Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Meaning Of Life

DHS 90/100

I love the Dalai Lama's teachings, don't get me wrong. I own a lot of his books a great many of his CDs, and a half dozen videos of him teaching. In addition, i have been working, albeit very slowly, through the FPMT correspondence course on Tibetan Buddhism called Discovering Buddhism to learn how the Tibetan flavor differs from the Zen flavor i typically keep stocked in the cupboards here at home. I think he is perhaps one of the worlds greatest role models and the world would be a vastly better place if more people modeled their attitudes and approach to life on his.

However, having said that, i have always been a little put off by his assertion that the meaning and purpose of life is simply to be happy. At a gut level i have never been able to accept that. I can't say exactly why i think it's wrong, but fundamentally i think there needs to be more. I ran across this quote online and it's nice to see that others agree with me. I wish i could have said it as well as Mr. Rosten:

I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be “happy”. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be honorable, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter: to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.

Leo C. Rosten

Reminds me of that quote so often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson (although some disagree). In it, he offers his definition of Success:

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

Either of these two quotes is definitely something i can agree with and accept as a meaningful way to live my life. Now all i have to do is figure out how get myself to implement them.

This is not success
This is only who you are
Give up on half truths

No comments: