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Volume 7 no 1

From The Editor

Learning, unlearning and relearning

One day, a kitten strayed into a monastery. The monks fed it with what little they had. It found comfort in the monastery and soon became a permanent resident. As the days passed, it got used to its new environment and would sometimes get in the way of the solemn religious functions. On one particular occasion it was so playful that in order to keep the peace, the Abbot ordered to have it tied up. However, he did not give instructions for it to be released. And so it remained tied up but was otherwise well treated. Time passed by and nobody questioned why the cat should remain leased. Everybody assumed that they knew the reason, but nobody asked or talked about it. Over time, it became an accepted feature of the monastery. The ageing Abbot soon passed away and a new Abbot was found. After a period of time the cat also died of old age. Somebody took the initiative to find a new cat and tied it up at the same place!

The moral of the story is that people have to understand why are they doing what they are doing, and ask themselves if they make sense. Life is a great learning experience, learning, unlearning and relearning all the time:

  • Learn and adopt a new approach in life that will develop and unfold our wisdom, safeguard and add to our blessings
  • Unlearn those practices that breed superstition and ignorance, and deplete our blessings
  • Relearn the good teachings that we have learned before so as to generate new understandings, and to reinforce our commitment and faith

Most of all, we need to understand about ourselves - where do we come from, why are we born, how do we transmigrate from one life to the next, how does our conduct impact our life - now and future, etc. We need to awake ourselves to the way that all phenomena in the universe operate. We need to understand all of these, step-by-step, because a life of happiness, blessing and bliss is a matter of making the right choice not fate. And we brightness and wisdom to do that. After all, it is our life.

Be with Buddha.


Copyright 2002.Jen Chen Buddhism Centre