Practicing Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 9th April

Practicing Buddhism in a Pandemic – Geshe Tashi Tsering’s Coronavirus Update 9th 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 asking after his welfare and requesting advice on Coronavirus and Buddhist practice, he generously shares his observations, thoughts and advice in his usual warm-hearted and accessible style.

In this update Geshe Tashi once again gives us a window into his daily routine, as well as some of his administrative duties as Abbot of Sera Mey Monastery at this time.

As part of the Practicing Buddhism in a Pandemic section, citing the war in Syria as a recent man-made suffering, Geshe Tashi reminds us that dukkha or suffering is always with us.  Choosing more entries from the book, “1001 Pearls of Buddhist Wisdom”, Geshe la inspires us to open up, expand our compassionate awareness in larger and larger circles, to all those beings who, like us, have a mind.  He sets us a challenge – can you guess who he is quoting? 

His overall message is for us to keep an even-keel, to have perspective, to see the coronavirus pandemic as being part of a continuation of dukkha that was here before and will be here afterwards.  In this way we can better maintain our mindful awareness of dukkha and the self-centred mind, while also maintaining our capacity to nurture and expand our love and compassion.  We may not be able to make the big gestures, but we can always do the small things, gradually, bit by bit, training our mind in this way.

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

    Thank you very much again. Welcome words of advice and encouragement. Am reminded of your phrase ‘we are in for the long haul’! The only positive feature of the virus is that it is completely egalitarian. Thank you also, Tri and Peter, for all your hard work. Do hope Sera and the wider community stay safe and not too many long meetings. Good to see so many familiar names in the postings. Love to all Jane

    1. admin

      Thank you Jane – it’s a pleasure, love P & T

  2. Devam Hendry

    Dear Geshela. It has been very inspirational and supportive to listen to your talks. So important to remember what I can do to encourage others as I am isolating alone. I realise the interdependence of every single sentient being as my food is delivered and I receive messages and kindness.
    I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  3. Thank you Geshe Tashi-la, once again for the perspective of the monastery with 6000 people in the midst of this challenging time and your quotations. I have been trying to keep going back and forth, for a moment reminding myself of what you said – the understanding of the truth of the relative – change, impermanence and that with birth comes the certainty of death, – and then the truth of interdependence – so allowing the heart’s saddness that in this one day in Britain 1000 people have died due to the little viruses (just trying to live in samsara, but harming, even killing their hosts), including many people who died doing their work of caring for others (many of whom have families with children). So inspiring for us all.
    I am very grateful for your taking the time to share your insights with us.

  4. Daniel Argent

    Thanks once more for making the time so share such engaging and relatable perspectives Geshe La. Your words are of huge benefit for us all. Best wishes to you and all on this vlog.

  5. Shelley

    Thank you Geshe la. Such great quotes! And helpful for me to have them together as I confess that lately, on looking widely and seeing so much dukha worldwide (not just caused by this virus) I have been feeling…wrathful that more isn’t being done to alleviate it and that it isn’t even realized by so many. Too much of that of course can lead to another kind of prison, so helpful to remember the little things and rejoice in all the many acts of kindness and community we are seeing so frequently around us during this pandemic. Here in the UK we have also been blessed with very beautiful weather and the joy of seeing nature blooming into spring.
    Very best wishes to you,


    Dear Geshe-la
    I’m so grateful for this lovely posting. Your choice of quotes from Pearls of Wisdom and your commentary are so helpful. At this time, we have the opportunity not only to look after ourselves (e.g. self-isolation, self-distancing) but we are also doing this to protect others so that they remain virus-free. If a part of our practice has usually involved face-to-face interaction with other human beings, we need to think how we can be “mindful of the needs of others”
    William James’ on the satisfaction of “small things” is really helpful. (I have his book The Varieties of Religious Experience somewhere – when I can find it!) Little acts of kindness make such a difference at the moment – though your regular postings to everyone are large and thoughtful acts of kindness! Thank you Geshe-la and thank you Peter and Tri
    Love from Alison

    1. admin

      Thank you, Alison. It’s a pleasure to help bring these things out.

  7. Shirley

    Thank you.
    Small things are so important; what you consider as a small, maybe even insignificant thing, might well be the biggest thing ever, to its recipient. For years, I have had a small decorated wooden plaque, clearly visible on a wall in my flat. It says “remember the little things”

  8. carmen

    Always so good and calming and informative to be in your presence. Thank you, Dear Geshe la, for your continued dedication and caring for all of us. All Blessings and Prayers.

  9. William Walker

    Thanks you Geshi-la for your continued teaching and news. They have really helped to give me realistic but encouraging goals to practising on and off the cushion / chair, as well as much food for thought. Much needed at this time. Best wishes

  10. Ani Rita

    Another very profound and inspiring quote of Albert Einstein, a letter for his daughter.
    A great sage indeed

    “When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.
    I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades, until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below.
    There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us. This universal force is LOVE.
    When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force. Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it. Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others. Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness. Love unfolds and reveals. For love we live and die. Love is God and God is Love.
    This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.
    To give visibility to love, I made a simple substitution in my most famous equation. If instead of E = mc2, we accept that the energy to heal the world can be obtained through love multiplied by the speed of light squared, we arrive at the conclusion that love is the most powerful force there is, because it has no limits.
    After the failure of humanity in the use and control of the other forces of the universe that have turned against us, it is urgent that we nourish ourselves with another kind of energy…
    If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.
    Perhaps we are not yet ready to make a bomb of love, a device powerful enough to entirely destroy the hate, selfishness and greed that devastate the planet.
    However, each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released.
    When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.
    I deeply regret not having been able to express what is in my heart, which has quietly beaten for you all my life. Maybe it’s too late to apologize, but as time is relative, I need to tell you that I love you and thanks to you I have reached the ultimate answer! “.
    Your father,
    Albert Einstein

  11. m.

    Your talks are becoming more and more effective by broadening our understanding through linking texts with both wider and personal contexts . Their gentle clarity directly confronts entrenched mental habits through deepening and spreading understanding.
    They encourage and enable inner growth through sharing your experience.
    Its so useful to be reminded of the everyday minds tendency to rehearse ridiculously entrenched habits.

    Yet here theres a skilful way to utilise this habitual tendency to a more useful and compassionate end through developing the habit of gentle inner questioning.
    Geshe la, Thank you as always

Leave a Reply