Describing how to study Buddhism, HH Dalai Lama quoted from the Buddha:
“Test my words as carefully as goldsmiths assay gold and only then accept them”.
Instead of simply accepting the Buddha’s words at face value, we are being encouraged to think and decide for ourselves, we are being asked whether the Dharma corresponds with our experiences? The Dharma gives us a different philosophy for thinking about our experiences and ourselves, so it will challenge our way of thinking.
The Dharma can be challenging to work with. In our experience, we found that the Dharma questioned many assumptions that we had carried with us since our teenage years regarding religion, our parents, death, and other deep-seated assumptions that make up our world view. Working through these assumptions was a slow process and these changes were often difficult.
We had to park some Buddhist concepts for a while, that we would return to later on. For example, our teacher discussed the law of karma around the time of the July 7, 2005 London bombings. It was an unsettling contrast between the law of karma and the horrific images of injured people trapped on the London subway system.
Over time our way of looking at the law of karma changed to this: karma helps us to understand our suffering and to focus on the source of our suffering. There can be a temptation to think “Why is this bad experience happening to poor little us? We would never harm a fly!!” By understanding the law of karma, we can understand that actually, we probably have harmed lots of others. The cause of those harmful actions to others is the ego-driven, me-first, self-centered attitude that drives most of the actions throughout the day.