Sharing his experiences beginning as a young trainee in the personal monastery of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet and continuing to his current position as Personal Peace Emissary to the Dalai Lama, The Venerable Lama Tenzin Dhonden offered a window into the beliefs and traditions of Tibetan Buddhism in a March 13 presentation at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice. “Living in Meditation and Peace” was part of a series of campus events leading up to the April 18 presentation at USD by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
Moderator Louis Komjathy, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and program director, Contemplative Studies, guided the discussion of key beliefs, practices, training and concepts of Buddhism. Komjathy is founding co-chair of the Contemplative Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion.
Lama Tenzin, who has taught groups and university classes all over the United States, observed that Western audiences are often confused about Buddhism. He carefully described the Four Seals of Dharma, key concepts of Buddhism, and emphasized that an important element of practicing Buddhism is “loving kindness.”
“The Dalai Lama says that even if you cannot help others, at least do no harm,” he explained. The message is echoed in a quotation on a portrait of the Dalai Lama now in exhibit in the IPJ Fine Art Galleries which states, “Whenever possible, be kind. It is always possible.”
In a discussion of meditation practices, Lama Tenzin introduced two different types of meditation — analytical and the contemplative. Differentiating between the two, Lama Tenzin advised that analytical meditation must be guided by a specific order of analysis, or what he described as “healthy thinking,” while contemplative meditation allows the mind to see and understand.
Colin Supko, a former Navy Seal and current student in the School of Business Administration’s Master of Science in Global Leadership attended the talk because he sees the Dalai Lama as an excellent role model for leadership. When he asked what one person can do to contribute to a more peaceful world, Lama Tenzin’s answer was very simple — “Practice compassion and see how far it can reach to overcome the global crises we are facing.”
Lama Tenzin has been instrumental in working with the host committee from USD, UC San Diego and San Diego State University to plan the Dalai Lama’s two-day, three-university “Compassion without Borders” symposium in San Diego on April 18-19. Sponsorships to underwrite the universities’ costs of the symposium (the Dalai Lama receives no compensation) are still available. For more information on sponsorships, please contact Elisa Lurkis, Director of Development and Community Relations for the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies.
— Diana Kutlow