Buddhist Belief – Do You Want Happiness?


“The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.” – Atisha (Buddhist Restorationist)

As I’ve mentioned in past articles, I belong to a Buddhist Meditation Group. We met yesterday evening and had a lengthy discussion about one of the basic lessons of Buddhist Belief. This is the lesson of seeing what is, acknowledging it without judging it as right or wrong, and then letting go and coming back to the present moment.

As our discussion on this topic continued, it seemed as though our feelings went quite deep. We talked about being hard-wired — about how certain actions and responses we take to circumstances in our lives are unavoidable because that’s “who we are”. We’re human beings so we have to be the way we are.

Now, I admit I wasn’t in a very good mood when I came to the meditation. However, as the evening progressed, I began to sense I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t feeling too positive about life that day. I’ve given my feelings about this meeting a lot of thought today. I need to put these thoughts into writing for this blog. These are only my thoughts — they’re words to indicate how I understand the teachings of Buddha. In expressing these thoughts I understand how others who have studied the teachings may, or may not, agree with what I say today.

Buddhist Belief, meditation, nirvana, mindfulness, karma

As the above quotation from Atisha would indicate, the aim of the Buddhist life is to reach for enlightenment. It is more about the journey than the destination. This may sound obvious, but you have to want happiness to have it. You have to want to be happy more than you want to be you (the ego you), with all your stories, beliefs, opinions, judgments, dreams, and memories. Happiness will never be found in being the ego you, not even in being a better, improved version of that you; it can only be found in losing your ego-self — losing all thoughts that relate to the me –and finding your true self.

Is there a price to be paid for happiness? In my own life I’ve discovered that happiness isn’t attained by working harder, or having more money, more success, or more friends. We never seem to have enough of these things to be happy. What I believe to be the secret is that as long as I’m focused on my little ego-me I’ll keep missing the goal of happiness because the ego-me doesn’t know how to be happy. Once we get past believing that we are our ego-selves we will discover true happiness. When we discover who we really are, we don’t need anything to make us happy because we already are.

The real you has always been happy, and it has always been possible for you to feel this happiness. Whenever you stop thinking or stop paying attention to your thoughts, (like can happen when you have a good meditation), there it is: peace, contentment, happiness, and joy. It turns out that the only thing in the way of your happiness is your thoughts about you. As Buddha taught, involvement or attachment with this you (the ego self), is the cause of suffering. This ego-you and suffering go hand-in-hand: You can’t have one without the other. So, the choice is clear: You can be involved with all your thoughts about you and suffer or you can be involved with the true essence of you, and be happy by ignoring your thoughts.

Although this choice is clear, it’s no piece of cake to make it happen, is it? Let’s face it, we love our stories, beliefs, opinions, judgments, memories, fantasies, and other ideas. We love them more than we love our true essence. We want to be who we think we are more than we want to stop suffering. When it comes to choosing between our ideas and love, we often choose our ideas. There’s no blame in this. It’s like one of our members said last night, we’re hard-wired to make this choice. Nevertheless, there comes a point in our evolution, when it’s time to wake up out of our programming and make the other choice. When this time comes, essence’s pull will become stronger.

This is the point where most of us are, right now, or we wouldn’t be talking about this or reading about it. It’s time to see that we don’t have to suffer. There is another way to live, but we have to choose it, and doing this is not so easy because of our programming. The hardest thing about making this choice is that it has to be made again and again — in every new moment. This is what we read last night at the beginning of our discussion.

We’re never done with making this choice because the ego part of us will still bug us constantly even long after we’ve realized who we truly are. That ego-mind will weaken as we pay less and less attention to it, but it will continue to tempt us with stories, judgments, opinions, fantasies, and memories. We may learn to see these thoughts for what they are, but they’ll still have some power to draw us in.

Yes, the ego part of us is strong, but it’s only as strong as the attention we give it. We can’t change the hard-wiring, but we can change our relationship to it. When we make this choice, the programming will weaken. It’s the only way to true happiness, and we’re the only ones who can make this choice. Waking up is really hard, but is it as hard as suffering? We tend to think so because it’s so comfortable to stay asleep.

