Meaningful Life in High-Tech World
Question: Rinpochela, we live in this fast paced world of high speed Internet connectivity where children grow up with social media at their fingertips. How do we ensure that we lead a meaningful life?
Answer : First, we should know the definition of a meaningful life. It can be interpreted in many ways depending on the understanding level of each individual. For some people, a meaningful life means having a good family, a good job and some handsome savings in their bank accounts. Other people think meaningful life is to have high education and prestige so that they become well known and many people will respect them. Yet, many of us think living a meaningful life is having opportunities to do some worthy missions for others and ourselves. Buddhist teachings describe a meaningful life, as doing something that is not only beneficial for this life but life after life. Ultimately, a meaningful life is to liberate oneself and sentient beings from suffering of the cyclic existence.Today’s world is very different from the past. Through modern science and technology, many things were invented and they make life challenging and fast paced. It is good if one can put them to meaningful use to benefit both physically and spiritually. They can make our lives more effective due to availability of information and enabling applications at our fingertips. For example, if we wish to know certain information or teachings, we no longer need to wait for months or years to see someone to receive the guidance. We can instantly check from the Internet or call or message your guru. If not, you can simply take a flight to reach him. It has become very easy.
However, we do not make good use of them all the time. Very often, we are too much reliant until our lives seemed being controlled by high technology devices. This kind of life then becomes robotic where the person is completely guided by machines. For instance, social media is a very powerful tool and today, almost everyone subscribes to it. While there are people who make good use of that to benefit others, there are also people who are merely self-promoting their daily activities. This can lead us to increase our pride and become an Internet social media addict, constantly checking upon others’ lives.
Besides social media, there are many Internet games for children readily available in the online market. These will affect the education and behaviour of the children very much. It is quite common to see friends and families gathering at the dining table, not interacting much with each other but they are busy chatting online. It is best that parents guide and monitor the child’s usage of such games. Check on the games suitability and time spent on them. No doubt, there are some games that are educational and beneficial for children. If you leave everything to the choice of the kid, then the kid may not select wisely, resulting in negative imprints and influences. As businessmen, the manufacturers will not necessarily produce educational materials as they target to capture the interest of children. Some of these may cause the child to develop bad behaviours such as hot temperedness, aggressiveness or overly emotional. Children may become addicted to the games and cannot focus on their study or other good activities in life that they are supposed to have. Therefore, this modern development has both good and bad sides and we must know how to make effective use of it to benefit oneself in order lead a meaningful life.