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Volume 4  No 2

What Buddhism means to me

1. Un-learning and learning
By a Buddhism Practitioner

me is like a life-long process of un-learning and learning. For example, I had learned to love myself most, my welfare comes first. Now I learn that it is wise to un-learn this and better put others' interests ahead of mine. I craved and strive to possess and to accumulate. Then what? The agony of having to part with them part just does not make sense. I must now learn to give and to part, generously and willingly, because I had learned that I am poor only through what I refuse to part with, and rich only through what I give.

I had learned to be angry, to hate and to discriminate. Now I need to un-learn them through patience, compassion and impartiality. I only knew victory. Now I must learn to be empathetic of the vanquished. I had learned to criticise and to use harsh words. I need to erase these from my vocabulary and learn to praise more frequently. Once I feared only the effects, now I have learned that it is wiser to fear the causes. My mind had learned to wander ceaselessly from thought to thought, this too, I must un-learn and then learn to maintain awareness in my thoughts and actions.

So, Buddhism means to me, a continuous process of un-learning and learning. It is a challenge. It is like swimming against the tide, but I have to persevere or I will be swept away by the current. There is not real alternative to this un-learning and learning, if I am to realise my aspiration to be a better human being, to distance myself from suffering, and to attain bliss and happiness. I have faith that it can be done, although it may take time. Therefore I have to start now.

2. Buddhism - Beyond limits
By Li Qing-Ru

IT HAS been five years since I started learning Buddhism. Having a better understanding of its teachings, I can now apply them to my daily life. I learn to handle awkward and difficult situations. For example, keeping my temper when I would have otherwise exploded into a rage, and remaining calm and composed when I would otherwise have been agitated.

Buddhism is beyond limits, just like the universe. It is ever so vast that one just go on seeking and learning. As soon as I thought I had broken new grounds, I find myself at the doorsteps of another imminent discovery. There is always room for improvement.

Buddhism is also like a law enforcer that acts on my conscience, making me aware of my wrong doings and driving me back onto the right track. It guides me against defilement's, to think straight and not to be worldly seeking for personal gains. It also teaches me to practise loving kindness towards others.

Learning Buddhism has certainly enabled me to be clear and rational in my views, changing me gradually into a better person. I realised that I can remain at ease and calm when things are seemingly out of control. There is so much to learn and I will go on seeking and learning.

Copyright 2002.Jen Chen Buddhism Centre