|To the Sangha
(family, friends practicing Dharma)
| Buddhist saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears."
The teacher can take many forms besides an actual person. The teacher will appear as the text of a sutra (discourse by Siddhartha), commentary, through an internet site, through a book, a comment by a friend, someone from the Sangha, through music, sound, and most importantly through meditation, thus any medium will present a Dharma teaching when the student is poised to hear, ponder, realize, and share. The mystical qualities of Buddha (awakened one) and Dharma lessons come through thier timeliness, when you are ready.
Each of these tools shed a different perspective on the Dharma lessons and teach through a different pathway.
Practical tools for Dharma study:
Meditate - H.H. the 14th Dali Lama says this is the most important teacher
Listen - to Guru, to yourself, to Sangha, to the universe
Read - Sutras, science, psychology, history, philosophy and other Dharma lessons
Recite - Sutras, mantras, verses you've read or heard
Copy - portions or all of what you have read, heard, recited, or meditated upon (Buy or keep a journal for this purpose)
Chant - (Droning sing song of lines that you have copied, mantras) before going to bed
Pay attention! - to your responses. Your mind, your body, your emotions will teach you.
Debate - Never accept any idea without testing it yourself, never follow a teacher or teaching blindly, never believe Buddha or Lamas without testing out ideas yourself. Share with Sangha, with all sentient beings (beings who suffer). The same lesson will teach something different to each student yet teach the same lesson. Buddha said, "Don't follow me, be a lamp unto yourself."
Repeat - You will deepen understanding, learn something new each time, try reciting a sutra once a day for 21 days, 3 times a day for 7