we contemplate some of the countless benefits of listening to Dharma
we shall naturally enjoy listening to and reading instructions, and
we shall do so with an especially keen interest. The result of listening
and reading in such a positive frame of mind is that we shall actually
experience all the benefits we have contemplated. In Collection of Many Special Verses
by Buddha Shakyamuni, called Tshom in Tibetan, it says:
the term 'Dharmas' refers specifically to the meaning of Dharma instructions.
The meaning of Dharma reveals what objects are to be abandoned, what
objects are to be practised, and so forth. By listening to Dharma instructions
we shall understand the meaning of Dharma clearly and we shall gradually
gain Dharma realizations. Every pure Dharma realization arises in dependence
upon meditation, and successful meditation depends upon receiving correct
instructions. As explained, all the instructions of Sutra and Tantra
are included within the three sets of Buddha's teachings. By receiving
and practising the instructions on the set of moral discipline we shall
cease non-virtuous actions. By receiving and practising the instructions
on the set of discourses, where Buddha explains how to attain concentration,
we shall abandon all meaningless activities and distractions, the obstacles
to concentration. By receiving and practising the instructions on the
set of wisdom we shall attain liberation.
In Stories of Rebirth Aryasura mentions the following benefits of listening:
is more important than to remove ignorance, which is the main cause
of all our suffering and the root from which all other delusions arise.
Ignorance is an inner darkness that is removed by the illuminating lamp
of listening to Dharma.
we accumulate ordinary wealth and material resources our life becomes
full of practical problems and anxieties. We live in fear of losing
our wealth, and to maintain it we have to work hard, even sometimes
having to deceive others. We have to pay taxes and spend time and energy
working out how to use our wealth and where to invest it. However, the
wealth of listening to Dharma never causes problems. It can never be
lost even when we offer it freely to others. The more we give away,
the richer we become. After death it is the only wealth that we carry
with is. Unlike worldly wealth, it benefits all future lives as well
as this one.
The Tibetan Teachers are living examples of the great value of listening to Dharma. When they were forced to flee Tibet they left everything behind, including even their begging bowls; but nothing could force them to part with their wealth of listening to Dharma. This will always remain with them. It is the very wealth that they are now giving to their western students, the only wealth that can survive death and external destruction.
we experience severe misfortune and great suffering there is very little
that our friends and relatives can do. At such times only the spiritual
advice that we have received will come to our aid. Remember the example
of Yeshe O, who was able to confront death with equanimity by relying
upon the good advice and encouragement he had received from his Spiritual
Guides. If we listen to or read many Dharma instructions we too can
transform the difficulties we experience into the spiritual path and
use them to increase our wisdom. Our
problems are opportunities to observe and contemplate the law of actions
and their effects, the law of karma. They are opportunities to contemplate
suffering and its causes, and to practice patience and joyful perseverance. At such times, if we apply the Dharma that we have heard
and read we shall find that it is a true friend enabling us to maintain
our practice uninterruptedly and with joy.
friends and relatives are of no help when we experience great suffering.
Sometimes they even abandon us in our greatest need. While Lama Kachen
Yeshe Gyaltsan was practising meditation in his cave, he was as poor
as Milarepa. One day he was travelling to Tashi Lhunpo Monastery and
on his way he saw one of his uncles. His uncle noticing how impoverished
his nephew seemed to be, pretended not to know him. Later, Lama Kachen
Yeshe Gyaltsan was promoted to the position of tutor to the eighth Dalai
Lama. Thinking that his nephew must now be very wealthy this uncle went
to visit him and declared 'Hello, nephew, I am your uncle."
a man who was at first very poor and without friends or relatives became
rich by engaging in business. People began to visit him, pretending
to be his friends or claiming to be his relatives. One day this man
invited all his new friends and relatives to dinner. In the middle of
the table he placed a huge sack containing all the money he had accumulated.
When his guests arrived he made solemn prostrations to the sack and
recited these words of praise: 'O Lord Money, through your great kindness
I now have many friends and relatives when previously I had none. Therefore,
I make prostrations to you.'
friends and relatives can change their feelings and attitudes towards
us largely depending upon whether or not we possess wealth and good
fortune, but our friend of listening to Dharma will not let us down.
It comes to our aid when we are prosperous and it comes to out aid when
we are poor. It is the only friend that will endure death with us and
support us in all our future lives until we attain enlightenment.
one Sutra, Buddha says:
hear just these three lines Prince Chandra offered a thousand gold coins.
In the past, those who were intent upon spiritual paths considered receiving
instructions so precious that even a gift of their own flesh was not
too dear a price to pay.
a dream, the first Panchen Lama once heard Je Tsongkhapa say:
"If you wish to benefit yourself and others you should not be satisfied with what you have learnt. You should take as your example those Bodhisattvas on the third spiritual ground who are still not satisfied that they have heard enough."
need to listen to and read Dharma instructions many times. Our listening
and reading are not complete until we have gained all the realizations
of the stages of the path to enlightenment.
The Joyful Path of Good Fortune, Author, pp. 26 - 30. Press., Country, Date.
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