This is an image that has inspired me for over two decades. It never fails to make me stop and pause to consider where I'm devoting my time and energy, and remember the precious opportunity of this life:
Imagine a blind turtle, roaming the depths of an ocean the size of the universe. Up above floats a wooden ring, tossed to and fro on the waves. Every hundred years the turtle comes, once, to the surface. To be born a human being is said by Buddhists to be more difficult than for the turtle to surface accidentally with its head poking through the wooden ring. And even among those who have a human birth, it is said, those who have the great fortune to make a connection with the teachings are rare; and those who really take them to heart and embody them in their actions even rarer, as rare, in fact, 'as stars in broad daylight'.”
The Majjhima Nikaya
The Majjhima Nikaya is a Buddhist scripture composed between 3rd century BCE - 2nd century CE. It consists of 152 discourses attributed to the Buddha and his chief disciples. This translation comes from Sogyal Rinpoche's The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.