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Obstacle 4: I'm Not Cut Out for Learning Buddhism

“Buddhist scriptures seem so abstruse, with so many baffling terminologies; perhaps I am just not cut out for learning Buddhism”. Many people presume that they are not intelligent enough to comprehend the teachings of Buddhist scriptures, let alone have the ability to fathom the profoundness of Buddhadharma. One cannot help but wonder: “Am I cut out for Buddhism and its teachings?”, thus missing out on the opportunity to be acquainted with Buddhaharma.

When learning Buddhism, one doesn’t mean that one must dive into its scriptures and sutras. During his teachings, Master Sheng Yen once told his disciples: “Do not treat Buddhadharma as abstruse knowledge. As we become less concerned with our own well-being, gain and loss, carry less arrogance and more humility, and have less egotism and more altruism and compassion for others, we have already experienced the fundamental principles of Buddhadharma.”

Buddhism emphasizes that Buddhadharma is like sunshine and rainfall: it is there for all to enjoy. Sunshine and rainfall do not discriminate; it is only us who chooses to use the umbrella to shield ourselves from the sun and rainfall. As a result of different internal and external causes and conditions, we sentient beings each come with different aptitudes and abilities. Nonetheless, the Tathagatagarbha (i.e. our originally pure Buddha nature), is intrinsic to each one of us, only it is obscured by our afflictive emotions. Buddhism accentuates learning and practice in accordance with the methods taught by Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and applying the wisdom of Buddhadharma in our daily lives. Therefore, there is no need to worry whether we are able to understand the profound Buddhist scriptures, let alone harbor doubts whether we are cut out for learning Buddhism.

Resource: Issue 267 of Life Magazine, Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation
Photos: Lee-kha Su (蘇力卡)
Translation: Cheng-yu Chang (張振郁)
Editing: Vicky Wei (韋徵儀), Keith Brown