Dalai Lama teaches the Lam Rim at Lehigh
July 16, 2008 7:03 PM   Subscribe

Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, just gave a historic six-day teaching of Je Tsong-kha-pa’s Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (the Lam Rim Chen Mo), a vitally important explanation of Buddhism written in 1402 and just recently translated into English by a team organized by Joshua Cutler of New Jersey's Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center. The teaching, attended by about 5000 participants (my estimate), consisted of two two-hour sessions per day, except for a public talk on Sunday afternoon, at which the Dalai Lama received an honorary doctorate from Lehigh and gave a speech. The speech is available as downloadable audio clips and for viewing online. It is possible that eventually the videos of the teachings themselves will be made available on DVD or for download at lamrim.com.
posted by setver (11 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Superb! thank you setver.
posted by tellurian at 7:42 PM on July 16, 2008

I wanted to go to this! But I didn't pay attention (ha!) and they sold out of tickets to his public talk. But now you've made this awesome post. Thanks!
posted by metabrilliant at 7:42 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

What's with the male voice that whispers things, quickly repeated by Tenzin, throughout that speech?
posted by phrontist at 9:21 PM on July 16, 2008

What's with the male voice that whispers things, quickly repeated by Tenzin, throughout that speech?

Smart money's on Buddha.
posted by The Tensor at 9:25 PM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ah, later on it's clear that he's saying words in... tibetan most of the time... so they're translations. But other times it seems unprompted.
posted by phrontist at 9:27 PM on July 16, 2008

The Dalai Lama has close ties with Madison.

The closing ceremony of his visit on July 24 will include a tenshug, a ritual prayer for long life, which has never before been performed in the West.
posted by dhartung at 10:58 PM on July 16, 2008

If Tsong-kha-pa-whatshis name were really enlightened, he could have said it all in two volumes. He was just trying to get his sales volume up.
posted by ewkpates at 4:13 AM on July 17, 2008

I was in attendance when the Dalai Lama presented this in Ann Arbor Michigan last Spring. It was a moving experience to be present, however it was very, very difficult to follow the teachings. Most of the people I spoke with experienced the same thing. I suspect it is due to my relative ignorance on the topic.

Thanks for the post, perhaps listening to it again will be helpful.
posted by HuronBob at 6:10 AM on July 17, 2008

@phrontist: Probably the other voice you hear is the interpreter. He was in fact brilliant, and his work was much appreciated by everyone in the audience.

The Dalai Lama addressed us in English when making opening remarks, observations, etc. But during the teachings he usually spoke in Tibetan and relied on the interpreter to convey his message in English, imbuing his words with the proper shades of meaning.

If you view the video of the public speech, you'll see this same interpreter in jacket and tie sitting to the Dalai Lama's left.
posted by setver at 6:37 AM on July 17, 2008

The man doing the "whispering" -- translating interpretation, suggesting English words -- for His Holiness is the brilliant Thupten Jinpa, who is a geshe (equivalent of a PhD) and a fine lecturer and scholar in his own right. You can see a picture of him and hear him speak briefly on the NPR web site (third one down).

Important dharma teachings by Tibetan masters are almost always given in Tibetan and translated, because of the importance and karmic responsiblity that the material be offered accurately by lamas and masters who might not be fluent in English. Of course it's incredibly difficult to translate some of these topics into English, but dharma students are very fortunate indeed to have someone as educated and linguistically skilled as Thupten Jinpa doing the translation.
posted by aught at 7:01 AM on July 17, 2008

This isn't about Tibetan Buddhism, but it's one of the most difficult and strangely enlightening books I've ever read. The lone reviewer of the book said what I would say, "...there are many things I understand better from having read this book. "
posted by MetaMan at 11:30 AM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

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