Dec 14, 2019
How can we be truly happy? We may wonder if it’s even possible. Buddhism is a more scientific study of the mind and offers a path to happiness. As we study the chapter called Happiness in the Dhammapada, we look specifically at how to be happy and uproot what causes us misery in our lives. Thus, there is a two-fold solution: address what causes us unhappiness and create the causes of future happiness. This episode explores both and offers a mindfulness practice to lift the mind up and create the causes of future happiness.
It’s easy to be happy when things are going well. The magic happens when discover how to be peaceful and happy when things aren’t going the way we would have liked. It takes a switch of the mind in the moment. It takes turning our attention from what’s wrong…...to all the things that are right. As humans, there are so many things going right for us. If we are able to train our mind to pay attention to the positive rather than the negative, we can live a bright new world.
Secondly, to create the causes of future happiness we can train our mind to be in the present moment and to cherish others. The mind of cherishing others, will lead us all the way to enlightenment. The Buddha pointed to the power of cherishing others when he spoke of the Bodhisattva, a person who has dedicated their life to waking up for the benefit of all living beings—out of compassion. As inspiration for our mindfulness practice this week, also our Bodhisattva practice, we ask ourselves The Three Questions from Leo Tolstoy’s short story. The Emperor's three questions to the wise hermit were:
When is the best time to start something?
Who are the most important people?
What is the most important thing to do?
The answers and our mindfulness practice:
The time to start is now.
The most important person is the one you are with.
The most important thing to do is to cherish this person— to do them good.
Ah, so happily we live,
Without misery among those in misery.
Among people in misery
We live without misery. (198)
—Buddha, The Dhammapada
References and Links
Brahm, A. [Buddhist Society of Western Australia].(2009, June). On Patience [Youtube video]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/Gl0Lyxi8nbQ
Buddha. The Dhammapada: The Buddha’s Path of Wisdom. Translated by Acharya Buddharakkhita. Buddhist Publication Society Kandy, 1985. pp. 53.
Tolstoy, L. The Three Questions. [web PDF] Friends Acedemy. Retrieved from
Je Tsongkhapa. Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, by Je Tsongkhapa, Volume 2. Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor, pp 161-164.