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The Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind From Samsara

The Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind From Samsara

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The four thoughts were not simply "invented" by somebody in order to deceive you. They are authentic, completely true, and were taught by the Buddha Shakyamuni. Fundamental Ground of all Buddha Dharma.
The four thoughts were not simply "invented" by somebody in order to deceive you. They are authentic, completely true, and were taught by the Buddha Shakyamuni. Fundamental Ground of all Buddha Dharma.

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Published by: Zdzislaw Richard Zmijewski on Feb 28, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Four Thoughts That Turn The Mind From Samsara
by Lopon Tsechu RinpocheEvery dharma practice is preceded by certain preparations that serve as a solidbasis for correct practice. These preparations are divided into two kinds: thegeneral and the special. The "four thoughts which turn the mind from samsara"belong to the general, or ordinary, preparations.What does this mean to turn the mind from samsara? It means freeing oneself of every attachment to life in the three realms of samsara. The fourthoughts, the fourgeneral preparations, allow us to develop this freedom, as we reflect in turn uponthe precious human birth, impermanence, karma, and the sufferings of samsara.
The Precious Human Body
One speaks of the "precious human body," referring to the preciousness of a humanexistence, which is very difficult to obtain. It is valuable because it is endowed withcertain freedoms and abilities. Its preciousness is described through three aspects:by comparison with the greater situation, through numerical comparisons, andthrough analogy.The first of these aspects describes the so-called "freedoms" which characterize theprecious human birth. A human birth is valuable because one has managed to avoidcertain other kinds of rebirth, which would confront one with situations completelydifferent from those found in the human realm. Eight different kinds of existenceare spoken of here:
1-Birth in the paranoia states where one constantly experiences thesuffering of extreme heat and cold.
2-Birth inthe hungry ghost realms where one constantly experiences thesuffering of hunger and thirst.
3-Animal birth, where beings have the experience of being huntedand oppressed, of constantly eating each other and being misused.
4-Birth in uncivilized lands, where one has no opportunity of learningsomething leading to a positive path.
5-Birth as a god, especially a god with a very long life. As a result of earlierpositive acts a god with longevity experiences happiness and joy during hislife. However, experiencing the results of positive karma in this way meansthat this karma will eventually be exhausted. After their long lives thesegodsare reborn in lower and very painful states.
6-Life as a being with mental disability, where one can neither understandthe meaning of the dharma, nor practice it.
7-Life with incorrect views when one automatically tends toaccumulatenegative actions, and therefore the causes of future suffering.
8-Birth in a time when no Buddha appears, when there are no Buddhistteachings, and therefore one receives no help to free oneself from thesuffering of samsara.In these eight kinds of existence, one experiences only suffering. One has noexperience of freedom in the sense of being able to practice the dharma.Having a precious human body means that one has not only avoidedthese types of existence, but one is also equipped with certain capabilities. Here, ten aspects aredescribed. Five of these concern us directly.
1-One was born in a human body.
2-One was born in aregion in which the Buddha's teachings are accessible.
3-One has intact sensory organs.
4-One does not have false views.
5-One has a natural trust in the dharma.The five further aspects have more to do with our surroundings, our outerenvironment:
1-One was born in the times when a Buddha has appeared.
2-This Buddha has given teachings-something we should not take forgranted, since not all Buddhas necessarily give teachings.
3-These teachings, if given in the past, have been preserved and are stillaccessible.
4-One grasps and practices these teachings-a very personal condition,despite being listed with the external aspects. If one finds oneself in theexcellent situation described, but does not practice, then having access tothe teachings does not really do much good.
5-One must also have a good heart, and a naturally loving dispositiontowards other beings-again, a very personal aspect.

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