Why Do I Fear My Family Know I’m Learning The Dharma?

Question: When I practise chanting, I do not dare to recite aloud when my family members are around. I only recite when I am alone or when they are not at home. I like to read Dharma articles and watch Dharma videos online regarding Pure Land Buddhism, but when any one of my family members walk past my computer, I will quickly close the screen. I don’t understand why this is happening? What am I so afraid of? Please advise me. Thanks.

Answer: The next time this happens, look at your mind carefully. See what are the thoughts that arise, that make you want to conceal your Dharma learning and practice. Can you try this? Please do this two to three times, before sharing with me again on what the thoughts are. Because I can’t read your mind, I will need you to read yours personally. If it is still unclear, we can analyse further for possibilities.

Q: (some time later) I have tried what you told me. I think I am afraid of my family members’ comments. I do not have enough confidence to share the Pure Land teachings with them. I am not strong enough. But I will try to do so. Thanks for your advice. 

A: What you can do is study and practise the Pure Land teachings more deeply. Confidence based on better experience and understanding should naturally arise as a result,

Q: (some time later) I still fear my family members’ comments. I am getting frustrated that sharing Pure Land teachings and encouraging them to born in Amituofo’s (Amitabha Buddha) Pure Land seems so hard. Why? I feel like I am creating negative karma by being unfilial because I am as if ‘hiding’ the greatness of the Pure Land teachings from my parents. 

A: As before, you probably fear not being able to reply skilfully to their possibly negative comments and difficult questions. Your confidence is still lacking. This fear can be removed if you learn the Pure Land teachings in a more in-depth and systematic manner, so that you will be able to answer them confidently. My suggestion is that you take up the upcoming courses below to fortify your understanding for doing so. If they raise issues you cannot answer, you can ask the teacher too. The Buddha himself taught in the Amitabha Sutra twice, that the Pure Land teachings are not easy to have faith in too, which is why they are naturally more challenging to share too. This could also be why you hesitate sharing. However, if we put in adequate study and practice via constant diligence, it will naturally be easier. Yes indeed, as the Pure Land teachings are so wonderful, we ought to do our best to share them. Amituofo!

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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