Tag Archives: happiness

Life Satisfaction Through Mindfulness-Based Therapy

Why Not Just Practice Buddhism? One of the issues of using spirituality as a healing tool is that its personal and introspective nature does not allow of empirical third-party scrutiny. The scientific method requires that all processes be predictable and able to be replicated; and therefore provide evidence of results. It is not to say […]

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Thrive or Strive: Motivate Change for Happiness

As I am developing this intervention model of Buddhist Therapy, I have had a few people ask how individuals and counselors can help develop change. “Mind precedes things, dominates them, creates them” (Mano pubbangamadhamma mano settha mano maya). ~ Dhammapada The core of change comes from the acknowledgement and understanding of decision-thinking is self-motivated. Even […]

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ReWrite Your Stories and Be Happy

I was on my first silent meditation retreat (the one I witnessed at the Spirit Plant once). I was so excited to enjoy the silence. Share that time with others who were seeking time in quiet reflection and loving kindness. But by the end of the fourth day, I wanted to see misery brought down […]

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If I am not Special, Then Who Am I?

I spend a lot of time talk with individuals and groups about Buddhism. Not only does it provide me an opportunity to share the dhamma, but I find it helps me discover aspects to develop in my own practice.

For example, recently a friend of mine has been struggling with her personal suffering: career, love life, personal sense of happiness, etc. At one point she said to me, “I think I should write a book and call it ‘If I am not special, then who am I?’”

What a brilliant title! “If I Am Not Special, Then Who Am I?”

This got me to thinking of an appropriate response. Why do so many of us feel the need to be special? Why is it the ego (the identity of ‘self’) is part of our natural progression before developing the wisdom of the Dhamma? [CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE]

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When is Suffering A Good Thing?

Trying to explain Buddhism to non-practings Buddhists can sometimes be a challenge. Nevertheless, it can also be a truly fruitful experience, because it requires you to reflect and answer questions that perhaps get unmindfully conditioned in the brain.

Speaking to a friend of mine about Buddhism, she stated, “ If Buddhism is about non-attachment then I would rather suffer. I enjoy my attachment to things like my family and friends. I may find some suffering from owning a car, but I enjoy my car more than I suffer from it.”

The world is made up of what we use and what gets in our way.

Her statements were true. I honestly believe and practice my Buddhist faith, but I enjoy my family and my pleasure in the suffering I endure with my clinging to them. I do practice unconditional love and acceptance of metta, but that is not the only love I have for them. I have that attached love of a parent and son. [CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE]

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Isn’t Suffering Good?

Sumitta, In my opinion, in order to understand suffering you must experience it. So we need to suffer to live and grow. Isn’t this true? __ Dear Dhamma Follower, This is an interesting question. But the first thing we must do is understand what we mean by the word “suffering.” The Pali word (the language […]

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Marriage and Buddhism

My advice is always to seek love and develop love with the knowledge of the mortality of love, just as there is mortality in anything that is born. All things are impermanent, but all things are also inter-dependent. The love, compassion, and acceptance we develop with our spouses carries on beyond our marriages. The love we develop in our marriages is not less important because it is temporary, but more precious because of this fact. Two people who have bonded and joined their lives to journey their short time on this world together are a blessed by each other and are able to take a non-monastic path in their understanding of happiness, wisdom, understanding and compassion.

We must choose the Buddhists we wish to be develop and become, always understanding that the goal is not nirvana, but true happiness. While a married lay person must carry a heavier burden in the physical world, they still walk the Middle Path.

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How to deal with people who bother you

We must recognize that when we harbor negative feelings about someone, that it is not a gift or curse from others, but a choice we have to develop those negative thoughts and hold onto them until they become very unpleasant– and only to us.

Instead, let these feelings go. Remind yourself that you should focus on liberating yourself from negativity and replace the arising of those negative thoughts with something positive.

And if you focusing only on the present situation without developing judgments about it you will find that you will not give power to the negative energy we all so easily hold onto in our lives. This is the poison of aversion and clinging. To avoid and push negative energy away, itself takes energy and develops a sense of validity to negative thoughts, just as clinging to them feeds those negative thoughts as well. We end up carrying rotting potatoes.

Feel the lightness of being when we can put down the burden and move forward in our lives without dealing with such things.

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Do I Exist?

