Below, please find Gao Mingdao’s full address from his KF Fellowship Award presentation.
Looking at this vast assembly, I am reminded of the Buddhist insight that things come into existence through dependent arising. Without doubt, the main cause for us being here is Rinpoche’s presence, and thus I am profoundly rejoicing in the fact that so many people have come to listen to the master’s words of wisdom. Now, the teachings tell us that rejoicing creates merit, and this positive potential I wish to dedicate herewith. Since we are gathered in a place of higher learning, I am inclined to do so with the following thoughts.
May, by the power of this humble merit of rejoicing, the study of dharma be pursued in the lofty halls of academia in a spirit of nonsectarianism, with equal respect for all traditions, large and small, and a genuine appreciation of the meaning of Buddhism.
Let me briefly explain what I mean by this and why these thoughts are so dear to my heart. When I began to learn Chinese half a century ago, it was the classical language I tried to study. Some time later I had the good fortune to be tutored by two Buddhist monks. One was ordained in the Pali tradition, the other in the Tibetan, and both helped me to read Chinese Buddhist texts. But neither of them was Chinese. The bhikkhu was German, the gelong was Hungarian, and all of this started at a small Mongolian temple. That was my first taste of Rimé, Buddhist nonsectarianism, and it has stayed with me all my life.
The second point I wanted to make in the dedication is that I strongly feel that what we generally call “Buddhism” refers to a culture which has its outer and inner aspects. The outer being stupas and steles, images and ideas, scriptures, schools, and so on, while the inner refers to the culture of the heart, of the mind. None of these aspects, it seems to me, should be missing when we try to study dharma, also–or maybe especially–in an academic context.
So that was my dedication. Thank you so much!