“Vanquishing the Darkness of Ignorance”
A Rebuttal to the Book Called “Uprooting Habits”
Written by the Great World Renowned Scholar Khenpo Tsultrim Lodro
Translated by Chiranjiv Duajh and Jnana Kirti
Khenchen Tsultrim Lodro Rinpoche is known throughout the communities of Dharma practitioners, and Tibetans and Chinese people with interest in Tibetan culture. His sublime views are also well liked in Western countries by those who have a deep understanding of Dharma, and aren’t biased toward old or new philosophies.
It would be impossible for ordinary individuals like myself know the true story of his inner activities, perhaps it is possible for the Bodhisattvas of the Ten Bhumis. However, as a preface to this short document, this is a sincerely written concise introduction to Khen Rinpoche’s noble activities, from the perspective of an inexperienced commoner. He was born on the sixteenth Rabjung during the Water Tiger Year of the Tibetan Calander, July, 15th, 1962, in Eastern Tibet, the Drango region. Ever since he was young he displayed extraordinary intelligence gained from previous lives and became knowledgeable in all of the outer and inner sciences. When he grew older, his noble qualities appeared and he renounced Samsara, had faith in the Three Jewels, and naturally grew compassion for beings with pitiful circumstances.
Then he served the great teacher, Khenchen Jigmed Phuntsok Pal Zangpo Chok with his body, speech and mind. He remained at Sertha Larung Chogar, the Precious Buddhist University of the Five Studies, and for many years studied and contemplated the teachings of Sutra and Tantra; the Tibetan sciences; and ancient and modern, Eastern and Western cultures and philosophies. In completion, he became a scholar with knowledge above all others.
He held the three classes of vows without breaking them and resided as the Vajra Holder of the Three Vows. He practiced the sacred Bodhicitta by benefitting others without expectation of anything in return, and never sought the material wealth of alms for self-gain. His practice of contentment and taming desire rivals that of the sixteen Arhats. He is unchained by the pathetic politics and activities of defeating enemies and protecting friends. For the benefit of boundless sentient beings, he conducted the activity of the three wheels of study and renunciation. His beneficial activities are like that of the second Kunkhyen, uncontrollably inspiring faith in countless disciples from Eastern and Western countries.
In summary, his qualities are: being noble, being very knowledgeable, having excellent moral conduct, not engaging in the eight worldly Dharmas, having great compassion and consideration for others, being undeceiving, being unhindered in his activities, and so forth. This wish-fulfilling jewel that overflows with positive qualities and benefits others effortlessly is alive and physically present in his Rupakaya form.
This document called “Vanquishing the Darkness of Ignorance”, written by Khen Rinpoche, is a rebuttal to an article called “Uprooting Habits”, written by someone named Tragyal, who disparaged the holy Dharma and Tibet’s old culture. With the perpetuation of Buddha’s teachings and the happiness of sentient beings in mind, Khenpo wrote this with the supreme Bodhicitta intention to correct misguided people like Tragyal and their followers, and to guide many other beings on the correct path.
This writing is a debate of perfect teachings, logic, and analysis that is like a lion’s roar that overpowers the sounds of foxes making false arguments. After requesting that this document be translated and shared in English we were granted permission. So now, with the help of my son Jnana Kirti, this document was translated into English without any deceptive misinformation, and posted onto the internet. In the not so distant future we also intend to publish and print a small book in half English and half Tibetan. Thus I, Tsegyal, who am controlled by the three intentions, wrote this on the 16th of April, 2017.
“Vanquishing the Darkness of Ignorance”
A Rebuttal to the Book Called “Uprooting Habits”
The sunlight of stainless wisdom shines,
To dispel the darkness. In order to escape the net of ignorance,
To the only eye that guides sentient beings on the path of benefit and happiness,
I bow my head to the Omniscient Lord Buddha.
Baring the sharp fangs and claws of teachings and analysis,
They scatter the brains of their opponents, a thousand elephants.
To those lion-like expounders of the teachings, such as Dharmakirti and so on,
I respectfully prostrate before all of you heroes of logic.
Thus, when the compassionate guide, the peerless Lord Buddha, was on the path of training, in order to benefit all sentient beings, he offered up countless body parts, such as his head, eyes, and so on. He went through countless hardships, and at last became truly all-knowing. He held great compassion in his heart for all sentient beings, without discrimination and free from cognitive conceptualization. Infinite beings reached the unsurpassed state of enlightenment by relying on the complete, unmistaken, supreme path to liberation that Buddha taught.
After Buddha’s Parinirvana, all the great Arhat lineage holders, the six masters that ornament and beautify the world, and so on, continued Buddha’s teachings. Even still, after over 2900 years, the teachings haven’t vanish, but instead, continue to gloriously reside with sentient beings.
Furthermore, Buddha also prophesied that his teachings would spread further and further north. As he predicted, it spread from noble land of India to the snow lands of the Tibetan plateau, and so on, to benefit countless sentient beings and open wide the door to happiness. Then, in the 20th century, the teachings spread to the west, in Europe, America, and so on. Starting from the beginning of the 21rst century until now, many knowledgeable and unknowledgeable Western people, have had great faith and interest in Buddha’s teachings.
