June 9 : The Meaning of Our Lives

Look at our precious human life. Look at how we have human intelligence, and how spectacular it is if we direct it in a valuable way. If we do not ethically direct our human intelligence, then we become worse than animals. Animals will only kill and harm others if they are threatened. Human beings do it for fun, for sport, for power, and for no good reason at all. Animals would never harm others the way human beings do.

If we really value our human intelligence, then we must look at how we are using it. What causes am I creating? What happens if I do not have this human intelligence? What can I do then? What happens if I were severely impaired physically or mentally, such that I cannot understand the Dharma? What happens if my mind were so rigid in my preconceptions that whenever I hear Dharma teachings, I reject them straightaway because they are not aligned with my opinions? All these conditions bring big problems for us.

Then contemplate this: What do you think will happen if we have deep spiritual yearning but lived in a world in which the Buddha had not appeared, and there were no teachings? Or a world in which there is no Sangha community, no scriptures, and no teachers? You have this very fervent spiritual longing, and although you have all the other conditions for a good life, you cannot encounter a path that makes sense to you. Or what happens if we were born as a person with no spiritual interest at all but focused completely on making money, being famous, and having a good sex life? What happens if those are the goals of our lives and we spend our whole life chasing after these without any thought for the happiness of others, or our future lives?

Contemplate the circumstances of our lives, and how easily they could have been something different. If I had been born as my parents, I would not be sitting here right now because they had a whole different way of thinking and whole different goals in their lives.’

An awareness of our precious human life and the meaning that can be derived in terms of Dharma, completely revolutionises how we feel about being alive. If we understand it well, we will never ever get depressed again. When we get depressed, what are we thinking about? Ourselves and our present condition? Thinking about the precious human life and the meaning of our lives pulls us out of that. If we understand the meaning of our lives in this way, we will wake up every day feeling, “Wow! This is amazing. I’m so fortunate, and I can do so much.”

“365 Gems of Wisdom” e-book is out now!