Recently, I saw someone asked this question on Facebook and then, I saw someone else post the meaning of life is to study hard, get a job, get married and have kids. My jaw dropped and there were a few exchanges back and forth with me sharing my feelings about the matter.
I realize that he felt that way because that’s the only way some people will ever know and that’s because they are the lucky few that have a good life, earn a decent living and are basically very comfortable where they are. Therefore, any other version of the meaning of life would be totally alien to them because of their perspective.
I see the meaning of life quite differently and even before I had embraced Buddhism, I wouldn’t be able to accept the meaning of life as earning a decent living, finding a life partner, starting a family and making babies. It is not that doing all that is bad but it just does not answer deeper questions about life and why are we here on this planet. Billions are doing this right now and nobody seems to have found the answer to life doing those things. Hence, I couldn’t see it as such.
Anyway, I think that the meaning of life is making the most out of this life that we have. This means different things to different people and that depends on whether people want to have a deeper perspective on life or not. In the Buddhist sense, one looks deeper by seeing the fault of engaging only in worldly actions. Fault here is not about right or wrong but about the futility of doing just that.
Worldly actions contribute nothing to our spiritual well-being and future lives. People fail to understand that and whatever family and riches we have accumulated and cultivated in this life will be taken from us suddenly or eventually. This is because our karma for the enjoyments is short-lived due to the exhaustion of karma and impermanence.
After a whole lifetime of slaving ourselves to our job, car, house, family and offspring, we reach a point where we have virtually done nothing for our next life and we are too old for spiritual practice. Before we know it, death comes and we are force to take a rebirth in a situation that we may not have the same opportunities again. Therefore, it would be better to strike a balance between our spiritual practice and worldly affairs. It is seizing the opportunities to further our spiritual learning and practice that is the true meaning of life. That is to see that we will take rebirth and preparing ourselves for that inevitable fact.