72 view

Meditation On Precious Human Life

Dharma Master Andrew. J. Williams



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The Ten Fortunes And Eight Freedoms:
Human life is considered precious when it is endowed with the excellent qualities, or ‘fortunes’ and ‘freedoms’, or the good conditions needed to engage in Dharma practice.Firstly, the ten fortunes, five of which relate to you and five to the outside world. We should reflect on how fortunate it is that:
1. I have been born as a human being.
2. I have been born in a civilised land, a spiritual country. That is, where people are keeping vows and living morally.
3. I have been born with sense faculties intact; able to hear, see, smell, think and so forth.
4. I haven’t committed any of the five heinous acts. Extreme wrongdoings that would result in a rebirth of great suffering in the next life.
5. I have some faith and devotion in the Buddha’s teachings and some inspiration to practice to tame this mind.
6. I have been born in a world where a Buddha has come.
7. I have been born in a world where a Buddha has taught and revealed the truth.
8. I have been born where Buddha’s teachings have not been lost from hearts and minds, and where both unmistaken understanding and realisations are still held by great practitioners.
9. I have been born where Buddha’s teachings are still being practised in a pure way by the community of practitioners, our Dharma friends.
10. I have been born where I have the necessary conditions to practice, and the support of genuine masters who teach us from their great love and compassion.Now let us reflect on the eight freedoms:
I have the freedom to create the causes for temporary happiness and ultimate good by:
1. Not being born in the hell realms.
2. Not being born as a hungry ghost.
3. Not being born as an animal.
4. Not having distorted views, such as denying that cause and effect exists, and so on and so forth.
5. Not born in a place where no Buddha has appeared.
6. Not born in an uncivilised place where no one truly practices morality.
7. Not born intellectually disabled, with no faculty to learn, understand or practice the teachings.
8. Not born as a long-life god of the form realm.We should reflect that with these fortunes and freedoms, I can attain the sorrowless state and supreme enlightenment. To waste this precious life is like one who returns empty handed from a treasure island.

The great master Lama Je Tsongkapa said, “This body of leisure is more valuable than a jewel which grants every wish. And now is the time you have found a life such as this.”

These words indicate not only how meaningful it is to have found such a life, but also how difficult and rare it is to have done so. We should contemplate these ideas, again and again, to realise a deep understanding and conviction into their meaning. Begin by reflecting on what you can check for yourself to be true. Acceptance of the sufferings of the more hidden realms can come later.

We can see directly that many people are born in countries without even the most basic freedoms. Where they are tortured, oppressed by cruel and harsh systems of government. Many suffer persecution and extreme violation of their basic human rights. We should reflect: Am I not fortunate to live in this land?

Many are born blind, disabled in various ways, unable to receive or practice spiritual teachings. Am I not fortunate to be born with sense organs and faculties intact, able to hear and understand the Dharma?

Many people have narrow, distorted views, unable to understand the law of cause and effect, of past and future lives and so on and so forth, and therefore lead foolish wasted lives. Am I not fortunate to have the chance to discover the truth, and be free from suffering?

Many live in places without sufficient food or water, homeless, scraping a living. Am I not fortunate to live in a land of such abundance?

Many people are born in places where there are no practitioners of the Buddha’s teaching, or in places where no Buddhas have appeared and revealed the truth. The teachings are being lost from the world. I have met them just in time! Am I not fortunate to have encountered these precious teachings in a pure form?

And could I endure for even a single day the sufferings of animals? Always afraid, eating each other, used in cruel experiments, farmed and slaughtered in unbearable suffering, hunted for their skins and fur, forced to labour in harsh conditions, and so on and so forth. Am I not fortunate to be born as a human being?

And what of those beings tortured by unbearable hunger and thirst, by torments unimaginable? Am I not fortunate to be free from such states? Who can say when such a precious human life will be mine again? Who can say how long I have left in this life? Let me resolve to ensure that I make correct and highest use of it. May I take the essence of this precious birth with its fortunes and freedoms without wasting a moment!

The great master Lama Je Tsongkapa said, “It is difficult to find, and easily destroyed like lightning in the sky. Think this over carefully, and come to realise that all activities of the world are like chaff blown in the wind. To take the essence of this life, you must strive day and night. I, the master meditator, lived my life this way. You, who seek for freedom, must try to do likewise.”

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~Dharma Master Andrew. J. Williams~

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“I think we can all agree that the reason for the many diverse traditions and paths within Buddhism is that all sentient beings, in one way or another, are different, both mentally and physically, and therefore each individuals needs are also different.

The Buddha explained that we sentient beings all have different and limited levels of understanding of this or that, and even if we focus on the very same thing, we will perceive it according to our own perspective. From our own limited viewpoint.

We tend to perceive things and others based on our own preconceived ideas and past experiences. It’s as if we judge the whole ocean based on the small part of the ocean that we may think we know. The whole sky based on a few clouds.

All of the various types of teachings and methods within Buddhism are related to the different capacities of understanding that different individuals have. From an absolute viewpoint, there is no teaching or method that is higher and more perfect, or effective, than another.

For any particular teachings value lies solely in the inner awakening that an individual can attain through practising it. If a person benefits from any particular teaching, for that person, that teaching is the supreme teaching, the supreme path, because it is suited to his or her nature and mental capacities.

The Buddha Dharma is inclusive, not exclusive. Our aim is to benefit all sentient beings, without exception. To help all sentient beings, including ourselves, to have happiness and its causes, and to be free from suffering and it’s causes, and to attain unsurpassed supreme enlightenment as swiftly as possible.

The Buddha Dharma transcends colour, texture, flavour, language, culture, tradition and nationality. It is for everyone, everywhere and at any time.”

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~Dharma Master Andrew. J. Williams~

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