Rene Descartes said, “I think therefore I am.” In one short sentence,he was able to sum up the delusion of man, because while he could deny and question the existence of everything external to him, he was unable to rationalize away his own existence. (Actually, he said it in Latin, “Cogito ergo sum!” which made it sound even more impressive.)

But is his statement true? Because we think, do we exist? In Buddhism, so many try to wrap their heads around the concept of emptiness (sunyata): the concept that we have no true nature and therefore possibly do NOT exist. In addition, this concept of emptiness raises other questions of “does any thing exists?” and “what is the point if nothing exists?”

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Emotions and Dharma

When we develop our Buddhist practice, we develop the habits of loving kindness to replace greed, we develop compassion to replace hatred, and we develop equanimity to replace delusion. We embrace the emotional aspects of who we are, but recognize that emotions are conditioned responses are what we must focus on for change. Nothing is miserable unless we think it is so.

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Be Happy Without Wanting

Enlightenment is not born from ecstasy but from the displeasure of discontentment. Stimulated enjoyment is simulated happiness. The arousal of the senses to pleasurable experiences distracts the mind from genuine experience. We know this because when we turn the stimulation off—we are left empty and wanting.

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What is Suffering?

The Buddha gave a very clear mission statement, “I teach one thing and one only: that is, suffering and the end of suffering.” (— SN 22.86)

The Four Noble Truths, the oble Eightfold Path, the Law of Karma, etc.: Everything that the Buddha taught was done with one clear purpose: to end suffering.

But what does he mean by suffering? How does that translate into happiness?

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Who Desires?

Dear Sumitta,

A desire is the thought, “I want this or that.” There can be no desire without the desirer.There can be no desirer without the thought “I.” The thought “I” is the mind.Ever wonder why we don’t desire when we dream? There is no thought in the dream state.
So how do we create a desireless state in the awaken state? Destroy the mind, or rather, the I-thought. You can live very peacefully without it as the Buddha has shown.

How?

The mind has an Achille’s heel. A chink in it’s armor. It really doesn’t exist.It just appears to exist.

And, since it doesn’t exist it would naturally be impossible for it to see itself.

So, when you force the mind to seek itself say, with the question,”Who am I?” it simply vanishes. and once the mind vanishes….so does the “I” that you had taken yourself to be. and with no “I”…who can possibly desire?

What appears when the mind vanishes?

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Suffering, Divorce and Buddhism

We cannot be perfect Buddhists every moment of every day. Especially during the challenges of divorce, but we can start orienting ourselves to see the benefits of accepting life as it comes and dealing with it positively.

THINGS YOU CAN DO TO FIND SOME HAPPINESS DURING A DIVORCE

1) Meditate— Sitting quietly for 30 minutes a day, over a two week period, has proven to reduce stress, reduce anxiety, and create inner calm, lower blood pressure and blood sugar.

2) Giving—Taking time to donate your time and effort to others develops compassion and forgiveness. It is also a good safe way to start new social networks outside of the previous marriage

3) Listening—everyone tells you that you should “talk it out.” Unfortunately, we do not reflect when we talk. Talking is good for venting, but listening is good for comprehension and insight. Find someone who wants to talk and listen to them without interjection or turning the conversation back to you. Soon you will start understanding a lot more about yourself.

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Nirvana and Happiness

In this we way we understand that self, as a permanent and real “thing” does not exist. It does not have a true nature and is therefore defined as “empty” in Buddhism. When the body and mind are seen as one impermanent subjective process, it is possible to see the world from view free from the delusion of “I”.

Free from the delusion of self and body as permanent, the awareness that is us can re-engage with the world around us with a different outlook. A view and understanding of the world free from the shackles of clinging, aversion and ignorance. The use of “I,” “we” or “you” in a sentence is one of utilitarian necessity rather than of conceptual reality. The ego gone emotions are no longer stirred up the same way a catfish stirs up the mud when it swims or slashes against the river’s bottom. The wisdom of the empty, connected and impermanent nature of all things removes the value of all things, which eradicates the condition of greed and hate.

Without hate, greed and delusion; without the ignorant view of “I”; within engaged wisdom through proper observation— a state of happiness is created without the need for condition or origin. This state of awareness is not blind to the past and future, but not determined unmindfully by it, is Nirvana.

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