Searching for Happiness
What is happiness?
All living beings have the same basic wish to be happy and avoid suffering, but very few people understand the real causes of happiness and suffering…
Normally we seek happiness outside our self. We try to obtain better material conditions, a better job, higher social status, and so forth; but no matter how successful we are in improving our external conditions, we shall still experience many problems and much dissatisfaction. We never experience pure lasting happiness. This shows us that we should not seeks happiness outside our self, but instead establish it within by purifying and controlling our mind through sincere spiritual practice. (Transform Your Life by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso)
The real source of happiness is inner peace. If our mind is peaceful we shall be happy all the time regardless of external conditions, but if it is disturbed or troubled in any way, we shall never be happy, no matter how good our external conditions may be.
We can see from this that is we want true lasting happiness we need to develop and maintain a special experience of inner peace. The ultimate goal of the Buddhist path is a permanent state of inner peace that has the power to bestow happiness on all living beings every day called Enlightenment.
It is only by becoming enlightened that we can fulfil our deepest wish for pure and lasting happiness, for nothing in this impure world has the power to fulfil this wish. (Transform Your Life)
What are the causes of happiness?
The only way to do this is by training our mind through spiritual practice – gradually reducing and eliminating our negative, disturbed states of mind and replacing them with positive, peaceful states. (Transform Your Life by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso)
From this we can see that the way to find happiness is to free our mind from delusions such as anger, greed and attachment which destroy our own inner peace. We do this by cultivating and familiarising our mind with positive states such as love, compassion and wisdom.
By gaining control over our mind and increasing our good qualities, our contentment andself confidence naturally increases and we shall be able to face life’s challenges with courage, fearlessness and responsibility.
The result of finding our own inner peace is that we spontaneously wish to benefit others. Delusions such as selfishness are not an intrinsic part of the mind but are based on a mistaken way of seeing things. Minds such as love and compassion are based on reality and are an expression of our pure nature.
Eight Steps to Happiness
- Learning to cherish others free from unbalanced minds such as attachment, indifference and anger.
- Learning to develop humility, self-confidence and a respectful attitude to others by viewing our own and others faults in a realistic way.
- Learning to free our cherishing love from the self-cherishing attitude so that our love becomes pure and unconditional.
- Developing the pure mind of compassion for all living beings.
- Developing a stable experience of wishing love, wishing all living beings to experience pure and lasting happiness.
- Cultivating a strong mind of patience that can happily accept harm and difficulties.
- Training in the practice of Taking and Giving to strengthen our love and compassion.
- Gaining a direct realisation of ultimate truth emptiness, the way things are, motivated by the precious mind of Bodhichitta.