The English philosopher Arnold Toynbee said: “The coming of Buddhism to the West may well prove to be the most important event of the Twentieth Century.” Even though the West has become very materially wealthy, mentally, many people are very sad and depressed. The Buddha’s teachings can be very beneficial for them, in this life and the next. For this reason, many of the greatest minds of the West such as the great scientist Albert Einstein, the most renowned philosopher of his century, Bertrand Russel, and the great psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, held the Buddha Dharma in extremely high regard, as I have written elsewhere.
Modern science spread and crossed the oceans, eventually disseminating throughout the whole world. When Western religious practitioners first encountered some of these previously unheard-of philosophies they didn’t agree with them, and there was conflict. Even so, many of the theories of modern science turned out to be true. However, some arrogant unknowledgeable people who come across modern sciences think that everything taught by all religions are equally untrue. This shows that they do not understand science or religion. Anyone who understands anything about religious philosophy and scientific theory doesn’t think that way.
During the ten years of China’s Cultural Revolution, there were some mentally unstable political people who fell too far to the left. They had bad intentions due to gross habit and didn’t know how to analyze real world situations, so they were satisfied to just imitate what other people said. Even now there are people like that who think that old traditions such as the holy Dharma are the main causes of civilization falling behind, but this is completely mistaken. This kind of thinking is simply denying reality without realizing it.
How this is so, is as follows: There are those who think that without completely getting rid of their heritage, there is no way of being included in the modern world. They are people who hold contempt for the tradition of their ancestors, such as the author of the article, “Uprooting Habits”, Tragyal. So I will write a brief reply to it here.
Therefore, Tragyal wrote:
We’ve occupied this world of happiness and suffering for a very long time, so I will expose the list of the many old demonic habits that inhibit progress. Fight the war. Our enemy is not to be found in some other land, our enemy is our own old habits. Until now, our old habits have beaten down the soul of our livelihood. So now, in order to vanquish all the branches of our old habit, it is as follows. Aim the explosive missiles at your own mind. In order to fight on the outside, begin with the inside. If one were to categorize the horde of old demonic habits, even though it’s possible that there are infinite types and categories, for now we can divide them into four types and destroy them one by one.
The third section is as follows: The habit of the Holy Dharma.
“The essence of all sentient beings is Buddha, however they are temporarily hidden by obscurations. By cleansing those obscurations, that is the actual state of Buddha.” Thus it is said.
Like that, the main pillar of the holy Dharma is the mind. In order to be liberated in the clear light nature of one’s own state of awareness, first one must cultivate renunciation and the generate Bodhicitta, and through that, attain the final state of perfect Buddhahood. Until then, there are: ignorance which is the root of samsara, the two truths, the two obscurations, the two selfless views, the two accumulations, the two great vehicles, the three poisons, the three wisdoms, the three vehicles, the three trainings, the four generosities, the four truths, and so on, and learning and practicing the two hundred fifty-three base trainings, and the eighty-four thousands collections of Dharma teachings that were taught as an antidote for the eighty four thousand afflictive emotions. Even all of these holy Dharma teachings are sources of our old habits.
All you did was list one to hundred things, by using Dharma terminology you copied off of scriptures, and labeled them our old habits. However, since you haven’t been tainted by any of these habits in the slightest, it seems you can rest easy. If there is nothing to let go of, then what reason is there for effort?
In your opinion, should we abandon all our old habits, or only abandon the holy Dharma? Concerning my first question: Tibetan culture includes language and literature, one’s identity and heritage, the sixteen instructions on civilized behavior, the ten virtues of the holy Dharma, and all of the traditional sciences. If we can abandon all of those things, without even leaving a trace of Tibet in our minds, and then improve civilized society, that would be an amazing accomplishment.
However, if you mean to say we shouldn’t abandon all our old habits but only abandon the habit of the holy Dharma, then what would be the reason for this?
Tragyal gave this reason:
The qualities of Buddha are as follows: His body has the one hundred and twelve beautifying marks and features; his speech possesses the sixty branches of Brahma’s melodious voice; and his enlightened mind is complete with the twenty-one divisions of flawless wisdom qualities. He is an individual who has all of those inconceivable qualities as is apparent in his attributes and activities. He is someone who has realized the omniscient state of absolute and relative truth. The ultimate goal of the holy Dharma is abandoning the habit of the two obscurations and reaching the state of realization. This is a goal for practitioners or seekers of liberation who are reaching for a higher state; not for working people who are seeking a livelihood.
Thus he said.