How long do we have to keep bouncing back and forth between the ego-us and the true essence of who we are? Who knows? It could last a lifetime, but Buddha taught us it doesn’t have to. The more we choose to ignore our ego’s pull, the stronger our true voice will become. One day we’ll discover our desire to awaken is so strong that ignoring the ego becomes easy. That’s the day when we’ll be on our way to true freedom — to true happiness.

As usual, I’ve run longer than I intended. To those in our group last night who read this, these are the things I wanted to say during our meeting, but, I am much clearer in my thinking when I take the time to write. To everyone else, I hope you see something of value here. If you have any comments, I’d love to hear them.

So, until the next time I am moved to write here again ….

Namaste — Be in Peace.

Ron Rink

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AN ADDED NOTE OF INTEREST:

I came across this article the other day and it does relate to some extent to what I wrote about above. I don’t have any notes about where I found it or who wrote it. It was in a file I saved many years ago.
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Find Tranquility and Peace in Shambhala

While driving through a nearby town the other day I stopped at a red light and on one of the buildings on an adjacent street there was a large red sign that said “Shambhala.” It piqued my curiosity and decided to investigate. Shambhala, also spelled Shambala or Shamballa, is a Sanskrit phrase combining the words swayam and bhala meaning “self benefited” or “self powered.”

Often known as a center of tranquility or place of happiness, Shambhala is best described as a state of meditation, although for people immersed in it, Shambhala is known as a hidden kingdom in the Tibetan religion of Buddhism. Some say Shambhala is an actual physical place that exists somewhere in what was once part of the Philippines. If it is not a physical place, it is thought to be found through the mind. The 14th Dalai Lama even suggested during the 1985 Kalachakra initiation in Bodhgaya that it is not found in any country but euphoria for a select few, “Although those with special affiliation may actually be able to go there through their karmic connection, nevertheless it is not a physical place that we can actually find. We can only say that it is a pure land, a pure land in the human realm. And unless one has the merit and the actual karmic association, one cannot actually arrive there.”

In order to get to the “Shambhala,” physically or spiritually, you need to first get past the one big hurdle in the process: You. The Shambhala teaches that every person has fundamentals instilled in them when they are born. These fundamental natures are of goodness, intelligence, and warmth. Through rigorous dedication to the teachings and meditation you can help bring out your nature daily and encourage it to grow. By stimulating your inner fundamentals you can inspire your friends and family to do the same and make life a bit better for everyone in your circle.

If encouraging the fundamentals can bring happiness, inviting the opposite natures into your life can bring upheaval. The three main emotions that oppose Shambhala’s teachings are doubt, egotism, and fear. People who follow the track of Shambhala believe that by overcoming these negative elements, awakening our true intelligence will define you as a human being.

This journey of awakening is also called the path of the warrior. The main idea behind a warrior’s path is that the warrior (or person undertaking this feat) will have to summon the courage to look inside themselves to find the “ultimate truth.” There are other main practices in the ancient art of Shambhala, but the warrior path is most important. Looking inside yourself is also popular in the modern natural health world but goes by the name Mindful-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

In order to see clearly, Shambhala stays true to the ideas of Buddhism, but encourages the specific journey of self-reflection and self-expression. With hundreds of spiritual centers teaching this journey around the world, Shambhala believers are able to share their connection with others who either want to be enlightened or are already on the way to an open and honest relationship with their inner self.

If you are already full of peace and are able to reach a meditative state as easy as any unenlightened soul like me can reach over and turn off the morning alarm clock, you are what the Buddhists call a bodhisattva, or “enlightened being.” This person has the task of helping others reach the ultimate state of utopia, what the Buddhists call nirvana. Although the only Nirvana I have had the pleasure of knowing is the ’90s grunge band, and my attempts at meditation often end up in an acute sense of hearing a fly buzzing about the room, I am not completely giving up. If you—like me—would like to be the happiest you could be within your life, give Shambhala a try, or if you can’t find a red sign nearby, try simply looking inside your inner self and getting rid of those negative emotions.
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Ron’s Recommended Reading List

For those who wanted me to repeat the links for the books I’ve mentioned in the last few articles, here they are again — And, I have added a new book for you by Pema Chodron. It’s the last one in the list. I highly recommend all these books to you:

Sharon Salzberg — The Kindness Handbook

“It takes boldness, even audacity, to step out of our habitual patterns and experiment with a quality like kindness–to work with it and see just how it might shift and open up our lives. This book is an invitation to do just that.” – From The Kindness Handbook — “The Kindness Handbook

Eckhart Tolle’s amazing best seller, “A New Earth

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s wonderful book, “My Stroke of Insight” — “Nirvana is just a breath away!

