An Oral Transmission on ‘Essence of True Eloquence’ composed by Lama Tsong Khapa on the topic of Emptiness
Date:17 September, Saturday
Time: 10:00am – 1:00pm & 3:00pm – 6.00pm
Morning session (3hrs)
10:00am – 1:00pm
Brief introduction of :ama Tsongkhapa’s `essence of true eloquence’, and benefits of oral transmission. Prayer calls Lama Tsongkhapa and his two disciples all together, chanting lama Tsongkhapa prayer Migtsema all together, offering mandala to lama Tsongkhapa and then oral transmission reading start.
Afternoon session (3hrs)
3:00pm – 6.00pm
– Oral transmission reading will continue, followed by Lama Chopa Guru Yoga Tsog offering. Offering will be distribute to all.
Those who are interested can contribute offering items such as fruit, juice, candy and etc for Tsog Puja
All participants need to register in advance to attend.
Lord Buddha Prophecy of Lama Tsongkhapa
The Buddha Shakyamuni spoke from the Root Tantra of Manjushree.
After I pass away
And my pure doctrine is absent,
You will appear as an ordinary being,
Performing the deeds of a Buddha
And establishing the Joyful Land, the great Protector,
In the Land of the Snows.
Mikyö Dorje, 8th Karmapa Lama, wrote in his poem In Praise of the Incomparable Tsongkhapa:
When the teachings of the Sakya, Kagyue, Kadam
And Nyingma sects in Tibet were declining,
You, O Tsong Khapa, revived Buddha’s Doctrine,
Hence I sing this praise to you of Ganden Mountain
Lama Tsongkhapa Philosophy and practice
With a Mongolian father and a Tibetan mother, Tsongkhapa was born into a nomadic family in the Tsongkha in Amdo province of northeast Tibet in 1357. From childhood his life was wholly devoted to the studies and contemplation of the Buddha’s word. He begins his monastic education at the age of three, and he left his home province at the age of sixteen to seek teaching from the master of central Tibet.
Tsongkhapa was acquainted with all Tibetan Buddhist traditions of his time, and received lineages transmitted in the major schools. His main source of inspiration was the Kadam school, the legacy of Atiśa. Tsongkhapa received two of the three main Kadampa lineages (the Lam-Rim lineage, and the oral guideline lineage) from the Nyingma Lama, Lhodrag Namka-gyeltsen; and the third main Kadampa lineage (the lineage of textual transmission) from the Kagyu teacher Lama Umapa.
Tsongkhapa’s teachings drew upon these Kadampa teachings of Atiśa, emphasizing the study of Vinaya, the Tripiṭaka, and the Shastras. He also practiced and taught extensively the Vajrayana, and especially how to bring the Sutra and Tantra teachings together, wrote works that summarized the root teachings of the Buddhist philosophical schools, as well as commentaries on the Prātimokṣa,Prajnaparamita, Chandrakirti’s Madhyamikavatara, logic.
Tsongkhapa promoted the study of logic and encouraged formal debates as part of Dharma studies,
Tsongkhapa saw emptiness as a consequence of pratītyasamutpāda (dependent arising), the teaching that no dharma has an existence of its own, but always come into existence in dependence on other dharmas. Tsongkhapa wrote a praise for dependent relativity
Whatever depends on causes and conditions is empty of intrinsic reality
what excellent instruction could there be
More marvelous than this discovery?
Tsongkhapa wrote the book called Essence of True Eloquence (Legsbshadsnyingpo) in 1407 a commentaries on Madhyamika view on the emptiness based on the tradition descended from Nagarjuna as elucidated by Buddhapālita and Candrakīrti. Since then he was thoroughly praised in the name of the pioneers of the emptiness teaching in the land of snow. In monastic studies curriculum on emptiness is based on this writing and there are few student who learn the 113 page text by heart too. Geshe Sonam Dawa learns the text by heart in 1996 during his studies in the monastery and given it as the oral exam. Since then till now he is reading the scriptures every day.
Oral transmission is a key component of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. When lama is reciting the text inwardly connects with the living stream back to the author or originator of the text. In this way the student receiving the transmission is linked to its origin. From then on the practice draws directly from this origin and the enlightened being who first gave the teaching. This empowers the student to start using the practice and ensures the practice is overseen and connected to the pure source. Geshe Sonam Dawa got the oral transmission of Tsongkhapa written Essence of True Eloquence from many Tibetan masters. He also took a spiritual journey to many pilgrimage sites in India and Nepal below in the list and read the book as the offering to all Buddha, Bodhisattva and master.
