The purpose of this meditation is to focus on the rareness of our human life and make the determination not to waste even a second.

I began by making the appropriate preparations and then considered how my life is rare. This seems to go against my normal view, because my life – my experience – is everything – it is all encompassing. My life is all I have ever known. It is everything I know. My life, my world, my experiences – they all seem anything but rare.

But when I think deeper, I can see that I only have this one life, with all its special freedoms and endowments. When this life is over, I cannot buy another one, no matter how great a capitalist economy may be. I cannot borrow one, or ask death for another one. It will be completely and utterly gone.

archery targetI don’t have many lives going on at the same time. In a laboratory, a scientist may have many parallel experiments under way, in the hope that while most may fail, one may succeed. I have only one experiment – and I have to make this one succeed.

In terms of my many lifetimes, this life is a tiny fraction of the time I have lived, and yet it is such a rare life in terms of the conditions I have. So many of the other lives have been spent wandering in spiritual darkness and meaningless suffering.

With all this in mind, I settled on the thought that I need to make this life  count, because I only have one shot at success – at Buddhahood. I focused on this feeling of only having one chance, and this resulted in the determination arising to make every moment count. I rested my mind on this determination for the rest of the meditation.


May all living beings recognise the rarity of their precious human life, and make the most of it while they have the chance.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will bear in mind the fact that when this life comes to an end, it will be over completely, and that I need to make every day – every moment – count.