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The Benefits of Listening to Dharma

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Considering the Benefits of Listening to Dharma

If 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:

Here 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:

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Listening is a lamp that dispels the darkness of ignorance.

Nothing 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.

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Listening is the best wealth that cannot be stolen by thieves.

Whenever 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.


Listening is a relative and friend who remains loyal even when we are impoverished.

When 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.

Our 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."

Once, 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.'

Ordinary 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.

In one Sutra, Buddha says:

To 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.

In 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."

We 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.

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The Joyful Path of Good Fortune, Author, pp. 26 - 30. Press., Country, Date.




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