Who can practice the Dharma

Photo by Jonatan Pie on Unsplash

Dharma practice has been, is, and always will be the way. Even when the human species disappears, Dharma will remain the path to freedom for all species intelligent enough to understand it and put it into practice.

According to the Buddha, animals cannot practice Dharma because of their limited intelligence. They are unable to receive sophisticated teachings. Demons cannot practice it either because their suffering, which is infinitely greater than ours, does not allow them to receive Dharma teachings. Grieving ghosts also cannot practice Dharma because their hunger for happiness is insatiable, and this hopelessly distracts them from both receiving and practicing the Dharma.

Demigods like Thor, Tlaloc, Apollo, or Dionysus can receive and practice it, but their constant competition, fighting, envy, and power struggles distract them from practice. And Gods like Yahweh or Brahma can certainly receive and practice the Dharma, but they don’t do so because their existence is sublime. Therefore they do not see the need to liberate themselves through spiritual practice.

However, since they consider themselves existent, their paradises are impermanent. Therefore they are subject to endure (sooner or later) the loss of their kingdoms, domains, powers, and their very own existence. Hence they’ll reincarnate again. But according to the Buddha, it is possible that they no longer do so as Gods.

The human condition allows dharma practice (sometimes)

Some humans can practice the Dharma, and others cannot. Some have the causes and conditions (such as physical and mental health, shelter, food, and means of subsistence) to receive teachings. Still, due to distractions with mundane pleasures (money, travel, television, internet, video games, sex, food, material success, family, work, etc.), they cannot practice the Dharma.

Others lack such distractions. However, their mental health has deteriorated to being unable to receive teachings, much less put them to practice.

Others have the right mindset, focus, and access to the teachings, but they do not have a suitable teacher to guide them. Therefore, their practice is limited, and they often stagnate or miss the opportunity to practice altogether (life happens).

Practicing the Dharma is a privilege, but it is not acquired out of the blue

When you accumulate sufficient merit in previous lives, you’re born with the freedoms and advantages to practice the Dharma. You earn such merit when performing virtuous activities and producing beneficial results. These deeds can be things like helping other people, helping animals, generating prosperity to be generous, refraining from vices, or refraining from hurting others.

Still, many factors must be in our favor to properly receive and practice the Dharma. First, we must be in a place where it exists. Second, we need to find someone who teaches it correctly. Third, we must be somewhere free from adversities such as war or famine. And finally, we must be free from intellectual blindness.

If you are free from all these impediments and the freedom to practice is in your hands, not doing so is a severe mistake.

Dont’s say I didn’t warn you.

What the Dharma can do for you

If you let it, Dharma can rid you of your hell.

Before his enlightenment, Siddhartha wasn’t born in hell. I have no idea how much he suffered before he stopped being human. Still, I do know that something bothered him in the depths of his being, and nothing that his father gave him (palace, luxuries, women, art, delicacies, and all kinds of pleasures) got rid of his existential angst.

As the story tells us, the truth he discovered upon awakening, the Dharma, was the only thing that quenched the thirst that seemed insatiable.

Recognize the hell you’re going through

Dharma leads us to face our adversities. That is one of the first teachings the Buddha gave: recognize our condition as it is. Therefore, practicing the Dharma well is to know every corner of our desolation, misery, despair, anxiety, and impatience in detail.

This clarity dissolves mental forces that enslave you. Previously, one is prey to uncontrolled anger that wrecks everything. With Dharma, you begin to tame the rabid animal until you eventually put out the fire that burns everything it touches.

If you allow it, Dharma will work directly with the infections in your soul until it essentially transmutes their composition and generates pure nectar of wisdom from them.

Dharma reveals that your soul has never been an independent, permanent event

Such a revelation implies the end of your soul as you know it. It hints at the end of yourself entirely and forever. This ending is not a tragedy. On the contrary, it is total freedom. It is the selflessness that we urgently need as species.

Of course, this end means feeling grief, crying over our existence, letting go of everything we know and love. But what remains is an unborn nature; thus, it is deathless. It is the unconditioned immortality that never arose.

Our buddha nature is a transcendental super-intelligence that lacks the conditions to produce ego and therefore cannot be harmful even if it wants to.

This nature taught the Dharma 2,600 years ago through Siddhartha’s body and is known today as the Buddha. But this nature did not disappear when Siddhartha’s body passed away. Since this nature is not born, it does not die either. For the same reason, it is here and will continue forever.