རི་བོ་དགེ་ལྡན་པ་སྤྱི་དང་སྐྱབས་མགོན་རྒྱལ་བ་རིན་པོ་ཆེའི་བདེ་གཤེགས་སྙིང་པོའི་དགོངས་བཞེད་སྐོར།Buddha-Nature in the Geluk Tradition and in the Teachings of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama
Geshe starts with the reading of his salutation to the masters of the past, including Indian figures and the leading patriarchs of all Tibetan Buddhist traditions, and expressing deep appreciation for the occasion to discuss buddha-nature at an august gathering. He highlights how in the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, there exists the unique and important tradition of transmission and continuity of the Buddha's teachings through uninterrupted lines of masters. His main topic is the explanation of the understanding of buddha-nature and the interpretation of the Ultimate Continuum in the Geluk tradition. This, he explains, should be based on the commentary on the Ultimate Continuum and the Exegesis of Ornament of Realization called the Ornament of Essence by Gyaltsab Darma Rinchen and the writings of Tsongkhapa, including Golden Rosary of Elegant Words and Essence of Elegant Words on Provisional and Definitive Teachings.
Then, Geshela goes on to highlight the importance placed on buddha-nature and the Ultimate Continuum by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso. His Holiness has given several teachings on buddha-nature, as the topic is important to all Tibetan Buddhist traditions. He explains how His Holiness has shared special insights into the teachings on buddha-nature. For instance, while interpreting the verse said to have been uttered by the Buddha after his enlightenment, His Holiness states that the terms "profound and tranquil" (ཟབ་ཞི་) refer to the teachings belonging to the first turning of the wheel, the term "free from elaborations" (སྤྲོས་བྲལ་) refers to the emptiness taught in the middle turning of the wheel, and the terms "luminous and unconditioned" (འོད་གསལ་འདུས་མ་བྱས་) refer to the content of the final turning of the wheel. The final term does not directly show the subtle innate mind taught in the tantric tradition but points to it indirectly.
He also points out that His Holiness emphasizes the rime (རིས་མེད་) ecumenical approach to see how this ultimate truth is presented by different Tibetan Buddhist traditions in their own way using different terms. Similarly, His Holiness explains the Great Madhyamaka of Other Emptiness (གཞན་སྟོང་དབུ་མ་ཆེན་པོ་) as referring to the subtle mind which is the natural innate aspect of the mind because this subtle mind does not lack its natural awareness but is empty of other gross aspects of the mind. These interpretations indicate the open and ecumenical approach His Holiness adopts with deep respect and appreciation to all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, like appreciating different flowers in a garden.
Another point Geshe raises is with regard to the authorship of the Ultimate Continuum
and other writings, which Tibetan tradition normally attributes to Maitreya. It is important to discuss these questions and to see when the five treatises came to be known as the five works of Maitreya. Are the works really taught by Maitreya to Asaṅga in Tuṣita heaven? Is the commentary attributed to Asaṅga really by him and why didn’t Vasubandhu and many others quote him? Similarly, there are questions as to which tenet system the Ultimate Continuum
and other treatises belong? Geshe concludes by explaining how the different Tibetan Buddhist traditions discuss the same nature of the mind using different terms, and how in the Geluk tradition the Ultimate Continuum
has as its ultimate purport the emptiness of mind, which is what buddha-nature means and which is also the main topic of the middle turning of the wheel.
Ngawang Topden, Geshe. "Geshe Ngawang Topden at the 2023 Buddha-Nature Conference." Day 2, Talk 5. 2023 Buddha-Nature Conference, Shechen Monastery, Kathmandu. Produced by the Tsadra Foundation Research Department. Video, 57:41. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCT6hayx46c
Ngawang Topden, Geshe. "Geshe Ngawang Topden at the 2023 Buddha-Nature Conference." Day 2, Talk 5. 2023 Buddha-Nature Conference, Shechen Monastery, Kathmandu. Produced by the Tsadra Foundation Research Department. Video, 57:41. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCT6hayx46c.;Geshe
Ngawang Topden on Buddha-Nature in the Teachings of the 14th Dalai Lama;Geluk;Ratnagotravibhāga Mahāyānottaratantraśāstra;Dalai Lama, 14th;Geshe Ngawang Topden;དགེ་བཤེས་ངག་དབང་སྟོབས་ལྡན།; Geshe Ngawang Topden at the 2023 Buddha-Nature Conference