Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles The topic which has come up for me this evening, on a few experiences over the last week or 2 weeks sometimes people have called me or I've had to talk to them because life can sometimes be quite depressing, things don't really go the way they should. Or there's problems in your life, and people keep asking me what's the purpose of all this? What the heck is this life all about? Can you please give me sort of great overview, the big plan, so I know what the heck I'm doing all this for, and why these things happen to me? So this evening I'm going to talk about the very simple subject of "The meaning of life." [chuckles] Or rather than that, because even that subject is like becomes theoretical, it becomes like some sort of idea, so that is not going to be the slant which I'm going to give to this talk. The slant I'm going to give is not finding the meaning of life but putting the meaning into your life. A totally different idea. The meaning of life is describing to you some theory, some religious view or spiritual view just telling you what to believe or how to look at life. But no, I'm telling you how you put meaning into your life. Because if you don't put meaning into your life, you'll find that life does become quite meaningless. And you just wonder what's this all about what are you doing this for, there's nothing which can really give any drive, any passion in your life, and I say this as a monk, because I'm a very passionate monk. [chuckles] The compassionate one at least, but you know I really put a lot of energy into whatever I do. That is for me what passion is because you understand that how to put something really important into your life, some meaning into your life. And I found out that most people in this life, who they do get depressed, who do sort of get negative, it is because they haven't learned how to put meaning, the real meaning, the proper meaning into life. Yeah, sure that people actually put a lot of energy and struggle in their life just to getting on in this world, to succeed and the trouble is that we don't know really what success is. When you were a kid, at school, you think success is getting your grades at school, or in exams or whatever. And look, I mean that, you should all know by now, because how many of you did really well at school and we can still be happy and find meaning in life? Otherwise if you really have to just to be the A-grade student, if they are the only ones who have meaning in life, you might as well commit suicide after grade 12 if you don't get to university which is a stupid idea. But you find out that, that is not real meaning in life. So you find out, most people they find out, and they try it, and they assume that other people know what the meaning of life is. And they just follow other people like sheep, and because they follow other people like sheep, yeah, you do work hard at school because that's what your parents and teachers tell you to do. And think, if I do this right then I'll find some meaning in life, I'll find happiness. And then afterwards you go to work and you think you can find meaning in just your bank balance or your possessions or whatever else which you start to attain life, and then you start questioning that, that doesn't really give you what everyone promised you. Certainly that was my life, you know, going to school, I did really work, I did work hard, so I got this great degree from Cambridge University. I mean that was just a big downer afterwards. Is this it? You know, all this which I was promised, all that hard work which I did to getting a big degree from a big university? So what? One of the reasons I became a monk, one of the reasons I never went further in academic career is because you could see at universities like Cambridge where you socialised with the lecturers and with the professors and with the dons. Look some of those people have Nobel prizes. I mean, these were the top, the elite of academia. You talk with them and just realised that these people haven't got it together. Yeah, they were brilliant in their field but they were stupid in life. You know just, I'm rambling on here, but one of the people which we met here, with Dennis, our president, Roger Penrose came into town some years ago and he's Mr. Black Hole. He's the guy who discovered black holes. So Roger Penrose, one of the greatest physicists of our age, probably up there with Stephen Hawkins. And he came and Dennis our president, so we went to have dinner with him. And, cause I'm well connected with the physicists over here. It's actually, it's really amazing, this dinner, all the other people there, they were sort of from, they were NASA, they were professor of Physics from all over the place, and I was only, sort of, the Buddhist monk [laughter] or anyone from religion which actually shows just how Buddhism and even just elite Physics, we can actually melt together. But you even look at this person who was so brilliant in his field but you couldn't have a conversation with him. And do you remember this Dennis? We were all just talking with each other, even I was just chatting about all sorts of stuff with these people from NASA and he was actually standing by himself, no one was talking with him. I was wondering that he is brilliant in front of the lecture theatre, apparently, he's brilliant, you know, on a piece of paper but he hasn't got his life together. It was meeting people like that, I thought, that's not the meaning in life, becoming a great academic. It's not the meaning in life becoming really rich people. Also at Cambridge, you know one of other people I knew, he was real Lord, he was an Earl. That's really great going around with a Lord, I mean a real Lord, an Earl. An Earl or a Viscount? I forget what. But he was a pain in the butt. Why do you want to have these honours for if you don't just, a hopeless person to be around. So, you know, for me, I ticked off boxes early on in life. This was not where I was going to find my meaning in life. And it was actually good, ticking off those boxes early. You know, it's just fame, sort of, being a great academic, or being, sort of, it was also these great sports people. There's a college I was at, Emmanuel, it was at that time, it was like a sporting college many top sports people went there. And one of the people I befriended over there was a guy called Majid Khan, he was an international cricketer, played for Pakistan and now I think he's an international umpire. I went to college with this guy. Even at that time, you know, he was playing for Pakistan even though he was in college. And again, even though he was an elite sportsman, he was actually more, he had his act together. He's a lot of fun to be with but still there was something missing there. And then later on as you become a monk, you get into all echelons of society as a monk. The doors are opened to me which will be closed to all of you guys. I can go into autopsies and see bodies being cut up. You know, and that's really fascinating there. I really recommend it, if you were looking for something to do over Christmas period. [laughter] We also actually go and meet these sort of, the top notch people, the very wealthy people. I think, I'm pretty sure that when I went to this dinner over in Canberra once, I going into the toilet, I didn't recognise him at the time but seen pictures afterwards, it was Lachlan Murdoch.