Saying that since the ultimate goal of the Holy Dharma is the state of Buddha, ordinary people don’t need to practice it, is completely mistaken. Are you saying that ordinary people don’t need to practice on the path of individuals with higher capacities, or that they don’t need to practice on the path of lower and medium capacity individuals? In the first case, even lower vehicle practitioners, hearers and solitary realizers, temporarily do not achieve the state of Buddha. There is nothing wrong with that, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary to practice Dharma in its entirety. In the second case, that make absolutely no sense. Saying that since you aren’t going to strive to achieve enlightenment, there is no reason to try to be liberated from samsara or escape from the lower realms to the higher realms, is completely deceitful. How saddening, this is the logic of shameless charlatans who are against Buddha’s teachings.
The ultimate goal of the Great Vehicle is not necessarily always to become Buddha. The only ultimate goals of the Great Vehicle are temporarily to benefit all sentient beings and eventually bring them ultimate happiness. If it wouldn’t benefit all sentient beings, there would be no reason to strive for enlightenment. Some seem to think that he who is called Buddha is someone with a beautiful body, melodious speech, and a brilliant mind. They think that he is someone who is without faults and who has glorious qualities. If one wishes to be like that, to relax happily and comfortably in a pureland without any work or effort, and if one strives to achieve that state, then that isn’t the path of the Great Vehicle at all.
From the treatise on Entering the Path of the Middle Way:
The crops of Buddhahood
Come from the seeds of compassion. With water and time
The crops ripen to become profit.
Therefore, above all, pay homage to compassion.
Thus it is said.
As it was written, all stages of practice, beginning, middle, and end, are only about being beneficial and bringing happiness to all sentient beings, through one’s intentions and activities. You mustn’t twist Buddha’s teachings by claiming to know things that you don’t. Because, what you essentially said before, was that benefiting and bringing happiness to sentient beings, is only a goal of practitioners who are reaching for a higher state. You said that it isn’t something that will benefit ordinary people. Never mind the way of Dharma, that type of talk even goes against the ways of civilized conduct, and is nothing but ignorant gossip that teaches perverse advice.
According to your way of thinking, ordinary people who work and sustain their livelihood, disregard future lives, don’t believe in karma, loathe the holy Dharma, and commit non-virtuous actions shamelessly. Your vision of civilization is one where people do not recognize immorality and bad behavior, but instead where the strongest and most clever individuals do many evil, shameless deeds, in order to secure their own livelihood in this life. However, you mentioned before that mere subsistence cannot fulfill our desires and won’t satisfy us. The type of immoral livelihood that you are suggesting, would be even less able to fulfill the desires of and satisfy the Tibetan people. This is because, even though it may be that we need happiness and enjoyment in this life, we also need happiness in the next life.
So, therefore, we need to “list and dig out the faults of our demonic enemy,” this ignorant gossip that destroys happiness and joy in this and future lives. It is necessary to “fight the war”, because not only are we Tibetans poor when it comes to material wealth, but you, Tragyal, are eager to have us do evil deeds which will destroy the inner qualities of our minds. However, if you can prove that it is fine for us to live only to sustain our own livelihoods, because you have absolutely clear evidence that there are definitely no future lives after this and no karma, then we will be waiting for you to bring us such evidence. However, until that time comes, don’t corrupt people’s minds by using deception.
If you say that you don’t believe in future lives or karma because you haven’t seen them, then have you seen any evidence that such things don’t exist? If you haven’t then why do you believe they can’t exist. Think carefully.
You seem to think that developed countries grew and advanced because they don’t practice the holy Dharma. If that were true then there should have been some great progress during the ten year Chinese cultural revolution, because back then it was extremely rare for Tibetans to utter even a single syllable of the Avalokiteshvara mantra but what progress was made? Also according to your way of thinking, there shouldn’t have been any advancements in China during the generation of people who are now 80 and 90 years old. There should have instead been great advancements during the new generation of 50 to 60 year olds, but if you research this yourself, it will become clear whether or not there was.
Various belief systems such as Buddhism and Hinduism are flourishing in the countries with the greatest scientific, technological, and economic developments, and don’t obstruct or harm progress in any way. So why do you see science and religion as harming each other? You are just chasing rumors and not researching what type of state the world is actually in and all the while claiming to be knowledgeable, this is extremely unflattering.
So you must understand that the holy Dharma has many vehicles, it is said:
The vehicle of gods and human beings, the vehicle of the Sravakas, the vehicle of self liberators, the vehicle of Bodhisattvas, and the unsurpassed vehicle. Thus it is said.
Thus, through intensely powerful compassion, wishing all sentient beings to be free from the suffering of Samsara and practicing to become enlightened for their sake is the Great Vehicle. But even if you don’t have that kind of determination, practicing with diligence and the intention to completely liberate yourself from Samsara is the Lower Vehicle of Sravakas and solitary realizers. If you can’t do that, then by practicing with the desire take rebirth in the higher realms to become a worldly god or human being, is the Vehicle of Gods and Human Beings. Since there are numerous teachings for various individual being’s wishes and capacities you can choose to practice whichever one suits your desires. The scope of Dharma Practitioner’s goals isn’t limited to only attaining enlightenment.
