The Holy Life

What does it mean to live the holy life?

According to David Brooks, it means to live a life of purpose. It means to live a life with moral values. It means to live a life with a sense of gratitude and tranquility and also helping others to do so.


“We don’t live for happiness, we live for holiness. Day to day we seek out pleasure but deep down, human beings are endowed with moral imagination. All human beings seek to lead lives not just of pleasure, but of purpose, righteousness, and virtue. As John Stuart Mill put it, people have a responsibility to become more moral over time. The best life is oriented around the increasing excellence of the soul and is nourished by moral joy, the quiet sense of gratitude and tranquility that comes as a byproduct of successful moral struggle. The meaningful life is the same eternal thing, the combination of some set of ideals and some man or woman’s struggle for those ideals. Life is essentially a moral drama, not a hedonistic one.”

David Brooks from The Road to Character

The Buddha taught his monks, nuns, lay men and lay women to live their lives guided by what Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh calls The Five Mindfulness Trainings: reverence for life, true happiness, true love, loving speech and deep listening, and nourishment and healing. These names are the positive statements of the ancient precepts: abstain from harming living beings, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and intoxication. They have been guiding principles since the time of the Buddha.

How do you intend to live the holy life? Please share.

Books by David Brooks

The Road to Character

David Brooks

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE ECONOMIST • “I wrote this book not sure I could follow the road to character, but I wanted at least to know what the road looks like and how other people have trodden it.”—David Brooks

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