摘要： Today the karma for our learning Buddhist teachings is extremely rare, extraordinary, and incredible.
We must utilize the leisurely human life to learn and practice Buddha Dharma. The reason why we often indulge in fantasies and fail to concentrate is that we do not realize the significance of the valuable life of leisure.
In The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, there are four metaphors highlighting such significance: “An insect worshipping, a cripple riding a wild horse, a Tibetan eating a fish, and a poor boy having Meiwu.” (Vol. 2)
“An insect worshipping” refers to an insect crawling out of the earth to worship the Buddha, which is as rare as the karmic condition that we escape the three Evil Paths, enter human world, and have the opportunity to listen to Buddha Dharma. This analogy indicates that today the karma for our learning Buddhist teachings is extremely rare, extraordinary, and incredible.
“A cripple riding a wild horse” refers to a cripple who accidentally fell off a cliff just in time to fall onto the back of a wild horse. He then travelled around on the wild horse and enjoyed his life. If we were this person, we would think: “I am crippled and unable to ride an ox, a goat, or a camel, but today I had a narrow escape from death and coincidently fell on a horse. Now, I can go places on the horse. I am really so lucky and so happy.” This story enlightens us to feel joyful and happy for the opportunity to listen to Buddha Dharma and treasure the present life of leisure.”
“A Tibetan eating a fish” is a story about an ancient Tibetan living in the rear area of Tibet. He got a fish, which he had never tasted in his life, from a person from the front area of Tibet. The fish was so delicious to him that he could not stop eating it. Soon it stuffed up to his throat, and he felt like regurgitating but still could not stop. What could he do? He tied his throat up with a cord. Another person asked him, “Why did you tie your throat up? That is very dangerous!” He replied, “The fish is so delicious that I am not willing to regurgitate it.” This metaphor tells us that we should have a sincere and strong desire for the Dharma.
Meiwu is a kind of high-grade Zanba, a traditional Tibetan pastry made from highland barley and butter. Poor people could hardly afford to eat it. A mother once obtained some Zanba and shared them with her son. When the son received one Zanba, he hid it behind his back with one hand and held out another hand for another one. At that moment, a dog happened to run out and carried off the Zanba with its mouth and ate it. The son burst into tears. His mother asked why he was crying, and he said, “Zanba is so delicious and hard to have. It is a great pity that my Zanba was eaten by the dog.” The story implies that we should not waste the life of leisure and opportunity. Once we lose this life, it will be too late for regrets.
The above words are what The Great Treatise means in the statement: “By thinking along these lines, we should develop the desire and intention to learn Buddha Dharma.” Our sincere desire for the Dharma and strong intention of learning should be equal to the worshipping insect, the cripple riding a wild horse, the Tibetan eating a fish, and the child holding Meiwu.