Human Life is Precious (22 Dec 2012)

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Gyalwai Nyugu’s teaching during morning practice session on 22nd December 2012

Tashi Delek! Good morning everyone! Today, the so-called “End of the World” date (21st of December, 2012) has passed. I think many people will start to relax and be less vigilant about disasters and death. In fact, we need to face impermanence all the time. Death is unavoidable. Just as we have come into this world, one day we will too have to leave this world.

I will give a simple teaching on how to contemplate on and how understand how precious human life is.

We often hear the phrase ‘human life is precious’. Even though our human life is truly difficult to obtain, to attain the eight freedoms and ten endowments is even more difficult.

In real life, we can also see some people who may have obtained a human body but due to various obstacles arising from their family life are unable to practice the Dharma, many rich people are too busy, many of the poor have no opportunity to practice. Some people are hindered by illnesses, and various ailments and sufferings. There are other obstacles, for instance having one of their six senses impaired etc. This is such a pity.

Most of us feel that having prime property, fame, position, brand name cars and designer watches is something precious and truly sought after. However, of all the things in this world to have, the most precious is to have a human life with Bodhichitta mind.

Due to the merits accumulated in previous lives we have obtained this human life with its freedoms and endowments. If we do not continue to practice positive deeds, our past merits will quickly be exhausted. In Samsara, it is extremely difficult to generate the merits and virtues for once again obtaining a precious human life.

There are three certain ways to understand and develop our realization on the preciousness of this human life and its freedoms and endowments:

Our precious human body arises from causes and conditions, this is due to having maintained pure precepts and discipline, learning, practicing and perfecting the six paramitas and making aspirations to obtain a precious human body in order to practice the Dharma. It is due to this that we have now borne the fruits of a precious human life with its freedoms and endowments.

If we compare the numbers of sentient beings in the six realms, the number of whom have obtained human birth amounts to the soil or dirt under one’s fingernails. In the human realm, to have the 18 freedoms and endowments and to be able to practice true Dharma is even rarer. In the process of Dharma practice, the numbers of those who are able to persevere without wavering and who are able to thoroughly master one Dharma practice is even less.

There are many analogies in the sutras describing how unbelievably difficult it is to have obtained this precious human life, for instance “the blind turtle being able to rise up and be able to put his neck through a hole in a wooden plank which is floating randomly in the ocean.”, “stacking peas on the point of a needle.” etc.

Using these three examples contemplate and reflect profoundly. If indeed we have truly obtained a precious human life, it should give rise to a rare and unusual sense of joy. With sincerity, frequently remind oneself to diligently practice the Dharma and not to waste this precious human life.

humanlife-Achuk-2The fact that we are able to practise the Dzogchen teachings in the presence of the three jewels in the form of our Guru has come about by truly unimaginable favourable causes and conditions. In the past, when I listened to the Dzogchen teachings in the presence of Lama Rinpoche (Lama Achuk), I was filled with joy and treasured every moment. Now when I recollect, I too feel that this also came about due to unimaginable positive causes and conditions. Therefore treasure this present, rare and hard to obtain opportunity. We only have a few decades to live, and these few decades will be over in a flash, therefore make the most of this time and forge ahead. Don’t stop!

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