Even if you can’t accomplish all of those practices it is at least necessary for everyone to believe in the karma of cause and effect, and practice the Vehicle of Gods and Human Beings by abandoning non-virtuous actions and accumulating virtue. Because otherwise even this life’s livelihood and living standards won’t become prosperous, forget about future lives. Society will become filled with people who search for faults in others, manipulate each other, get divorced, rape, rob, steal, kill, and so on. People who have reverse views, covetousness, and harmful thoughts, and don’t believe in karma will do many destructive things. For example, western governments and scientists have created various atomic weapons and by doing so it’s like they have taken all living things and the entire world to wait in front of the Lord of Death’s door. It’s said that there are 127922 atomic weapons already built in this world, and scientists have surmised that those atomic bombs have the power to destroy the world a thousand times over.
Furthermore, Tragyal wrote:
The world and its inhabitants as depicted by the scriptures of the Holy Dharma have the ultimate goal of being free from suffering and having happiness. It is a world that is unsurpassed and unrivaled, supremely supreme. It has boundless peace and joy, boundless equanimity, boundless freedom, and boundless rights. It is a dominant and supreme world, a beautiful world, a perfect and completely pure world, a noble, most high, and extremely natural world. However, beings that make a livelihood who don’t do any negative actions, only accumulate virtue, and tame their own minds, are as rare as a daytime star. So that extremely natural world may be something to pray for but would be a difficult thing to actually see for yourself. However, by building the described visualizations in Dharma teachings and turning the ordinary world into a blissful pureland, you won’t have to search for the Amitaba’s pureland elsewhere because that will be it. That idea is very vast and profound isn’t it?
Thus, he wrote many messy sentences with unclear meanings, crying about problems and not knowing what to say is simply a waste of money and paper. If you don’t accumulate virtue and abandon negative actions it would be difficult to make an actual pureland. Especially for individuals like you who are influenced by bad friends, it would be difficult to even hear the names of higher realms, forget about actually being born into one.
Like it is said in Buddhist teachings: If everyone in the world abandons even the intention of harming others and practices treating others that same as yourself; exchanging your happiness for their suffering; and loving them more than yourself, then if you are able to have the exceptional intention and practice of benefiting others, why not call it Amitabha’s pureland. Because if you compare it to the world now, it really is. This world has terrifying nuclear weapons that were created able to eradicate all living beings, people fear each other like carnivorous animals stuck in a cage together, they manipulate each other, have jealousy, harmful thoughts, and so on.
Continuing on what Tragyal wrote:
Even if you make a beautiful Dharma aspiration, it doesn’t matter how inspiring and motivating it is if you think about it from this perspective. In this world the authoritative scorn the timid, the rich scorn the poor, the brave scorn the cowardly, the superior scorn the inferior, and the strong scorn the weak. So in the end, the penniless, the timid, the weak, and the powerless all end up the underprivileged people who have been defeated by society. This is just the nature of the changing world and its inhabitants, it’s not a matter of whether or not you believe in it. So he said.
Well then, in your opinion, do you think the Holy Dharma is intended for things like authoritative people scorning the timid or against it? If you are saying that the holy Dharma teaches this kind of thinking and is therefore at fault, then that isn’t true in any way. However, if you say this type of thinking goes against the teachings of the Dharma, then why should the Dharma be blamed for things that evil people who go against the teachings do? If there was a medical practitioner who was qualified in the four branches of medicine and he gave a patient the perfect remedy, then if the patient leaves and dies because he never took his medicine, is that the fault of the medicine? Think about it. Or did you mean to say that the holy Dharma was unable to stop evil actions so therefore it must be completely removed? In that case, are you saying that even if one practices Dharma properly it will still be unable to stop evil actions? Or are you saying that by not practicing and remaining oblivious, evil actions won’t cease? Considering the first question that’s completely wrong. For one who abandons harming others and treats them the same as themselves, and thoroughly trains in the exceptional intention of benefiting others, it’s impossible to do evil actions. Concerning my second question, as I explained earlier, that isn’t the fault of the Dharma. Manipulating each other, torture, slavery, and so on, are all because of not believing in the antidote of the holy Dharma. For this reason, putting those false accusations on the holy Dharma is ridiculous.
Now it is time for you to think like this: If it is true that whether you accept it or not things like authoritative people scorning the timid are just the way things are in the world, then: Aspirations such as world peace, human rights, Democratic law, Individual country’s constitutions, and government politics, no matter how pleasant or how inspiring and motivating they are, it doesn’t matter if you think about it from this perspective. Then like you said earlier, you must destroy each of these habits. Furthermore, science and technology are methods of bringing happiness to society, however no matter how beautiful those aspiration may be, the reality is they create weapons that are capable of destroying the entire world. So if you look at it from such a perspective, those habit must be destroyed for those same reasons.
Well, now that all the old and new habits of this and future lives, both worldly and Dharma related, all are to be completely destroyed, when that happens and your hands are empty, folded between your armpits, you can go to where there must be some beautiful place out there waiting for you..
