Precious Human Rebirth (PHR), part 1

In Tibetan Buddhism, the Precious Human Rebirth is defined very narrowly. It is not just a human rebirth, but a rebirth resplendent with the 8 freedoms and 10 endowments. I would like to define my own freedoms and endowments, that are the circumstances needed to practice:

  • Right time / evolution: Humanity has only been on the Earth for a limited amount of time, and we won’t be here forever. We need to be reborn as a human on this planet within a specific window of time.
  • Right time / Buddha: Born after a time when a buddha has taught and before their teachings miss the point or disappeared. The window of opportunity to practice the Dharma is very limited to specific periods of history.
  • Right time / my life: I have reached a time in my life when I have the mental faculties to be able to read, understand,, analyse, and meditate on the teachings, then write a blog post about it. I wouldn’t have been able to do these things when I was a child. I will not be able to do these things when I am older.
  • Right place / realm: Not born in a lower realm (eg. animal realm) or in a higher realm (eg. god realm) where practice is incredibly unlikely.
  • Right place / country: Born in a country that allows for religious freedom (usually a democratic country) to be able to choose a religion at all (ie. not a communist country) and choose a religion (ie. Buddhism). Alternatively a country that allows for religious practice but essentially enforces Buddhism (ie. Myanmar).
  • Right place / family: A family that will allow you religious freedom to choose Buddhism and preferably supports that practice, whether it is your parents or your partner.
  • Right access / contact: Exposure to the teachings, to come into contact with them either in person, in a book, online, or where ever. Also, that those teachings have the essential meaning and do not miss the point.
  • Right access / teachings: As an English speaker, I am particularly lucky to be aive right now as there are so many translations of texts and Buddhist books available in English. If this were the year 1900 then my choice would be very slim. Also, so many teachings are available in other electronic formats, so that I do not need to be present at teachings but can watch them via the Internet.
  • Right access / effort: That I am willing to practice and that I make the effort to practice. It is only when I listen to the teachings, analyse them, meditate on the teachings, and implement them in my daily life that this is happening. This only happens when I make the effort to practice, it does not happen on it’s own.
  • Right access / time: I have the time to practice (ie. I’m not working 3 jobs and looking after 3 kids), and I make the time to practice (ie. I’m making time between Netflix marathons). Time is a precious resource almost a luxury for many people, particularly in modern society.
  • Right access / alive: That I am alive long enough to practice. Unfortunately many people die very young, which is a great tragedy. Alternatively, people come into contact with the teachings only when they are very old. Without the time to absorb and work with the teachings then little progress can be made.
  • Right access / physically okay: I have the physical capacity to be able to receive the teachings, through seeing and hearing. I have the mental capacity to understand the teachings to a basic level.
  • Right vessel: That I make my mind like a beautiful golden vessel. Whereby the vessel is opened up, so my mind is open to the teachings and not closed off to their wisdom. The vessel is clean, meaning that my mind is not confused by conflicting teachings but is able to be a vessel for the Dharma. The vessel is not cracked or leaky, so my mind is not forgetful but retains the teachings within.

Conclusion

I need to appreciate the very special opportunity that I have to be able to have access to the teachings and be able to practice them in my daily life. I must take advantage of all of these circumstances that I have going for me. These circumstances will not all remain together indefinitely, my window of opportunity is limited.

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