Lama Tendar Olaf Høyer: What is the Meaning of a ‘Conscious’ Life?

Lama Tendar Olaf Hoeyer photo Jes Larsen territoriumExcellence Reporter: Lama Tendar, what is the meaning of life?

Lama Tendar Olaf Høyer: You ask me, what is the meaning of life? Well…

When you analyse, what people are looking for, it seems that they seek happiness while they also aim to avoid suffering. So, this could indicate a meaning for life, but it is not so simple.

People are conscious individuals, even when they do not think about it much. Life just seems to happen. Life just goes round and round. So, while there seems no point to life itself, except it is possible, all meaning follows the individual, that experience suffering, while seeking to be happy.

From the individual entanglement in life, going round and round, an open mind and heart may arise and surprise, and it may feel very spacious, fulfilling and meaningful. So Bodhicitta, an open heart and mind free from prejudice does seem meaningful.

Generally, you need help to accomplish this from someone, who knows. Such someone could be anyone, though such someone is rare indeed.

On the bottom line though, I think the question is flawed. It implies, that life should inherently posses meaning, though it is consciousness, that adds meaning to experience, if any is perceived. So, maybe the question – existentially – really is: what is the meaning of consciousness? Why me?

When you accomplish shamatha meditation, it is full of meaning. Shamatha means peace. The actual meaning is called samadhi. Samadhi means absorbed trance of a yogi by conscious concentration and bodily posture of meditation. When you then accomplish vipashyana, all meaning falls away naturally, and you will not mind it. Vipashyana means insight meditation. Insight into the nature of your mind and how it works (the 5 skandhas).

Still, samsara will keep going round and round, so maybe the meaning is to cry a little bit more, to feel a little bit more and generously give space to your experiences, what ever they are. You have to do this alone. But – for the sake of open mind and heart – you must return from solitude and embrace the world going round and round and all the sentient beings living there. You will experience suffering, but you will also be happy. Samsara means going round in circles.


~Lama Tendar Olaf Høyer
Dharma Teacher at Tilogaard Meditation School, Denmark.

Copyright © 2018 Excellence Reporter
Photo credit: Jes Larsen – Territorium

Categories: Buddhism

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