Author Topic: The Chinese Nation is looking for Happiness  (Read 6414 times)

hope rainbow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 947
The Chinese Nation is looking for Happiness
« on: March 04, 2013, 11:52:02 AM »
I found this arcticle in the CHINA DAILY of Fenruary 27 2013, and I think it is interesting to share here.

More noticeably I quote: " when a nations per capita GDP is lower than $3,000, people focus primarily on material needs like food and clothes. Once it exceeds $3,000, the focus shifts to psychological needs, such as happiness."

This is very interesting, as we have here a nation of people that are shifting from a quest for basic commodities such as dwelling, food and security  to a quest for happiness. Now that the basic is secured, many realize that this is not the happiness they thought, this is not the destination, not yet, and so they embark in a journey to the ideal of "happiness".

Buddhism has much to offer on that subject!
Read below.

If you're happy and you know it...

In his inaugural speech, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China, called for the realization of the "Chinese dream", which he described as "better edu¬cation, more stable jobs, better income, more reliable social security, medical care of a higher standard, more comfortable living conditions, and a more beautiful environment"

His speech was praised for its fresh, grassroots appeal to increase the happiness of the people.
A month earlier, a China Central Television show called Are You Happy? — random, on-the- street interviews with people giving surprising and funny comments — became a hot topic on social media. Here was the State broadcaster pro¬moting the happiness of ordinary citizens, rather than its usual fare of leaders and policies.

"Happiness" has become a watchword in China. According to Kaiping Peng, chair of psychology at Tsinghua University, when a nations per capita GDP is lower than $3,000, people focus primarily on material needs like food and clothes. Once it exceeds $3,000, the focus shifts to psychological needs, such as happiness. Four years ago, China passed this line. After decades of asking have you eaten or are you rich, people are starting to ask are you happy.

But there is a dark side to the happiness craze in China. The field is completely unregulated, the Wild West of self-improvement, relying on pop- psych ideas, self-help techniques and personal anecdotes. Happiness gurus may be inspirational, but the long-term benefits are dubious.

Some gurus claim that happiness is the only true goal of life. Worse, they often equate happi¬ness with merely positive emotions, like cheer¬fulness or a pleasant mood, while scientifically minded psychologists find that happiness has other core aspects including engagement and meaning of life.

Many people consider all schemes to increase happiness as huyou — a Chinese word that means "advanced lies". They think self-claimed happiness experts use fancy words and uplifting cliches to confuse people and enrich themselves. A cyni¬cal term, "be happied" means that happiness is defined arbitrarily and statistical data modified to fake better happiness reports.

These problems can be addressed by "positive psychology", the science of happiness that was founded in 1998 by a group of eminent psycholo¬gists led by Professor Martin Seligman, the author of Authentic Happiness. A distinguished research scientist, Seligman transformed the fuzzy notion of happiness into a scientific discipline, with reproducible results and professional standards.

As president of the American Psychological Association, Seligman launched the positive psychology movement to study "positive human functioning" and to develop "scientific under¬standing and effective interventions to build thriving individuals, families and communities".

Positive psychology uses scientific methods, like statistical surveys, validated questionnaires, research exercises, and large representative sam¬ples. Before a new intervention is introduced to the public, it must go through rigorous, placebo- controlled studies — the same methods used in other disciplines such as medicine.

For example, when Seligman and his team wanted to validate positive interventions, they assigned them randomly to a large group of peo¬ple. It turned out that an intervention called "grat¬itude visit" — where you read a gratitude letter to someone you want to thank — can immediately increase the level of life satisfaction by about 10 percent, but the effect disappears after six months. Another intervention called "three good things" — where you write down three good things that happened today and why they happened — doesn't boost life satisfaction immediately, but can increase it by about 9 percent six months later. Therefore, psychologists recommend "gratitude visits" to those who need a quick happiness lift, and "three good things" to those who want to increase happiness more permanently.

Positive psychology is much broader than "happiology". It studies all positive aspects of human mentality, such as positive emotion, character strengths and virtues, positive institutions and excellence. Interestingly, research shows that those stronger in gratitude, optimism and zest are on average happier. The happiest people are not those who are the most wealthy, but those who have rich interpersonal relationships.

