His Holiness the Dalai Lama was once asked, “What’s the point of your practice?” He answered, “I am preparing to die.”
What a wonderfully succinct response. He didn’t go through a detailed explanation of all of the philosophical schools—Vajrayana, Mahayana, Theravada—or the whole history of Buddhism. Instead, he cut straight to the chase of what spiritual practice is for and a human life is all about. We’re in this condition of having taken birth and find ourselves asking, “What is it for? What do I do with it?”
That recognition of birth and death, particularly in terms of Buddhist practice and Buddhist teachings, is about having Right View. It is the first step on the Noble Eightfold Path.
This reflection by Luang Por Pasanno is from the book, Don’t Hold Back, (pdf) pp. 91-92.