How to Easily Waste Your Precious Human Life

Creative Commons License photo credit: Ivan-BC

Are you wasting your precious human life? Will you be happy in your old age because you have lead a full and meaningful life or will you be looking back bitter with regret? In this post I want to point out some sure-fire ways to waste your precious human life.

What is a precious human life?

The term ‘precious human life’ actually comes from the Hinayana Buddhist tradition. I will breifly explain what it means.

One of the first meditations you ever do when you become a buddhist is about realizing the opportunity you have in your current form. A buddhist believes that, depending on how you live your life, you can be born in any number of forms. For example, if you live a life of negativity you might be reborn as an animal next time round. Or, if you are a patient person in this life you will be very beautiful in your next life.

A precious human life, however, is something very special – something different. The buddhist masters say it is almost impossible to attain and once you have it you should not waste it because it is unlikely to come around again. Basically, a precious human life is where you attain a human body that is endowed with all the free and favourable conditions. These conditions include:

  • Living in a country where you are free to practice spirituality
  • Having all the human sense faculties
  • To be born where spiritual teachings have been taught
  • To be interested in those teachings
  • Etc.

Simply put, a precious human life is a life where you are interested in changing your mind and your situation. Many people go their whole human life never realizing that happines lies right in their own mind. They persue money and fame and nice cars and when they grow old they realize they still aren’t happy. How sad.

To give you an idea of how important this human life is to buddhists they often give you this illustration:

A turtle lives in the ocean and every 100 years he comes up for air. If that turtle was to rise for air and by chance put his head through a bucket that was floating on the surface it would be extremely rare. Attaining a precious human rebirth is even rarer than that.

How to easily waste your precious human life

Worrying about money

Creative Commons License photo credit: VOD Cars

The never ending quest to be financially secure will crush your chances of making something useful of your life. Imagine the horror of growing old and looking back and realizing you spent the better part of your life worrying about something that really was pointless. I think it would be quite difficult to bare.

Of course, you have to go to work, you have to pay the bills, you have to feed yourself. It is not the work I am talking about here. What I am referring to is the WORRY. The constant consuming mental habit of worrying about the future. It is pointless. And it leads me on to number two.

Working a job you hate
Almost as bad as spending your life worrying about money is working a daily job that you hate. I can’t think of anything worse!

The big question we need to ask ourselves is: is a job a means of earning money or should it be more than that? Should it be something we are passionate about or interested in? For me it is the latter. I would rather earn $10 an hour working in a job I loved than $500 an hour in a job I hate, a job which continually corrupts my character.

Spending your life concerned only for your own welfare
It sometimes really amazes me how people can go through an entire lifetime of 80-90 years and be only concerned with number one. I have seen it in a few of my relatives and it is really quite interesting to watch – their family dislikes them, they have no friends and they are on death’s door and yet they continue to look after only their own interests.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has a wonderful saying:

If you want others to be happy, practice compasson. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

I think he is right. A lifetime spent working for the benefit of others is a lifetime well spent. People who work in charity or nursing or healthcare sleep well at night and I am convinced they will be much more at ease when old age comes and death is near.

So the question is – how many of these are you doing?

13 thoughts on “How to Easily Waste Your Precious Human Life

  1. Thank you for this reminder. It’s so easy to take for granted all of the benefits we have around us.

    Speaking with an old friend this week I realized (yet again) how wonderful it is be able to work – and especially at something we’re generally well suited to and enjoy.

    For whatever reason, in this life at this time, one of the things I love most is to roll up my sleeves and get down to it.

  2. i think the universe is trying to tell me something lol. this is the second post i’ve read that is right on the money about where i am in life. and i’m hoping to change that very soon.

    great blog! i’ve been reading for several months now, but i think this is the first time i’ve commented. keep up the great work! if you don’t mind, i’ll be adding it to my blogroll.

  3. I love the lead photo. Stress, don’t stop. Wonderful.

    I had never heard of the idea of a precious life, but I’ve also never thought about its rarity. Ironically, I wouldn’t be surprised if most every person who reads this blog qualifies as one. It’s no wonder I (we) take it for granted most of the time.

    PS. I’d totally work for $500 an hour. I’m young, I’m flexible, I have enough years to earn back the karma lost 🙂

  4. Alec – Thanks for commenting. That is fantastic that you enjoy your work. It really does make a difference.

    hunny girl – Thanks for commenting for the first time! I’d love to see some more from you if you have been reading for so long. And I’d love to be added to your blogroll.

    Brice – Ah my old friend Brice… you are young and flexible but do you know when death will strike? That is the question…. 😉


  5. I worry too much… about everything, money included. I can’t decide if my life has turned out okay because I do so much worrying and working hard, or if it’s totally unnecessary.

    Either way, the worrying is taking up too much of my time. Only action counts. Thanks for the nudge!

  6. Sara – worry is something that I do to. It really is pointless though. Try to remember the great buddhist saying:

    “If the problem can be solved, why worry? If the problem cannot be solved, worrying will do no good.”


  7. look at all the people..WOW, early morning and none of them is smiling, infact have a very serious face with all of them looking down…either they are avoiding each other or they are so bogged down by the responsibilities and their own life.
    If only everyone remembers the child within, the child who finds joy in everything. Those who are in the picture are blessed (they are not even aware) to be living in developed world. Show them a movie of any underdeveloped country(of people from africa etc) and they will thank god and cherish life….

  8. Shivani – it is true. Sometimes showing people an underdeveloped country only serves to depress them though and does nothing to make them feel grateful. Then what do we do…?


  9. Dear TDM
    Every story needs to be followed by underlying message and lesson.
    it might completely leave them emotionless!!

    Purpose of action guides the result…what say?

  10. waiting for your next lesson.
    It reminded me a saying…goes somewhat like this…
    happiness is wanting what you have and not having what you want.
    Your emails keep the day alive and my mind working on better things.

  11. Shivani – I think you are right. However, I don’t think people are always ready for a lesson so you have to be extremely careful about how you do it. Perhaps leading by example is a better method?


  12. TDM
    You are right. And there will always be some percentage of people, who just dont want to learn or care…

    It is best to work with those people who want to learn and know how to care.
    The saying “why worry about something that cant be solved”, saves me from lots of unnecessary thinking. I am born with a thinking mind and sometimes i observe and think about every single small thing…gets really tiring..”
    so this saying has come as a blessing from god.
    When i worry about my MIL..i think of this saying and voila…i dont worry anymore, coz this problem cant be solved ;).
    We cant change them, so lets accept them.

  13. I love that other people feel like I do. Shivani – these are my sentiments EXACTLY. I see so many people everyday who I just want to shake and say “Wake up! Be alive.” It’s such a huge world, but people seem only to live in their tiny, boxed-in life – and unhappily at that. It starts to make me sad because some people don’t seem to realize that they can contribute so much to the happiness of others, if only they lived joyfully themselves. So as long as we do our part…

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