Historical Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India.
1, Kapilavatthu, The town where Prince Siddhartha grew up.
2, Vishiddha Stupa, where Prince Siddhartha cutting hair and Taking ordination as a monk
3, Nairanjana River, the present-day Lilaja River where Sakyamuni practiced austerities for six
years on the shore of this river in village Uruvilva.
4, Sujata Garh, the Sujata stupa dedicated to Sujata has been erected in the Bakraur village is
believed to be the home of Sujata. The lady who offered a bowl of rice pudding when she saw
meditating Gautama severely emaciated shortly before he became Buddha
5, Mahabodhi Temple where Prince Siddhartha attained Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.
6, Sarnath, Varanasi, The deer park where Buddha preached first sermon of four noble truths.
7, Rajgir, or Vulture Peak where Buddha preached the heart sutra.
8, Vaishali, Second Buddhist Council held here
9, Kesariya: where Buddha taught the famous Kalama Sutta.
10, Mathura: Visit by the Buddha and great center of the Buddhist art.
11, Nalanda: visit by the Buddha and the great earliest university in the second century.
12, Sankassya: where Buddha descended from the heaven.
13, Sravasti: ancient city where Buddha spent his last twenty years.
14, Kaushambi where the Buddha visited several times and couple of summer retreat held here.
15Amaravathi, (Palden Drepung in Tibetan), which, according to scriptures, was where the
Buddha first revealed the Kalachakra.
16, Kushinagar where Buddha enter into the Parinirvana
17, Dungeshwari Cave (Mahakala caves) where Buddha stayed six year in meditation.
18, Nagarjunakonda, It is named after Nagarjuna, a southern Indian master of Mahayana
Buddhism who lived in the 2nd century AD, who is believed to have been responsible for the
Buddhist activity in the area.
Historical Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal.
1, Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha
2, Swayambhunath: stupa was built by the Buddhist king Vrsadeva at 5th century.
3, Boudhanath: The stupa was built by a mother, Jadzima, an extremely poor family. The mother passed away after she completed up to the vase, the dome-like structure. She had four sons, and they completed the rest of the stupa. After they finished it, they all stood up in front of it and made prayers. Everyone generated a wish it’s also called wish-fulfilling and anybody who makes prayers to the stupa are fulfilled. Especially when you see the stupa for the very first time, whatever you pray for, it will succeed
4, Maratika Cave, in Halesi is blessed by the family of three protectors Manjushri, Vajrapani and Avalokitesavara. Guru Padmasambhava and Dakini Mandarava, attained the Vidyadhara of longevity in Maratika cave.
5, Mandarava’s Cave in Maratika, where Dakini Mandarava meditated here for many years.
6, Namo Buddha: where Buddha offer his body to a starvation tigress.
7, Asura cave: where Padmasambhava gave the spirits the Vajrayana empowerments,
Historical Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Himalaya.
1, in front of the famous mahakali statue in Stongde Monastery, founded by master Marpa in the year of 1099
2, Mount Tseray: great sacred historical crematory ground in Tantrayana practice
3, Sani Monastery, is built to accommodate an ancient chorten(stupa) Kanika, is presumed to date back to the time of the famous Kushan emperor, Kanishka. Guru Padmasambhava is also said to have meditated and Holy crematory grounds called Dachental is exist.
It is also claimed to be connected with the famous Indian Yogi Naropa, who meditated in a small room next to the Kanika chorten where a statue of the yogi exist.
4, Mokhang the retreat hermitage of Geshe Sonam Dawa previous life, the former abbot Lama Tsultrim Phuntsok of Tongday monastery
4, The Phuktal Monastery is built around a natural cave, believed to be one of the earliest residents of the cave are the 16 Arhats, was established in the early 15th century by Jangsem Sherap Zangpo, a disciple of Je Tsongkhapa. The images of these 16 Arhats appear on the cave walls. The great scholars and translators Padmasambhava and Phakspa Nestan Dusdan are believed to have lived in the cave, and so is the great leader and translator Lama Marpa Lotsawa.
In the 12th century, the Tibetan translator Zanskar Lotsawa Phagpa Sherab also lived and worked from Phuktal. The eminent scholars and brothers Dangsong, Pun, and Sum, who were believed to have the supernatural power of flight gave teachings on Dharma at Phuktal. When Jangsem Sherap Zangpo arrived at Phuktal, the three brothers bequeathed the holy site to him and departed. According to legend, the spiritually gifted Zangpo caused a spring to appear and run from the cave, a juniper tree to grow on top of the cave and for the cave itself to grow larger in size.
