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How to take full advantage of a precious human rebirth

How to take full advantage of a precious human rebirth

The text turns to how to progressively train the mind beginning with the exhortation to take full advantage of a rebirth that makes practicing the Dharma possible. Part of a series of teachings on the Gomchen Lamrim by Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa. Visit Gomchen Lamrim Study Guide for a full list of contemplation points for the series.

  • Once we have a precious human life we should not waste it on only the happiness of this life
  • The three purposes we can use our precious human life for
  • How to reflect on the difficulty of attaining a precious human life
  • Why it’s so difficult to create the causes for a precious human rebirth
  • The way all the teachings are included in the path of the three kinds of beings
  • The motivations and practices of the three types of beings
  • Why the higher level practitioner must include the practices of the initial and intermediate level practitioners
  • The bodhicitta motivation can transform our limited type of virtue into the cause for awakening

Gomchen Lamrim 09: How to take advantage of a precious human rebirth (download)

Contemplation points

  1. The text rather directly said that to be concerned with the happiness of JUST this life is to be no better than animals:

    Once you have attained a life with the ten kinds of good fortune, striving after the concerns of this life is animal behavior.

    Take some time to think about this statement. If you have a precious human life, are you using it to its potential? What might you do to make use of this rare opportunity to practice the Dharma?

  2. It is said that as a human, we have the perfect balance of happiness and suffering that provides the conditions to practice as well as the desire to leave samsara altogether. What is it about being born in the other realms that doesn’t afford us this opportunity?
  3. The two goals of a practitioner are higher rebirth and liberation/awakening. Why are both of these needed and how does ethical conduct influence these goals?
  4. Venerable Chodron said that we fall all over ourselves planning for retirement (which may or may not come), but not for rebirth (which will SURELY come and may come soon). What does it mean to prepare for our next life?
  5. Why is it so hard to accumulate the virtue that is the basis for a human life?
  6. What are the three capacities of beings on the path, what are their motivations, and what do they practice to accomplish their goal?
  7. Why do Mahayana practitioners say they practice “in common with” the first two levels of practitioners? Why are these first two levels so important?
  8. Generating bodhicitta is what has the power to transform our ordinary activities into the spiritual path. Why is it that we must first recognize our own suffering in samsara before we can generate bodhicitta?
  9. Why is it important to have an overview of the whole path, understanding how the teachings fit together, as well as follow this prescribed path?
Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.

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