Who can practice the Dharma

Photo by Jonatan Pie on Unsplash

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“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.”

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