Through their own practice, individuals gain their own merit. The relics and rituals are only tools. – The 14th Dali Lama
The 14th and current Dali Lama, born Lhamo Thondup in 1935 in Tibet, is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism and of Tibet itself, a country that has been occupied by the Chinese since the middle of last century, and which the Dali Lama fled when he was a teenager. Since then he as lived in exile in India.
Far from being a relic himself, the Dali Lama has shown himself to be in-step with modern thinking, cognizant about how advances in human thought and experience can produce precepts that are consistent with ancient teachings. For years the Dali Lama had produced thoughts on our human experience that are deserving of consideration by any thoughtful person.
The need for a spiritual life is one of our most basic needs. Even the most casual reading into the history of religion shows us humans have always required a higher power, someone to help us understand an eclipse, to thank when times were good and to turn to when the crops did not provide the yield we expected or needed.
Through their own practice, individuals gain their own merit…
Our spiritual life must be a tool we use to get the most out of our life, the means to an end and not the end itself. We must not be afraid to take a path less traveled in order to provide ourselves with an experience that will produce a rich and lasting dividend. Which path to travel will differ from person to person, of course, because we all have different and assorted talents and interests. The only real knowledge comes from experience and if we are going to maximize our time on this planet we must completely utilize the talents we were born with.
The relics and rituals are only tools…
Sacred texts, ancient liturgies and age-old relics are all elements we use to help in our journey.
However, all education is self-education. Whether we learn at the hands of a spiritual master, a prestigious university or we do it ourselves, we must take care to learn both what we must know and what we want to know, mindful that we will only get out of this life what we extract from the experiences we give ourselves.