From the holy speech of the great yogi, Guru Tsongkhapa, “This perfect human rebirth is more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel. Receiving this rebirth is almost only at this time, so please grant me the blessings to be able to take the meaningful essence without being distracted by the meaningless action of this life and to realize that this perfect human rebirth is difficult to find and quickly decays.”
As Guru Tsongkhapa said in his holy teaching, receiving such a perfect human rebirth is almost only at this time. The actual explanation of that will come afterwards. The reason it is difficult to find and almost impossible to receive again, is because it is extremely difficult to create such a perfect cause to achieve a perfect human rebirth. Fortunately, just like a beggar finding a jewel in the street, somehow we have the opportunity to receive this perfect human rebirth at this time.
This is the one time that we have received the perfect human rebirth and if it lasted forever it would be okay, it would be something else, but it doesn’t last forever. If it could easily be found again, if it could easily be received again, that would be something else, but it is not like this. This perfect human rebirth that we have received now—if it was not so fragile, if it lasted for a long time, for many eons, that would be something else, but it is not like this. It does not last for a long period of time. It starts to decay even from birth and it decays so quickly.
Even though we have received the perfect human rebirth, we use it in a meaningless way. We use this perfect human rebirth for creating actions that don’t bring results; that don’t bring the essence. We often use it to create meaningless actions, useless actions. Most of the time we use the perfect human rebirth for creating negative karma, so it is taken to create negative karma.
As Guru Tsongkhapa said in his holy teaching, it’s just like using a golden pot adorned by many precious jewels for vomited food. With the perfect human rebirth we are released from those eight unfree states, so using it to create negative karma that causes us to be born again in those unfree states is extremely foolish. Once we attain this perfect human rebirth which is released from the eight unfree states, again creating negative karma is extremely foolish. Just as the great, highly realized yogi Guru Tsongkhapa said in his teaching, it is just like this.
If we look at our life, the human rebirth seems sort of meaningless. When we check up on our life, it is as if we purposely took this human rebirth to create negative karma. In this case there is no actual meaning if the human rebirth is used in that way. In regards to creating negative karma, any other suffering sentient beings—even the tiniest creatures that we don’t see—spend all their time continuously creating negative karma. We don’t have to take a human rebirth especially to create negative karma. There is no point if we are just creating negative karma.
Any action or any work of this temporal life that is done with attachment is nothing special. It is not a special human action. Even the animals who are not human beings do this —the big animals such as elephants and the big sea animals like huge mountains, down to the tiniest creatures that we only see through machines. However, only talking about the animals’ work, their concern for their own life, they also have attachment to the happiness of this life. They also work and try to gain the means of living, with attachment. In just this one life, they also try to make their lives happy in the same way. They have their own methods—by finding many different and various methods, they try to make the temporal life happy.
They kill other animals who are their enemies, who disturb their life’s happiness, by going round to different places. They also have many kinds of methods to try to make their lives happy. They cheat other animals and they also have their own politicians. They are very clever in knowing how to cheat and kill other animals, and they know how to control others and make themselves win. They are also very wise—even insects are very wise in finding various methods to make their lives happy. If you watch them, you know that they are always flying around, they are always going around and their whole purpose is to make their lives happy, to find happiness in their lives. However, they go up and down. The insects, the ants, wherever they go around, they are busy—they go up and down, they go around. Whatever this is, their main aim, what they have in their mind, they also know how to steal, they also know many of these actions that human beings do.
Anyway, the work that we do only to gain the happiness of this life is nothing special—our purpose is not higher than the animals; it is not more special than the actions of the tiniest creature. The kind of mind we have is nothing higher, nothing more special than the tiniest insect, it is nothing higher than his mind. Therefore, now it comes to the point—even those non-human beings who haven’t received this human body, especially those who have not received a perfect human rebirth, they also do similar work to gain the happiness of this life.
Then, what’s the meaning of the human life? What’s the special meaning, the special purpose for which we are born as human beings, different from other sentient beings? Thinking like this, it has reason and it has meaning. Receiving this human rebirth has meaning and reason created by the previous life. So what is the meaning? This is the most important thing to check up— what is the meaning, the special meaning of the human rebirth, the human life?
The meaning of receiving the perfect human rebirth, the purpose for which the perfect human being exists and lives, is to act in a higher way than an animal. Then, it is necessary to check on what actions are higher than other sentient beings; what those animals cannot do but human beings can do. What are those higher actions? Guru Tsongkhapa gave this teaching in the form of a prayer, “Please grant me blessings to be able to take the meaningful essence by not being distracted by the meaningless works of this life.”
In order to make the present perfect human rebirth meaningful, to be able to take the essence, it is necessary to realize the great usefulness of the perfect human rebirth and the difficulty of receiving the perfect human rebirth—how it is fragile, how it is perishable and how it is impermanent. There are many other methods, many other ways, to make the perfect human rebirth meaningful and to be able to take the essence, but the best way to make the perfect human rebirth meaningful, the best way to be able to take the essence, is to train the mind in bodhicitta.
By training the mind in bodhicitta, we can definitely receive enlightenment quickly, without experiencing many difficulties. Training the mind in bodhicitta is the best, essential method among all the methods, therefore, it is necessary to train the mind, even in this moment, as much and as purely as possible.
Therefore, think of this pure motivation in order that the action of listening to the Dharma becomes the cause of enlightenment. Think, “I must release all sentient beings from all suffering and lead them to the most sublime happiness of enlightenment. Therefore, I must achieve enlightenment. For these reasons I am going to listen to these teachings on the graduated path to enlightenment.”