General Buddhism => General Buddhism => Topic started by: DS Star on April 13, 2013, 05:50:50 PM

Title: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: DS Star on April 13, 2013, 05:50:50 PM
Happiness - everyone wants it; unfortunately, we mostly try to find it from outer physical things with conditions attached.

We falsely believe that such a such a thing - like big house, big car, and material things or a particular person can brings us the 'happiness' we want but in no time, these things worn out of our deluded attachment... for all conditioned things are impermanent, including our own feelings. And so, we started to search for 'new' desirous 'thing' or person again... the search is never end... thus, we are stuck in the cycle of searching, short-term happiness, frustrations and then searching again...

The fact is, everything is in our mind... the real happiness is actually depending on our own mind and the karma that we create as dictated by our mind...

The Twin Verses (Yamaka Vagga) of Dhammapada said it all:


Mind is the forerunner of (all evil) states.
Mind is chief; mind-made are they.
If one speaks or acts with wicked mind, because of that,
Suffering follows one, even as the wheel follows the hoof of the draught-ox.


Mind is the forerunner of (all good) states.
Mind is chief; mind-made are they.
If one speaks or acts with pure mind, because of that,
happiness follows one, even as one's shadow that never leaves.

Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: angelsherfield on April 13, 2013, 09:25:29 PM
My friend shares with me on her thought related to happiness. When she was young, she has a good career path with high paid. In terms of physical items owns fulfillment, she able to own nice car, branded clothes and bags and etc. She was happy with what she had.

But thing does not going smooth as she thought. Her dad is diagnosed having cancer. She was having a tough time as she need to travel overseas frequently due to her job. Whenever her dad is admitted to hospital, she will take emergency leave to fly back for her dad. To be fair to herself and company, She has thought a lot and decided to resign from the company.

While she is taking care of her dad together with her mom and sister, she starts realized that happiness that she used to own is not the true happiness. She realized that human life is so fragile and short. While we still alive in this world, we should do more to benefit others. She starts to reduce meat eatings, slowly moving forward to vegetarian. She dedicated merit to her dad. She feel more peaceful on her inner in a way and her dad is getting better.

She shares with me that if we can turn back the time, she will spend more times with family.Even though her current job is with lower paid, but she able to spend her time with her family.

Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: brian on April 14, 2013, 01:36:10 PM
For me, I agree with you.  The mind dictates everything. Either you choose to be happy or not it is entirely our own choice. We can choose to be angersome and inflict hurt that we suffered during our childhood or past experiences to make ourselves feel happier. But actually one can help others and become happier because when one start to focus their thinking for others, one stops or minimise thinking only for themselves and becoming less selfish. This way they can get fulfillment after helping others. It is entirely possible to make yourself a happier being by start focusing on helping others and make others a priority rather than only oneselves. So for a happier you, choose yourself.
Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: sonamdhargey on April 14, 2013, 02:58:16 PM
Happiness or attachement? Are we attached to happiness? We all want to be happy and some of us in order to be happy we aquire material, love, companionship, partnership, touch, smell, taste and etc. Some of us need little to be happy some of us already happy with what they have and who they are. My question is, if we are happy the way we are then how come is it that some of us are not happy with the way we are and needed to be in a certain way to be so called "normal" of effective and succesful? Why some of us cannot accept others just because they are happy with themselves? Don't you think we are it boils down to where our minds are? So why do we want to be the dharma police and say who and what we should be? So hapiness is in ur mind. IF we are not happy the way others are then it is time to check our minds.
Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: RedLantern on April 14, 2013, 05:50:25 PM
Happiness is hard to define as different people experience different kind of happiness.,and it does play an important part in our lives.Our happiness is the reflection of our mind's ability to experience happiness and is determined by our thoughts and beliefs.If our core beliefs are compatible with the experience of perfect happiness,then all the stuff and all the technique in the world will not bring us what we want.
Our own happy and peaceful state of mind is also the most healing gift you can offer to another.
Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: dondrup on April 14, 2013, 07:42:32 PM
Everything that arises or manifests is merely imputed by our mind.  This includes happiness! Happiness is not an object that exists outside of our mind. To experience happiness, we need to impute or generate the feeling of happiness in our mind.  Happiness like all conditioned phenomena is impermanent.  Because we ignorantly grasp at the feeling of happiness as existing inherently, we experience unhappiness!  To experience happiness, we need to continue to generate the causes of happiness.  We must accumulate merits or good karma to experience happiness.  Since happiness is impermanent, we strive to obtain the ultimate happiness of liberation and full enlightenment which is everlasting.
Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: Big Uncle on April 15, 2013, 07:58:55 AM
Yes, happiness is in the mind but for spiritual infants like us, we would not know how to actualize that immediately. We need external conditions and a certain spiritual training to be able to find happiness from within. Therefore, for the general masses, I think the fact that happiness comes from taking the right steps to seek happiness long term instead of short term gratification like what  the mass media are promoting right now.

