Gateway to Dharma
Which are the Fundamental Stages of True Learning?
True learning is about the fostering of inner awareness in relation to both internal and external factors. This process of inner realisation comprises five successive stages. The first two stages - path of accumulation and path of preparation - are accomplished through having first received transmission of the knowledge from the most qualified source, which provides us the basic material with which to prepare ourselves until we reach a stage of intellectual acquaintance with the subject, by which time we are made ready to put this conceptual understanding into actual practice to see for ourselves how valid it is in application. This is the stage which requires our mind to relinquish five types of mental hindrances - sense desire, ill-will and anger, sloth and torpor, restlessness and remorse, sceptic doubts - to enable our mental concentration to develop sufficient strength to serve as a basis for insight. This stage, leading to the path of insight, is deemed as accomplished when the basis of our understanding evolves from one that is conceptual to one that is non-conceptual, giving rise in the process to the emergence of pure insight into the ultimate nature of our subject and its total lack of all phenomena, thus seeing the nature of reality as it is without the hindrance of mental obscuration.
We then progress onto the path of meditation, wherein we focus with the attentiveness of single-pointed concentration upon the non-conceptual experiences we glean from our actual comprehension of the truth until the essence of what it embodies is unified as one with our mind and our body, leading to the final path of no-more learning, having attained the full measure of its benefit and potential. Thus we are transformed into the true Vessels for Learning.