On February 8, 2017 Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche taught on Arya Nagarjuna’s Sunyatasaptati, the 70 Stanzas on Emptiness, at the Department of Pali, Savitribai Phule Pune University. Here are his opening remarks.
I would like to express my joy at being here in this city and especially here at the university. I believe that Pune is India’s place for wisdom, reasoning, and learning. I am very happy, as a follower of the Buddha and also as a big admirer and follower of Nagarjurna, to have this chance to share some of (Nagarjuna’s) profound stanzas with you here in India. Also I appreciate that we are here under the auspices of the University of Pune where, unlike other modern universities, we begin with a very classic ancient Indian traditional teaching. This is rare. Modern universities tend to think that to be academic you have to be atheistic, and for some reason Buddhism falls under the category of religion rather than philosophy. So this is so unique that we are in the university, yet we are chanting and praying, we have statues of the Buddha with flower garlands, and I am sitting on this kind of throne. All of this is a very a precious part of Indian culture and tradition.
I’d like to remind all of us, especially those who have taken refuge or bodhisattva vows, to generate the motivation of listening to this teaching with Bodhicitta, not just to help your thesis and your dissertation, or to increase your knowledge, not just out of curiosity (which is also good). But for those of us who are Buddhist, we can do something better, which is to hear, contemplate, and discuss these teachings with the motivation of increasing wisdom so we can benefit many sentient beings. If you begin with this motivation, then I think you will hear the few drops that you hear in a different way. And upon hearing it in a different way, you will apply the teachings in a different way. Not just quench your thirst for Buddhist knowledge but broaden your view and your mind so that your compassion and love and kindness will never tire you out. Therefore, you will not become a victim of your own compassion.