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Selections from “The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment - Chapter 3: How to Listen to and Explain the Teachings," Part 2 of 2

2020-08-08
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3. How You Actually Listen Relying on the Six Ideas “Think of the instructor as a doctor. For example, when you are stricken by a severe illness such as a wind or bile disorder, you seek a skilled doctor. Upon consulting your doctor, you are greatly delighted and listen to whatever your doctor says, revering him or her respectfully. Likewise, seek in this way a teacher who imparts the teachings. Once you have found your teacher, venerate your teacher with respect and do what he or she says. While doing this consider it a privilege, not a burden. Think of the instructor's explications as medicine. Just as a sick person has a high regard for the medicine prescribed by a doctor, so too, you should view the instructions and explications that the instructor gives as very important, taking great pains to hold them in high esteem, and not squandering them by lapses such as forgetting them. Think of earnest practice as the way to cure your disease. Likewise, earnestly engage in practice after you have seen that you cannot vanquish such afflictions as attachment without putting into practice the instructions given by the instructor. Think of the Tathagatas as excellent beings. Develop respect by remembering the one who set forth the teaching, the Bhagavan [Buddha]. Wish that the teaching will endure for a long time. Think, ‘How wonderful if, in dependence upon studying such teachings, the Conqueror's teachings would remain in the world for a long time!’ Furthermore, when you explain or hear the teachings, if your mind and the teachings remain separate, then whatever is explained will be inconsequential. Hence, listen in such a way that you determine how these teachings apply to your mind. In brief, develop the spirit of enlightenment, thinking: For the sake of all living beings, I will attain Buddhahood. In order to attain this, I must train in its causes; for this, I must know those causes. For this, it is evident that I must hear the teachings. Therefore, I will listen to the teachings. Remember the benefits of hearing. Eliminate the faults of a vessel, and so forth, and listen with great delight.” How to Explain a Teaching in Which Both the Teaching and Its Author Are Great Contemplating the Benefits of Explaining the Teaching “It is very beneficial to impart the teachings without concern for worldly things — profit, honor, fame, and the like.” Developing Reverence for the Teacher [Shakyamuni Buddha] and the Teaching “When the Bhagavan [Buddha] set forth the Mother of Conquerors [the Prajhaparamita], He performed such acts of respect as arranging the throne himself. Likewise, since the teachings are respected even by Buddhas, when you explain the teachings, be very respectful of the teachings and the Teacher [Shakyamuni Buddha] as well, remembering His good qualities and kindness.”
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