Theme of Summer Camp 2013 at Chuang Yen Monastery:
It is Extraordinary to be a Human
The Buddhist cosmology is intriguingly complicated and vast. According to the Buddhist understanding of the universe, it Comprises of heavenly beings dwelling in different levels of heaven, sentient beings such as different human races, various types of beasts and insects from animal kingdoms, hungry ghosts on this very Earth. In addition, our universe also comprises of other types of existence, for example hell realms, which perhaps sound horrific but yet unfortunate to those who were born there. No matter whatever reason these realms are mentioned, it is beyond doubt that the Buddha regards human as the most important one among them. One of the examples can be found in Samyuktagama, the Buddha once asked the monks, there was a blind turtle in an ocean as vast as the surface of Earth. This blind turtle only swam at the surface of the ocean and extended his head above the surface of ocean once in hundred years. What was the odd that its head happened to go through a hole on a rotten wood plank flowing by? The odd was very minimal. Hence the Buddha told Ananda, his attendant that the ignorant beings who wandered in the five realms of existence, the chance of them being born as a human is very rare. From this simile, we have learned that it is certainly hard to be born as a human and our lives slip by quickly. We not only have to cherish this human body but also take the opportunity to comprehend the Buddhist teaching which is beneficial and true. One ought to strive towards a better life.
Today we have such a good opportunity to be born as a human, and also we are lucky to have the chance to meet and learn the dharma together. It might not be wise to loiter and to live a life without meaning.
One should not waste the good opportunity being a human and harm oneself and the others.