Buddhism and Statistics: The Precious Human Life

5 May 2010 - 11:23am Comments Off

Last Sunday at Manjushri class, Thierry Janssens shared on the preciousness of human life, entitled “Buddhism and Statistics”. According to statistics found on the Internet, not only is being born as a human in the six realms of existence very fortunate but when we compare ourselves to others lacking access to basic necessities such as clean water, food, shelter or an education, we will see a huge disparity.

The fact that today we are even able to share the Dharma in a nice air-conditioned environment, some through webcam across the world, is almost equivalent to being in Pure Land where everything is so conducive for Dharma practice.

The Lamrim talks about the precious human life in depth as part of the Foundation of the Path. To be able to develop the determination to take the essence of our precious human life, we need to first recognise and identify what makes it so precious and why, to give us a strong conviction for making full use of our very life now.

This is identified strongly by contemplating on the eight freedoms (which frees us from obstacles to our spiritual practice) and the ten endowments (which are the necessary and conducive conditions for us Dharma practice).

Thierry shared a very famous analogy of how precious our human life is: our life is likened to a blind turtle who surfaces to the top of the ocean every hundred years. On top of the ocean is a yoke which moves arbitrarily all over the surface of the ocean. Having a human life is likened to the turtle surfacing only once every hundred years and when he arises, his head pokes through the hole of the yoke. The turtle is actually us, to show us how rare it is to be born as a human.

Since we all have the good karma to be here now, with our precious body, we should make every single moment of our life meaningful. By this, explained Thierry, we can accumulate vast amount of merits and purify all our past negative karma.

As Je Tsongkhapa himself said, if we contemplate the great value of these freedoms and endowments, we shall feel strong regret for having wasted our human body and our time.

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