My most dear one,
How are you? I hope you are well. I heard you are coming to do a course at Kopan Monastery. That made me very happy; it’s like someone giving me a billion dollars. It is so important, most important in your life to hear Dharma, the Buddha’s teachings, and to learn and experience the teachings through meditation and study.
This perfect human rebirth is just one time, and having met Buddhadharma we can achieve all the happiness. Not only can we achieve happiness in this life, we can also purify the negative karma which is the cause of being reborn in the lower realms in the next life. By creating virtue, for example, by practicing morality, we can receive a higher rebirth as a deva or human, etc., and not only that, we can again meet Dharma and become free from samsara and achieve enlightenment. That’s in regards to the future, but also in this life and the next life we can become free from samsara by practicing the three higher trainings.
Regarding the higher training of morality, even as a lay person you can take not only the refuge vows but also the five lay precepts, or even four, three, two or one precept. As well as taking the lay vows there are also the eight Mahayana precepts, which lay and ordained people can take.
By taking [the precepts] with bodhicitta there are skies of benefits, skies of merit, even by taking them for one day. So you need to take the precepts with bodhicitta—the thought to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings and not only that, for all sentient beings to become free from lower nirvana, the blissful state of peace and achieve the peerless state of happiness—the total cessation of obscurations and completion of all the realizations. This is in order to free the numberless beings—each of the numberless hell beings, numberless hungry ghosts, numberless animals, numberless human beings, numberless suras, numberless asuras and numberless intermediate state beings—from the oceans of samsaric suffering, and not only that, to bring them to full enlightenment. Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow!
This is what your most precious human rebirth is for. Having met the Buddhadharma, this is what you can do. Therefore it is so worthwhile for you to learn Buddhism in this life before you die. It is so good you will go to Kopan. I am very happy that you will come to Kopan, to be aware of Buddhadharma.
I hope to see you soon.
With much love and prayers ...