Practicing Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 29th April

Practicing Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 29th April

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 revisiting verse seven, highlighting how vital compassion is in living an ethical life.  Those who have studied or are currently studying the Four Noble Truths module of the Foundation of Buddhist Thought Course will be familiar with Geshe Tashi’s insistence that compassion is the basis for ethics.  He references His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who often says that compassion, like water, is essential to sentient life.  If we have compassion, Geshe la maintains, then it is easy to keep our ethics.  In this way we won’t struggle to “guard” our ethics, watching our behaviour like a hawk, which may in fact cause us difficulties.  This is a very nuanced approach, and so helpful if we are to maintain a balanced, healthy mind as we explore this kind of spiritual training, a training our modern culture doesn’t in general support, and hasn’t been able to properly prepare us for.


Geshe la then reads from the eighth verse of Lama Tsongkhapa’s “The Essence of a Human Life”, looking at the drawbacks of drinking alcohol and taking drugs, both of which leave us less intelligent and much less resourced.


As part of Geshe Tashi’s teachings on the Eight Fears that Tara helps us overcome, today we look at jealousy.  Jealousy, like anger, leads to a thick confusion in the mind, and traps us in a situation where we can’t bear to see the good in others.


The Essence of a Human Life (verse 8)

Words of Advice for the Lay Practitioner


“Drunkenness, particularly, is the ruin of the world,

held in contempt by the wise.

Therefore, my fine-featured ones,

it is good to turn from such despised behaviour.”


p.213 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 11 Comments

  1. Shelley

    Thank you Geshe la, your mention of keeping precepts even in play made me think of computer games – so many of which, particularly those aimed at boys involve killing. I always find this so negative as even though not a real action the intention and even rejoicing is there. Or perhaps this could be viewed as a positive way to play out a karmic disposition to kill without the actual action?
    So helpful to remember compassion as the basis for precepts – gives a different feel to the practice..
    Very best wishes to you,


  2. Jane Sill

    Dear Geshe la
    Thank you very much. I am so happy to hear that the monasteries can help the local community even though I am sure resources must be tight. Concerning the dew drop – AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) advice is ‘One drop is not enough and one drop is too many’. Our postie is getting very exhausted delivering cases of beer to the top floor with no lift! I do hope you are still all keeping safe. Love to all, Jane

  3. Chrissie Martindale

    Dear Geshe La. thank you so much for these wonderful teachings for the lay practitioner and also your explanations on Tara, which is most useful. I must admit to stopping to really think when you mentioned no vaccination for jealousy, anger, hatred and negative pride (yet 😄) and that we have to deal with them ourselves. It made me realise how often I do look for a solution that’s out there somewhere rather than within. So thank you as always for your time and wonderful way with words in getting over the teachings. Many thanks also to Tri and Peter for making this possible. Chrissie

    1. admin

      Our pleasure Chrissie, thank you for your comments X

  4. Rosalyn Williams

    Dear Geshela thank you for explaining Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching.
    Not so easy to distinguish envy and jealousy within oneself. Does having one predispose that the other is present . I don’t feel that to be the case- without having thought about it very much.
    Now I have to think about it because of your teaching ,
    Please carry on your good work.
    Yes very much hope that this flue virus runs out of steam, as a matter of speaking. I have researched it over the internet and ended up abandoning it thinking I would rather spend my time understanding LTK’s view while were in lockdown . Thank you again Ros

  5. Shirley

    Tashi delek
    Once again, many thanks. Here in the UK, since lockdown 38 days ago, there has been a 31% increase in supermarket home deliveries (ie being delivered directly from supermarket to peoples’ homes) of alcohol alone. I think the closure of pubs has affected people in the UK more than anything else. Very sad, when you know how alcohol is destroying their minds’ potential, not to mention their health. To see a drunken person induces compassion.

  6. Susan McKenna

    Dear Geshe la, thank you, thank you, thank you, so love listening to your teachings. and praying the Tara Praises. I sent this video to my teenage daughter Yeshe, I hope she listens!
    with love and bows, Susan (Brighton)
    and thank you to Tri and Peter for all the work you do to make these teachings available XX

  7. Dear Geshe Tashi-la
    All that arises brings the possibility of both difficulties and benefits. And we are so fortunate that this little virus has brought us to a halt – and with it the chance to hear your wonderful, perceptive explanations of ‘well known’ teachings.
    Just as you did with negative pride – pointing out that it is not just the gross form, but that many of us have a subtle form of negative pride in the background that we don’t even notice – you have reminded us that jealousy and envy can have both the more gross manifestation and also a subtle form.
    I thought about how if I have even a slightly contracted feeling, not able to feel at ease or happy that someone has opportunity or attention, that is a subtle form of envy/jealousy. I cannot, deep from my heart, feel joy for their moment of happiness.

    Thank you again (and again) for your sharing Buddha’s teachings in such a perceptive way. And therefore helping us to learn how to live Buddha’s teachings.
    May you and all the people, both at Sera Mey and beyond, be ok within this strange experience of lockdown.
    Best wishes

    1. Rosalyn Williams

      Well Geshe’la
      It certainly is a fog through which others and myself try and identify whether you are jealous or envious. Surely it’s all labelling with some small degree of accuracy whether we are ignorant angry have hatred, are jealous
      Or envious. I honestly can’t get to the bottom of it. I admit I am sunk in this confused fog!
      at the moment

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