A Study of Your Own Heart
We are not learning something new when we study the dharma. We tend to study the dharma in the same way that we learn a new language – but that is not right.
In the study of dharma we are trying to recognise the desire that we have – desire is not new to us, is it? We have anger, ignorance, jealousy, self-clinging, these are not new to us either. So the study of the dharma is to understand what we already have. We try to understand our own desire, anger, etc. This is what is meant by ‘studying the dharma.’
To learn the dharma is not a matter of memorising new terminologies. That is the study of the world. Learning lots of new terms alone will make us more and more proud; more and more tricky. Gradually we will begin to use the dharma as merchandise to profit from; dharma will become our career. The dharma will become our means of getting on in the world.
Such a study of dharma will lead to nothing good. It will make us hard-headed, and lead us further and further away from real dharma.