2. Reflecting on the Ten Particular Advantages Related to Dharma
Longchen Nyingtik Meditation 2
Take refuge and arouse bodhichitta.
The Main Part
Contemplate the ten advantages, that is, the five individual advantages and five circumstantial advantages.
The so-called individual advantages pertain to personal factors conducive for Dharma practice. Specifically, they are:
- Born a human
Without being born a human, one would be incapable of practicing the Dharma. At present you have already obtained a human body. This is something to rejoice over.
- Possessing complete sense faculties
Although you have obtained a human body, if your sense faculties are incomplete or unhealthy, especially if you suffer from a mental dysfunction such as dementia or insanity, then it is impossible for you to practice the Dharma, no matter how supreme it is. At present your six sense faculties are complete, so you are free from this impediment.
- Born in a central Buddhist region
Although you have all your senses, if you were born in a land where the Dharma is unavailable, you would have no chance to receive teachings. Since you were born in a central region where the Dharma is flourishing, complete with the Dharma of transmission and the Dharma of realization, this is not a concern.
- Without a conflicting lifestyle
Although you were born in a central region, should you enter a wrong path with your mind sullied by mistaken views, you wouldn’t be inclined to practice virtue. At present your life does not run contrary to the Dharma and you abide by the law of cause and effect—thus a reason for cheer.
- Have faith in the Dharma
Although you are not living an unethical life, if you don’t have faith in the Buddhist doctrine, then practicing the Dharma is out of the question. However, now that you have aroused faith in Buddhism and turned your mind toward the Dharma, you’re ready to put it into practice.
These five factors are called the five individual advantages. To become familiar with them, first read the book and commit the text to memory—to be born a human, in a central place, with all one’s faculties, without a conflicting lifestyle, and with faith in the Dharma. Then, close the book and reflect on them in your mind, one by one, until you genuinely feel this: “In regard to personal factors, I truly have great advantages in this life. Otherwise, I could have been born mute or not born a human at all. Should that have been the case, how could I ever get a chance to follow the Dharma path?” With such deliberation, you are sure to feel joyful about your good fortune.
The so-called five circumstantial advantages are factors for practicing the Dharma that are dependent upon circumstances other than one’s own. Specifically, they are:
- A buddha has appeared
If a buddha had not appeared in this world, there would be no way to come across the Dharma. However, you are now living in an era during which Buddha Shakyamuni has come, so you have the first circumstantial advantage.
- A buddha has preached the Dharma
Although a buddha has come to this world, if he had not taught the Dharma, no one would benefit. But since Buddha Shakyamuni has turned the Wheel of Dharma three times, you possess the second circumstantial advantage.
- The buddha’s teachings still exist
Although a buddha has taught, if his doctrine had died out, it wouldn’t serve any purpose to beings. But at present Buddha Shakyamuni’s doctrine is still thriving without fading away. Therefore, you have the third circumstantial advantage.
- The Dharma can still be followed
Although the Buddha’s teachings still exist, unless you follow them, they are of no benefit to you. Now that you have already entered the Buddhist path, you have this fourth advantage.
- Being accepted by qualified teachers
Although you have taken up the Dharma, if qualified teachers had not accepted you, you wouldn’t have any idea about the profound Dharma. However, at present you are under the care of qualified teachers of wisdom and compassion, so you have the fifth circumstantial advantage.
A buddha has appeared and has taught the Dharma, his teachings still exist and can be followed, and there are Dharma teachers who are kindhearted toward students. These five are called the five circumstantial advantages. Since you are missing none of them, you must be extremely happy!
Next, think: Now that I have in my possession the ten advantages, I must strive to practice the Dharma persistently in order to make my precious human existence most meaningful.
Dedicate all the merit of your practice to all sentient beings.