Furthermore, Tragyal wrote:
You believe in the Four Seals that validify the Buddha Dharma, you practice renunciation, generate Bodhicitta, and practice the six transcendental activities; you all meditate on the four boundless trainings, think of all sentient beings as your own mother, and realize the profound meaning of the four truths. However at the same time, the rest of the world lives with desires like a tiger leaping at its prey and have self grasping like a wolf stalking its next meal, they have hatred like an angry Dong (wild yak), and bitterness like a sleeping pig, and people are manipulative like tricky foxes. Considering all of this, where can you escape to and where can you claim to not need any of this world’s wealth for your own livelihood? So he said.
What’s your point when you say all other sentient beings have desire like a tiger leaping at its prey and so forth? Are you saying that even if those beings who believe in the Four Seals of Buddha Dharma practice until realizing the profound meaning of the four truths, that everyone except you has faults such as desire like a tiger leaping at its prey? Or are you saying that unless everyone except for you believes in the Four Seals of Buddha Dharma, and realizes the profound meaning of the four truths, they will have desire like a tiger leaping at its prey and so forth? Concerning my first question, that is false. Anyone can realize the profound meaning of the four truths and abandon desire, hatred, and self grasping through the power of antidotes. Therefore, how can saying things like “even if you abandon those habits others won’t”, and making that distinction be right at all? Concerning my second question, it is very true. If you don’t tame your mind with the holy Dharma then you will have desire like a tiger attacking its prey and so forth. That is just the reality of the way things are. That’s why if all of us, the people of today’s world don’t try to tame our own minds by relying on Dharma practice, but instead become filled with desire, jealousy, harmful thoughts and so on, and turn to modern science and technology while filled with afflictive emotions, before long we will undoubtedly end up completely destroying humanity.
What Tragyal said about how we don’t need any of this life’s wealth for our own livelihood and so on is completely backwards talk. Who said that it isn’t necessary to have any of this world’s wealth? Putting aside that you haven’t read the teachings on Sutra and Tantra, it is said in Entering the Path of the Middle Way:
Everyone is unhappy without wealth.
Buddha realized wealth comes from generosity,
So he first gave teachings on generosity.
Thus, because everyone needed wealth to be happy Buddha first taught generosity. If you don’t even understand that and still say those kinds of things then that is absolutely shameless. If one asks, didn’t Buddha give teachings to reduce greed and have contentment? Of course he did, but he was referring to those who have abandoned their material possessions, renounced this life, and became fully ordained. This was a teaching for the few individuals who only strive for their goal of accomplishing their practice. In what sense would he ever say that common people don’t need any wealth? That was careless and ignorant of you to say.
Furthermore, Tragyal wrote:
To repeat myself, you homeowners who are looking for a living have no reason to act like Dharma practitioners. So he said.
Saying that homeowners don’t need to act like Dharma practitioners is true enough. However, you pointed out that Tibetan farmers and nomadic people are all acting like Dharma practitioners. According to you are these people are going into solitary retreat or into monasteries and staying there in order to only practice Dharma? And are they not putting the slightest effort into farming and nomadic work? That is not the case. All of them always do very tiring work diligently and I’ve never seen them imitating Dharma practitioners. Understand that the reason they fall behind economically and are poor is because their resources and facilities have been very limited. In some cases they may decide not to work diligently and just sit around because of laziness and lack of enthusiasm in work, but don’t mistake that for imitating Dharma practitioners because laziness and lack of interest in work are things Dharma practitioners must abandon.
Then, Tragyal wrote:
In the stages of improving science and culture: The age-old habit of gods and demons is a way of thinking that human beings in general have been attached to from the beginning, however, other countries that are developed in science and culture have thrown out those kinds of old habits from their minds a long time ago, so who put us in this numb and unconscious stupor? Thus he said.
Tragyal and all of his followers, carefully heed these words. You said before that “in order to completely destroy all of our different old habits we must aim explosive missiles at our own minds. In order to debate begin with your own mind.” So you said. Looking at this you need some sort of logic to support your point about gods and demons that will explain how you can disprove their existence or prove their non-existence. Something like “knowledge that is like an explosive missile” so that you can give a proper argument. In your thesis I didn’t find a single word of logic like that in the beginning, middle, or end. Either you forgot what it was or you never had it, and if you never had this logic why would you carry such an unbearable burden? If you say that you’ve forgotten this logic, then give some explanation for why you baselessly accused many billions of people who have undoubtedly seen the indescribable physical forms of gods and demons in this world over the course of many millenniums to all be lies. If you do, then you can destroy all of the aforementioned old habits.
Also you wrote: “In this world where human beings have to compete for their own livelihood, why would this horde of gods and demons be crowded here?” Even though naive people who are satisfied with just listening to what others tell them might temporarily be satisfied to believe that type of talk, individuals with a discerning intellect will never believe this.
Your reasoning couldn’t possibly prove these kinds of things, not even modern scientists can prove it. Science still hasn’t been able to prove or disprove the slightly hidden knowledge about gods and demons, past and future lives, the relationship between the body and the mind and the extraordinary energy that they possess.
