buddhism, the teachings that Buddha gave.  Within buddhism, we have also many different ways - you can enter a shedra, you can practice Buddha's teachings very diligently, you can take monk's vows or become a nun, staying in the monastery, having the vows, that's alright - that's very good. But if you cannot do this, Buddha also gave many different methods suitable for different kinds of people, whatever, if you are male or female, if you are a fully ordained monk or nun, if you are a meditator, ngakpa, a scholar, if you are an ordinary person: Buddha gave methods for you to achieve that peace and that happiness of mind.
25:12
Buddha gave the teachings that are suitable for anyone, doesn't matter if you are male or female [literally: boy or girl], doesn't matter what kind of family you are coming from, doesn't matter. The main idea that we are having here, when we start the shedra, is the listening or learning, and contemplation. And learning and contemplation is not just about doing what Buddha has said, just because we believe in this - not just doing 100% what Buddha said without questioning. What is really, really important is that we always check: are these teachings good or are they bad? do they benefit? or not? Do they accord - are they harmonious with the situation we are in, can we really use them? So we really need the analysis here, we need the questioning mind. There is the quotation saying, Buddha compared his teaching to gold. In order to establish the purity of the gold, we burn the gold, we beat it, we cut it; same thing with Buddha's teachings: we really need to analyze it, we need to check whether they make sense or not, not just accept them out of devotion to Buddha. Analysis is really crucial, not just following blindly.
27:32
We are not just blindly believing what Buddha has said. Also, in terms of belief, in terms of faith, we have different kinds of faith. There is the faith of being just inspired, there is the faith of wishing to achieve what we believe in, and there is irresistible faith. That's the kind of faith we have when we know why we have the faith, this is the faith where we know the qualities of the object that we put our faith in. Such faith will lead us to the skilled faith. These days people see something really inspiring, people say: "this is really amazing, I am so inspired, I really feel the thrill," and after some time, they forget. This is really stupid. This is not the kind of faith we are supposed to develop. From among these two, the skilled, knowledgeable faith and the stupid faith, of course what we need to develop is the skilled faith, the faith that knows the reason.
31:33
Here we talk about study and contemplation, and we know that within the buddhist tradition, we have an amazing amount of texts, philosophical texts and tenets, different things to study. We have texts dealing with knowledge, and we also have texts dealing with the practice, the application of that knowledge. Whichever kind of text we are studying, we should never forget to analyze this intellectually, always checking whether these things make sense, or not. Now, these days…[translator pauses]…anyhow, when we analyze such - when we talk about the buddhist studies, buddhism has many philosophical tenets and many views, and so on - there is so much to study. But when buddhists start talking about the mind, then things really get deep and really get vast. That's an endless study. Arriving at discussing the nature of mind, and analyzing the way mind really is, is really a vast, vast subject. When we talk about technology, and current science, that is something that's amazing and vast. and it is something that we can study forever.  But if we compare these two, the study of mind as buddhists do, and the outer study of science, the study of mind is really much deeper and much more complex.
34:18
We have these two traditions, the study of outer science of the world and the inner science of the mind. And these two can work pretty well together. They can lift each other. We think these days many scientists are benefiting by looking at how the buddhists analyze the mind and how the buddhist logicians analyze how things are. This helps many scientists these days. So these two can benefit each other. These two can help each other, benefit each other - it's possible.
35:26
This shedra program here, it's supposed to be an 8 year program, and until now we have decided upon the subject and schedule for the first 5 years, all the texts we are going to study and discuss in the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth year. Generally, the shedra has an 8 year program.
36:08
We will be studying the vehicle of characteristics, and we will also be studying the vajrayana vehicle; and we will have the outline of the main subjects, the main topics, and sometimes we will have also have exams, checking the knowledge.
36:47
By the end of the 8 years, we will have finished studying, contemplating, and meditating on the sutras and the tantras, completely. And if you finish the program, you will also get a certain certificate, that you have finished it.
37:13
Now we are talking with different universities, in order for this certificate, this diploma, to have actual, substantial meaning. We want to make this connection with universities in the West. We are now discussing this with the universities. We are trying to come to an agreement with them [literally: "make a deal"]. The main person who can tell you about this subject, what is the development of that situation with the universities, is Karl Gross. You can contact him and ask him. Karl is really quite a special person, he is an American and a European as well, he knows many different languages and many different traditions. He has experience in buddhadharma, he has studied for many years.
39:20
Our teachers, who will be teaching us all these subjects and topics, will be two khenpos, who are here in the shedra: Khenpo Tandrin Situp [??spelling - may need correction!] and  Khenpo Karma Wangyal. These two are really skilled and educated, and knowledgeable, but they have also practiced and  so they have these two qualities. These two will be our main teachers throughout the whole shedra. And also in the program, sometimes we will request some [visiting] lamas and scholars to give additional teachings. 
40:40
Rinpoche says: most of the lamas and khenpos don't know our [i.e. the Western and Chinese] languages, so - that's me now [translator referring to himself] - to translate what they are telling you; my name is Andrzej. Rinpoche invited me here from Poland to do the translation. I will be staying here for a few years and will do the translations [Andrzej adds: and I will try to improve my translations as much as possible.]
41:47
The people who run things here - now we have the place set up in Thimphu [Andrzej adds: this (the opening lecture) is not happening in Thimphu, this is taking place at Gangteng Gompa] - the shedra will be happening in Thimphu for a few months, the people who run things is Loppön Namgyal and his friend Yeshe Tshewang - they are the managers. Also, we have Chris, who is behind that camera, who is filming everything. We have Chris who is helping us with the camera and all the technical stuff. He is from Australia. We are really grateful to him.
42:35
That's about it, this was a general talk.  We will try to improve the shedra as much as we can, we will try to bring as much benefit as is possible to the people.  Anyone who is interested in the shedra should watch this video, this introduction video, and keep in mind his/her own situation - and if you wish to engage in this, if you want to study and contemplate, you can enroll in the shedra program. You have to do this by contacting Karl, who is sending e-mails to everyone, so you can get this fresh information.
44:03
The first teaching that will actually take place will be by Khenpo Tandrin [?spelling], and he will teach the Sutra of Remembering the three Jewels, and he will also teach the commentary by Mipham Rinpoche, the text called: the sweet and beautiful auspicious sound. That's the commentary for the Sutra of Remembering the 3 Jewels.  That sutra is dealing with: what really is Buddha, what really is dharma, what really is sangha.
45:02
Rinpoche is welcoming everyone who has enrolled in this shedra, and wishes you all good luck. Rinpoche says: welcome, hello,. and Tashi Delek, and all the best to all of you who have enrolled in the shedra. [Rinpoche then says a greeting also in Bhutanese.]
So this was the general introduction talk, and we will also slowly publish more talks by Rinpoche.
[Dedication of merit; closing prayers.]