Contemplate the importance and opportunity of having a precious human birth. We are very fortunate indeed to be born as human beings and to encounter the Dharma [spiritual teachings]. This human existence is invaluable, for we are endowed with the freedom and conditions necessary for practicing Dharma [spiritual teachings] and cultivating our spiritual development.  

We have the opportunity to accomplish something meaningful, rather than spending all of our time and energy pursuing the temporary, passing pleasures of this life. To have this precious opportunity and not use it wisely represents a great loss.  

We can use this precious human birth to attain enlightenment and bring great benefit and happiness to countless living beings. Contemplate and reflect deeply upon this precious human birth until the fortunate opportunity provided by this human existence, which should never be taken for granted or squandered, becomes clearly apparent.  

Our first thought, then, as we begin to practice, must be appreciation for our human birth. Think about those who have a human body but who are not gifted with conditions conducive to their spiritual development.

Contemplate those who attain a human birth but spend all of their time and energy on trivial, worldly pursuits or destroy their opportunity by harming others.  

Allow this contemplation to inspire within you the compassionate wish that all beings find liberation from spiritually impoverished circumstances.

Contemplate, “I have attained this extraordinary and precious human birth. This human birth I will use wisely for my own awakening and for the greatest benefit of all living beings.”

Source: Used with permission from Neil Cohen, Naljor Prison Dharma Service (

The above text was taken from the publication entitled “The Heart of Dharma Collection”.

Reflection: A Human Life Is Precious
Reflection: A human life has precious potential and we should not leave this life empty-handed.

[Photo credit: Eva Peck]