A famous Western scientist with a PHD in physics named Richard Feynman said, “I do not believe that science can disprove the existence of God; I think that is impossible”. Einstein has also said things exactly like that. So are you saying that even these knowledgeable scientists haven’t correctly interpreted this insight into science?
Therefore, if scientists can’t even disprove the existence of a creator god, then how can they possibly disprove the existence of past and future lives, karma of cause and result, and so on? For example: on the third month of the year 1939, many people at many different times witnessed a demonic boat in the ocean off the coast of South Africa and it was put into the newspapers. The only explanation scientists could give was that it was an illusion. There are many other cases similar to this.
Therefore, these days people who say that the point of science is that there is no god are only talking about things according to their own point of view. How can that be the point of science when science can’t even prove that god doesn’t exist? Whether god exists or not and all other such mysteries have absolutely nothing to do with science. Similarly, modern scientists themselves are professional and very knowledgeable in their own field. They are adept at studying the subtle particles and mysteries of physics, chemistry, and so on, however they are extremely ignorant when it comes to the mysteries of other cultures. There are even some who don’t know as much as common students that are learning from their professors, and other scientists have agreed that this is true. Understand that always thinking what modern scientists say is true is just blind faith.
However, if you still insist that people who have seen demons and such phenomena are all lying, then explain the reason truthfully to the many people alive today who have unmistakably, genuinely had these types of experiences, why what they saw were all lies, in a way that will convince them. That would be truly amazing, but until that happens I request that you don’t deceive people by pretending to know more than you do. To say that all other cultures have expelled the notion of gods and demons from their minds is simply lying.
You wrote, “all cultures in this world have experienced this type of habit.” Thus as you wrote, most cultures in the world have had this ideology of gods and demons. Some people ignorantly say that this is untrue without being able to show any good reason for why that is actually so. These ideologies of gods and demons aren’t just habits but even now are being seen in real life. Even in America’s White House there are people who say that they have seen spirits of the dead roaming around the halls. People like you are living in your small towns unaware of the situation in the real world, you’re like blind yak who will only eat the grass in front of them. While there is knowledge vast as the reaches of the sky your minds try to fit it into the eye of a needle, and when it doesn’t fit you reject it by saying that it’s not true and it doesn’t exist, then you try to influence other people into believing that as well. Even still, you pretentiously claim to be knowledgeable and with false pride you become conceited, that is a very saddening state.
You thought that the reason Tibet fell behind economically was because they held onto the belief of gods and demons. How can believing in gods and demons affect our economy? If you say, “because we are so afraid of gods and demons that we can’t even bring ourselves to move our hands” then why do we dig up remote places such as the fronts and backs of mountains that were considered holy and belonged to formidable earth spirits? Who moved our hands when we overturned rocks that belonged to formidable rock spirits and tore down forests without anything remaining and damaged the environment to that extent? Furthermore, our country doesn’t even have a fraction of the resources that other countries have. For example, we are very limited when it comes to industries, supermarkets, hospitals, schools, resources to build a city, highways, railroads, and so on. So why don’t you tell us that this is because we are afraid of gods and demons. In your opinion, is the reason for Tibet’s ignorance about modern scientific technology and science in general because gods and demons didn’t let us learn, or because we were to scared of them to learn? Why don’t you say that in front of this world’s most knowledgeable intellectuals, there is no doubt that they will all laugh at you.
Also, Tragyal wrote:
Until we get rid of our most ancient cultural habits, we won’t be able to improve our material world and grow out of our youth. Until we grow out of our youth and improve our material world, we won’t be able to blossom our understanding of modern knowledge. Until we blossom our understanding of modern knowledge, things such as wealth, power, and beauty, are just words with nothing to back them up. However much old cultural habit we keep, that’s how much we will fall behind. However much we fall behind, that’s how deep of an understanding we will have of our old culture. Thus he said.
You have been calling the holy Dharma an old habit and the basis for your argument was, wherever it spreads more those countries will fall behind more, and wherever it spreads less those countries will get ahead economically. Putting that into consideration, in all the Western countries that are regarded as economically ahead and successful, there are universities with courses on learning and analyzing the holy Dharma. So are they causing themselves to fall behind economically? Furthermore, in the year 1996, there were calculated to be over 1.95 billion believers in Christianity and 1.02 billion Islamic believers – I have never seen any of those largely religious countries ever fall behind economically to countries that don’t have any religion, and I also haven’t seen any non religion affiliated countries ever get ahead economically. In this world there are still primitive countries that use old techniques to survive but they don’t even slightly believe in the holy Dharma, so your point is invalid and all of your talk has been nonsense.
