Kamalashila When His Holiness the Dalai Lama is in Madison, he will teach from the text bsGom rim bar pa, the Middle Volume of the Stages of Meditation, which was written in the 8th century by the great Indian Buddhist scholar, Kamalashila, at the request of the Tibetan King Trisong Detsen. During this period of Tibetan history, Buddhism, which had come to Tibet a century earlier, was degenerating. Tibet had become fertile ground for differing schools of thought. Because of this, King Trisong Detsen arranged a debate in Samye to decide which of these tenets should take root in Tibet. The King invited Kamalashila to represent the Indian Buddhist school while Hva Shang Mahayana represented the Chinese Ch'an school. It is said that when Kamalashila and Hva Shang Mahayana first met in Samye, Kamalashila twirled his rosary around his finger inferring the question, "What is the source of the circling in samsara?" and when Hva Shang saw that, he covered his head, indicating that "ignorance is the source of suffering." Kamalashila then felt that Hva Shang Mahayana was someone who understood.
The debate in Samye became known as the Great Debate at Samye. The rules directed that the winning side would be sanctioned by the King while the losing side would have to leave the country. Kamalashila and the Indian Buddhist School won the debate and the Ch'an Buddhists were no longer allowed to spread their teachings in Tibet. However, although Hva Shang had to leave Tibet, even up to today, in order to remember his good qualities, Tibetan monks wear a blue cord attached to their upper garment.
Also, after Hva Shang lost the debate he left immediately leaving one of his shoes behind. Tibetans believe that this was a sign that aspects of his tenets would remain in Tibet.
As a result of this debate, King Trisong Detsen asked Kamalashila to compose a text explaining the stages of meditation from the Indian Buddhist tradition. Kamalashila wrote the bsGom rim, or Stages of Meditation, in three volumes. His Holiness the Dalai Lama will give commentary on the second, or the middle text of the three. The following is an outline of the topics in the bsGom rim bar pa.
The causes of omniscience
The stages of meditating compassion
The mind of awakening
Tranquilization and insight
Prerequisites for tranquilization
Prerequisites for insight
Preparation for a session of meditation
The practice of tranquilization
The practice of insight
The path integrating tranquilization and insight
The path integrating wisdom and method
The result of the path integrating wisdom and method