That's what i have been taught by a very nice Tibetan monk friend. He explained that knowing happiness is in the mind is not enough. We need to actualize it by training our mind especially in virtues and in seeking long term or true causes of happiness. Even to realize that requires merit and that can only be acquired through spiritual practices along with contemplation along mind training teachings.
Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: bambi on April 15, 2013, 04:33:40 PM
It is so true. I used to think that having a well to do hubby, children, maid, branded cars/clothes, big expensive cars, big house, etc was my true happiness. I kept chasing and running for materialism and always showing off so that people would be jealous and envy my happiness. Then as years passed, I began to feel depressed and searching for something. It took me quite some time to find it and I am so thankful I found happiness in Dharma and everything began to change inside and not outside. I begin to appreciate everything and everyone around me because its all in my mind.
Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: buddhalovely on April 16, 2013, 02:45:01 PM
In truth, our ability to be happy should be compared to our capacity for health and fitness. Regardless of where you start out, with clear aspirations and a decent work ethic, anyone can get more positive, just as they can become more physically well. Although attending to one's physical well-being is highly correlated with a more positive mindset, developing the trait of positive thinking is a workout of its own.

Creating and working at a positive frame of reference requires the same work and commitment as body building. Anyone who has successfully lost weight and has maintained their newfound physical strength will attest to the fact that the work doesn't end when you meet you goal. Instead the work becomes a set of eating and movement habits that reform your life. The same is true about replacing negative thinking patterns with positive ones, slowly the work becomes new mind habits that require practice like any habits.

Hundreds of studies correlate this frame of reference with greater personal creativity and productivity. Cultivating a positive world view gives you an edge in relationships too. The core of a functional relationship is an inside job and when you are constantly working on your own happiness perspective you don't rely on your partner to offer it. In fact, the opposite is true. Your own positive mind sets the bar for people you love.
Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: pgdharma on April 17, 2013, 11:36:32 AM
Happiness is a state of mind, not a new car or a pot of gold or a passionate relationship as these things are not permanent and will end eventually. If we place our happiness in material objects our mind will become restless due to the multitude of desires and chasing after those desires.

Ultimately, our happiness depends not on what we have, but on how we think and feel about what we have.   Although this is an obvious fact of life, few people truly harness the power of their minds to practice intentional happiness. Our minds affect the world through our thoughts, feelings, and actions, in obvious and subtle ways.

The quote from H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama makes clear the obvious that everyone is seeking happiness. “I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness.” ~Dalai Lama in The Art of Happiness

According to H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama in His Guide to Happiness, there are four factors which lay on the path of happiness of which the first two are “material” and the last two “spiritual”.

2. Worldly Satisfaction
3. Spirituality
4. Enlightenment

We can do anything that we want to if we know what we want and focus on it. Change our state of mind to one of ultimate happiness and it will make our experience in life so much better.
Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: Manjushri on April 17, 2013, 05:00:25 PM
With any situation we face, we can choose to take the positive side, or choose to dwell in negative emotions that arise from the mind.

All that we feel arise from the mind. If we have a strong, positive mind, we will get by many things, and in the process, we can choose to be happy. It is a choice, a choice that is consciously made by our mind.

Things we perceive and lie to our minds that we think will make us happy usually does not... how can a lie bring happiness. Why is it a lie? Because nothing lasts..Everything we think that the object is, is not.

Happiness is a state of mind, free from perceptions and definitely un-related to objects that we depart with eventually.  Happiness is all in the mind.
Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: dsiluvu on April 17, 2013, 08:13:53 PM
Thank you for this topic DS Star!

I just stumbled upon this beautifu quote by His Holiness Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche which I think sums it all...

"All the suffering in the world comes from seeking pleasure for oneself.
All the happiness in the world comes from seeking pleasure for others."

We have been seeking for this false happiness in every single life time and right up till now, where has it gotten us? Why is it we can never be consistently "happy". Simple because the happiness we are looking for, we have been searching at all the wrong places... placing our own unending desires before others... a desire that can never be quenched because of our attachments.

We don't really see things as they are, we see as we are. This is true because we are only looking at our own reflections of the mind which in the end becomes just another distant memory of the past.
Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: vajrastorm on April 19, 2013, 07:27:01 AM
 We are the creators of our own experiences. If we wish to have happy experiences, the Dharma tells us we have to create the causes to have those experiences. We have to abandon non-virtues like killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying , divisive speech, harsh speech, idle chatter, covetousness, malice, wrong views.  We have to gather and accumulate merits through performing virtues and meritorious actions. These virtuous and meritorious deeds will plant seeds in our minds that will ripen into  happy experiences for us.

We have also to perform acts of purification so that seeds of unhappiness, already sown in our mind-streams, will not ripen into full-blown suffering.

