Attitude in Learning Buddhism


  1. Kindness, Compassion and Equality
  2. Wisdom and Practice
  3. Determination and Persistence
  4. Four Reliances to recognize the Right Teaching

2.1 Kindness, Compassion and Equality

The fundamental of Buddhism is based on kindness/affection, compassion and equality. Kindness is to give all beings peace and happiness without conditions. Compassion is to help all beings, just oneself in unity, from sufferings. All beings are equal without discrimination.

All beings should uphold, practise and cultivate the following:

  • Avoid all evil deeds.
  • Be kind to others.
  • Purify one's mind.

    If one's mind is not pure, one will be difficult to understand the truth of Buddhist teachings. One continues to differentiate falsely oneself to the others, and what is right from what is wrong. Thus one will hurt oneself, as well as the others. Conversely, if one's mind is pure, one has no false thoughts and no evil deeds, and depart from sufferings. Thus one will attain the highest wisdom, enlightenment, peace and comfort. To have a pure mind, one must be kind, compassionate and equal without discrimination.

    To study Buddhism, one must develop Bodhicitta, that is, to enlighten oneself and others, to benefit oneself and others, and to transform oneself and others. Therefore, one must establish the right objective in studying Buddhism. Kindness, compassion and equality are most effective in counteracting all of our anxieties, conflicts and sufferings in the Saha Land and in the evil time of the Five Turbidities.

    2.2 Wisdom and Practice

    Basically, there are two parts in Buddha's teachings, one is related to wisdom and the other is practice. If one merely participates in ritual activities without understanding the Buddha's teachings, it is not sufficient as far as Buddhahood is concerned. Conversely, if one merely studies the theories of Buddha's teachings without practising or cultivating, it is not beneficial as far as liberation from suffering and attainment of happiness is concerned. Therefore, in Buddhism, it is important to cultivate both blessings and wisdom at the same time. Buddha is the venerable one who is doubly perfected, that is, with complete blessings and perfect wisdom.

    Wisdom is intrinsic. We have to be alert and aware of integrating the Buddha's teachings with our daily life, so as to cultivate the pureness of our mind, and to live with an ordinary mind. An "ordinary mind" is Buddha.

    2.3 Determination and Persistence

    Buddhism is so vast and sophisticated that it is difficult to fully understand all the Buddha's teachings, and see the results through practice and cultivation. Be determined and persistent. Do not give up or retreat. Shakyamuni renounced all the desirous happiness in a royal family to seek for the truth of the universe and life, and eventually attained the Enlightenment.

    We should treasure the extremely rare opportunity of to be living as a human being and to be able to hear the Buddhist Dharma. We should never hesitate to take this opportunity to cross-over to the opposite shore of the "sea of sufferings" (i.e. liberate from the sufferings of samara) and eventually to be born into the Ultimately Happy World of the Pureland.

    2.4 Four Reliances to recognize the Right Teaching

    Before Shakyamuni entered Nirvana, he talked about Four Reliance in learning Buddhist Dharma, which are also the yardsticks in judging the Right Dharma. Shakyamuni preached for forty-nine years. His teaching covered the needs of Three Roots of people, therefore people may have different interpretations of his teaching. We have to use the Four Reliance to recognize the Right Dharma, and reject the false ones.

    What Buddhists should abide in when cultivating the Right Knowledge and Right Views

    1. To abide in the dharma and not the person
    2. To abide in Sutras of Ultimate Truth and not in Sutras of I ncomplete Truth
    3. To abide in the meaning and not the word
    4. To abide in Wisdom and not in Consciousness

    2.4.1 To abide in the dharma and not the person:

    To submit to the dharma and not to the person, the Practitioner should adhere to the Buddhist dharma and not to the person. If the person is an ordinary human being or a non-Buddhist, but if the doctrines that he speaks of tally with the Right and True Dharma, they could be observed and practiced. On the contrary, if the person exhibits all the good physical features of a Buddha, but his teachings do not tally with the Right and True Dharma, then he should be discarded and should not be abided in.

    2.4.2 To abide in Sutras of Ultimate Truth and not in Sutras of Incomplete Truth:

    In the Tripitaka, there are Sutras of Ultimate Truth and Sutras of Incomplete Truth. By Sutras of Ultimate Truth are meant those sutras spoken of spontaneously by the Buddha and they are the ultimate teachings expounding on the Real Truth of the Middle Path, the very cause of Buddha's appearance in this world. By sutras of Incomplete Truth are meant those sutras spoken of by the Buddha in a skillful and expedient way to cater to the different capabilities of sentient beings. For the Treader of the Path, the right thing to do would be to abide in the Real Truth of the Middle Path and not to abide in Sutras of Incomplete Truth.

    2.4.3 To abide in the meaning and not the word:

    Practitioners should abide in the meaning rather than the word itself and should abide in the transcendent meaning of the Middle Path rather than the superficial language.

    2.4.4 To abide in Wisdom and not in Consciousness

    Practitioners should abide in True Wisdom and not in human sentiments and Consciousness.