What are our limitations when we read the Sutras? Are there still any benefits?

We do understand the texts, however, our actual understanding of the meaning is at a secular level. Thus, with this limited understanding, the available application is limited accordingly. Our understanding [of the true nature of reality], from the worldly view, [some understanding] does take place [and our understanding] is a little better than those who have never heard of this expression or those who have not been [made aware of] this expression at all. However, did we truly realize what Buddha wants us to realize?
Global Lamrim 2, Lecture 0019
BW Monastery 吉祥宝聚寺 — Lecture No. 0019

What does it mean by “our understanding of the meaning is at a secular level”? Are there any benefits? What are its limitations?

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When we read the Sutras, if we do not have excellent teachers, such as Master and Teacher to guide us, then we can only understand the textual meaning based on our own knowledge, which is actually at a secular level or mundane world level. The effect of this is limited because when we try to apply what we understand, since our understanding is limited to the mundane world level, so the effect will also be similarly limited.

However, the ultimate purpose of the Buddha’s teachings is really to enable us to gain liberation or to achieve Buddhahood. With our understanding of the teachings limited at the mundane world level, we would not be able to achieve either liberation or Buddhahood.

So is it of any benefit? Yes, Master considered this a little better than those who have never heard of the Buddha’s teachings. Maybe it will remind us that we still have a lot of problems in life and we need to continue looking for the answer. But other than that, it doesn’t really help us towards gaining liberation or attaining Buddhahood.

Of course for those of us who are already learning from Master and Teacher, we are really very fortunate because they refer to different commentaries from the lineage masters while explaining the teachings, thus revealing the real meaning the Buddha intended for us.

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If understand at secular level then most probably can only solve secular problems like work conflicts or relationship problems, I guess? But if want to solve problems like rebirth in miserable realms, attain enlightenment etc, then secular understanding is not enough.

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