“You may consider [the teaching either] as theory or as the approach to learn from Buddha. If you consider it as an approach to learn from Buddha, the benefit is yours. If you think of it as listening to some theories, then we are both wasting our time here.” - Master Jih-Chang
How many major issues are there in our lives? You can quietly prioritize them. Now, think about what is the biggest issue? Is it interpersonal relation? Or is it health issue? Or you have been feeling low recently? Or someone said or did harmful things to you, and caused you great pain that is hard to let go, is this a major issue? Or, you have been waiting for someone to apologize to you and this person hasn’t done it yet, so this is a major issue? Of course, it is also possible that someone owed you money, and he has not paid you back, this can also be a big issue. Nevertheless, over here, Master pointed out that the major issue is – are we earnestly learning from Buddha? This is a major issue. Pay attention! Again, it is about prioritizing. [08′21″]
Global Lamrim 2, Lecture 0016 BW Monastery 吉祥宝聚寺 — Lecture No. 0016
What are the major issues and priorities in our lives and how are they related to “learning from the Buddha”? When we learn from the Buddha, why should it not be merely learning a theory?
I think the reason why even though we know that learning from Buddha is important, but we will forget is because we don’t see it as most important, it is not a major issue for us. That’s why whenever we come and learn, we tend to forget that we are learning from Buddha; and if we are not learning from Buddha then of course we are actually learning from me.
Teacher brought out some mundane issues that we perceive as big issues to us, for example interpersonal relationship, health issues, feeling low, someone doing harmful things to you and causing you great pain that is hard to let go, waiting for someone to apologize to you but this person hasn’t done it. There is also an example of someone owing you money, for example if someone owes you a million dollars or even one thousand or a hundred thousand, ten thousand dollars, and they did not return the money to you. When you see him again, you will remember it.
So I think the reason why we forget that we are learning from the Buddha is because we didn’t realise the importance of the learning attitude, the proper way to learn the Buddha’s teachings. We should be learning from the Buddha and not using my perceptions, learning from “me”.As we do not see this as a major issue, that’s why we will forget, and if we continue with this mentality then we will continue to forget.
That’s why Master tells us not to take it is as a mere theory, because if we take it as a mere theory, it means that it is not so important to us and we will continue to forget.