Monday, May 9, 2011

Reading is Part of Practice (修行要读书)

The mere reading of sutras or books on the teachings will not free you of the cyclic existence nor make you enlightened immediately. Nevertheless, I still think that reading is very important because a spiritual practice could either start with an actual practice followed by the intellectual understanding, or start with an intellectual understanding followed by the actual practice. Even the Great Perfection (Dzogchen) teachings of the Nyingma start with intellectual understanding.

Mipham Rinpoche said, “If one does not understand the teachings, he will have great difficulty attaining enlightenment.” So, one must start with the intellectual understanding through studying the teachings. Some of the incomprehensible spiritual attainment could actually be explained intellectually through the teachings. So, reading is very important. Sometimes, you may come across some inspirational teachings, inconceivable personal attainment or experience of others that will humble us and spur us on the path of cultivation.

I hope that you can choose a wider range of subjects including the sutras, for reading and sharing. This will force you to think more deeply on the teachings expounded through the sutras instead of doing mere recitations, and you should strive to understand the various teachings in totality, without conflicts. You will make good progress through the preparation and thinking process before sharing with others, unless you have already achieved a very high level of enlightenment and could simply share any teachings in an impromptu manner.

A discourse given by Acho Rinpoche on 25-03-2010