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Precious Human Birth

September 17, 2012

Book coverFrom the point of view of one who seeks enlightenment, it is far better to be a human being than to be born even in the heavens of the gods, where there is nectar to live on and all wishes are granted by the wish-fulfilling tree; where there is neither fatigue nor difficulty, neither sickness nor old age. It is as humans, possessed of the eight freedoms and the ten endowments, and not as gods, that every one of the thousand Buddhas of this age has attained, or will attain, enlightenment. This human existence, moreover, is not to be achieved by force or mere chance; it is the result of positive actions. And because it is rare for beings to accomplish positive actions, a precious human existence is indeed difficult to obtain.

Nevertheless, we have now managed to be born into such a state; we have encountered the Buddadharma, have entered the path and are now receiving teachings. But if we are unable to practise them, simply listening to the teachings will not in itself liberate us from samsara, and will be of no help to us when we are confronted by the hardships of birth, disease, old age and death. If we do not follow the doctor’s prescription when we are sick, then even if the doctor sits constantly by our side, the pain will not go away.

From Enlightened Courage: An Explanation of the Seven-Point Mind Training by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, translated by Padmakara Translation Group, pages 15-16.

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