The Purpose of Life

By HH the Dalai Lama


Question: How does one develop the will to do what is good and virtuous?

Answer: This topic is also connected with ways to develop inner strength. Another technique is to investigate, 'What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of money? What is the meaning of body?' Investigate more; think more. Then, you will develop conviction that all these physical things, as well as your life, have an end. There is a point at which they give you sadness. Money, wealth, or fame - if you think deeply - ultimately do not afford permanent happiness and thus are not worthy of being sought as the final object of attainment.

Nirvana may be the final object of attainment, but at the moment, it is difficult to reach. Thus, the practical and realistic aim is compassion, a warm heart, serving other people, helping others, respecting others, being less selfish. By practising these, you can gain benefit and happiness that remain longer. If you investigate the purpose of life and, with the motivation that results from this inquiry, develop a good heart, compassion and love - using your whole life this way, then each day will become useful and meaningful. I think that this is the main method to develop will.


This teaching is an excerpt from The Dalai Lama at Harvard, and is available from Wisdom Publications, Inc., the FPMT publishing company, and can be found at many good bookshops. Amazon can get them too
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