The Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind: Part Four: Precious Human Birth
One of the many things I love about Buddhism is how all the concepts are explained in a very understandable way so that the philosophy makes good intuitive sense. The concept of Precious Human Birth refers to the fact that this particular Human Realm we are in is just right for developing an awareness of the nature of our mind. There are other realms, such as the Animal Realm or the Demi God realm which are not conducive to this understanding.
Understanding the nature of our mind requires the intellect that we have and also it requires the capacity for compassion. These two very human qualities enable us the ability to achieve our understanding of the nature of our mind if we are diligent in our practice. Since being in this Human Realm enables us to work on our own development, it is important to contemplate this with a sense of deep gratitude.
An attitude of gratitude enables us to use this Human Realm to the fullest. If we are lost in samsaric depression or worry, we are unable to experience this gratitude. Gratitude is one of the paths to happiness. It is not enough to say you should be grateful to be human as a form of dogma. The explanation of why we are so fortunate to be human naturally gives rise to this gratitude. When we are in cyclic ennui, if we are diligent in contemplating the Four thoughts that turn the mind, we can snap back into gratitude with more ease than if we did not have this awareness.
In regard to addictions, gratitude and drunkenness cannot coincide. Relapse usually comes in a period of darkness of the soul, or mindlessness. This is why the program of Alcoholics Anonymous was developed. It provides a recipe for our development which enables us to remain mindful and for the most part happy. The 12 steps and Buddhism are so very compatible with each other. The 12 Steps promote a spiritual way of life and Buddhism is one way to live the spiritual life.
To review: The Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind
Impermanence Suffering Karma Precious Human Birth
Contemplate these in order to find peace and happiness.