Nicolae Tanase: Lama Yeshe, what is the meaning of life?
Lama Yeshe Rinpoche: Buddhism provides a path of mind training, to help purify our view of reality. By means of direct experience gained through meditation, the path of Buddhism is the study of the mind itself, and is therefore also the study of the nature of all things.
In the Buddhist tradition we learn to deeply experience the meaning of life by having a stable and sound mind which is based on unconditional compassion. This allows us to have gratitude and appreciation, and the deep wish to work for the benefit of all fellow sentient beings. We learn to be less self-centred and to instead truly engage with life from the bottom of our heart with an attitude of tolerance and forgiveness. Instead of looking for faults in others and blaming others when things don’t go well, we learn to take responsibility for our life. Having this kind of positive attitude will gradually transform our life and will connect us with other people and with our Mother Earth. Training like this, whatever we do will bring benefit.
Whatever religion we ourselves follow, it is important to avoid looking for faults in other faiths, but instead to always respect the various traditions and do whatever we can to foster harmony between them. If all individuals can learn to recognise the interconnected nature of everything, then we can work together to find deep meaning in every moment of our lives. The entire meaning of life is completely experienced in this present moment.
~The Venerable Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche is Abbot and Retreat Master of Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery, Executive Director of the Holy Isle Project and Chairman of Rokpa Trust. Having completed twelve years of solitary retreat, Lama Yeshe became a guiding force behind the development of Kagyu Samye Ling, which was the first and is the largest Tibetan Buddhist Centre in Europe. He is the only practitioner in the West who holds the Lineage for the practice of Dark Retreat as well as having completed three full 49-day dark retreats. Appointed as resident Abbot in 1995, he is presently responsible for the spiritual development of monks and nuns as well as the lay community of Samye Ling and its associated centres around the world, which he visits on a regular basis.
His commitment to inter-faith dialogue and harmony also informs Lama Rinpoche’s work on Holy Isle. It is his vision of Holy Isle as a sacred place for people of all faiths to cultivate “world peace through inner peace”, that is the guiding principle of its development. With this in mind he initiated the building of the Holy Island Centre for World Peace and Health. This ambitious and inspiring project was opened to the public in 2003 and has become an internationally recognised centre for interfaith activities, spiritual retreats, therapeutic courses and environmentally sustainable living.
As well as inter-faith dialogue, Lama Rinpoche is dedicated to furthering good relations between different Buddhist traditions. Although he himself is a Buddhist of the Tibetan Karma Kagyu Lineage, he observes the Vinaya vows of not eating meat and refraining from eating after lunch. In 1998 he was presented with the ‘Sasana Keerthi Sri’ award at the International Sarvodaya Bhikku Congress in Sri Lanka and is the first Tibetan Lama to make such a connection with the Theravadin community and receive this high honour. Furthermore he was invited to tour the Buddhist sacred sites of Burma by Dr. Rewatadhamma, then made a holy pilgrimage hosted by Ajahn Sumedho to visit the Thai Buddhist sacred places.
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