The Human Realm: Agony and Ecstasy in my Buddhist Retreat, Realm 3

I honor my root and heart teacher, Lama Padma Drimed Norbu, and thank him during this week of the anniversary of his current human birth most especially for being my precious teacher. May he live a long, healthy, beneficial life filled with ultimate happiness and joy and may all beings benefit.

Glad to leave the weeks devoted to the “Jealous” or “Demi-” gods’ Realm. Too much warring and fighting going on in my dreams those nights! On to the Human Realm.

I would imagine that most of us believe meditation and contemplation about beings in the Human Realm would be the easiest because we are human. Perhaps that’s true for some practitioners, but most of us are trapped in the singularity of our own perspective, only knowing our individual experiences intimately and lacking motivation or empathy to uncover others’ lives.

We also take our privileges and good fortune for granted. This is a chance to be more alert to what it means to be human. A great teacher who recently (July, 2013) passed out of this incarnation, Lama Tarchin Rinpoche, gave a teaching I am quoting, here, and link to at the bottom of this post. Please read, contemplate, meditate, share. Valuable reminders.

“…[Y]ou should be very happy with yourselves. Why? Because you have attained that which is very difficult to get in this world: that is to say, a precious human life. And in this human life you have met with that which is difficult to meet: the tantric teachings. You have met with qualified spiritual masters…

“[A]nd you have the opportunity to practice. These are signs of incredible merit on your part. So you should feel overjoyed at yourselves. You are the vessel for these teachings. You have the opportunity to practice….

“For us to have this kind of good fortune and not make a serious effort to practice would be a big loss. You know we have this precious human life. Human life is more precious than devas or gods.

“People think the deva or god realm is better than the human realm, but actually that’s not so. In terms of temporary experiences of pleasure, happiness and joy, yes, devas have all that. But to reach the final, long-term happiness and joy of complete enlightenment, human life is more powerful even than the gods’.

“Why is this? It’s because of our motivation. We develop the motivation to benefit all sentient beings equally under this blue sky. How many sentient beings are there? Wherever sky pervades, there are sentient beings. Wherever there are sentient beings, there’s karma. Wherever there’s karma, there’s suffering. That’s samsara. We think that we want to empty this samsara and liberate all sentient beings from their suffering. We develop that kind of vast motivation.

“Plus we have the skillful wisdom aspect of Vajrayana, these teachings. And the most powerful is the human body because while normally beings have five elements; humans have one extra called the element of the wisdom of exaltation.

“Though devas do temporarily have some kind of joyful, light body that’s not solid, still that body is based on karma. When this karma is exhausted, they can be reborn in other realms within samsara because they’re not enlightened.

“The human body is the most powerful thing we have for practice. It’s our good fortune to have this precious human life. And according to our positive circumstances, you can see what kind of teacher and teachings we have. We’re unbelievably rich. Then, when we take that essence of our precious human life, it’s most powerful.

“But without recognition, we lose that essence. Of course, we have to have faith. Generally speaking, on an external level, you have to have faith in the Triple Gems [Buddha, Dharma, Sangha].

“And from the point of view of tantra, you first must have faith in your own enlightened nature, your Buddha nature. When you have that faith, then naturally you will have manifestation of Triple Gems, of inconceivable Buddha phenomena, externally manifesting unobstructedly. When these two, your faith and Buddha’s manifestation, come together, it’s very powerful.

“When you’re doing practice, then even though your life is one day longer, it’s most meaningful.”

So, I say (Sally, again, here): If we don’t practice when we know how, when we are capable, we will be horribly regretful when we die. The physical and emotional but temporary agony of practicing, of retreat, of all the thoughts, emotions, distractions and dismay that arise, do not compare to that kind of regret.

So, PRACTICE! Please.

Author Interview, Sally Ember via Andrea Barbosa

Another great opportunity, this time on Andrea Barbosa’s website, for an Author Interview! Check it out and share! Thanks, Andrea!