The enlightened teaching of the supremely awakened ones is not merely a philosophy; rather, it is a practice, a blueprint for blissful living. Proper meditation (the art of meditating without meditating) is the only way to enlightenment and to achieve the goal of the Great Teaching. For this to happen, one has to practice diligently (e.g. through integration of the wisdom into ordinary life and great study). Meditation without study is useless; study without meditation is useless – that is, in brief, peerless commitment leads to peerless excellences. That genius is to be recognized as foremost who is endowed with peerless spirit (conception of the spirit of enlightenment) as seed, peerless wisdom as mother, the wealth of the stores of merit (and transcendent wisdom) as womb that nurtures, and peerless compassion as a gentle nurse that cares.
In the rounds of endless darkness (samsara) that beings go through, regardless of the plane they live and die in, the process of being reborn, getting old, sick, dying and being reborn again is tediously timeless. All beings undergo these processes many times in as many times as thousands of hundreds of years. One could have been born countless number of times in this great period (or even in this and millennium). In our repeated cycles or rebirth, many perfectly enlightened persons (Buddhas) have passed through, and we have sometimes met with such men and sometimes not. They are innumerable, sporadically distributed throughout the beginningless past. So lengthy a time and with so many opportunities, yet the greater number of humans have not awakened to the realities of the horrors of rebirths.
In their ignorance and delusion, human beings are unable to realize and remember any single vestige of the sufferings they had experienced in their previous existences, and in their deluded cravings for and clingings to sensuous pleasures (and pains) they are inevitably reborn to a world where their cravings, clingings and karma take them. They are slaves to the subtle tempest of cause-and-effect. As human beings, we are normally desirous of (unconsciously) doing unwholesome deeds rather than wholesome deeds, owing to the strong grip of spiritual sleep. When they are about to die, in the last death moment when they see that they are going to be reborn in one of the four woeful planes , only then are they repentant and pray to be reborn into the human world (and, if possible, with favorable conditions). That is then too late!
AN IMPORTANT PARABLE
The Buddha (and many other genuinely wise persons) had often said that to be reborn as a human being is a very rare feat. One of his disciples asked the Buddha how rare was the occasion, and to give an example for clarification, the Buddha said thus:
“My friends, suppose that this great Earth was covered with water and a man was to toss a yoke with a single therein. A wind from the East would push it West, a wind from the West would push it East; a wind from the North would push it South; a wind from the South would push it North. And suppose a blind sea-turtle were there- it would come to the surface once every one hundred years. Now, what do you think? Would that blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole?”
“It would be a sheer coincidence, Master,” answered the disciple, “that the blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, would stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole.”
The Buddha concludes:
It’s likewise a sheer coincidence that one obtains the human state. It’s likewise a sheer coincidence that a perfect Buddha, worthy and rightly self-awakened, arises in the modern world. It’s likewise a sheer coincidence that a teaching and practice expounded by a Buddha appear in the world. Now, this human state has been obtained. A Buddha (world teacher), worthy and self-awakened, has arisen in the world. A teaching and practice expounded by a Buddha (Maitreya) appears in the modern world. Therefore, your duty is to contemplate: This is stress… This is the origination of stress… This is the cessation of stress… This is the path of practice leading to the permanent cessation of stress…
Hence, it is the same in our repeated rebirths. The modern man thinks himself too sophisticated that he despises such wisdom as inapplicable to him. What a folly! These are universal immutable laws of nature that have been in existence from the beginningless time so they are above the petty arguments humans develop in their course of intellectual evolution. They transcend race, religion and all other human conditionings. We are ignorant and harbor many wrong views, and because of this we have all, throughout the non-definitive transmigrations, done many wrong and unwholesome deeds. In the many lives that we passed through, we are repeatedly reborn into this world where the strong destroys the weak and the intelligent despise the not-so-intelligent. The world we are all born is a very materialistic world and sensuous desires are very corrupting – and evil rules the better part of the world. So with regard to all these factors, the chances for that good soul who had gathered stores of merit in previous lives becomes increasingly threatened by deviation from their path to a HIGHER LIFE.