Historical site in Singapore
The Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery
Was Founded in 1921 by Venerable Sik Zhuan Dao, for a place to practice, the Dharma, and to provide lodging for monks, is the largest Buddhist temple and the first traditional Chinese forest monastery in Singapore.
Historical site in Indonesia
Muaro Jambi Temples in Jambi province, Sumatra is the monastery of lama serlingpa (Suwarnadwipa Dharmakirti) the spiritual teacher of Atisha Dipamkara and where Atisha met Lama Serlingpa for the first time.
Lama Serlingpa was giving teachings and stayed here until His last breath. It was said that he lived until the age of one hundred and fifty years. While Atisha was training to develop caring love, compassionate sympathy, and a bodhichitta aim totally dedicated to benefiting others and to achieving enlightenment while circumambulating the great stupa relic monument for honoring the Buddha in Bodh Gaya, Atisha heard two statues whispering to each other in a niche overhead. One asked the other, If you wish to achieve enlightenment as quickly as possible, in what should you train? “A totally dedicated heart of bodhichitta” was the reply. And while circumambulating the cupola of the monument, a statue of Buddha, the Vanquishing Master Surpassing All, spoke to him saying, ” mendicant monk, if you wish to realize your fullest potential quickly, train in love, compassion, and bodhichitta.”
At that time, the most famous master holding the complete teachings on how to develop bodhichitta was Dharmakirti (Dharmapala) the Sublime Teacher from Sumatra. Thus, with a group of 125 learned monks, Atisha set off on a ship of merchants bound for the Golden Isle, modern Sumatra. In those days a long ocean voyage was not an easy affair and they had a particularly difficult passage with storms, whales, and losing their way. It took thirteen arduous months to complete their journey.
Atisha stayed in the Golden Isle for twelve years, avidly training with this master and received the full teachings on extensive behavior from the lineage of Maitreya and Asanga, as well as those of the special lineage on exchanging selfishness for concern with others, which the bodhisattva Shantideva, a spiritual son of the Triumphant, had received directly from the ennobling, impeccable Manjushri himself. After Atisha gained, through these methods, a full-realization of a bodhichitta aim, he returned to India to Vikramashila.
Whenever he mentioned or heard lama Serlingpa name, he would invariably raise his joined palms to the crown of his head and express a word of praise. Saying the bodhichitta and altruistic mind that I possess is due to the kindness of lama Serlingpa and then join his palms in respect.
That was how the precious instructions of Lama Serlingpa in methods to generate the enlightenment mind were preserved. They were the inspirations in Jowo Atisha’s masterpieces, including Lamp of The Path, which became the foundation of Lamrim tradition, a tradition that presents stages of practices for the three kinds of practitioners with the ultimate goal to achieve the perfect Buddhahood.
Lama Serlingpa presented Atisha with a Buddha statue and predicted that one day he would tame the minds of the people of the northern Land of Snow. Later, the statue was presented to Rating Monastery and Je Tsongkhapa meditated in front of this statue for a month, before He started to compose various dispositions on the stages of the path to enlightenment.
Oral transmission of Essence of True Eloquence
Lama Tsongkhapa wrote
Not possessing the wisdom, the knowledge realizing the essence of all things.
Even though a person make a great effort to generate the renunciation and bodhicitta.
The root of (samsara) cyclic existence not possible to be cut off.
because of that make effort to realized the dependent origination.
Being free from samsara, the root ignorance of self-nescience that binds us within has to be cut off. The only antidote that can liberate us from this binding is the wisdom realizing emptiness.
To generate this wisdom the three type of wisdom have to be gradually develops.
The wisdom acquired through hearing, contemplation and meditation.
Having received the oral transmission, memorized by heart, read it every day, receiving teaching from many master, deeply blessing from many pilgrimage site, it is appropriate time Geshe la to pass the oral transmission for the benefit of both to oneself and others, to accumulating the merit.
Come and join the oral transmission of essence of true eloquence and generate the wisdom hearing emptiness and connect the unbroken chain, that can be traced all the way back to Lama Tsongkhapa.
During the essence of true eloquence oral transmission, the participant have to accept the guru-disciple relationship with lama Tsongkhapa, imagine his presence and treat that person of oral transmission giver as a spiritual friend.