We finished the chapter on “Inconvenience” and started the last one, on the Four Reminders, the first one, specifically, that says:
First, contemplate the preciousness of being free and well favored. This is difficult to gain, easy to lose; now I must do something meaningful.
We spent a lot of time talking about what “precious human birth” means. We were reminded that traditional Buddhist teachings are foregrounded with the understanding that this life is only one in a probable succession,so we must use it wisely. Even leaving that aside, we do realize how “well-favored” we are, being able to do this work. We are intelligent; we have enough money to allow us some freedom of time to sit; we have the situation–the inherited qualities, the upbringing, perhaps–that predisposes us toward the practice.
We have “everything going for us,” as Pema says. We don’t have so much pleasure that we are lulled into ignorance. We aren’t suffering so much that we can’t think of sitting. We live without constant fear (well, not as much as in other places). Gratitude is a powerful tool.
We’re urged to work with our own fear, bewilderment, sense of inferiority, resentment–whatever we have, for ourselves, and as an inspiration to others.
Speaking of inspiration, the four-hour sitting is coming up next Sunday. Your presence there is a huge inspiration to the rest of us. Come sit, no matter how busy you are or how stressed you might feel. Stop. Look deeply into whatever is there.