I am new here and I would like some help with the issue of motivation.

I am a 25 years old student in engineering in his last semester at university. I have been facing the problem that whenever I study, it becomes a huge source of stress.

I have been a buddhist and meditating for the past 4 months now and I like of what the practice has done to me and my relationship with my parents and with people in general. The motivation of being in the path for the benefit of all beings really resonates with me and it really helps me, but I can't mirror that motivation to my studies. Secular knowledge used to be such a motivation for me when I was young and it has been missing for such a long time now. Now the only thing that motivates me is when I feel that I will be actively helping people, but I feel like I can't abandon my current state of life and just decide to do something else than getting my degree and pursuing something related to it.

I don't know if it is clear, but I can study for a few periods of time (not enough for my course), but studying gets me sort of all pumped up. I get all this energy flowing, restlessness. I feel like I have all this attachment maybe to getting high degrees or to this illusion that I will only be happy if I am able to graduate now, or that my parents and people will like me better if I show that I know more, or if I have all this knowledge accumulated I will be more successful. It is clear to me that it was much stronger when I started meditating that it is now. It seems is obvious to me by my previous statements that studying has a lot of issues attached to it. :teehee:

I feel like in the past months buddhism has helped me let go of a lot of my illusions and that helps me get on with my day without getting so frustrated, but I still have this issue. Do you guys think this anxiety related to studying will reduce after more months of practice? Actually, I know by the words of the Buddha that it will, but do you have any advice in regards to it?

I hope I made sense writing in english beacuse I am from Brazil.

Thank you!!!

1 Answer 1


Welcome Bruno.

In the original Buddhist scriptures, it is reported the Buddha gave many teachings about livelihood, including Right Livelihood in the Noble Eightfold Path. The Buddha encouraged lay or secular people to study & be proficient in earning a living.

One meaning of the Indian word 'dharma' is 'duty'. From a Buddhist perspective, education is less about personal achievement & more about performing personal 'duty' because each person must earn a living so they can eat food & buy shelter. Education is similar to the need to breathe.

You only have one semester to finish your degree and your old 'attachment' & your new 'aversion' are hindrances to your concentration.

If you change your view and simply see completing your education as a personal 'duty'; then your concentration will be more pure.

'Secular knowledge' in relation to livelihood is something considered very valuable from a Buddhist perspective. Most famous Western Buddhist monks completed their university degrees when they were secular students.

When I was at university, I did not enjoy what I was studying but I finished. I never ever worked in the specialty I studied but the degree has helped me get work because completing a degree is a sign (to employers) you are intelligent & have discipline.

My opinion is to finish this semester first. Be in the present moment. Focus on today only & notice how yesterday has now passed. Study, one day at time, not thinking about tomorrow. Leave thinking about what you would love to do to a later time.

  1. "To reside in a suitable locality, to have performed meritorious actions in the past, and to set oneself in the right direction — this is the highest blessing.

  2. "Vast learning, skill in handicrafts, well grounded in discipline and pleasant speech — this is the highest blessing.

  3. "To support one's father and mother; to cherish one's wife and children, and to be engaged in peaceful occupations — this is the highest blessing.

Maha-mangala Sutta


You shouldn't chase after the past or place expectations on the future. What is past is left behind. The future is as yet unreached. Whatever quality is present you clearly see right there, right there. Not taken in, unshaken, that's how you develop the heart.

Bhaddekaratta Sutta

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