However, on a more profound level, happiness is a state of mind. We develop a state of mind that knows lasting inner peace and ultimate happiness, by transforming our mind in its negative state - filled with delusions like the three poisons of hate, desirous attachment, jealousy, self-grasping - to a positive one that always seeks to benefit others, that is filled with equanimity,peace,compassion, love, and joy; a mind that has cultivated bodhicitta and the six perfections of giving,moral discipline,patience, joyous effort, concentration and wisdom.  Through such  a mind, that has discarded ego-centrism and replaced it by  a mind of always cherishing others, we will know  a state of pure inner lasting peace and real happiness.
Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: yontenjamyang on April 19, 2013, 10:07:34 AM
Recently I asked a person of about 22 years old, "What do you want in life?". She had just obtained her master degree and is on her first job. She answered, "To be happy!". When I probed further on what she means by happiness, she answered; "to get the things she wants!". In other words, what she wants in life is to get all that conventionally regarded as bringing happiness. That means, cars, house, boyfriend/husband, maybe children, sex, good food etc etc.
I tried to share with her that these things will bring happiness but for a while, in the sense that by getting a car, happiness comes from not having a car to having a car. The "satisfaction" or happiness is at best temporary. Once, she get over the initial excitement and when the truth if having to maintain the payments, repair the case, the mundaneness/suffering of traffic jams etc, the happiness becomes less and less and will be overwhelm by sufferings of the repairs, payments, petrol price etc. All, things that "brings" happiness in this world is the same. It does not bring lasting happiness and hence, we can say it is by nature suffering.

Hence to be accurate, happiness is not just in your mind, for by saying that, it is too general and is difficult to phantom. So, the truth is that all things are by nature suffering and the path to happiness is the Dharma. Once we realize that we have basically realize the 4 noble truth, and then we can practice the Dharma to cease the sufferings forever.
Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: Aurore on May 06, 2013, 07:15:21 PM
While I do agree that happiness is a state of mind, happiness to different people varies. I think everyone wishes for happiness because if you are happy, it means that everything in life goes smoothly, easily and painless. In reality, there is no such thing. We will always experience pain, worries, fear due to our karmas. All of us experience our karmas daily whether negative or positive. When negative, we become unhappy. It can be rather tough to remain "happy" when our negative karma ripens to the point we feel desperation and hopelessness.

True happiness on the other hand can be experienced even when we are "suffering". One can be truly happy with applying wisdom, training of the mind and selflessness. Hence, the state of mind for happiness actually arises from realisation.
Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: Jessie Fong on May 07, 2013, 10:54:20 AM
Extracted from Wikipedia:
Measures of happiness

The Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS) is a four-item scale, measuring global subjective happiness. The scale requires participants to use absolute ratings to characterize themselves as happy or unhappy individuals, as well as it asks to what extend they identify themselves with description of happy and unhappy individuals.
The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) is used to detect relation between personality traits and positive or negative affects at this moment, today, the past few days, the past week, the past few weeks, the past year, and generally (on average). PANAS is a 20-item questionnaire, which uses a five-point Likert scale (1 = very slightly or not at all, 5 = extremely). A longer version with additional affect scales is available in this manual.
The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) is a global cognitive assessment of life satisfaction. The SWLS requires a person to use seven-item scale to state her agreement or disagreement (1 = strongly disagree, 4 = neither agree nor disagree, 7 = strongly agree) with five statements about one's life.
The UK began to measure national wellbeing in 2012, following Bhutan which already measured gross national happiness.

The smiley face is a well-known symbol of happiness

Are religious people happier people?
There is now extensive research suggesting that religious people are happier and less stressed.

Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: Tenzin K on May 08, 2013, 04:34:21 PM
For Buddha, the path to happiness starts from an understanding of the root causes of suffering. Those who consider Buddha a pessimist because of his concern with suffering have missed the point. In fact, he is like a skillful doctor—he may break the bad news of our suffering, but he also prescribes a proactive course of treatment. In this metaphor, the medicine is the Buddha’s teachings of wisdom and compassion known as Dharma, and the nurses that encourage us and show us how to take them are the Buddhist community or Sangha. The illness however, can only be cured if the patient follows the doctor’s advice and follows the course of treatment—the Eightfold Path, the core of which involves control of the mind. In Buddhism, this treatment is not a simple medicine to be swallowed, but a daily practice of mindful thought and action that we ourselves can test scientifically through our own experience. Meditation is, of course, the most well known tool of this practice, but contrary to popular belief, it is not about detaching from the world. Rather it is a tool to train the mind not to dwell in the past or the future, but to live in the here and now, the realm in which we can experience peace most readily.
Title: Re: "Happiness" is actually in your mind
Post by: Tammy on May 12, 2013, 05:44:43 AM
I do believe if you count your blessings, you will be happy. On the other hand, if you keep feeling sad or angry over things that you didn't have or never would have, there would be no happiness in your life. Indeed happiness is all in our mind. If we have positive thinking, we will react to situations positively, most of the time things will turn out well. If we always cry over spilled milk, how could we ever enjoy the milk that is still in carton?