In his new book Flourish, Seligman proposes the term "well-being" instead of "happiness". He defines well-being with five factors — positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishments — and argues they are expressed by what people choose to pursue when not oppressed.

As the goal of positive psychology, well-being is measurable. Students who were happier at col¬lege entry were found to have higher incomes and higher job satisfaction 19 years later. And what was higher for students that were less happy? The unemployment rate!

Well-being is science-based and reliable; it engages all positive human functioning; it is much broader than subjective happiness; and it shows how well-being affects our health, achievement and life.
Positive psychology facilitates social stabil¬ity and harmony. Well-being brings not only personal, emotional benefits, but also moral and social benefits. For example, people with higher well-being are more likely to help others, exhibit less racial discrimination, and are more ready to forgive. In short, higher well-being makes better citizens.

A China higher in well-being would be a China higher in creativity. When you are frightened, stressed or depressed, your mind is filled with analytical, critical thinldng. When your emotions are more positive, you are better with creative tasks. How to make Chinas next generation more creative? Improve their well-being!

Well-beings rewards are also economic. People with higher well-being have better work perfor¬mance, less unemployment and more altruism. They are also healthier and require less medical care.

Positive psychology works cross-culturally, though adaptations are needed. For example, an intervention designed to increase children's opti¬mism, modified and tested in Beijing, decreased symptoms of depression.

The "Chinese dream" is for the Chinese people to flourish. As the science of flourishing, posi¬tive psychology can increase well-being and thus make Chinese people more resilient and fulfilled and Chinese society more stable and prosperous.

The author is an international corporate strategist. He is the author of How Chinas Leaders Think

Big Uncle

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1995
Re: The Chinese Nation is looking for Happiness
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2013, 05:25:28 PM »
I am sure the Chinese will keep getting wealthier and wealthier. China is already the second largest economy in the world. As some of us would already know, wealth doesn't necessarily buy happiness although it may appear as so on TV and according to what some people are saying. However, wealth can't buy one away from the emptiness that one would feel in the heart.

For most people, it drives one to be more and more materialistic, forever driven but never satisfied. And for a few, it just drives them to a depression and an even smaller percentage would start to look for way out, exploring a variety of spiritual and charitable causes. That's how millions will encounter Buddhism with this mindset of already looking and searching for answers. Even if they are looking, they are not easily convinced by any belief system. Dorje Shugden would be ideal and the one that will bring swift answers. It is very timely that China is on the ascend and the ban has create the conducive condition for Dorje Shugden to grow rapidly in China.


  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 816
Re: The Chinese Nation is looking for Happiness
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2013, 07:22:50 PM »
" when a nations per capita GDP is lower than $3,000, people focus primarily on material needs like food and clothes. Once it exceeds $3,000, the focus shifts to psychological needs, such as happiness."

When the basic material needs are fulfilled, it is only logical that humans aim for higher needs such as happiness.  However, we know that humans’ desires in samsara are never fulfilled.   Happiness is subjective and varies from one individual to another individual.  With the fervent pursuit for the Chinese Dream, Chinese will realise that they will not be able to find the perfect happiness in samsara.  Only through practising Dharma, and upon achieving liberation and full enlightenment will humans find the ultimate happiness! May the Chinese engage in Buddhism and especially Dorje Shugden practices that will fulfil their Chinese Dreams!


  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 77
Re: The Chinese Nation is looking for Happiness
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2013, 05:41:34 AM »
The modern generation of Chinese did not have to suffer like their ancestors did, especially during the Communist regime. Now with China's economy booming, there is abundance of wealth  flowing through the country, and like any individual person, after spending their new found wealth on material and samsaric pursuits, there surely will come a point of saturation. There is only so much money can buy.
Happiness and peace are priceless.
This is where Buddhism can change one person's perception of happiness. This is where (as Big Uncle rightly pointed out), the practice of Dorje Shugden is exactly the ideal method to achieve the pursuit of joy and peace in one's life. Dorje Shugden is the Dharmapala of the modern times.


