Our own happiness and suffering are insignificant compared to that of other living beings.
From the depths of our heart we want to be happy all the time, but we are not usually very concerned with the happiness and freedom of others. In reality, however, our own happiness and suffering are insignificant compared to that of other living beings. Others are countless, whereas we ourself are just one single person. Understanding this, we must learn to cherish others and accomplish the ultimate, supreme goal of human life.
What is the ultimate, supreme goal of human life?
We should ask ourself what we consider to be most important – what do we wish for, strive for, or daydream about? For some people it is material possessions, such as a large house with all the latest luxuries, a fast car, or a well-paid job. For others it is reputation, good looks, power, excitement, or adventure. Many try to find the meaning of their life in relationships with their family and circle of friends. All these things can make us happy for a short while, but they can also cause us much worry and suffering. They can never give us the perfect lasting happiness that all of us, in our heart of hearts, long for. Since we cannot take them with us when we die, if we have made them the principal meaning of our life they will eventually let us down. As an end in themselves worldly attainments are hollow; they are not the real essence of human life.
The only thing that will never deceive us is the attainment of full enlightenment.
Of all worldly possessions the most precious is said to be the legendary wish-granting jewel. It is impossible to find such a jewel in these degenerate times, but in the past, when human beings had abundant merit, there used to be magical jewels that had the power to grant wishes. These jewels, however, could only fulfil wishes for contaminated happiness – they could never bestow the pure happiness that comes from a pure mind. Furthermore, a wish-granting jewel only had the power to grant wishes in one life – it could not protect its owner in his or her future lives. Thus, ultimately even a wish-granting jewel is deceptive.
The only thing that will never deceive us is the attainment of full enlightenment. What is enlightenment? It is omniscient wisdom free from all mistaken appearances. A person who possesses this wisdom is an enlightened being. According to Buddhism, ‘enlightened being’ and ‘Buddha’ are synonymous. With the exception of enlightened beings, all beings experience mistaken appearances all the time, day and night, even during sleep.