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Question: What is the purpose of life?
Answer: This question underlies our experience, whether we think about it consciously or not.
I have considered this question and would like to share my thoughts in the hope that they may be of direct, practical benefit.
I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. From the moment of birth, every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affect this.
From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. I don’t know whether the universe, with its countless galaxies, stars and planets, has a deeper meaning or not, but at the very least, it is clear that we humans who live on this earth face the task of making happy life for ourselves. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.
Question: How does one achieve happiness?
Answer: For a start, it is possible to divide every kind of happiness and suffering into two main categories: mental and physical. Of the two, it is the mind that exerts the greatest influence on most of us. Unless we are either gravely ill or deprived of basic necessities, our physical condition plays a secondary role in life. If the body is content, we virtually ignore it.
The mind, however, registers every event, no matter how small. Hence we should devote our most serious efforts to bringing about mental peace.
From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquillity comes from the development of love and compassion.
The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter.
It is the ultimate source of success in life.
As long as we live in this world we are bound to encounter problems. If, at such times, we lose hope and become discouraged, we diminish our ability to face difficulties. If, on the other hand, we remember that it is not just ourselves but everyone who has to undergo suffering, this more realistic perspective will increase our determination and capacity to overcome troubles.
Indeed, with this attitude, each new obstacle can be seen as yet another valuable opportunity to improve our mind!
Thus we can strive gradually to become more compassionate, that is we can develop both genuine sympathy for others’ suffering and the will to help remove their pain. As a result, our own serenity and inner strength will increase.
A recent Talk at Stanford University, USA October 2010
His Holiness said we are all same human being with everyone having the right to achieve a happy life. Historically, he said that in ancient time people had a strong sense of us and they and the feeling of independence. Subsequently, a new reality emerged and the concept of independence changed to one of interdependence.
He said genuine friendship on the basis of trust is a necessity now. Trust, he said, comes from transparency and honesty, and that the fundamental basis of survival was a compassionate motivation.