The most important purpose of learning Buddhism is to cultivate a great compassionate heart. A great compassionate heart is like a refreshing and cooling agent to the muggy human world which is filled with troubles, disasters and sufferings. Modern society is very chaotic, only great love and compassion can cure the nasty and messy societal phenomenon.
There is an excerpt in Samyuktagama sutra that reads -- when Buddha was in Jetavana-vihara monastery in the city of Shravasti, he once indicated to his pupils near him by asking them, “If there was a very sharp sword that has been steeled over repeatedly, can it be blunted or bent with bare hands?”
The monks looked at each other in bewilderment, finding Buddha’s metaphor to be very strange. One pupil replied, “Lord Buddha! That is impossible, hand is part of the body with flesh and blood, how could it bend or blunt the sharp sword?”
Buddha said, “That is right! This is really impossible. However, it is also very difficult to cultivate a loving heart with great compassion. It would have taken a long time of learning and practising, to have a determined compassionate heart. With great compassion in our heart, we won’t be afraid of the tests of life. We will be like a thoroughly tempered sharp sword that cannot be easily bent with bare hands. At the same time, the five mental toxins known as greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance and doubt would not arise in the mind either. A person with a compassionate heart will not be beaten by any adversity.”
The most important thing in learning and cultivating Buddhism is to remove greed, hatred and ignorance. The minds of ordinary sentient beings succumb easily to their surroundings. Whenever an adverse situation arises, the compassionate heart will be swayed, and repossessed by greed, hatred or ignorance. Therefore, unlocking a compassionate heart is absolutely crucial to cultivating Buddhists!
Besides a compassionate heart, wisdom is also an important element to ward off the unwholesome thoughts in our mind. Modern society lacks serenity due to all kinds of unscrupulous thoughts. Conflicts happen because of our internal conflicts as well. Conflicts and chaos will dissipate if everyone are willing to cultivate compassion and wisdom.