Nicolae Tanase: Andrew, what is the meaning of life?
Andrew Holecek: The meaning of life can be addressed from two perspectives: relative and absolute.
From an absolute perspective, there is no meaning. Life is just the radiance, the shine, the divine play of heart-mind, or spirit. There is no purpose, no teleology, no meaning. Just like colloquial play is defined by no purpose — that’s what makes it playful, you do it for the heck of it — the cosmos simply expresses itself as the infinite play of form arising out of emptiness.
From a relative perspective, the meaning of life is to come to this absolute realization. That is wisdom, the realization of selflessness (egolessness/emptiness). But this wisdom is immediately suffused with compassion, the realization that you are not separate from this world or the beings that inhabit it. Because the illusion of self and other dissolves with this wisdom, the suffering of others becomes your own, and “you” want to get rid of it.
So actualizing wisdom is the absolute meaning; expressing that awakening as compassion is the relative meaning. The meaning of life is therefore to discover the non-duality of wisdom and compassion, emptiness and form.
~Andrew Holecek is an author on death and dying and dream yoga, spiritual teacher, and humanitarian. He has completed the traditional three-year Buddhist meditation retreat and offers seminars internationally on meditation, dream yoga, and death. He is the author of The Power and the Pain: Transforming Spiritual Hardship into Joy; Preparing to Die: Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhist Perspective; Meditation in the iGeneration; How to Meditate in a World of Speed and Stress, and the forthcoming book Dream Yoga: Illuminating Your Life Through Lucid Dreaming and the Tibetan Yogas of Sleep. Andrew holds degrees in classical music, biology, and a doctorate in dental surgery.
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