What Makes This Human Life So Precious?

So many circumstances have come together to create this wonderful opportunity to study the Dharma:

  • Human intelligence & intact senses
  • Access to teachings, teachers, communities of monastics, spiritual friends
  • Religious freedom
  • Conducive material & financial conditions
  • Spiritual inclinations & yearnings

Using Our Precious Human Life to Follow the Path

We all want to be happy now.

  • When we push & grasp for happiness, it evades us.
  • If we're content with what we have and simultaneously prepare for the future, we'll be happier both now & in the future.

Three Ways to Progress on the Path

There are three ways to progress along the path:

  1. Practice moment to moment in our daily activities.
    • Start each day with the motivations not to harm others and to help others.
    • Start each day with the motivation to diminish limitations and develop positive qualities in order to be able to help others most effectively.
    • Transform even insignificant actions into the path to enlightenment; good motivations can make us happy and our actions worthwhile.
    • Reflect on our good motivation throughout the day and apply it to everything we do. Make every situation an opportunity to practice the Dharma, starting at home.
  2. Prepare for death & our future lives.
    • To acknowledge death is not morbid; it's simply realistic.
    • Prepare by avoiding destructive actions & doing constructive ones.
      • Avoid the ten negative actions: killing, stealing, unwise sexual behavior; lying, divisive speech, harsh speech, idle talk; coveting, malice (ill will), & wrong views.
      • Live according to ethical values.
      • Cultivate loving kindness towards others, doing whatever we can to help them.
  3. Aim for liberation, then for full enlightenment.
    • Obtain liberation from the whole cycle of rebirths by practicing the three higher trainings: ethical conduct, meditative stabilization, & wisdom.
    • Attain full enlightenment (elimination of all obscurations & full development of all good qualities) by practicing the three higher trainings and the six far-reaching attitudes (generosity, ethics, patience, joyous effort, meditative stabilization & wisdom) with the altruistic intention to attain enlightenment in order to benefit all beings.