Lama Atisha said,
'Our human life span is short.
So much to
learn and do, yet so little time.
How short is our life span?
The answer is indefinite.
So seize the innermost essence of your
Like a swan which takes milk from the water.'
How can we seize that? To accomplish that, we must have a
human body that enjoys eight 'freedoms' and ten 'endowments', both
of which are the pre-requisites for anyone to practise the Holy
Dharma. On the top of that, we must have the merits to meet a
qualified guru, and the fortune to be free of illnesses.
When we are endowed with the sufficient and necessary
conditions, we should be sure to seize the essence of this precious
human life to practise dharma instead of wasting it on trivial
pursuits. Most importantly, we must not procrastinate, thinking that
we can do it tomorrow. Compared with life spans of beings in higher
and lower realms, human life span is the shortest and indefinite.
Yet death is definite. We cannot afford to postpone our practice in
dharma to some other time. So before death knocks at our door, we
must take the essence of our life. So much to do, so little time.
Therefore, we must choose what is best for our short life.
quoted earlier it is said if swans are given milk mixed with water
they will only take the milk, because what swans desire is milk, not
Back to we human beings. We have met with Mahayana teaching
through a Mahayana guru and as a practitioner of Mahayana Dharma,
the best way to extract the essence of our life is to practise the
teachings to achieve enlightenment within this life time. If we
cannot do that, then at least we should exert our wholehearted
effort on our practice to train our mind with renunciation,
bodhicitta and the right view of emptiness. In this light, training
oneself thoroughly and sincerely in the three principal aspects of
the Path is considered to be taking the essence of human life.
one asks whether it is possible to achieve Enlightenment, then the
answer is yes. It is possible. It happened in the past in India.
Many practised this Path, gained realisation and achieved
Enlightenment. Likewise in Tibet, in the past infinite beings
practised this Path and gained realisations and enlightenment. The
kind of situation that they were in at that time and the kind of
situation that we are in now are the same. They also lived the same
human life that we do now. The Dharma they practised is the same
Dharma we do today. And we too have met fully qualified gurus. If we
display strenuous effort in our practices, we can definitely achieve
enlightenment, like our predecessors. For those who only wish to
take the essence of the middle scope for human life, the purpose of
practice is to achieve personal liberation from suffering in the
samsara through three kinds of higher training, namely, morality,
concentration and wisdom. If we cannot do that, at least we should
aim at achieving higher rebirths in future life times. For
practitioners of this lower scope, they have to create necessary
causes and conditions for the future life to definitely meet pure
Dharma through fully qualified gurus. As Nagarjuna said that prior
to achieving buddhahood, one must achieve higher rebirth endowed
with eighteen qualities - the perfect basis to achieve
enlightenment. So we should spare no time in this life creating the
causes and conditions to vouchsafe a perfect human rebirth in the
coming life times. With such an aim in mind, one must keep the vows
pure, coupled with practices of generosity and supplemented with
pure stainless prayers. This done, there will be no qualms about
good rebirths in future. Keeping pure vow protects one from falling
into lower realms. If that is protected then the only other choice
is higher rebirths as the glorious Chandra Kriti said, "The cause of
higher rebirth is none other than pure, moral conduct."
if we practise the six perfections in particular the perfection of
generosity, we will not face any hardship in our daily livelihood.
Our material needs in our day-to-day living will be taken good care
of while practising dharma. As Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said
"Generosity results in wealth, whereas pure moral conduct results in
Chandar Kirti also said that practising patience results in
beauty, whereas the practice of wisdom results in a proper
understanding of the conditions that bind and drag one in Samsara
and those that liberate one from Samsara.
advice of Buddha's teaching after having taken refuge in the Dharma
is not to harm any sentient beings. Also it is said that harmony
among the Sangha is the sources of happiness. Here Sangha are
referred not only to the ordained monks alone. Rather, they also
comprise any sincere lay practitioners. If there is harmony, there
is happiness. And if there is sincerity, there is happiness among
dharma friends and practitioners. This is considered a sound basis
to cultivate and develop one's mind and life.
Therefore, a dharma centre like yours is very important and
precious. The purpose and aim of a dharma centre is to preserve and
spread the Buddha's teachings in order to benefit sentient beings
first and to eliminate sentient beings' suffering next. To realise
such an aim, we need a place to spread the teaching. So therefore, a
centre becomes very important for Dharma to exist and expand. It
will be a venue where the hub of multifarious dharma activities are
held. The way a centre works is markedly different from that of
other secular organisations in our society. For one thing, dharma
activities are run under different aims, procedures and formats. For
another, practitioners expect and receive different kinds of
benefits. It is no easy matter for any centres to survive within the
financial means as sponsors are few and far between. Crystal clear,
members in a centre, more often than not, have family obligations to
fulfil and a lot of mundane affairs to attend to. They have to
squeeze some time out of their tight schedule to work for the
centre. Be that as it may, members of your Centre think only about
the benefits of the Centre. They bear hardship stoically and I am
very happy to see that.
Conflicts of interests, differences in opinions, plus
dislikes and disharmony are common scenes in any normal
organisations. Personal interests and benefits reign supreme. Yet in
a dharma centre, the one and only one aim is to preserve and spread
Buddha's teaching to benefit all the sentient beings. I trust that
there aren't any conflicts of interests, in case there are, bear the
hardship and practise patience. Co-operation and harmony should top
the list of priorities in planning and administering centre
am very happy to know that you have bought a bigger centre. I am
sure the centre will be even more beneficial in the future to
sentient beings and Buddha's teaching.
I will pray for
Thank you all very much.
Teaching given in MBA in April