Learning through Attendance

Yutang Lin

Realization of Dharma permeates daily life;
Behavior and conversation remain just ordinary.
Attending the Guru to learn eventually the subtleties,
Refined transformation would emerge unnoticeably.


Learning and practicing the Dharma would eventually become one with the daily life. This is due to the fact that the goal of the Buddhist teachings is to emancipate sentient beings from the cage of their mentality and views so that they would return to original purity and become able to lively develop their full potentials. Depending only on words or occasional contacts it would be difficult to gain real understanding of the essence of the Dharma; sometimes such approaches would even lead to further confusion in thoughts. Therefore, in order to gain real benefits from an experienced practitioner one should remain in constant attendance for a long period of time. In this way many situations and questions would arise naturally in daily life, and the student would have a chance to observe and learn the responses and answers. Through years of such on-hand learning and diligent practice and service the student would be transformed into a Dharma instrument.

As to the question of whether one could follow only one Guru, and the question of whether a teacher could restrict students to learn only approved material, if the restrictions are meant for only a certain period to improve concentration of study, then such temporary regulations are understandable. From the standpoint of perpetual and universal cultivation toward liberation, any restriction is a kind of grasping. The goal of a practitioner is ultimate liberation from transmigration in life-and-death. As long as it is beneficial to advancement toward this goal, one should try to learn from all possible sources, never regress until full enlightenment.

Written in Chinese and translated on July 16, 2000
El Cerrito, California

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