The Purpose and Importance of Philosophical
By Loppon Jamyang Lekshey
One who can bless the mind
into Dharmakaya just by remembering him,
One who can bestow the accomplishment
and blessings like stream of water,
One who is the excellent savior during
the Bardo, present and future lives,
May my Guru with such qualities remain
on my crown forever.
Generally speaking, it is an attribution of a scholar
to learn every field of knowledge. But the aim of studies are different, in the
sense that some long for the well-being of this life, some aim at a life hereafter,
and yet some particular people just do not aim for any of the above! Their goal
is to attain liberation from all samsaric problems.
In any case, the actual
goal of all these selections of people is happiness. Nevertheless, due to one's
ignorance people are mistaken in recognizing the actual happiness and the cause
of that happiness. Therefore, out of attachment and hatred they seek happiness,
but instead create miserable circumstances. For this reason, Buddha Shakyamuni,
out of compassion, gave the teachings of the three vehicles in order to dispel
our ignorance and lead us to the right path that leads to liberation. These teachings
explain what actual happiness is and how to achieve it.
Therefore, it is a
unique opportunity to avail yourself of such circumstances and facilities for
learning the teachings of the three vehicles. Despite having such an opportunity,
if one is caught in laziness and distraction, it will be an unrecoverable loss.
It is like walking with golden-soled shoes. One will never recover the lost gold
during that walk. Besides, the role of motivation becomes very important in order
to make your Dharma study meaningful.
As the 21st century approaches people
seem to depend more on modern technology. Yet, at the same time the effect of
the degenerate age becomes more evident among religious people. The reason I say
this is because more and more religious people ignore the conditions of past and
future lives as well as the law of karma. The Tibetan scholar Gyalsay Thogme said,
"With the physical form of religion one may create the non-religious act."
I would say that this is now becoming true as we find several people who, while
working hard in the name of Dharma, aspire to gain wealth, high position, a large
following and a great reputation etc. without any sense of shame and hesitation.
One should rather enter the business field or even become a politician.
value of the Dharma is immeasurable and so is its fruit. It is clearly stated
in the Pramanavarttika of Dharmakirti that the teaching of Buddha Shakyamuni is
un-deceivable. It is ironic that even some Buddhists doubt the efficacy of the
Dharma just because they do not find results immediately. Such a thought arises
on account of the lack of proper understanding and confidence in the law of karma.
Their karma, in general, is of three types depending on the strength of the causes
they have made; there is karma that ripens in this life, that which ripens in
the life hereafter and that which ripens in the following lives. If one expects
the results of one's meritorious acts to ripen immediately, as in the case of
eating food and thus getting rid of hunger, then he or she does not have a proper
knowledge of how the inter-dependence of cause and result really works.
virtuous deeds can never be wasted. It also depends on how purely one is committed
to virtuous deeds. These deeds must be done according to the Buddha's teachings;
otherwise it will not result in great benefits. If one is not able to practice
Dharma purely, motivation-wise etc., one should not blame the Dharma.
to practice pure Dharma, of course one must be free from the eight un-favorable
conditions and be endowed with the ten obtainments plus the renunciation thought.
But these are not enough. Apart from the above things, one must have the right
opportunity of learning and concentration on Buddha Dharma. With such an opportunity
one must also have the right motivation. To the real followers of the Buddha the
purpose of learning Dharma is how to relinquish Samsaric problems and how to attain
Nirvana. Buddhism is not a way to acquire worldly contentment. The purpose of
learning Buddha Dharma is to be able to practice the right path and to teach the
right path to other sentient beings.
It appears to be quite common these days
for some people to jump into a particular practice without doing enough study.
Later they claim to have accomplished high realization as great meditator's or
to have become realizers of the perfect view. In fact it is not as easy as it
is often made out to be. Sakya Pandita said, "A meditator without hearing
(Dharma) is like a maimed person trying to climb up a rock." Of course it
is not possible for an ordinary person to judge the inner qualities of other persons.
Nevertheless, one must be able to judge the physical gestures and signs of inner
attainment, which are mentioned in both the Sutra and Tantra. Yes, there are occasions,
such as during the fourth consecration or through the Guru's blessings, that one
may recognize the true view or reality, but this is very rare. This is possible
only for extraordinarily fortunate people.
Therefore it is important for ordinary
people to clear the mind of wrong view, to cut doubts on improper view and to
clarify the right view before going for meditation training. So before one goes
to meditate on view, one must first be able to confirm what the right view is.
For that, one must go through the study of Buddhism or Buddhist philosophy. The
right view is the view of the Madhyamika School. It was accepted by the past-qualified
scholars that there is no difference in terms of the view between Sutra-yana and
Though the Madhyamika view is interpreted differently by the
scholars, it is not wise to praise one and criticize the other. One must analyze
which is more reasonable with one's own wisdom. Having analyzed intensely, one
must then meditate on that view. Some of today's scholars, who are so by name
only, do write critical books, but they do not possess even a fragment of the
knowledge of the past scholars. I find that these books reflect their ignorance,
hatred, pride, etc. and also ultimately result in giving a discriminatory tendency
to one's followers and readers. However, I do not mean that today's scholars should
not write books but it is important for them to research thoroughly on the subject
they are going to write on.
Again, if one thinks that one can first study and
practice later, then it is a big mistake. Fundamentally, all compounded things
are impermanent. There is no certainty that one will live on as planned. Practicing
Dharma can never begin too early because we have been roaming in samsara from
beginning-less time. So the present birth is not our first one in this samsara.
Since this is the case, one should engage in the practice of Dharma from right
now. What I mean here by 'practice of Dharma' is meditation on compassion and
Bodhicitta or altruistic thought. When one's mind becomes absorbed with the nature
of compassion and Bodhicitta, then it becomes the source of Buddha's qualities.