Posted by Sergio (220.127.116.11) on September 29, 2000 at 07:45:22:
In Reply to: rebirth posted by Bart on September 29, 2000 at 05:25:40:
: Concerning rebirth
: rebirth ceeps on happening until somebody achieves
: Why try to achieve enlightenment if one knows that then the process of rebirth ends ?
: Isn't is much nicer to be reborn for ever ?
This is material very hard to digest for westerns as us, because the topic of reborn is not inherent to our cultures as the topic of God for example.
In a few words, the comment you just make describes someone that under the Buddhist perspective is in love of the pleasures of samara, and this person is not aware or doesnít believe in rebirth or in lower realms. You must be from a rich country.
Of course that under the Buddhist perspective you will not always have an existence as lucky as this. If you donít generate tendencies to enlightenment or at least altruistic tendencies, you will reborn soon or later in lower realms, as a paranoid being, a hungry ghost or an animal. If it is hard for you to contemplate the idea of paranoid beings or hungry ghosts, which existence are of permanent suffering for millions of earth-years, then contemplate an animal. The jewel ornament of liberation says:
ďMost beings in samsara are animals. Most animals live in the seas. There are uncountable animals in the seas, in this and in other worlds, and once a being reborn as animal, it will be a predator and a victim. And because it just lives to kill and eat its victims, it creates the karma to reborn as animal again and be food for others. Because they canít generate positive actions because they are so stupid that they just follow their instincts, these beings have had this existence since millions of kalpas and most of them will never be able to escape from this existenceĒ.
If it is still hard to you to think you can reborn as animal some day, then think that there are a lot of people which have this kind if existence. They just live to eat, have sex and defecate. Most humans are just trying to subsist, as in the poor countries (which are most counties in the world). Their life is like that of an animal. They are like dogs trying to find food in the street. Do you want to have such kind of existence as human?.
Why do you think you will always reborn as human and as a human with good conditions?.
It is said that one most think which is the probability to born as human in this planet. Are there more animals than humans?. How many ants are there on earth? In one mile you can find more ants than humans on earth. What about the seas?.
So probabilistically, to born as human is very rare. And to born as a human with descent conditions, is also very rare. And to be a human with contact with a spiritual tradition which develops your mind as Buddhism, is extremely difficult. And only a human being can work to enlightenment. An animal canít because itís very stupid, paranoid beings and hungry ghosts are suffering so much that they canít do it either. Powerful deities canít do it because they are experiencing deep pleasures (they will reborn in inferior existences afterwards). Only a human being can work toward enlightenment because his suffering and happiness is balanced, and he is smart enough to understand the teachings and practice them. His suffering allows him to destroy arrogance, get a sense of sadness to samsara, avoid evil deeds and generate compassion. His happiness allows him to work toward enlightenment.
So to be born as human is known in Buddhism as a precious human life. It is precious because it is extremely difficult to obtain, and because it is of a great benefit (you can get enlightenment). And it is also very easy to lose, because in an instant you can die. As Gampopa used to say: tomorrow or my next life, I donít know which is first.
You get it?
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