The purpose of Buddhist learning is to eliminate self-attachment

From:Voice of Longquan     Author:Voice of Longquan     Time:2018-02-25 17:54:04
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The purpose of Buddhist learning is to eliminate self-attachment, which is different from self-denial; the former is about transcendence, while the latter is an attachment to illusory phenomena. To eliminate self-attachment, we should resort to increasing our wisdom; it cannot be done by force. For people have been attached to the "self" for long, whenever things go against it or it gets offended, they feel very distressed and it is very difficult for them to get it over. Only when we learn to observe our mind, contemplate deeply and cultivate our wisdom in accordance with Buddha's teachings, can we reduce this attachment and eliminate it in the end.

Q: Greetings Master! How does a Buddhist practice in the Middle Way? I feel as if the ultimate purpose for my Buddhist learning is to prove myself wrong. Am I right? Right now I'm encountering some unfavorable circumstances and I feel very bad. Master, please pardon my ignorance and instruct me. 

A: The purpose of Buddhist learning is to eliminate self-attachment, which is different from self-denial; the former is about transcendence, while the latter is an attachment to illusory phenomena. To eliminate self-attachment, we should resort to increasing our wisdom; it cannot be done by force. For people have been attached to the "self" for long, whenever things go against it or it gets offended, they feel very distressed and it is very difficult for them to get it over. Only when we learn to observe our mind, contemplate deeply and cultivate our wisdom in accordance with Buddha's teachings, can we reduce this attachment and eliminate it in the end. 


Q: Master, I find my desire for secular gains even stronger, since I learned how impermanence works, that is, being kind will be rewarded with good result. I cannot help feeling exhilarated, as if I had found a way to make a fortune. Now I tend to do good deeds in the expectation of earning more money. It is not right, and I think my attachment to the impermanence will be reinforced but the aspiration for renunciation be weakened. 

A: Desires obscure our souls. If you just pursue blessings and do not cultivate wisdom, the accumulated blessings are likely to turn to a curse and cause your degeneration in this life and in lives to come. What Buddhism is intended to is help cultivate our compassion and wisdom, which offers a sure and steady path to ultimate bliss and freedom from suffering. 


Q: Master, what determines a person's destiny? According to Buddha, it is by karmic effect. Yet how do we explain the matter in which sickness has clung to a person since childhood who was born in a family of a genetic disease? Is it caused by his ill genes or his karmas created in previous lives? Another example. A person who was born in a poor or disharmonious family has been enduring a great deal of mental suffering. Is his misfortune caused by family environment or the karmic power of his past lives?  

A: The law of cause and effect is partly evident, and partly covert. What we see on the surface is the evident part, and the karmic power stemming from previous lives is covert. 


Q: Greetings Master! Most often my compassion arises at the sight of some poor pigs and dogs, yet I hardly feel it for some humans, except for a little sympathy at most. Why is it so? 

A: Human minds are essentially compassionate, soft and bright; yet all these kind qualities are obscured by various afflictions which arise as a result of our attachment and discrimination. 

Editor:Bella Liu
Tags:self-attachment, self-denial, compassion and wisdom

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