4 – The Thirty-Seven Practices of the Bodhisattvaby His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Bodhgaya 1974.
If one day goes, it’s a pity. If a month or a year is wasted, it’s much worse. Therefore checking up on oneself is important. If life would wait for us there would be no problem, but in fact it always races, and never lets us finish. If we make a good use of life, this is a great thing, otherwise it is wasted and runs away from us. “The three worlds are impermanent like an autumn cloud.” This being so, I do not need to repeat how beneficial and necessary Dharma practice is. Since we see it is worthwhile and necessary, if we spend time saying, “I will, I must practice Dharma”, and never put this into effect, then as Guru Rinpoche says, “Before the tomorrow of Dharma practice, the today of death may occur. Without deceiving yourself, therefore, to practice Dharma, start now.” Let us take my own case. If I say I have many things to do, so I’ll get around to it when I reach fifty, this is cheating myself.
So I must try, myself, not to postpone matters even for a second. If I do so it is my own fault, my weakness and my inability. Of course I cannot put 84,000 teachings into practice at once. Even someone like Nagarjuna did not practice the whole Dharma in one day. He started like ourselves, generated a will to practice and then advanced further, increasing his power and ability so that he became a great teacher. Without this effort the accomplishments of the great teachers would not have arisen spontaneously. We must give ourselves encouragement. As the Bodhicaryavatarasays, “Even flies and worms have within themselves the possibility of attaining buddhahood and one day will do so. So if I make an effort I will definitely attain buddhahood much faster.” If we think this way, it will act as a powerful encouragement. Continue reading