Concerning the method of learning there are five key points:
1.)The attitude of Bodhicitta
2.)The place of teaching.
3.)The time of te teaching.
5.)Avoiding the three defects of the pot.
1)THE ATTITUDE OF BODHICITTA
It is important to recieve teachings with the aublime attitude of Bodhicitta ('awakened heart'). Bodhicitta is the sltruistic desire to attain enlightenment for all beings.
2)THE PLACE OF THE TEACHING
Wherever you are when you read this, it is important to imagine that you are in a celestial palace.
3)THE TIME OF THE TEACHING
It is important to consider the time in which you read this as the ever-revolving wheel of eternity.
It is important to imagine that the person giving you the teaching is none other than the Buddha himself. An old Tibetan proverb states
"One who sees the teacher as Buddha,
Will become a Buddha.
One who sees the teacher as a bodhisattva,
Will become a bodhisattva.
One who sees the teacher as an ordinary being,
Will remain an ordinary being."
5)AVOIDING THE THREE DEFECTS OF THE POT
The three defects of the pot are states of mind to be avoided while receiving teachings. These are: 1) The Upside-Down Pot, 2) The Pot With a Hole in It, and 3)The Pot Containing Poision.
5.1. THE UPSIDE DOWN POT
To listen to teachings with a mind like an upside-down pot means to listen with a heart and mind closed to them.
5.2. THE POT WITH A HOLE IN IT
To listen to teachings with a mind like a pot with a hole in it means to allow oneself to become distracted, to hold mundane conversations with others while receving teachings, or to try and mix receving teachings with mundane activities.
5.3. THE POT CONTAINING POISON
To listen to the teachings with a mind like a pot containing poison means to give in to negative emotions, which the Buddha always referred to as poisons. The poisons are: doubt, pride, anger, fear, giddiness, and jealousy.
Listening with doubt does not only mean listening with faith. It also means asking many questions to dispell doubt. This is called the Practice of Wisdom.
Listening with pride means listening as though you already know the subject being taught. It is similar to a pot filled with water. It cannot contain anything.
Anger here means avoiding becoming impatient, no matter how long the teaching is.
The practice of patience with regard to the teachings also means not being in a hurry to learn it all at once or to learn the secret, esoteric teachings when the outer preliminaries have not been mastered.
To listen without fear means to trust the teacher, believeing that he has our best interests at heart.
To listen without giddiness does not mean we should be sad while receiving teachings. To receive spiritual instruction is something to be grateful for and to celebrate, but not in the same way we would celebrate a birthday. To be to giddy destroys one's peace of mind, which must exists in order for the stream of blessings to flow.
To listen without jealousy means not to envy the teacher's attainment, or those practitioners who may be more advanced than us.
These five key points of receiving teachings can be applied quite profitably to any path.