Manapa wrote:Hi SO
While Phils quote on the surface seems more tibetan inspired it does have its basis in theravada texts (their is a thread asking about a quote from the suttas regarding this, I don't think any one has pin pointed where from though and I don't know exactly where myself).
If it was potential I would use it as a concept, and it is something mirrored within my current "philosophy", my life shows this in many, many ways and I am sure allot of others here at DW would of seen this also.
I came across that sutta today. (Samyutta Nikaya 56:48) Let me type out the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation. I love the imagery: "Bhikkhus, suppose that this great earth had become one mass of water, and a man would throw a yoke with a single hole upon it. An easterlywind would drive it westward; a westerly wind would drive it eastward; a northerly wind would drive it southward; a southernly wind would drive it northward. (Suppose) there was a blind turtle which would come to the surface once every hundred years. What do you think, bhikkhus, would that blind turtle, coming to the surface once every hundred years, insert its neck into that yoke with a single hole?"
"It would be by chance, venerable sir, that the blind turtle, coming to the surface once every hundred years, would insert its neck into that yoke with a single hole."
"So too, bikkhus, it is by chance (in a footnote BB makes it clear that this is rhetoric, of course such rebirth is due to conditions) that one obtains the human state; by chance that a Tathaagata, an Arahant, a Perfectly Enlightened One arises in the world; by chance that the Dhamma and Discipline proaclaimed by the Tathaagata shines in the world. You have obtained that human state, bhikkhus; a Tathaagata, an Arahant, a Perfectly Enlightened One has arisen in the world; the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by the Tathaagata shines in the world.
Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: 'This is suffering...An exertion should be made to understand: 'This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.'"
Now, we could say that the Buddha is speaking to bhikkhus in his immediate presence, so the fortuitousness (sp?) of their birth can't be compared to our own and it can certainly be shown that the truth of Dhamma doesn't shine as brightly in the world as it once did. Nevertheless, I think we who spend our time hanging out on these Dhamma sites (it feels obsessive sometimes, doesn't it?) can feel that our compulsion to get closer and closer to the Buddha's teaching represents a sign of very good fortune in rebirth, that there has been great kamma at work. I think we can feel very encouraged by this rare opportunity we have! And if we can help a few other minds wake up to the Dhamma that they were born with an opportunity to know, all the better. (easier said than done, people are always so tied up by questions about kamma and rebirth that one rarely gets further!)