Reply To: sutta, literal or figurative meaning

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“The chance of one of these beings being born in the human kingdom is negligible, immensely less…”

Yes, Lvalio, but oetb starts off the other way around: “those who depart from the human realm..”

I wonder now which of the two is less likely! A human not taking birth in the apayas, or a being in the apayas attaining human birth?

I have done such calculations myself based on the Buddha’s analogies about the rarity of a human birth and the length of an aeon, for instance. The estimates come remarkably close to what we would call acceptable, even from the scientific point of view. I will not bother you with the math; the important take from all that is to be ever ‘awake to the fact’ that we are living a very rare moment indeed:

– The appearance of a Buddha is very rare. (In a mahakappa with 5 Buddhas like this one, the interval could well be as ‘short’ as a billion years. But in most mahakappas by far there are none; the latest two ‘voids’ have been of 30 and of 60 mahakappas.

– Being born human is VERY rare. (accurate estimates aside!)

– An Ariya teaching the Dhamma is very rare.

– One who listens to the Dhamma, understands it and strives to apply it is very rare.

– Feeling and expressing gratitude for that is very rare.

Now multiply the odds. A very rare MOMENT indeed.