Importance of reflection
-Johanna Joergensen, BA student from Nepal
This Semester I am studying The Gateway to Knowledge composed by Ju Mipam Rinpoche. It is a text that I have been looking forward to study for a long time, even though I have felt a bit intimidated by it, since I knew it includes so many lists as well as explanations reflecting different philosophical tenets system of Tibetan Buddhism.
Now, although only two weeks have passed, I can already feel my head spinning from all the different terms and ideas presented so far. However, this experience is not a new one, I have had similar experiences when I have been studying Buddhist texts earlier. To describe the feeling, imagine looking at something through a microscope and getting completely lost in all the tiny details, which suddenly looks so big, and due to that forget what you are examining and why you are doing it.
In my experience, it is here the importance of reflection comes in. I have found it to be very beneficial to put down the books for a while, take a step back and remind myself about the outline of the text, and about the purpose of studying the text. Just like stepping back from the microscope and reminding yourself about what you are actually looking at. Although all the details are so important, you can only relate to them if you know what they are details of.
Then, when you have allowed yourself to go through the outline in your mind, suddenly the details fall into place by themselves, and not as something confusing, but as something which makes you understand the whole picture much clearer.
In this sense, reflection needs to be done consciously, that is what makes you actually digest what you have learned and turn it into your own knowledge.