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Obstacle 5: Doubt About the Benefits of Learning Buddhism

Some people might ask, “What are the benefits of learning Buddhism, and why do I need to practice Buddhism?” Most people want to find out why something is good, in what way it is beneficial, and what difference it can make. Therefore, it is only natural that many people would like to know: what are the benefits of learning Buddhism?

The greatest benefit of learning Buddhism is that it helps us change our habitual patterns. As Dharma Drum Mountain founder Master Sheng Yen said in his book, The Path of Practice (人行道): “To engage in practice is to thoroughly change our habitual patterns, enabling ourselves to become a person of reason and insight.”

Some people might become confused and wonder: "Wouldn't people with immense knowledge and extensive experiences already possess rational thinking and insights?" In fact, when confronted with life’s setbacks, challenges and unexpected incidents and difficulties, how much of one’s knowledge and skills can be utilized to respond to these situations?

The purpose of practicing Buddhism is to learn to apply the Buddhadharma when faced with problems in our daily life; to clearly see that worldly phenomena are impermanent in nature; and, ultimately, to change our negative habitual habits of greed, irritability, ignorance, arrogance, and doubtful uncertainty. We can use Buddhist wisdom at any time and any place to help us solve our afflictions.

In addition to helping us handle difficulties in daily life using Buddhist wisdom, on a deeper level the Buddha’s teaching can help us understand the reality of life---more specifically, how the meaning of life lies in fulfilling responsibilities, while the value of life lies in our individual contributions.

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: SeoKyung, Chia-Cheng Chang (張家誠), Keith Brown