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.