I first started reading the Suttas because I’d heard they were the source of Buddhism and I wanted to get closer to the Buddha. I didn’t find happiness in the Suttas straightaway. I read them out of faith. Out of faith in my contemporary teachers and because I think I had some “natural faith” in the Buddha conditioned into me somewhere along the line. I read them even though I didn’t get them - at all. I just had this faith that one day, it would make a difference that I perservered.
Sutta classes helped so much. To have amazing teachers teach directly from Suttas, and encourage discussion and questioning, to go on the odd Sutta Retreat when I could and to read what well practising scholars have written; all these things made the most enormous difference to my experiences with the Suttas. I would have floundered for a very long time without all of these.
As time went on, I wanted to understand the Buddha’s Dhamma better and became increasingly interested in where this Teaching corresponded to what contemporary teachers said, and where it didn’t.
But then I began to find delight in the Suttas. When you begin to find delight in the Suttas, you begin to suspect that you’ve stumbled upon a deeply delightful Path, one that leads to greater understanding and peace.
At some point during the last 20 odd years, I sort of, respectfully and rather seriously, “fell in love” with the Buddha. So, really, I am still reading the suttas to get close to my Teacher. Reading the Suttas is like practising Buddhannusati and of course, like practising Dhammannusati and sometimes, you can’t help but be utterly inspired by the Sangha in the Suttas - even just by the fact that I can read them today, because this is due to the Sangha of the past and present - so I even get to practise Sanghannusati.
The Suttas are an ever increasing source of joy, inspiration and guidance. They make me want to Practise and the more I practise, the more I see in them and then I want to Practise even more; it’s like a delicious circle, one which has created the most beautiful thing in my life.