The Importance of a Human Birth

Lama has spoken to us about the importance of being born in the human realm. Unlike the animals, who act on conditioned response and instinct, as humans we have the opportunity to know the two truths – conventional reality and ultimate reality – the truth of our existence. As wisdom deepens, we are able to perceive that there is a distinction. For many – let alone animals – the world seems exactly as they perceive it, with no way to cut through the levels of deluded appearance.

As humans, what a precious opportunity we have, not just to make the most of our life but also to study and to come to a real understanding of the nature of the mind! We should do all we can in this precious rebirth to destroy the roots of suffering, one of which is deluded appearance. We need to consider how many exceptional causes and conditions are necessary to incline us to investigate the nature of our mind. We may not know the future of this life – let alone our future lives – so we need to appreciate how precious this time is.

Unlike the animal, we can make a conscious choice to purify our own karma in this lifetime. We make a choice when we act, or speak or even think that may sow the seeds of negative or positive karma (see the ten non-virtues). An animal simply acts – it has no real notion of introspection or consequences. We, however, can make a conscious choice at every moment. Just as cells in our body die and new ones are born, we are in a constant flux of never-ending change that carries on, rebirth after rebirth, until, realizing the true nature of mind, we are no longer carried along by the delusions of samsara and its suffering. Thus, this is our opportunity – existing in the human realm - to set this process in motion.

The Ten Non-Virtues

Of the body Of speech Of the mind
Killing Lying Covetousness
Stealing Divisive speech Harmful intent
Sexual misconduct Harsh words Wrong views
  Idle gossip  


The Noble Eightfold Path

  • Right speech
  • Right action
  • Right livelihood
  • Right effort
  • Right mindfulness
  • Right concentration
  • Right view
  • Right thought