Lama Jampa Thaye on the Meaning of Life

LJT-STRL-June-2015-3 LT edExcellence Reporter: Lama Jampa, what is the meaning of life?

Lama Jampa Thaye: To begin with, we must acknowledge the wondrous opportunity afforded to us in our human life, where we have the space to determine our own fate for good or ill. Yet a moment’s further reflection will alert us to the fleeting nature of this positive circumstance, for impermanence is woven into the fabric of everything, including the very fact of our own human experience.

In the light of this knowledge we must use each day wisely and not fritter them away in pursuit of ephemeral distraction or temporarily fashionable ideology.

A person who wastes his or her life in that way is swept away by the flood of the disturbing emotions generated by self-indulgence and self-obsession. Left unchecked they trap us in the cycle of frustration and suffering, where the light of our capacity for goodness, kindness and wisdom grows dim.

If we can finally see how suffering arises in this way in our own lives, we should expand our vision to encompass the fact that suffering equally exists for all beings locked into the cycle of birth and death. Hence if we wish for freedom from suffering for ourselves, we must wish it for all.

In short, I cannot live or tread the spiritual path for myself alone but rather must engender in myself a sense of universal responsibility. If I have been imprisoned until now in a series of dreams, I must awaken from them in order to awaken others.

For whoever lives in this way the question of meaning of life is naturally answered.


~Lama Jampa Thaye is a scholar and meditation master trained in the Sakya and Karma Kagyu traditions of Buddhism. He became a student of Karma Thinley Rinpoche at the age of 20 and met His Holiness Sakya Trizin a year later. In 1977, Lama Jampa was appointed by Karma Thinley Rinpoche as his dharma-regent and subsequently in 1988 he was given the authority to carry out the activities of a lama, such as bestowing vajrayana initiations. Since then he has travelled extensively giving teachings and initiations in many countries.

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