  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 442
Re: The Chinese Nation is looking for Happiness
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2013, 09:37:29 AM »
Most people realise that they are lacking an inherent feeling of happiness when they pause, and hold on to reflect what they have achieved in their lives so far, and what they want. I have come across many many people who, like this article has pinpointed accurately, once have achieved their basic necessity look on to achieving something far more superior than wealth and security can provide. Acheiving and being sustainable on the basic level is key, but does not curb and help the wellbeing of the mind. Having a mind that is 'well', you almost are set to achieve what you set out for.

My most fundamental distinction between material happiness and true happiness is that if material success and wellbeing was so significant, then the celebs who have everything that want in the world (that they can buy) would not commit suicide. True happiness and self respect cannot be bought.


  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 919
Re: The Chinese Nation is looking for Happiness
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2013, 08:44:00 PM »
China is very fast growing and many people, especially those living in urban area, are getting richer and faster. While pursuing for money, we need to strike a balance between money and spirituality. As such, I am not surprised that more and more people are searching for the ways to achieve happiness.

Master Xing Yun, founder of Fo Guang Buddhist Organization has once mentioned that China has imposed quite a lot of restrictions for Dharma teachers to spread Dharma. With Xi JinPing as the new leader of China, I hope to see more "freedom" in spreading Buddhist teaching in China.

We all know money will not give us real happiness, and only Dharma will give us true happiness.

hope rainbow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 947
Re: The Chinese Nation is looking for Happiness
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2013, 05:42:44 PM »
I think China is a very fortunate country indeed!
They re doing wonderfully well on an economic level.
They have a very hard-working and devoted government that solves short-term issues and puts in place solutions for long-term problems, for example, the government is now tackling abuses of powers and ensuring that corruption does not poison the country.
Then the population is for a large majority from a Buddhist background giving them strong karmic connections with the teachings of the Buddha.
Even more so, the place where Lama Tsongkhapa was born and taught is in China; the historical Gaden monastery is in China!
The government is also showing support for the Panchen Lama, even promoting this support on national TV (it is rare to see religion being talked about on national TV).
Even one of DS emanations was a Chinese Emperor, and quite a famous and important one!
Thus there is a strong connection between DS and China, that is clear!
China seems to be a pretty good country to be in these days!


  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 659
Re: The Chinese Nation is looking for Happiness
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2013, 03:19:22 AM »
When you have TV broadcasting show with titles like 'Are You Happy?' you can bet that the producers have done their survey and creating a program for what the viewers want. Therefore it speaks of what is happening now that people want happiness more than anything else. Material success is bringing more unhappiness now than previously. In the past people are easily satisfied with food, shelter and clothing. Now with more educations people are more intellectual. The basic necessities don't satisfied people anymore. You can see young people go travelling around the world, pursuing non-traditional jobs, basically spending more time on entertainment, thinking it will bring them happiness.


  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
Re: The Chinese Nation is looking for Happiness
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2013, 04:30:51 AM »
Everyone is looking and searching for their own definition of happiness, not only the chinese. Most people claimed that they are happy because they are happy living in their own 'comfort zone'. Its too tedious to search for happiness when you are living in your own comfort zone. The chinese are smart people who knows how the world evolve in terms of economically and socially. I am not in the least doubt that they will get stronger and stronger but who is going to feed their mind. After they are fed with material gains....they will be looking for mind-food. The Great Protector Dorje Shugden can help.

hope rainbow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 947
Re: The Chinese Nation is looking for Happiness
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2013, 05:56:23 AM »
Essentially, there comes great confusion from mistaking physical comfort and happiness.

Physical comfort means health and health care, money in abundance, un-polluted environment, easy and immediate access to goods and services, physical intimacy with people we find attractive, tasty and nutritious food, clothing and shelter, even luxury shelter, access to holidays and beautiful holiday destinations, etc... etc... etc...

Happiness CANNOT be depending upon the above.
Why? Very simply because if it was, then all those that have access to physical comfort would be happy.
And that is NOT so.

So physical comfort must be linked with a state of mind so that it may come to the beginning of a feeling of happiness.

Then, the trick is this: with the state of mind conducive to happiness, then the physical comfort becomes irrelevant. With it we are happy regardless of the physical comfort. Not to say that to miss clothing and shelter is comfortable, of course it is not, we feel hungry, in-debt, cold, but with a mindset of happiness.

