We must never forget that it is through our actions, words, and thoughts that we have a choice. And if we choose to do so, we can put an end to suffering and the causes of suffering, and help our true potential, our buddha nature, to awaken in us. Until this buddha nature is completely awakened and we are freed from our ignorance and merge with the deathless, enlightened mind, there can be no end to the round of life and death. So, the teachings tell us, if we do not assume the fullest possible responsibility for ourselves now in this life, our suffering will go on not only for a few lives but for thousands of lives.

It is this sobering knowledge that makes Buddhists consider that future lives are more important even than this one, because there are many more that await us in the future. This long-term vision governs how they live. They know if we were to sacrifice the whole of eternity for this life, it would be like spending our entire life savings on one drink, madly ignoring the consequences.