From the point of view of one who seeks enlightenment, it is far better to be a human being than to be born even in the heavens of the gods, where there is nectar to live on and all wishes are granted by the wish-fulfilling tree; where there is neither fatigue nor difficulty, neither sickness nor old age. It is as humans, possessed of the eight freedoms and the ten endowments, and not as gods, that every one of the thousand buddhas of this age has attained, or will attain, enlightenment. This human existence, moreover, is not to be achieved by force or mere chance; it is the result of positive actions. And because it is rare for beings to accomplish positive actions, a precious human existence is indeed difficult to obtain.
Nevertheless, we have now managed to be born into such a state; we have encountered the buddha-dharma, have entered the path and are now receiving teachings. But if we are unable to practise them, simply listening to the teachings will not in itself liberate us from samsara, and will be of no help to us when we are confronted by the hardships of birth, disease, old age and death. If we do not follow the doctor’s prescription when we are sick, then even if the doctor sits constantly by our side, the pain will not go away.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
from the book Enlightened Courage: An Explanation of the Seven-Point Mind Training
translated by Padmakara Translation Group
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Further quotes from the book Enlightened Courage:
- The vows of the Mind Training
- Give up hoping for results
- The three essential factors on which the accomplishment of the Dharma depends
- Taking advantage of suffering
- Antidote to our ego-clinging
- Anger is an illusion
- The impurity of our perception
- Signs of realization
- Begin the training sequence with yourself
- Well rewarded
- Forsaking all self-centeredness
- The degree of self-clinging
- Failing to use the instructions as an antidote
- Honest examination
- Bodhicitta practice
- Transient precious human body
- How to make the mind positive