Examples to prove my points are endless all around us all.

So, does it mean that in order to reach a mindset of happiness we should let go of money, of cars, of jobs or even relationships? NO.
First, it would be too easy to become happy.
Second, what we must let go of is the idea we nurture that happiness equates physical comfort, it does not mean to let go of the physical comfort in itself.

hope rainbow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 947
Re: The Chinese Nation is looking for Happiness
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2013, 03:23:21 PM »
I will add: when we loose the physical comfort, when we loose the supply of money, when we loose the house, when it burns down, when we loose the health, when we loose the job and when, as a result, we feel terribly down, depressed, helpless, devastated...

What is the cause of our devastation?

Is the cause the loss of "something"?
Or is the cause our conviction that this "thing" is the necessary for us to be happy?


  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 733
    • Email
Re: The Chinese Nation is looking for Happiness
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2013, 06:59:26 AM »
I recently made a few trips to China for work and observed that China much more mature in that the people are not as desperate for money as just 10 years back.This is my personal observation. I sense that the Chinese people are looking for satisfaction and yes..happiness. Some whom I talked told me that but they equate happiness with material acquisitions, comfort, fame and praise. In other words the 8 worldly concerns. Wow! I realised how profound and true is the Dharma, there and then.I got a nagging feeling that somewhere in their mind they realize that these worldly concerns do not really bring happiness. But I did not have the opportunity to probe further.
Yes, most Chinese have enough money to survive and many are actually rich. I think it is time for the Dharma to flourish simply because the need is there. The condition is almost ripe.


  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 706
Re: The Chinese Nation is looking for Happiness
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2013, 04:52:56 AM »
Robert Kahn has skillfully presented here a 'formula' for the Chinese people to achieve happiness. it is based on  Professor Martin Seligman's(an American research scientist's)  model of 'well-being'.
According to Seligman(who has 'transformed happiness into a scientific discipline')the well-being of  a person is defined with four factors - "positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishments").The term 'well-being' as well as each of the four factors are ,in my opinion, quite relative in meaning and hard to be objectively measured.However, over and above all this, they  show a lack of  clear understanding of what constitutes real happiness.

What is happiness? A state of mind? Lord Buddha, over 2600 years ago, found the answer or the truths about suffering (and happiness) and for the next 45 years taught them. After Him, great holy beings followed His teachings and walked the Path of  Practice to full freedom from suffering and ultimate peace and happiness and full Buddhahood - the Path that He had walked and taught.

So now in this age, we have the proven Path to walk - and the proven method to use - to attain true lasting happiness, in the form of Je Tsongkapa's teachings of the Buddhadharma , encapsulated in the Lamrim Chenmo(which Pabongka Rinpoche taught and whose teachings are captured in Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand). 

In a nutshell(as was taught by Lord Buddha and found in Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand,p. 456), owing to our being under the influence of our negative karma and our delusions, whatever happiness we experience in samsara is brief and transient because it arises from contaminated feelings of happiness. An overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction(dukkha) pervades our being. Even when we are in the midst of sheer joy when we are listening to the classical piece of music that we are strongly attached to, this happiness is not lasting. If we keep listening to the same favorite piece of music for a long time, there will come a time when we have  a surfeit of it and we become bored with it and restless and dissatisfied once more. Happiness should be lasting, but this worldly happiness (like all happiness in samsara)doesn't last.
The actual reason is that it is not happiness that we had been experiencing with the music. The truth is, when we first listened to the music, our threshold of dissatisfaction or suffering had dropped a fraction(and we mistook this feeling as happiness). Then, after a while, the threshold rose again and we are unhappy or dissatisfied again.

The Dharma also shows us that we are the creators of our own happiness or suffering through our delusions and the karma we create under the influence of our delusions , especially the three poisons.

Thus,unlike this formula of happiness/well being  presented here, the  Buddha dharma shows us how we can be really and truly happy and avoid suffering. It shows us how we can attain complete freedom of suffering and real ultimate happiness.

Je Tsongkhapa's teachings of the Dharma are being spread in China, through the skillful ways of Dorje Shugden and Shugden Masters . China is receiving the right method and means to happiness through Dorje Shugden, after all!