Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Dharma Books, Dharma Talks, On the Path, Temple life, Translation Resources

Lack of common language limits understanding in Buddhism

English: Buddha. In the Jewel of learning (Dha...
English: Buddha. In the Jewel of learning (Dharma).In the Jewel of community (Sangha). The jewelled and golden Buddha sits with mind focussed and concentrated like a Cobra at Samye Ling Monastery. A striking image and you can do walking meditation round the lake. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dharma Wheel. This is one of the most importan...
Dharma Wheel. This is one of the most important buddhist symbols, and represents the Noble Eightfold Path taught by the Buddha. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lack of common language limits successful understanding.  I have seen, heard and read about the constant struggle of laity to achieve success in their own practices because they did not have a common language with a dharma master or wat, vihara, temple or center in which they sought to study and practice Buddha dharma.  I have first hand knowledge of ordained Sangha that do not know their adopted culture or it’s language and are stuck as a servant, living years at a lower level of practice than what they can achieve had they been aware of detailed teachings.

These Westerners and some Asians have little or limited access to their own dharma master’s meetings and teachings due to poor translators or no translators.  Since they do not have any notable level of training they often seek outside of Buddhism to survive in work or in other religious practices or faiths beyond Buddhism, even if they have been a novice of 30 years or fully ordained for 5 years.  If they do not have competency at least one of these areas:  listening, speaking, writing the temple language or even if they are not pursuing a line of Buddhist study and just seem to be taking up space then it keeps them at the ‘newbie’ level.  They are the same as a tourist would be in their own understanding and ability or lack of ability to teach Buddha dharma with any degree of skill.

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