||| THE BUDDHA’S WISDOM IN CONTEMPORARY INDIA |||
India will be remembered as the land where the most sublime wisdom arose. Wisdom which elucidates the preciousness of human rebirth and its spiritual potential. Wisdom that established the profound teachings on shunyata and pratityasamutpada. In this land where the Buddha Shakyamuni walked, there flourished a tradition of study, contemplation and practice, rooted in discipline and courage.
Our wisdom and traditions flourished outside, forming the foundation of several Asian cultures. While in India, they were conquered, diluted, broken or mentally exiled, creating a vacuum in our own identity. Millennia ago, sages prophesised that the greatest misfortune of this degenerate era will be the elusiveness of true wisdom. That the mind would be trapped by obscuration, overwhelmed by habit and unaware of its own ignorance.
Vidyaloke means wisdom and light. It’s aspiration is to inspire the study and practice of the Buddha's paths to enlightenment. Not as a spiritual movement or philosophy – but as a facilitator to find one’s path amongst the 84000 paths taught by the Buddha. Through teachings, talks, interactions and virtual resources we aspire to provide shishyas the opportunity to study and learn from the greatest teachers of our time. Drawing from the teachings of the Buddha Shakyamuni and from sacred sutras and texts, we will focus on wisdom that remains crucially relevant even after 2000 years.
The Buddha was born a prince named Siddhartha Gautama. As a young man, he chose to find the cause and solution to suffering, for the benefit of all beings. He studied, contemplated and practiced inexhaustibly till he reached enlightenment. He then taught the truth in many ways to suit the capacities of different beings. His wisdom and life became an inextricable part of India’s wisdom, beyond the notions of form, space and time.
While the wisdom of India subtly found its way into the fabric of everyday life, there is a palpable need to revive the tradition of its study and practice. We live in an era marked by uncertainty, negative emotions and false views. We fall prey to the seduction of savvy imports plagiarised from our own wisdom traditions. We allow ourselves to become trapped in blind devotion born out of desperation or greed. We despair in the apparent pointlessness and fatality of our existence, causing suffering to ourselves and others. Seeking to go beyond such phenomena, Vidyaloke is a wisdom initiative for the curious, the confused, the courageous, the committed, the ordinary, the extraordinary and the romantic.
Vidyaloke will only make teaching requests to gurus of lineage, accountable to a legacy and with the highest levels of personal practice and accomplishment. Beyond the opportunities that Vidyaloke provides, each shishya must chart out a personal journey, being fully aware that the mind deludes itself, projecting what it wishes to see, think and feel. There is no replacing the guru to point out the truth, to pull the rug from underneath one’s feet and to do what books cannot do - of this we are certain.
An understanding of the guru-shishya parampara is necessary and must provoke a careful search of whom you might see as your guide. The Guru does in fact become the path itself, but to be on such a path is a matter of personal choice. All wisdom traditions also stress the importance of sangha, to help encourage our practice and efface egocentrism. It is our hope that through Vidyaloke, shishyas find their own sangha and the support that it provides.
We believe in living a full and eclectic life but ask interested shishyas to have genuine commitment to their own journey. This includes some study before teachings, attending activities in their entirety where possible and taking time out to contemplate or practice after. It is said that selfless devotion to all sentient beings is the only way to find happiness for oneself, therefore genuine motivation to benefit others is also encouraged.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was Vidyaloke’s first Guru, for which we will be forever indebted. Our inaugural teachings and talks in New Delhi and Mumbai in 2017 were possible only with his blessings and support. Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche’s 2018 New Delhi teaching on the Vimalakirti Sutra, is another major Vidyaloke milestone and inflexion point, a stepping stone towards a deeper journey. The contribution of many revered Masters and Teachers has been vital in Vidyaloke’s formative years.
India is blessed with the karmic opportunity to be a place of confluence for the greatest living teachers of this wisdom; preserved and practiced by sublime teachers and great practitioners for centuries outside India. It is now time for Indians to awaken! Vidyaloke believes it must focus on the relatively young. Teachings are therefore intended for those in their 20s to 40s. Talks and other Vidyaloke formats are open to all ages. While one’s spiritual journey is independent of age, we feel there is a heightened need to spiritually nourish India’s youth.
Our ambition is to organise teachings and talks with increasing frequency and in different places across India. Vidyaloke will eventually need to be supported by shishyas themselves, as part of their own evolving journey and in service to those making new beginnings. We feel that a more enlightened view and an understanding of our spiritual interdependence, might be India’s best avenue to peace and happiness, that it might someday be a source of light to the world. As is written in the Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra, "Go, go beyond, go still further and establish your enlightenment."
THE VIDYALOKE PRAYER
May the light in one’s mind grow steadily brighter, the darkness of unknowing be fearlessly removed. May the beauty of compassion find its place within, the mind’s horizon forever expanding. May this be my greatest prayer, that wisdom’s flame be kindled for all. A journey so irreversible may I find, till I reside simply in emptiness.