We are lucky to be here.
I just want to say that. It can be so hard to have a positive view of human life, the world, our place in it, etc etc. When things are hard, we struggle. And things are always hard. The older we get, the more we see that. Things get worse and worse sometimes.
You fall in love and have your heart broken. You finally buy a house and realize the associated expenses will keep you poor forever. You find some courage and believe in yourself and then get kicked in the face. And often it can seem like the very worst people in the world are the ones getting all the success in life. The Buddha said that life is full of suffering and it can seem sometimes like that’s all there is.
But it’s not.
Life is a struggle. There is no doubt about that. It’s a struggle for everyone; even the most successful person in the world has to deal with struggling and pain. But we’re still lucky to be here. And lucky to be born at this time in human history.
Longchenpa said we have a, “Human form endowed with precious freedoms and advantages.”
We were not born in a time and place where we could not receive this message. There is no reason why you exist here and now, but you do. This is where you are. That alone is enormously meaningful.
We live in a time and place with soap, running water, modern medicine, accessible clean food and the internet. For so much of human history these things were simply not available, but to us they are almost an afterthought. Wondrous things that lift our lives up are just normal to us because for most of us they’ve been around a long time.
That’s a part of this. That’s something to be thankful for.
The advantages of our life circumstance are giving us unprecedented access to spiritual teachings and other forms of knowledge. There is almost nothing you can’t learn about if you put forth a small amount of effort to track down the information. That is amazing.
In ancient times Buddhist teachers saw how lucky they were to have the kinds of advantages of circumstance that they had.
I don’t think they could have really anticipated the world we live in. But they saw their life circumstances as amazing because Buddhism was available to them. They had the perspective to realize that in another time and place this path wouldn’t have been available and they wouldn’t have been able to reach their full potential.
So, we could get excited about things. We could reflect on our opportunities for spiritual practice and for a relatively comfortable life and we can take joy in that. We can be grateful instead of spending all our time and energy on the things that don’t make us happy.
We can rejoice and be glad.
And, also, we can recognize we have this big opportunity. We can strive to live in a more awakened way and reach our full potential and we should recognize this as a wonderful chance to transform our lives and the lives of people around us. Strive on because you have attained this fortunate existence.
“Just like a beggar who has chanced upon a treasure of great price,
Reflect with joy upon your freedom and advantages.
In doubt and apprehension that you might be dreaming,
Implement the sacred Dharma –
Source of happiness and benefit in this and future lives!”
-Longchenpa, Finding Rest in the Nature of the Mind