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Obstacle 2: A Lax Attitude Stemming from the Belief in not Forcing Unripened Causes and Conditions

Buddhists often talk about “causes and conditions”, but what does this concept truly mean? One might find Buddhadharma to have struck a chord in one’s heart, yet still hesitate to delve into the learning of Buddhadharma, always feeling one is “not ready” enough. So they tell themselves: “Buddhism stresses following causes and conditions; I shall therefore wait for the right causes and conditions to ripen, after which I will take up the study of Buddhism.” If one wishes to learn Buddhadharma, but only waits for the causes and conditions to come out of nowhere or just let the causes and conditions take their due course-- without the strong effort to create an environment for causes and conditions to ripen-- then one has fallen into the second obstacle to learning Buddhadharma.

What, then, are causes and conditions exactly? In Buddhism, “cause” is the inner prerequisite that enables something to come into being. In terms of learning the Buddhadharma, if a strong wish to learn the Dharma arises from your heart, you are already halfway there. Given the right combination of the right “conditions” as external factors and internal “causes”, we then say the “causes and conditions” for learning Buddhism are ripening. Thus, if we don’t possess a strong motive to learn Buddhism, even when a great master is standing right in front of us, we will miss it. Without an intrinsic motivation or an open mind, even in the presence of all favorable external conditions, there will be no chance for us to become acquainted with Buddhadharma.

Therefore, we should prepare our mind to be open and receptive to Buddhadharma. If we know the benefits of Buddhadharma we should go ahead and seek out the right place to further learn about Buddhadharma , instead of waiting passively for the right conditions to fall upon us. In doing so, we can immediately begin our learning of Buddhadharma.

Resource: Issue 267 of Life Magazine, Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation
Photos: Lee-kha Su (蘇力卡)
Translation: Shu-jen Yeh (葉姝蓁)
Editing: Vicky Wei (韋徵儀), Keith Brown