The Buddha taught that we are responsible for our own happiness. In another word, do not blame others, including Gods for unhappiness in our life.
We need to have the correct conditions in life to experience happiness. These conditions will arise if we had the relevant karma. Karma means actions, speech and thoughts that we had committed previously.
In short, if we had done good previously, then good things will happen to us latter on. If we did bad, then bad things will happen.
This is a basic understanding and advice for people regarding happiness from a Buddhist perspective.
The happiness that we know of, is actually a reaction to stimuli of our senses. (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch)
When we experience something agreeable, we feel satisfied and we feel happy. Otherwise we feel aversion. Therefore, what we know as happiness is built upon our craving and aversion. Worldly happiness are not true ultimate happiness.
- Worldly happiness has no fixed standard, they changes according to culture and beliefs. They differ from places to places. Because of that, people with different definition of happiness fight one another to preserve their own brand of happiness.
For example, a teenage son may like metal rock at full blast whereas his mother only enjoy classical music playing lightly in the background. When each of them try to pursue their worldly happiness, conflicts arises. Such worldly happiness are the cause of much conflict in the world around us if we examine it from family to international level.
- Worldly happiness are impermanent and unsatisfactory, they are dependent on external factors that are impermanent in nature. They are based on our imperfect senses.
Following the same example above, the teenage son being rebellious had a fight with his mom when she demanded some peace. The mother complained to the father and as a punishment, the teenage son was confined to his room and made to listen to the same metal rock track for 4 hours non stop. That favourite song that was so enjoyable previously soon become noise and irritation because it is now a punishment. (this story is fictional, no child abuse was committed)
If we examine our worldly happiness, it is not difficult to realise that we get bored with it or we can only enjoy it to a certain quantity. Beyond that, it becomes a source of irritation and suffering.
Therefore, worldly happiness is a mistaken belief. It is a mistake caused by our ignorance. Buddhist wisdom make us realise our mistake.
Following from the above, the Buddha taught that true happiness is Nirvana. That is enlightenment.
To do that we need to “de-program” ourselves. What we mistaken as happiness and spent our entire life chasing; is nothing but a mirage.
We therefore need to “re-program” ourselves.
In order to overwrite our mistaken belief, we need to have realisation. Without realisation, we had just acquired a knowledge. We are still hungry for worldly happiness.
In order to attain enlightenment, we have to engage ourselves in spiritual practice.
One of the practice is to be mindful of our senses. Guarding the doors of our senses.
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