Learning Buddhism Systematically? – Modern Koans

Posted by in Modern Koans, Writings

Question:

I have great interests in Buddhism, and I read a few books by my own which are too hard to understand. Do you have any tips on learning Buddhism systematically?

Response:

I applaud your efforts and encourage you find a meditation group or a Buddhist temple. Working with others with similar goals is wonderful.

I will caution you on your approach. If there is a goal in Buddhism, it would be to reduce the suffering that greed, delusion, and hatred bring to bear on our lives. Rather than adopting a motivation of learning systematically, might I suggest a different one. In a word it’s called Bodhicitta.

Bodhicitta, means literally the awakened mind. But it has more meaning within Buddhism. It implies the ability to see and feel clearly the suffering we bring upon ourselves and others through greed, hatred, and delusion.

An examined life is the path towards this clarity. It is also the path away from suffering. It will transform your interest into a matter if great urgency. In this way you will find the energy necessary for the task.

Learning helps; Sutras help; books help; understanding helps. But these activities are like digging a hole and filling it back up again. What you are looking for lies within you already. A good teacher will help you by pointing this out. Bodhicitta will allow you to see what the teacher is pointing at.

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Modern Koans is an ongoing series that recognizes that good questions are often more important than their answers.

The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man. ― G.K. Chesterton

Dialectic Two Step, Modern Koans, Verse Us, Say What?, and Minute Meditations all copyright Andrew Furst

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Andrew Furst

Author of two books, Poet, Meditation Teacher, Buddhist blogger, backup guitarist for his teenage boys, lucky husband and technologist
Andrew Furst
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