Fulfilling our deepest aspirations

By Matthieu Ricard on November 08, 2010

What might best fulfill human needs? Science? Spirituality? Money? Power? Pleasure? No-one can answer such questions without also asking themselves what mankind aspires to most deeply, and what the very purpose of life might be. Buddhism's answer to that question is to point out that finally what we all seek in life is happiness. But it is important not to misunderstand the apparent simplicity of that observation. Happiness, here, is not just a succession of agreeable sensations, but the fulfillment of living in a way that wholly matches the deepest nature of our being.

Happiness is knowing that we have been able to spend our life actualizing the potential that we all have in us, and to have understood the true and ultimate nature of the mind. For someone who knows how to give meaning to life, every instant is like an arrow flying towards its target. Not to know how to give meaning to life leads to discouragement and a sense of futility that may lead to dispair.