Practicing Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 21st May.

Practicing Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 21st May.

In the first part of this update, Geshe Tashi first gives what he describes as “BBC News” update from the settlement in India.  If only the BBC news was as good as this!


In the Practicing Buddhism section, Geshe Tashi once again gives a thorough review of the previous verses, as continues his commentary on A Harvest of Powerful Attainment by Lama Tsongkhapa.


Commenting now on Verse 8 and the wisdom of dependent arising, Geshe la gives us a teaching on the two extremes of nihilism and eternalism.  He describes one manifestation of nihilism [denying existing things, in this case cause and effect] as the belief that all things come into existence spontaneously or by accident, randomly or by chance.  It is called extreme, Geshe la says, “because of its influence on our actions where we have no regard for the coming results”.  He references a documentary on the Nazi regime, how this regime was able to hold the attitudes it did, and how this extreme view of nihilism was underlying their disregard for others and the consequences of their actions.  People who hold this view, Geshe la says, have the potential to cause huge destruction for others. 


In commenting on eternalism, Geshe la refers to the Indian caste system and the sad belief held by some that they really do have some kind of intrinsic inferiority.  We, the Admin Team, feel we should follow Geshe la’s example and be discerning about our own culture.  These diseases of nihilism and eternalism are very much present in the paradigms, theories and beliefs of our sciences, philosophies and institutions.  We don’t need to look to the 1930’s and 40’s.  With our western belief that we are “hard wired” from birth at a neural or genetic level for negative states of mind or mental illnesses, we certainly don’t feel there is any room for complacency in our culture today.


In this community of ours, with these teachings from Geshe Tashi and Je Tsongkhapa, we are all sharing our own very special vaccine for a vastly more dangerous disease – ignorance.  “The meaning of dependent arising, profound and limit-free, is the sole cure for diseases of holding to extremes.”  We feel so lucky to be receiving these teachings.


Geshe la helps us to gain perspective over the whole text, by showing how the verses are organised by Lama Tsongkhapa.  The first 3 verses give homage, the 4th and 5th show us the qualities we need as students, and the 6th, 7th, and 8th are the “Three Principal Aspects of the Path”.  These are: renunciation – or the determination to emerge from samsara; bodhichitta; and correct view – the wisdom of emptiness and dependent arising.


Another really well structured, detailed episode from Geshe la, packed full of humour, sharp cultural observations, a break-through vaccine, and certain goodness!


A Harvest of Powerful Attainment (verse 8)

Prayer for Blessings of the Close Lineage


Bless me that I comprehend in a manner akin

to noble Nagarjuna and his spiritual successors

the meaning of dependent arising, profound and limit-free,

sole cure for diseases of holding to extremes.


p.113 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 10 Comments

  1. Genevieve

    It‘s difficult to put in words the joy and gratefulness experienced when listening to the explanations of these extraordinary beautiful verses, when „BBC-News“ and on top of this, Geshe Tashi‘s chantings fill my living room. Thank you very much, and thanks to Peter and Tri too.

  2. Jane

    Dear Geshe la
    Many thanks. Such richness in so few words. It would be lovely to hear the slow chant of the Tibetan.
    Love to all

  3. Shirley

    Tashi delek
    Thank you for this valuable teaching. Spiritual “vaccine” offers the best protection, and is freely available to all.

  4. julie

    Thank you so much Geshe Tashi! And, this breezy evening in sunny west Wales I laughed & applauded hearing your thought on vaccine companies… Thank You for your good medicine. Thank you Peter & Tri. And thank you to all this community.

  5. Judy

    Dear Peter & Tree, Thanks for responding & correcting the text so promptly.
    Judy x

  6. Volker Hessel

    ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཆེ, Geshe-la!
    Now almost 20 years after my first contact with Buddhism I slowly get an idea what the Dharma might be about. I guess that’s a start… I do my best to put into practice.
    Thank you,

  7. Judy

    Thank you for your teachings on verse 8 of ‘The Splendour of an Autumn Moon’.
    However, the text given on this post is from verse 7. Perhaps we can have verse 8 next time.

    1. admin

      Judy, you are right, I posted verse 7 by mistake. I copy and paste the format of the blog, and forgot to type in verse 8 this time. I have now corrected this, verse 8 is now up and waiting for you to read. Thank you for pointing this out, and to Alison W too, who emailed yesterday. Hope you enjoy over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Leave a Reply