Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Pursuit of True Happiness

ME's posting and question regarding happiness ("cake") spawned such heated debate, I thought I'd post an excerpt from a commentary on happiness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Thanissaro is an American monk and teacher in the Theravada school of Buddhism. He also places very heavy emphasis on meditation, as does the Zen school.

The Pursuit of True Happiness
By Thanissaro Bhikkhu

"The practice of the Buddha’s teaching can been called the serious pursuit of true happiness, with the emphasis on the serious and the true. Serious not in the sense of grim but in the sense of sincere, unwilling to settle for anything less than what’s true. True here means a happiness that doesn’t change, a happiness that doesn’t let you down. This is why so many of the Buddha’s teachings focus on suffering, because most of the happiness or the things that we take for happiness in daily life really do end up causing suffering as they change. So many times the happiness we gain turns into something else. And of the happiness that turns into pain, the Buddha asked, "Is it a noble thing to search for that kind of happiness, is it a wise, skillful thing to search for that kind of happiness as an end in and of itself? If you know it’s going to let you down at some point, why put so much effort into it?" That’s the question he asked himself. That’s the question that led him to go off into the woods, into the wilderness to find if there was a true happiness that could be gained through human effort."

For more, here is the link.


At August 16, 2006, Blogger Grim said...

"...guarantee the pursuit of happiness...where's my happiness then?" ~Tony Soprano

"It's the pursuit that's guaranteed." ~Dr. Melfi

"F**king loopholes." ~Tony

At August 16, 2006, Blogger Bob J. said...

It occurs to me that the pursuit of happiness is the cause of all suffering. Or alternatively, that the root of all suffering is the desire to avoid suffering. Or something like that.

At August 16, 2006, Blogger MikeDoe said...

Perhaps the belief that one can be 'happy' all the time is the root of the suffering.

Perhaps then when being happy or being unhappy does not 'upset' you then that is true happiness.

At August 17, 2006, Blogger Anatman said...

I agree with Thantissaro, that suffering arises from a failure to differentiate between temporary, 'mood-swingy' "happiness" and true, enduring happiness. It is like mistaking sex for love. If you cling to passion and manic exuberance (which can be mistaken for happiness), it WILL pass, and you'll be left mourning its loss and grasping at what was 'lost.'

At August 18, 2006, Blogger Jinzang said...

Lama Gursam visited Baltimore last week and and this to say in a talk.

There is the ordinary happiness of food, shelter, and so forth. But Buddhism also talks about the extraordinary happiness of liberation. Ordinary happiness does not satisfy us, as we sometimes believe. True happiness comes from the heart and mind. It's not enough to just work hard for food and shelter We also have to work for hapiness of the heart and mind. When true happiness arises from the heart we cannot compare any other happiness to it. No matter how delicious the food or nice the house, it cannot compare to this

We have to see the value of love. Of course there are challenges, but there is no other way to bring happiness to ourselves and others. I have not found any other way than love. I can choose hatred or anger, but it only makes me miserable. Seeing this is called the true realization of love born in the heart. That is very important. When you develop love for others, it brings joy, peace, and happiness.


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