Excellence Reporter: Vishvapani, what is the meaning of life?
Vishvapani Blomfield: I like to ask, ‘What makes my life meaningful?’ I prefer that question to ‘What is the meaning of life?’
An answer comes when I stop thinking about ‘me’, ‘my life’ and ‘my experience’. I’m here for a while, and then I’ll be gone; we’re all just passing through. There’s nothing special about the bundle of thoughts and memories that I call ‘me’.
But when I do stop thinking that way, I notice that something else can happen. I see what’s there in other people and in the world. I see the forces that are flowing through us all and lead us to happiness or suffering. Those forces flow through me as well, and when I get out of the way I let them flow. I respond. I understand better and I think I am more use to the world and know I’m certainly easier to live with. And that’s what makes my life feel meaningful.
All this is hard to talk about and sometimes I prefer to think about the Buddha, who represents for me whatever is best and highest. Rather than knowing the meaning of life, I prefer to think about serving the Buddha, or if you prefer, serving the truth. Not the truth you read about in books, but the truth you feel deep in your bones.
~Vishvapani Blomfield has practiced Buddhism since he was a teenager and joined the Triratna Buddhist Order in 1992. He teaches mindfulness and Buddhism in Dharma Centres, prisons and boardrooms, and is known in the UK for his broadcasts on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day. He is the author of Gautama Buddha: The Life And Teachings of the Awakened One and lives in Cardiff, Wales with his wife and son.
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