Now it is time to contemplate this: If one were to ask, “doesn’t scientific technology benefit and improve people’s living standards?” Through this knowledge, we’ve created various necessities and have wealth like never before, so not only have we improved our material livelihood but we also have lots of new knowledge that we never knew before. So we should rejoice that there are so many benefits to this. However at the same time, there are various aspects to this that cause harm to sentient beings, sometimes it causes more harm and sometimes less harm, sometimes more generally and sometimes more directly. Because of many factories our environment has become damaged through all sorts of pollution. In December of 1952, a poisonous smog hovered over London that made it so people couldn’t breathe. The smog killed four thousand people over the course of four days but it didn’t end there – over the next two months around eight thousand people died of illnesses caused by that smog. Things like that have happened in many other countries. An example is acid rainfall that severely damages forests and kills many living things. In Sweden the lakes became so polluted from acid rain that none of the fish could survive. In Norway, one thousand seven hundred and fifty lakes lost all of their fish out of the five thousand lakes in southern Norway. In America and Canada around fifty thousand lakes became polluted as well. Human beings have suffered a lot because of acid rain. In America during the year 1987, analysts said that three million people suffered because of it.
In the space high above the earth’s surface, there is a pungent layer that surrounds it called the ozone layer. Without this layer all the living things on this earth wouldn’t be able to survive. According to american satellites, analysts have said that 2.5 percent of the ozone layer was depleted within the course of five years. When thick smoke rises from all the factories and gets stuck in the atmosphere it creates warmth that melts the glaciers in the North and South pole, which causes the sea level to rise and puts coastal cities and towns under water and sinks many boats as well. Because of droughts, most deserts became much larger and food became scarce which caused famine. Also cities, governments, etc. that have been building many roads have caused crop fields to become smaller and smaller each year, so without a doubt food will become a great difficulty in the future.
Another thing that they’ve created is nuclear weapons that are capable of completely destroying the world, and they’ve used it to kill hundreds of thousands of people. Since the year 1992 they’ve tested nuclear weapons over two thousand times here on earth and contaminated both the ground and the air. The science behind building nuclear weapons became very popular, it is even said that an American middle schooler built a nuclear reactor. In 1988 the United Nations gathered eleven professional intellectuals to gather research and this is what they said:
“If there was a war involving nuclear weapons, say five billion people survive, four billion of them will either die in that moment or will die afterwards because of the radiation. Because the main places where the military would drop nuclear bombs are in places where many people are gathered, they would aim for large cities; that’s why in the midst of war, most people would die. If they don’t die then, because of the nuclear debris, they would die to something called the nuclear winter.
Their explanation of the nuclear winter is as follows: When there is a huge nuclear conflict, because of many nuclear explosions the atmosphere becomes clouded with smoke and debris that is so thick that a one thousandth fraction of the sun’s light can’t even get through and for a long time and the world is covered in darkness. As it gets colder the ground temperature becomes somewhere between twenty to fifty degrees below zero, and for about a year the plants and the forests will not be able to return to normal because of the cold. Many living things such as animals will die during this war, the ones that survive will die without being able to find food or water. They won’t be able to drink water because ice will be around two meters thick with water still beneath it. The great ocean will become much colder and kill all of the sea creatures such as fish. After a long time passes, and the sky becomes clear, through the destruction caused by the nuclear weapons the ozone layer will have become depleted and the sun’s radiation will become so strong that everyone will get sick. The higher elevations will become much hotter and the snow on the highest mountains will melt causing water related natural disasters. Then because of the imbalance between the desert heat and the cold oceans, there will be natural disasters related to wind, and so on which will cause very bad weather. Many millions of human and animal lives will have been lost and no one would be left to bury the bodies leaving them to rot and be eaten, and the carnivorous creatures who eat them will spread and populate the world. The surviving humans will have lost their wealth, culture, and natural habitat, so they will become like primitive cavemen, hunting and foraging for sustenance. Because of severe depression and so on they won’t be able to reproduce, so in either a few decades or one century the human race will naturally go extinct. This earth will become uninhabitable for human beings, so they have said.
These were results of analysis from American and Soviet scientists who collaborated their research. Therefore, if there were a nuclear conflict, there would be no winner or loser because everyone would share this same fate and there wouldn’t be a comfortable place left to live anywhere in the world.
As it says in the Treasure of the Abhidharma:
This aeon will end
With weapons, diseases, and famine.
Thus as it is said, modern scientists are preparing for this – it is a possibility that inspires disbelief.
In the past, America dropped an atomic bomb in Japan on the city of Hiroshima, killing approximately one hundred eighteen thousand six-hundred and sixty-one people, and dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki killing around seventy-four thousand people. They killed in total nearly two hundred thousand people. This all happened at the end of the second World War. In truth, World War II was the starting point for a conflict involving nuclear weapons that would be more than one thousand times as powerful. In the fifty years since then, powerful countries put great effort into building their own various nuclear weapons, and now it’s like everyone in the world is just sitting on an accumulation of explosives, the situations has become very dangerous. While this is happening, at the same time these countries are putting great effort into gaining material wealth, and although their material wealth has increased, their civilized culture and humanity has greatly regressed. All kinds of immoral behaviors have increased and filled the world causing various types of suffering, and people to always be unhappy.
All the people living in this small world discriminate between each other saying, that’s your side and this is my side. They arm themselves with terrifying modern weapons and constantly live in a state of fear. The people of this world are sad and deeply wish for some peace, comfort, and a relaxing life.
