I am new to practicing Buddhism. I was first introduced to it through reading "What The Buddha Taught" by Walpola Rahula. Since then I've begun practicing Ānāpānasati and zazen, as well as reading suttas from the Pali Canon and writings from Zen teachers like Gudo Nishijima and Brad Warner.

I often find myself in a kind of "information-hoarding" mind-state where I voraciously read, save, and make notes about things I find interesting about Buddhism. Recently I have felt, however, that my time could perhaps be better spent. I don't meditate every day, but my readings seem to suggest that meditation is very important for developing insight and "direct realization".

I also have realized that much of my "studying Buddhism" occurs while procrastinating tasks I dislike (i.e. studying, applying to jobs). I realize that this aversion itself may cause greater suffering for me, and I should probably try to not value one thing over another, as long as they're all correct actions.

How can I simplify my practice and build up my confidence? Are my thoughts reasonable?

Thank you for your time; be well


3 Answers 3

  1. Every ordinary are living with unwholesome mind arising normally even we are studying or meditating until the access meditation arise instead.

The point of the sitting meditation is to learn "what is the real strongest wholesome mind", which is Jhana. It's not only leaning about wholesome, but it also pull the past uncountable-lives' wholesome karma, Parami, to give it's resultant and let the genius abilities inside shine bright like a diamond, perspective photographic memories with supernatural-mind's-arising-speed and the best purified wholesome minds which arising with no interval of any dirty unwholesome mind arising in between of purified wholesome mind arising.

  1. Studying is good only with Jhana meditation because only Jhana can pause the ordinary's unwholesome and the strong insight meditation, BalavaVipassana, can't arise with unwholesome. Study before Jhana-Attainment could break the concentration meditation and make the practitioner meditate hard confuse and doubt because everything of no-jhana-person is five strings, including study. Study is good and must do, but strong wholesome minds at Access/Attained Jhana state is basis of Study. Without Jhana, the practitioner could loss the path, wholesome minds leading by right view, easily.

There are some people can purify their mind while listening Sutta, but it's rare to find the perfect one like that, so don't waste the very little life period with that big risk, study without Jhana.

  • Yes Bonn that’s very true
    – blue_ego
    Commented Nov 19, 2022 at 21:59
  • Yes Bonn that very true
    – blue_ego
    Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 18:31

Study to gain knowledge, meditate to turn the knowledge into skill.


You might find, like I did, that one will swing more to reading than practising, and conversely so. I can't see that there is anything wrong with that. I memorized the satipathana sutta, and like Bonn says, the various components of that sutta arise fluidly in daily experience as and when it is needed. In fact, I had studied so many suttas - Mahayana and Theravada - that I started writing my own. This one draws upon the prose of both of those traditions...

Hotpoint Sutra – Where Nothing Can Be Found

Here's the thing, Shariputra. With my mind thus purified, pliant, malleable, steady, attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the disappearing socks. I saw, by means of the divine eye, various kinds of socks in various kinds of colours disappearing and reappearing in accordance to the cycle of the washing machine - but yet after the cycle had finished, some did not reappear. Not able to determine a realm for those missing socks, this line of thinking arose in me, 'what is the yonder from whence these missing socks abide? What is their secret destination?'

Now, at that time, the carpenter's apprentice happened to be strolling by. With a loud voice that would drown out a clap of thunder, I shouted, "come, carpenter's apprentice! Bring me an assortment of tools". With an assortment of tools at hand I then took to the washing machine like a steadfast monk takes to contemplating the body parts: 'here are the nuts, there the bolts, here is the motor, over there the drum, over here the circuitry, over there the wires'. Shariputra, I did not even find the fluff of those missing socks, let alone an entire sock. Having penetrated where the sun doth shine and the moon doth glow, perplexed, I sat there in deep contemplation. In the time it takes to consume the contents of the morning's alms round, knowledge and vision arose in me - clear, bright, unblemished: form is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than form.

  • 1
    Is this appropriate? Commented Nov 20, 2022 at 22:47
  • Thank you for your question, @DeaneCameron - the answer speaks to the OP's question in a way that addresses how one might become rather serious about studying and practising, and that there is nothing wrong with that - but the answer also places an emphasis on relaxing, having fun, being creative and explorative. I've never met a single person who followed a trajectory of perfect uniformity; it's not a one-track journey - the dynamism is beyond all parameters. Is there anything I can do to improve the answer?
    – user17652
    Commented Nov 21, 2022 at 19:39
  • My question was a mostly rhetorical one. And I didn't mean to impugn your intentions. It's just that, as I read your post I noticed that I wasn't laughing, and wondered if some might even be offended, even though I'm sure you meant well. I tend to overthink things sometimes, on the other hand... ;-) Commented Nov 21, 2022 at 20:27

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