Compassion and the Individual

Tenzin Gyatso; The Fourteenth Dalai Lama

The purpose of life
ONE GREAT QUESTION underlies our experience, whether we think about it consciously or not: What is the purpose of life?  I have considered this question and would like to share my thoughts in the hope that they may be of direct, practical benefit to those who read them.

I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy.  From the moment of birth, every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering.  Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affect this.  From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment.  I don’t know whether the universe, with its countless galaxies, stars and planets, has a deeper meaning or not, but at the very least, it is clear that we humans who live on this earth face the task of making a happy life for ourselves.  Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness. (more…)

Metta Sutta

Buddha Shakyamuni (from the Khuddaka Nikaya)

This is the way of those who are skilled and peaceful, who seek the good and follow the path:

May they be able and upright, straightforward, of gentle speech and not proud.
May they be content and easy wherever they are.
May they be unburdened, with their senses calm.
May they be wise and not arrogant.
May they live without desire for the possessions of others.
May they do no harm to any living being.

May all beings be happy.
May they live in safety and joy. (more…)

Stay or go? For the monks of Thibherine the answer is also a question of faith

Every day a good day

“Of Men and Gods” is rightly hailed as a masterpiece. The French film about Trappist monks who were victims of the Algerian civil war in 1996, is a powerful plea for humanity and tolerance. And the film shows how to live a full life – even in the face of mortal danger

Of men and gods, Movie trailer

Civil war in Algeria, 1993. Military government and Islamic fundamentalists are engaged in a brutal civil  war that in the end is called for almost 100 00 deaths. In a monastery in the mountains near Thibherine nine Trappist monks live a peaceful and ascetic life, in mutual agreement with the Muslim inhabitants of the neighboring villages, always supported by the monks whether in medical issues or other emergencies. As in the vicinity Croatian immigrant workers are murdered by Islamic rebels and the rebels also enter by force the monastery, the monks become aware that their Christian faith can put them in danger.

They are encouraged to leave the monastery. The monks hesitate. In the seclusion of the mountains they have found their home and have become a community. They have assumed a responsibility before God and in the help to their neighbors. But should they therefore put their lives at risk? (more…)


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