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Why are we in this situation? Where are we going? Do our lives have any meaning? How should we make use of our lives? How does Buddhism view the position of beings in the world and the ways humans can make their lives meaningful?

In this course the Dalai Lama  presents the basic world view of Buddhism: how Buddhism views the position of beings in the world and how human beings can make their lives meaningful.

The Dalai Lama elaborates on the meaning of life by pointing out the causes behind our situation as well as the altruistic purpose to which life can be put. In this course he offers a view of inner psychic cosmology that has had great influence throughout Asia. From a vivid description of how we become trapped in a counter-productive maelstrom of suffering, there emerges a sense of how Buddhists place themselves in the universe. The unsettling description of the steps of entrapment is in fact a call to action, for it shows how, through reversing the process, the limiting prison of selfishness can be turned into a source of help and happiness for others.


This course is based on lectures given by the Dalai Lama in London in 1984, published in The Meaning of Life from a Buddhist Perspective (Wisdom Publications - 2000). Both the book and this course include commentary by Jeffrey Hopkins (presented in boxes in this course.)