The Dalai Lama:
21st Century Buddhism
An Informal Talk to Old Friends
The video below presents a rich 1-hour talk given by the Dalai Lama in November 2010 to a gathering of former Dharamsala residents. It ranges widely through impermanence, samadhi, vipassana and selflessness to the centrality of the Nalanda tradition in Tibetan Buddhism. Emphasizing scepticism, reason and rigorous enquiry rather than blind faith, the Dalai Lama explains why and how he conducts his ongoing dialogue with science. He believes East & West meet naturally on the ground of mind and emotion, the factors that govern our individual and collective health.
Buddhism, says the Dalai Lama, is nontheistic -- but not "atheistic" in the sense of "anti-God". Buddha is to be located within and experienced in the heart as Tathagatagarbha, the Buddha-nature. We should not get attached to merely local cultural aspects in Tibetan, Japanese, Chinese (etc) Buddhism.
Indeed, some Tibetan Buddhist centres now seem to him like cults whose teachers focus, not on the 'great tree trunk' of the Buddha's words and the authentic Nalandha tradition, but on their branch and its special sub-branch of tantra, dzogchen or mahamudra (which depend on guruyoga). The unfortunate result is that the teacher may become spoiled and his students remain credulous.
We should know, he says, that Buddhist science and psychology do not belong to Buddhism alone but are universal. The Two Truths of appearances and reality, and the Four Noble Truths are fully consistent with the Big Bang origin of the Universe. Rather than becoming trapped by provisional meanings or cultural factors, one should differentiate which teachings are authentic and relevant---then study, practice, investigate and experience them for oneself. This is "21st century Buddhism".
If you prefer to skip the 20 minute introduction, drag cursor horizontally to go straight to the Dalai Lama's presentation.