What is Purpose?

Hokusai, Inume Pass in Kai Province, 1830c.

Purpose is the reason for living. It gives meaning to life and directs the thoughts and actions of the mind and the body. Without purpose, the mind and the body lose vitality. They flounder and lose their way.

The purpose of the mind and the body is to learn. To learn is to understand more clearly and to act more precisely.

Learning comes from many things. It comes from moulding a clay cup or writing a computer program. It comes from taking a journey. It comes from raising a child or tending a garden. It comes from studying another society’s history and religion. And it comes from delving into oneself and discovering a deeper spiritual truth.

Learning takes many forms, but it always results in a strengthening of the mind and the body. By strengthening themselves, the mind and the body also establish a closer connection with the soul and help the soul to fulfil its purpose.

And God said to the soul: “I give you this mind and body to learn of My creation. Only by strengthening them shall you learn about the universe and draw closer to Me.”

The Straight Path: A Religious Guide to Finding and Fulfilling One’s Purpose, p. 1.

The purpose of the soul is to draw closer to God. The mind and the body help the soul to draw closer to God by strengthening themselves through learning more, and by acting virtuously and avoiding vice. They help the soul to draw closer to God by walking the straight path.

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