And this one by Sharon Salzberg and is entitled: “A Heart as Wide as the World: Living with Mindfulness, Wisdom and Compassion“.

This is a new one for you by Pema Chodron entitled: “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
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Always remember this wonderful quote from Buddha ….


“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

~~~ Buddha

Shanti everyone, … (A sanscrit word meaning, “Let there be Peace. Peace, beautiful Peace. Peace within, Peace without. Peace in this world. Peace for all beings.”)


“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”

~~~ Buddha

Have a peaceful day!! —

Ron Rink

http://www.theleaderinside.com
http://www.wecould2.com
http://www.buddhistbelief.com

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2 Responses to “Buddhist Belief – Do You Want Happiness?”

  1. Katherine Says:

    I googled how the Buddhists think you can be happy and this link came up.

    I am also reading a book called The Joy of Living – Unlocking the Secret & Science of Happiness by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.

    I am on page 92 of chapter 5 – The Relativity of Perception on the section called Impermanence.

    I was on Amazon.com and it was recommended to me and I felt like I should get the book although I had no idea why.

    Sometimes I wish I could forget I ever heard about enlightenment and just pretend life was more normal again and just live a regular life, but then I get so miserable that I run back to enlightenment as my only hope for being happy.

    I keep going back and forth between ego and nonego. You cannot serve two masters just popped into my head.

    Just a few of my current thoughts.

    Katherine

    I think I will experiment and get out of my own way for a minute and see what comes to mind to contribute to whomever reads this, if anyone does. Here goes:

    Be a channel for your own Higher Self to express in the world. Get out of your own way. This course is definitely confusing to the ego, so do not be the ego!

    Put the ego aside and let the sunshine of love and happiness in.

    There is nothing to figure out. I already know everything.

    Trying to find enlightenment is just a delaying tactic of the ego, not wanting to step aside. You may play this game as long as you wish.

    When you are ready to be happy just set aside your ego and listen to and be your true self. Just let the answers bubble up from the inside and come to the outside. There is no question that does not have an answer, for I know everything. It is not a question of learning for you are part of Me so you can know anything that I know. That is how the Buddha attained enlightenment. He just wanted to know so badly that he let his ego get out of his way and let himself remember who he truly was. He quit playing games. It is all a question of what do you really want. Do you want to puff up your ego by “trying to find enlightenment”. Your egos love that! Or do you want enlightenment, which is your own true nature?

    You cannot be you (ego) and be Me at the same time. Which one do you really want?

    Be ego or be Me – make a decision! The Buddha did!

    Enlightenment is not something you find. It is something you already are! It is reality. Just quit being your ego and be yourself and you are enlightened. Then there is nothing left to learn, because you already know everything knowable because I do. Just ask whatever you want to know and listen to the answer come from the inside – from Me – God – Creator.

    Don’t learn – LISTEN TO ME – LISTEN!

    Enlightenment is who you are, not anything to learn. You can’t learn enlightenment you can only be enlightenment.

    Remember Jesus said I and my Father are one and the same, because We are. You are me and I (God) am you and I am what everything is made out of because I am all that is and I have all the answers and as soon as you remember this you can stop trying so hard to learn on your own and just listen to me and talk with Me and just be happy and listen and enjoy yourself and your life.

    Listen to Me and not your ego and be happy!

    Keep listening!

    Message from God brought to you through Katherine while she got out of her own way for a change!

    I (God) love you, people. Please quit ignoring Me while you say you are trying to find Me. I am right here, inside of you. Just listen to me, like any friend you want to be nice to!

    Peace (Me!) be with you! It is up to you. I will not force Myself on you if you would rather visit with your ego.

    Bye! Katherine ego let Me bring this message to you by getting out of the way so I could speak.

    I love you and I miss you! Please come visit with Me instead of your ego!

    God.

  2. Ron Rink Says:

    Hi Katherine — Thanks for response to this blog post. You, the real YOU, certainly showed what can be possible for everyone if they can get out of their own way — even for just a few moments.

    As you wrote — enlightenment IS who YOU are, not something you learn.

    Be well — be in peace — Ron

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