Human birth is favored by nature. We are born with intellectual astuteness and the physical warewithal to explore, ponder, and contemplate the mysteries of the universe.
While other egocentric beings are caught in the web of time/causality and are limited by their mental faculties, we have both the inclination and apparatus (the human nervous system) to understand and stretch our lives toward the infinite.
As politicians and ecologists debate the Earth’s ability to support the current (7 billion) human inhabitants, an important consideration if often missed. At no time in the recorded history of the human race has the potential for development of consciousness been so favored, or been so great.
Every day is an opportunity to meditate, and transcend suffering and egocentric induced limitation.
Buddhist theology enumerates that there are 31 levels of creation.
The Formless Realms (arupa-loka)
31. Sphere of Neither perception nor non-perception
30. Sphere of Nothingness
29. Sphere of Infinite Consciousness
28. Sphere of Infinite Space
The Form Realms (rupa-loka)
27. Peerless devas
26. Clear sighted devas
25. Beautiful devas
24. Untroubled devas
23. Durable devas
22. Mindless devas
21. Very Fruitful devas
20. Devas of Radiant Glory
19. Devas of Unbounded Glory
18. Devas of Limited Glory
17. Devas of Streaming Radiance
16. Devas of Unbounded Radiance
15. Devas of Limited Radiance
14. Great Brahmas
13. Ministers of Brahma
12. Retinue of Brahma
The Sensual World (kama-loka)
11. Devas Wielding Power Over the Creation of Others
10. Devas Delighting in Creation
9. Contented devas
8. Yama devas
7. The Thirty Three Gods
6. Devas of the Four Great Kings
5. Human Beings
3. Hungry Ghosts
Now at first glance it’s easy to think that since Human Beings occupy the 5th of 31 planes (in the 16th percentile) we are very low on the evolutionary ladder. However, in reality we are in the middle. We straddle between the physical plane and all of the higher mental planes. As such, all realms of creation are available to us.
It has been said in the scriptures (Theravada Buddhist Pali Canon and others) that the higher beings (devas) are so enthralled by the beauty and splendor of those worlds, that they do not even contemplate enlightenment. They are just not interested.
Our unique sensitivity to pleasure and pain, and our ability to develop virtue and wisdom to the degree necessary to set ourselves free from all kingdoms (time/space/causality), make human birth rare and cherished.
After years of following the footsteps of suffering and the false hopes of finding permanent happiness in this physical realm, we learn to turn within and develop our faculties to their fullest extent.
Other theological and philosophical systems have (more or less) than 31 delineated categories of life. Some divide that spectrum to include both the animate and inanimate expressions of nature. But in each of those systems, humanity straddles the unique position of developing the full outer value of life (physical) and the full inner value of life (bliss consciousness).
Our sense of limitation (ego) and access to all levels of mind (chit) propels us toward enlightenment.
Just looking at numbers the human race is dwarfed by our multifarious world and universe.
1) How many atoms (the building blocks of matter) are there in the Universe?
A recent calculated estimate gives the number of atoms in the observable universe to be close to 1080.
That is …
100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 … atoms.
2) How many stars are there in the Universe?
The observable universe contains about 1 septillion (1024 ) stars organized into more than 80 billion galaxies, which themselves form clusters and super clusters.
That is …
1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 … stars.
3) What is the size of the observable Universe?
The diameter of the observable universe is estimated to be about 28 billion parsecs (92 billion light-years), putting the edge of the observable universe at about 46–47 billion light-years away.
That is …
47,000,000,000 … light years OR
4,465,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 … kilometers OR
2,763,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 … miles.
4) How many plants are there on the Earth today?
Scientists have found approximately 250,000 different types of plants (not including fungi, algae – seaweeds and cutivars).
Creepers and Climbers
Flowering and Ornamental Tree
5) How many insects are there on the Earth today?
There are 900,000 different kinds of living insects.
At any one time, it is estimated that there are some 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) individual insects alive.
6) How many reptiles are there on the Earth today?
There are about 9000 species of reptiles on Earth.
The species are grouped into the following orders:
• Order Squamata Lizards and Snakes
• Order Chelonia/Testudines Tortoises and Turtles
• Order Crocodylia Crocodiles
• Order Rhyncocephalia Tuataras (of which there are only 2 species)
7) How many birds are there on the Earth today?
Estimates indicate that there are about 100 billion birds living today on the Earth (re: Cornell University).
8.) How many fish are there on the Earth today?
The first global census of marine life logged 230,000 different species. There are billions upon billions of fish in the world’s oceans, lakes, and rivers.
9) How many animals are there on the Earth today?
Scientists who study animal life are called zoologists. They have recorded 6,000 species of reptiles, 1,000 species of amphibians, and 15,000 species of mammals.
These daunting numbers do indeed highlight how rare human birth is.
10) How many human beings have ever lived on the Earth?
It is estimated that 108 billion people have lived and died on the Earth. The human population
• around 8,000 BC was about 5-million;
• around 1 AD was about 300-million;
• around 1750 was about 795-million;
• around 1900 was around 1.6-billion;
• and in 2012 will be over 7-billion people.
(For Theosophical fans, if you subscribe to this teaching, the Earth is currently in the 4th round of 7, and humanity in the 5th stage of 7 of evolutionary development).
11) What is the current Human population on the Earth?
7 billion people and counting – 7,000,000,000
Of all individual expressions of the divine (ego-based creatures) in the World and Universe, humanity has the most promise.
Anchored in the physical realm, with ample mental capacity to explore and become aware of all levels of consciousness, we can and do reach for enlightenment – the pinnacle of evolution.
We enjoy and suffer according to our destiny. So set your own course for spiritual development and rise beyond fate.
For those wanting to go beyond the temporal sadness and happiness that current life may be offering you, close your eyes and meditate to break that cycle.
Human birth is rare. Cherish every minute since it cannot be replaced. Set yourself on the pathway toward permanent bliss consciousness and enchantment.