Commentary on Bodhichitta (Bodhichittavivarana)
In September last year His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave a two-days teaching in Strasbourg on Nagarjuna's Commentary on Bodhichitta (Skt. Bodhichittavivarana). His Holiness praised this text, saying that studying it had greatly improved his own understanding of emptiness, and that this was the experience of many of his friends as well. He urged the audience to further study the text and contemplate its meaning. Therefore, Nalanda monastery is very happy to offer a cycle of teachings on this precious text, beginning from February this year.
Everyone is welcome !
The teacher of this cycle of teachings will be Geshe Gyaltsen, who studied at Sera Je monastery for more than 20 years before receiving his Geshe lharampa degree, the highest degree within the Geluk monastic system. Geshe Gyaltsen, one of our residential teachers, has taught the Basic program at Nalanda for three years, and is very much liked by the students for his kindness, faith, learnedness, humility and for the depth and clarity of his explanations.
The master Nagarjuna is one of the great trailblazers of Mahayana Buddhism. He received the wisdom lineage by Manjushri and is said to have rediscovered the Prajnaparamita sutras, that were lost to humans for many hundreds of years after the passing away of Buddha Shakyamuni. While the Buddha taught many philosophical views, in accordance with the disposition of the audience, Arya Nagarjuna is renown for having revived and clarified the highest philosophical view, the Madhyamika. It is commonly said that the Buddha prophesized the coming of Nagarjuna, for example in the Lankavatara sutra:
In the southern Beda
Will come one renown as the 'Magnificent monk.'
His name will be Naga
And everywhere he will destroy
The concepts of existence and non-existence.
ABOUT THE TEXT
Nagarjuna's Commentary on Bodhichitta is a presentation of the two bodhichittas, conventional and ultimate. Verse by verse Nagarjuna presents the philosophical views of reality by non-buddhist and other Buddhist schools, identifying their assertions and showing their flaws, leading the student to the highest philosophical view, the Madhyamika. The pedagogy is that by gaining familiarity with lower views the students' capacity to understand higher views increases. Nagarjuna then presents many approaches to realize the emptiness of the person and of the aggregates, focusing especially on the emptiness of the mind. He then gives an explanation of the two truths followed by a presentation of interdependence, the king of reasonings. Finally, he explains the need to develop conventional bodhichitta, the wish to attain buddhahood for the sake of all sentient being. Although Commentary on Bodhichitta is a short text, only 112 verses, it covers the philosophical views of many schools and is very rich in meaning.
Geshe Gyaltsen will teach the text during four weekends, starting already the 11th-12th of February! The schedule is as follows:
There will be two teachings per day, Saturday and Sunday:
10:30 – 12:00 and
15:00 – 16:30
The teachings will be translated directly into French by our residential translator Katy Fadet. It will simultaneously be translated into English. Please note that the schedule is subject to change depending on unexpected events, such as visiting lamas.
There is no fee for the course but donations are very welcome and help Nalanda to arrange public teachings in the future as well. Please call Nalanda (+33) (0)5 63-58-02-25 or email if you want to reserve lunch during the weekend (10€ for lunch)