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Monday, November 9, 2009

Turning Happiness and Suffering into Enlightenment



(The third Dodrupchen Rinpoche—1865-1926)

My last post was something I hesitated to write, but I got so many responses from others who are going through the same sort of things I am. People pondering life at the tail end of this uncertain and seemingly perilous year.

Thank you so much, blog friends, for writing your thoughts!

Actually, it was a turning point to write that post and be prodded by the responses.

I decided that no matter what, I'm going to keep turning towards the light and not get stuck in fear, distrust of events, worry about specific or non-specific things. As a Buddhist I've always thought that renunciation was important. Not to get stuck in expecting the things of this life to last, wanting happiness to arise from within, as His Holiness the Dalai Lama advises. True happiness, lasting happiness, comes from within and isn't dependent on external things.

But if you take that logic too far in the wrong way there's the danger of being nihilistic, thinking that things on the outside don't matter, and they do. Oh so much. You have to try to be happy, to not suffer!

How do the Buddhist views of non-attachment reconcile with the idea of visualizing happiness? How would the great Kadampa masters (the ultimate Tibetan compassion warriors) respond to "The Secret"?

I've been thinking about this all week. People can be attached to their own suffering in a self-negating, masochistic way, and that doesn't help at all ever, especially when things get tough. We have to be our own best friends, as my teacher says. We have to be as kind to ourselves as we try to be to other sentient beings. When we meditate and practice and pray, if we dedicate it for all beings, we are included.

My little study group read from the text "Turning Happiness and Suffering into Enlightenment" today. It just puts everything into perspective. According to this Tibetan text you should try not to get stuck in happiness and good things that happen, trying not to be attached to them but using happiness as a basis from which to practice. When bad things happen you should try to see them as reminders to turn to the practices of compassion, meditation, and renunciation, among others. In this way everything that happens helps us on the path. That's the briefest of explanations, but the logic and beauty of this text brightens things up a lot.

This attitude truly seems like the key to real happiness.

These are the thoughts occupying my mind lately. What's on yours today?

Take care,
Laura

1 comment:

Jan said...

Laura,
I missed this wonderful post! I've been traveling, not able to blog much. I appreciate your perspective here. It seems that life is such a balancing act sometimes. But I tend to agree with the sentiment expressed here. If we focused less on being happy, just being well with what is and continuing to focus on compassion (for self and others), it does seem to work out!