So therefore, it is still unknown to the knowledgeable scientists of this world whether the outcome of modern science will increase self-grasping, or diminish it forever, so how could you (Tragyal and his followers) know the outcome? Furthermore, having the idea that the holy Dharma and modern science are like fire and water, and thinking that there can’t be one without the other, is a misunderstanding and the wrong view for you to have.
Our guide, Buddha Shakyamuni said: I also agree that everything in this world exists. He also said: The world argues with me but I don’t argue with the world. Thus, Buddha did not say that the appearances of this world don’t exist, and confirmed that he doesn’t deny the phenomena of mentally undamaged people. He taught many times about how the unfathomable energy of all material things comes from outer and inner interdependencies.
Modern scientist have discovered such concepts as quantum physics and the theory of relativity about quantum particles and the laws of space, and other such knowledges. These things that they are discovering for the first time are exactly like the knowledges we already established a long time ago. They have merely verified Buddha’s doctrine by giving it proof, so in what way do they contradict each other?
The quantum world is how particles naturally are, so on that crossroads, our guide, Buddha Shakyamuni realized the nature of selflessness, abandoned the suffering of birth, aging, sickness, and death, and took the path to peace. Modern scientists on the other hand built all sorts of nuclear weapons, and created a more terrifying cycle of suffering for sentient beings. Those who were responsible for creating these weapons have made a dreadful mistake.
Scientific theory studies the nature of material phenomena as it is, so there’s no contradiction with Buddhism. However, the knowledge that Modern scientists have discovered only studies part of the outer interdependencies, they do not understand anything about the profound inner interdependencies nor do they have any way of understanding them. That is because inner interdependencies are the profound meaning of Buddha’s holy teachings. That’s why, by clearly understanding the nature of phenomena one must rely on these precious holy teachings, and strive for the sake of attaining the state of liberation; otherwise it’s like squeezing dry sand and expecting butter.
Therefore, thinking to destroy one’s own old culture for the sake of improving society is falling too far to the left extreme, so it is completely wrong to endeavour to bear the burden of that rotten point of view. We Tibetans need to stand up on our own two feet because we need to walk side by side with the rest of the world. For that reason, we must advance scientific technology that isn’t harmful for this or future generations, and use it to improve our economy. And at the same time, through realistic logic, if we educate everyone in the teachings of the holy Dharma that benefits beings in this and future lives to improve the qualities of their minds, then, henceforth this country will become a perfect paradise.
The flames of modern science and technology
Will spread with the wind of attachment and aversion
And burn down the logs of this world and its inhabitants,
Self destructively ruining this and future lives.
The treasure of Buddha’s teachings are like nectar,
They completely destroy the fear of birth and death.
The friend that brings thriving happiness and benefit
Is you, the precious joyful guide of sentient beings (Buddha).
Since the teachings of Buddha
Are completely free from the three faults of analysis,
Any criticisms given by dimwitted people
Are clearly seen as gloats about their own faults.
In this very degenerate era, when people meet to develop negative theories,
The value of good and bad writing becomes indistinguishable.
So in order to find the wisdom eye that differentiates between faults and qualities,
Abandon the behavior of “The Rabbit that was Frightened by the Sound of a Falling Leaf.”
Through the virtuous activity of this written discussion,
Throughout my string of many lives,
With compassion for the sake of sentient beings, may I clarify
Buddha’s teachings that shine like the sun.
Thus, this written discussion was simply for pointing out obvious things to foolish people, like pointing out a mountain with a finger. For that purpose, this was written on the first day of the first month, on the Tibetan year of the iron snake, in the golden fields of Lamarung, by Tsultrim Lodro, a follower of Buddha Shakyamuni and a believer in his teachings, who truthfully distinguishes between the faults and qualities of primitive and modern sciences. May this be virtuous and auspicious!
A Long Life Prayer for the Supreme Khenchen Tsultrim Lodro, called The Vajra Song:
Untethered by the lasso of self-purpose and individual happiness;
Unchained by the lawless deceptive practices of politics;
Completely having abandoned wanting praise and respect and the eight worldly Dharmas;
In order to unobstructedly and greatly benefit beings,
You grant the nectar of Buddha’s perfect teachings on the laws of conduct.
Your knowledge of the ocean-like teachings of Sutras and Tantras is masterful;
Your perfect memory, confidence, and wisdom are as infinite as space
And they are enveloped by the clouds of loving kindness, and compassion.
You till the minds of untamed beings unrestrictedly, like plowing fields
And tame them with the sweet nectar rain of the teachings
Which unceasingly descend upon individual beings according to their
Capabilities, and personalities. You are the peerless Khenchen, the Naga king,
You possess the unchanging Vajra form, and unobstructed speech;
And your mind is the undeluded Vajra mind.
May all of the intentions of your vastly beneficial wisdom mind,
Be effortlessly and spontaneously victorious in every aspect!
Thus I, Duajh, make this heartfelt prayer with a clear mind.