Jesse wrote:Lately I've been troubled by the inability of meditation, and spirituality in general to produce any real tangible truth about reality. Even if all attachment is severed, does that negate the importance of "figuring out", what reality is?
Reality is your own mind, your mind has a dual nature of samsara and nirvana. Its dual nature as samsara and nirvana results from mental projections, and those projections are formed because of attachment. Essentially, clinging to the "I", the "Ego", and being afflicted by the demon of conceit. Ultimate Reality, "The Truth", is to be found by abandoning attachment whereby the true nature of the mind in its pristine and primordial purity manifests itself. This means that abandoning attachment is equal to figuring out what reality is once the minds true nature is seen and understood. Beyond your own mind, there is no reality to know, no reality that is known, and no reality you will ever know.
Jesse wrote:No matter how much I try, i can't let go of my searching for answers to life's big questions. In a way, I feel as if letting go of the search is in a way, betraying myself. I know it seems absurd, but before I die I would like to understand life itself, is there some ultimate purpose to it? If not, is it purposeless? Is a lack of purpose a purpose in itself? At the moment, I feel as if the third option might be the closest to the truth. No purpose is the purpose, an open ended existence where anything and everything is possible.
Exactly. Once you understand the minds true nature, you will understand that one of its properties is the ability to manifest anything and everything whatsoever in its field of awareness. The minds true nature is unimpeded, unobstructed.
Before enlightenment, our only purpose, our manufactured purpose, should be determining and establishing ultimate truth and reality for ourselves by coming to understand our own mind. Once we understand our mind, we will spontaneously manifest compassion for the benefit of sentient beings.
After enlightenment all that will be left is our Buddha nature and its spontaneous manifestation of compassion for the benefit of other sentient beings. Then our "true purpose" forms spontaneously based on the needs of others. This is why you are right to say that a lack of purpose is purpose in itself. A Bodhisattva has no contrivance, they may incarnate into very difficult circumstances in order to lead beings further along the path towards enlightenment. It makes no difference to them whatsoever. They act spontaneously from the Great Compassion that arises from realizing emptiness. So first, establish the proper view of reality which is the emptiness nature of appearances. Then, practice meditation and conventional practices until your mind is tamed enough to be introduced to its true nature. Receive introduction from a qualified master, and then strengthen your realization.
Ultimately the question of "why am I here, what is my purpose" is a subtle form of duality and ego because it supposes first of all that we have some kind of destiny that will unfold, and secondly that there is a self who could ever be in possession of such a destiny in the first place. In Buddhism destiny is karma, and if you do nothing to change it, then your only purpose will be to cycle endlessly in samsara. Study, view, practice and conduct should be the primary purpose for deluded sentient beings like ourselves.
Jesse wrote:Anyway, I haven't figured out how to console the differences between the path Buddhism offers and this search. I almost feel as if they are contradictory. Yet I am drawn to both. In your experiences which do you believe is a more worthwhile en-devour?
I felt the same way once too. One day I realized that all purposes as I had conceived of them were dualistic contrivances of my own mind. It was a difficult time and realization to have, but it proved to be an important one. UItimately the ego wants to possess a key to life, it wants to possess some kind of defined purpose, because ultimately it wants to establish itself as real, permanent, and it wants to feel its own reality as having meaning and substance. However in terms of the search for ultimate truth- Never give up that quest! That quest, that drive, that motivation, especially when coupled with compassion for sentient beings and done on behalf of them... is immensely powerful.
Jesse wrote:Would satisfying your ultimate desire, and perhaps even purpose of your existence be more important, or achieving some measure of realization? I imagine you can 'take' neither with you once death arrives, so which is really more important?
Your ultimate desire to understand ultimate truth, and the Buddha Dharma, are completely compatible. Dharma is the most effective means whereby to realize your hearts desire. There is no contradiction and no need to abandon either. It is only through the practice of Dharma that you can really come to understand things and really have ultimate meaning to your life. Everything else is ultimately delusion, and although it sounds harsh to say it like that, its simply the way that it is. Whatever you manufacture, whatever purpose you seek, if it does not lead to realization, it will only lead to further dualistic projections and perceptions.