The Conservancy for Tibetan Art & Culture welcomed His Holiness the Dalai Lama and 4,400 guests — monastics, scholars, and an enthusiastic audience of students — for a day-long exploration of the transformative power of wisdom, meditation and compassionate action, hosted by the Conservancy at American University in Washington, DC on October 10, 2009.
Entitled “The Heart of Change,” the day was divided into two parts: a morning teaching by His Holiness entitled “Finding Wisdom in the Modern World,” and an afternoon forum entitled “Using Wisdom as the Heart of Change.”
After outlining the basic tenets of Buddhism and the principle of bodhicitta at the heart of Buddhist practice, His Holiness focused on the importance of religious diversity, and how diversity serves the different dispositions and needs of diverse human beings. His Holiness stressed that having faith in one’s own religion does not in any way preclude respect for the religious beliefs of others.
The afternoon forum featured a panel of distinguished speakers — an array of spiritual leaders, scientists, philosophers and professors, that included Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Khandro Rinpoche, Robert Thurman, Thupten Jinpa, Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi, Deborah Rozelle, and Charles Raison — who “unpacked” His Holiness’ morning teaching, and discussed it from a variety of perspectives.
Helping make the “The Heart of Change” possible were volunteers from more than twenty local groups — including members of the Capital Area Tibetan Association, Lotus Garden, the Shambhala Centers of Baltimore and Washington, DC, members of the local Vietnamese Buddhist community, Friends of Tibet from the Conservancy, and students from American University and other local schools.
The Dharmashri Translation Committee, based at Lotus Garden, also provided a translation of The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones by Patrul Rinpoche, copies of which were distributed as an offering to all those attending. Subtitled “The Discourse on Cultivating View, Meditation and Action which is Virtuous at the Beginning, Middle and End” the root text was written in the 19th century by Patrul Rinpoche, a masterful teacher of his day who, in the words of Khandro Rinpoche’s introduction to the text “stressed view as the generation of revulsion of ignorance, the cause of all suffering; meditation as selfless compassion; and action as being true to one’s nature.”