Author Topic: The highest level of happiness  (Read 3394 times)

Q

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The highest level of happiness
« on: March 08, 2013, 05:51:19 PM »
I was reading some Buddhist websites and I came across this paragraph written by Ani Tenzin Palmo. It says the following:

"Once I was staying with my mother in London. At the time she was the housekeeper for a very wealthy Canadian who lived in a luxury flat just off Hyde Park. They all went off for a while, and I had the flat to myself. There I was in London, living in this luxurious flat with two huge color television sets and all the food I could possibly eat! I had enough money for whatever I wanted, lots of records, lots of everything. But I was so bored!
I told myself, "Please remember this. If you are ever tempted to think that physical comfort gives happiness, remember this."

But then, another time I was staying in a cave, not my cave but another cave, which was very small. It was so small that you couldn't stand up in it, with a tiny box you could only just sit in, and that was the bed as well. It was full of fleas, so I was covered in flea bites. You had to go half a mile down a very steep track to bring up water. There was also almost no food at all, and it was hot. But I was in bliss. I was so happy. It was a very holy place, and the people there were wonderful. Although from a physical point of view the situation was difficult, so what! The mind was happy. I remember that whole place as being bathed in golden light. Do you see what I mean?"

Ani Tenzin Palmo, from "Reflections on a Mountain Lake: Teachings on Practical Buddhism'


I wanted to share this here with everyone because I thought it was very inspiring! There are many times we fill our 'time' with so many activities that bring no true happiness. And the very thing that we were nurtured from young, which is to have money, property and family... in the end, just like what Ani Palmo mentioned... it is so empty and boring. Mainly because the excitement of having just does not last, thus the happiness does not last... and this is a clear indication that everything around us is impermanent and therefore cannot be the cause of true happiness, for true happiness should be eternal and unending.

I thought what Ani Palmo mentioned here is very liberating... to actually realize the flaws of samsara just by looking at an empty house, is really something one has to have great merits. Two person at the same environment and situation will not have the similar outcome... one will think deeper, the other may just turn on the tv. So what's the difference? Definitely the difference is merits.

dondrup

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Re: The highest level of happiness
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2013, 03:26:42 PM »
The ultimate form of happiness is of course the accomplishment of Buddhahood.  Before we even talk about that level, what can we do in our daily lives to achieve a certain level of happiness? 

Because of our preoccupation with the past and the future, we forget to live the present.  How many people are really able to enjoy the present moment?  How many can really enjoy peace of mind at the very present moment? Many people had procrastinated in doing what they had wished to do in life.  In most cases if people do not push themselves to do it immediately, they won’t do it afterwards!  Subsequently these people that hadn’t done it would regret miserably for not doing it!

Why is living the present moment so important?  Everything in samsara is transitory and impermanent.  If we forgo the present moment, it becomes the past moment; we lose the opportunity to enjoy a moment of happiness that had expired!


Tenzin K

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Re: The highest level of happiness
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2013, 06:10:02 PM »
Some people have characterized Buddhism as a negative religion that identifies all that we experience as suffering and does not acknowledge happiness at all. This, however, is a misinformed view. It is true that Buddhism speaks of our usual, ordinary happiness as the suffering of change. This means that this type of happiness is unsatisfying: it never lasts and we never have enough of it. It is not true happiness. If, for example, eating ice cream were true happiness, then the more we ate of it at one sitting, the happier we would become. But soon we reach a point at which the happiness at eating ice cream changes into unhappiness and suffering. The same is the case with sitting out in the sun or moving into the shade. This is what is meant by the suffering of change.

Buddhism, however, provides many methods for overcoming the limitations of our ordinary happiness, this suffering of change, so that we reach the everlasting joyous state of a Buddha. Nevertheless, despite the drawbacks of our ordinary happiness, Buddhism also explains the sources for achieving that kind of happiness. Buddhism provides this teaching because one of its basic axioms is that everyone wants to be happy and no one wants to be unhappy. And, since everyone is looking for happiness and, as ordinary beings, we do not know of any type of happiness other than the ordinary, usual kind, Buddhism tells us how to achieve it. Only when that wish and need for happiness has been fulfilled on the most basic level of ordinary happiness can we go on to aim for deeper, more satisfying levels of it with more advanced spiritual practices.

fruven

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Re: The highest level of happiness
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2013, 06:29:07 PM »
The ultimate form of happiness is of course the accomplishment of Buddhahood.  Before we even talk about that level, what can we do in our daily lives to achieve a certain level of happiness? 

Because of our preoccupation with the past and the future, we forget to live the present.  How many people are really able to enjoy the present moment?  How many can really enjoy peace of mind at the very present moment? Many people had procrastinated in doing what they had wished to do in life.  In most cases if people do not push themselves to do it immediately, they won’t do it afterwards!  Subsequently these people that hadn’t done it would regret miserably for not doing it!

Why is living the present moment so important?  Everything in samsara is transitory and impermanent.  If we forgo the present moment, it becomes the past moment; we lose the opportunity to enjoy a moment of happiness that had expired!

Living in the present moment can be having too much pleasure enjoying something. People do indeed living on desiring something and having repeated experience on pleasure and working on something to acquire money for the desire they want. However it made no difference on the action we can see of those who live for others, who work for others. Therefore the motivation is different but the action is the same. If one live to work for the benefits of others one create the causes of happiness.

diablo1974

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Re: The highest level of happiness
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2013, 03:05:29 AM »
Most people has different level of happiness, its depend very much on how they are brought up and also educated. These are the social norms that mould a person in order to fit into the society. And then all the materialistic stuff just come into place to create the necessary "happeiness" people chasing after.  Until they found something  more worthwhile to chase after. Sadly, many are unable to find the real happiness and passed on with regrets they do not know.

Buddhism showed people to understand the real meaning of happiness and there is a way to achieve this happiness through Dharma, starting from living the right way as a person.

yontenjamyang

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Re: The highest level of happiness
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2013, 10:13:24 AM »
Definitely having the merits for this realization like Ani Tenzin Palmo is great. What she went through was real and was experiential. However, how many of us can sincerely say we can really feel the same? Most probably, the luxury flat off Hyde Park would be our choice. At least we can suffer in luxury? Haha.

We can talk about living the present moment all we want and not be occupied with the past and the future but can we really do that? Would it be too much suffering for us if we try?

The present life for ordinary practitioners like yours truly should be spent in accumulations of merits and Wisdom. The best way to do this is via Guru Devotion. Any positions acts done in the mandala of the Guru is merits with varying degree of merits and good karma depending on the individual motivations but at least the merits are there. Study and contemplate the Lamrim and have some realizations at intellectually if not profound realizations. The best basis is again Guru Devotion, Precious Human Live, Impermanence and Karma and move on through the small, medium and Great Scopes.

Once one has accumulated some merits and wisdom, the practice then becomes joyful in whatever situations. It is very difficult for anyone to sustain the practice if it is not joyful. Be greedy in a good way. Expect results! If we are able to be joyful in everything we do then everything is on a fast track. Our practice will have faster results.

But start with accumulating merits and wisdom. But beyond that, SMILE always!

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: The highest level of happiness
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2015, 05:04:18 PM »
This quotation from Ani Tenzin Palmo is very inspiring.  Something we may think is not possible.  But to imagine if we have practised to this level of insight, it would be so beautifully wonderful.

Enjoy this highly simple illustration of true bliss of the mind without being conditioned by physical comfort.