Practicing Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 1st May

Practicing Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 1st May

In this extraordinary series, Geshe Tashi gives us regular updates on the Coronavirus Pandemic amongst the Tibetan diaspora in India through the lens of Sera Monastery, home to around 6,000 monks. In response to emails requesting advice on Coronavirus and Buddhist practice, he generously shares his observations, thoughts and teachings in his usual warm-hearted and accessible style.


In this episode, Geshe Tashi begins by reviewing the previous verses, giving us a concise, thorough and approachable overview of the initial stages of the path, or lam rim teachings.  Those of us setting up a practice or re-vitalising the essential touchstones of a daily practice may well find Geshe Tashi’s teachings here extremely valuable.


Commenting on what is in effect the next stage of the path, in Verse 9 of Lama Tsongkhapa’s The Essence of a Human Life, Geshe Tashi emphasises the importance of discernment in what we take up or adopt.  We should be very careful, through the three doors of our body, speech and mind, what we engage with.  We are encouraged not to act like a dog coming across a piece of meat, just swallowing down whatever we are exposed to.


In Verse 10, Geshe la takes this opportunity to give detailed instructions on how to carry out the daily Seven Limb Practice.  Again, this will be especially helpful for those planning on setting up a daily practice, as well as those of us seeking fresh inspiration.


As part of Geshe Tashi’s teachings on the Eight Fears that Tara helps us overcome, today we look at wrong views.   We have plenty of wrong views, philosophies, theories and beliefs in our society today: cultural, academic, scientific, economic, it is a long list, and often we swallow these blind.  These wrong views and beliefs are described in the text as being like a thief, stealing our basic human goodness and wholesome instincts. 


Once again, Geshe la ends with the familiar and reassuring Praises to 21 Taras followed by two verses of dedication.  It is lovely to hear the dedication to His Holiness again, isn’t it?


The Essence of a Human Life (verses 9 & 10)

Words of Advice for the Lay Practitioner


If what you do brings on suffering eventually,

though it may appear in the moment as happiness,

then do not do it.

After all, food beautifully cooked but mixed with poison

is left untouched, is it not?


To the Three Jewels make prayers and offerings each day,

work hard to be wholesome, confess previous wrongs,

strengthen your vows again and again,

dedicating all merit for enlightenment.


p.213-215 The Splendour of an Autumn Moon, Lama Tsongkhapa, trans. Gavin Kilty.


Khen Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering taught in London for over 25 years and is currently Abbot of Sera Mey Monastery in Karnataka State, India.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Jane Sill

    Dear Geshe la

    Many thanks and to Tri & Peter for posting up so quickly! One very positive thing to come out of the current situation. A real silver lining. I am so glad that Sera and all are safe – maybe safer to be in the ‘red’ zone at the moment. India sounds far more organised than UK.
    Many thanks again. Love to all, Jane

    1. admin

      Thanks Jane, it’s a pleasure. We’re trying to keep on top of things! X

  2. Richard

    Thank you, Geshe-la. Yet another clear, practical and compelling explanation of some profound Dharma teachings. Your blogs are a real highlight of the lock-down!

  3. Shirley

    Tashi delek
    Thank you for this teaching, we should guard our body speech and mind. This is particularly relevant today when the media is intent on focussing attention, apportioning blame, and Inciting dislike, without any proof whatsoever. With regard to the big plate with very little food in the middle, it is called haute cuisine, and the decoration lines are called drizzle. More like an artwork than real food I think. With regard to biscuits, see if you can get some McVitie’s Ginger Nuts biscuits. They are on sale in India. You will really enjoy them.

  4. Brenda

    Dear Geshe La
    Your encouragement for us not to neglect the foundation of practice, ethical living, is a good reminder. This quiet period is indeed a unique time to take 8 Mahayana Precepts on some days. Thankyou thankyou again for your heartfelt advice, interspersed with your personal anecdotes which make us giggle!

  5. Jude Harris

    I will check if I have ‘lost the plot’…. if so I must go and seek it! Thank you for these inspirational teachings.

  6. Grace Davis

    Grace Davis (Tenzin Namtrul)
    Thank you so much Geshe la for your clear, kind teachings. Our bodhisattva virus has brought you into my home – thank you and please live long.

  7. Chris Swain

    Good to hear that you and the community are keeping well Geshe Tashi. Continuing to greatly appreciate the generosity of your teaching, which I am finding extremely apposite and useful – thank you.

  8. Ani Barbara

    Thanks so much geshe la plus the birds singing
    Fantastic work you are doing to keep all the monks safe

  9. Liz Dickson

    Thank you for such practical and astute teaching, delicately exposing our tendency to self delusion, whether it’s by pursuing temporary pleasures or seeking to buy our way out with self interested generosity. Mighty topics lightened by your delightful humour. And I’m only half way through! Very glad that you are safe there at the moment, Geshe la.

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