Last night the meditation group we had our last session with our visiting monk, Venerable Sangpo, before we go up to Nottingham and he opened up by asking us what the meaning of life was. ‘So you are starting with the easy questions’ chuckled a visitor to the group.
I remember reading Thomas Nagle’s The View from Nowhere with astonishment as he demonstrated that life is meaningless. I listened equally atonished last night as Sangpo showed how to make it meaningful.
He talked about how motivation is essential to living a meaningful life—by investing each of you actions with meaning your life become meaningful. Now it is not a case of just imposing whatever meaning takes your fancy, reality has to come into it. As we are trying to establish meaning, a subjective quality, we are looking for a subjective reality, and that is our desire for happiness. Of course all our happiness is interdependent according to Buddhism so we may as well say that the key is to establish happiness, and this is the motivation we should bring to all of our actions.
The bigger and the more universal the better–we want to establish perfect universal happiness, the Bodhisattva motivation. If we can find a way of perfecting this motivation in all we do then life will become perfectly meaningful.
(Warning I have mangled venerable Sangpo’s presentation for this posting. I take full responsibility for all the incoherence.)
If you start with a ‘view from nowhere’ where the mind has no reality then it ought not to be surprising that life should end up meaningless.