Although I have won these freedoms, I am poor in Dharma,
which is their essence.
Although I have entered the Dharma,
I waste time doing other things.
Bless me and foolish beings like me
That we may attain the very essence
of the freedoms and advantages.
This life of ours presents us with great opportunity, but it is how we use that opportunity that determines whether it is meaningful. The Buddha called a human life 'precious' only when it was endowed with all aspects of the freedoms and advantages. As long as those freedoms and advantages are incomplete no amount of knoweldge or talent will make it meaningful.
___ Freedom from birth in a hell realm where beings have no opportunity to
practice the Dharma because they are constantly tormented by intense suffering.
___ Freedom from birth in the hungry ghost realm where beings have no opportunity
to practice the Dharma because they experience overwhelming hunger and thirst.
___ Freedom from birth in the animal realm where beings have no opportunity to
practice the Dharma because they suffer slavery and continuous attacks and abuse.
___ Freedom from birth in the god realms where beings have no opportunity to
practice the Dharma because they spend their time in blank mental states.
___ Freedom from being born in foreign countries where the teachings of the Buddha are unknown.
___ Freedom from wrong views where there is no opportunity to practice the Dharma
because their minds are so influenced by mistaken beliefs.
___ Freedom from birth in a dark kalpa where beings never hear of the Dharma and cannot
distinguish good actions from bad.
___ Free from being born with incomplete faculties that prevents beings from properly
learning, comprehending and practicing the teachings.
Five Individual Advantages
___ The advantage of support. You were born with a human body.
___ The advantage of place. You were born in a region where the Dharma can be heard.
___ The advantage of sense faculties. You are free from disabilities that serve as a hindrance
to hearing and practicing the Dharma.
___ The advantage of intention. You wish to do positive actions and are free from a conflicting
lifestyle immersed in negativity.
___ The advantage of faith. You have the ability to turn your mind to the Dharma.
Five Circumstantial Advantages
___ The advantage of a teacher. A Buddha has appeared in this world.
___ The advantage of the teaching. The Buddha turned the Wheel of Dharma.
___ The advantage of time. The teaching has remained until the present period.
___ The advantage of your own good fortune. You can take up the Dharma.
___ The advantage of extraordinary compassion. You have met a Spiritual Friend you can
teach you what the Dharma is really about.
Eight Intrusive Circumstances that leave no freedom to practice
___ Strong negative emotions. If anger, desire, jealousy and other negative emotions are
too strong they dominate the mind and leave no opportunity for practice.
___ Very ignorant being. Those who lack the slightest glimmer of intelligence are unable
to understand a single word of the teachings or its meaning.
___ Dominated by negative influences. Those who take imposters as their spiritual friends
suffer from wrong views and practice in a perverted manner.
___ Excessive laziness. Those who lack even a trace of diligence will never accomplish
anything because they are so ensnared in their own indolence and procrastination.
___ A backlog of negative actions. Those who practice the Dharma but do not develop any
positive qualities because of a long history of negative actions and end up losing
confidence in the teachings without realizing that it is all due to their past actions.
___ Slaves who have lost their autonomy and have no time to practice.
___ Fear for this present life's dangers and resources. Those who practice the Dharma but
without conviction give themselves up to old habits and non-Dharma activities.
___ A hypocritical practitioner who tries to win possessions, services and prestige. In the
midst of others they assume the guise of a practitioner but in their own minds they are
only interested in this life and the eight worldly concerns.
Eight Incompatible Propensities that leave no freedom to practice
___ Being tightly bound to your wealth, commitments, pleasures, family and so forth
such that there is no time to practice.
___ Those who lack any respect or have a depraved character.
___ Those who have no regard for lower rebirths, the sufferings experienced in samsara and
has no determination to strive for freedom and thus no reason to practice.
___ Those who have no confidence in the teacher or the Dharma and thus no entry point
to the path of liberation.
___ Those who take pleasure in negative actions and fail to control their thoughts, words and
___ Those who have no regard for spiritual values and experience no enthusiasm for Dharma.
___ Those who break their vows and commitment to developing bodhicitta.
___ Those who break their commitments with the spiritual friend and sangha destroy any
prospect of accomplishments.
Do you have the eight freedoms and ten advantages? Are you really free from lower rebirths, even in this present life? Are you free from the sixteen factors that leave no room in your life to practice Dharma? Use this checklist to remind yourself of what you have gained in this life and if you find that aspects are missing strive diligently until they are complete.