Dhamma and Happiness

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Dhamma and Happiness

Postby clw_uk » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:52 pm

Ive come across a strange statement which said that if one becomes happy after practicing Dhamma then one is not practicing Dhamma correctly

Could just be me but isnt Dhamma practice intended to quench dukkha so there is peace and contentment which is the best kind of happiness?


:anjali:
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
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Re: Dhamma and Happiness

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:01 pm

Greetings Craig,

Was this person Theravadin?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Dhamma and Happiness

Postby clw_uk » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:03 pm

I dont really know to be honest, i just read it somewhere buy a buddhist, just thought it was and odd statement
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
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Re: Dhamma and Happiness

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:06 pm

Greetings Craig,

It might be worth finding out. I've heard some Vajrayana practitioners say things like this before, to de-emphasise personal happiness and to indicate that practice leads to a greater awareness of the dukkha being experienced by "all sentient beings".

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Dhamma and Happiness

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:11 pm

Hi Craig,

It could also be that in some traditions it's considered okay if someone experiences a period of suffering as they become more aware of the prevalence of dukkha in his/her life and very existence. Most people experience it as a hard thing, of course, but it might be a sign of progress too.

Definitely it depends on the context of the statement.

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Re: Dhamma and Happiness

Postby Prasadachitta » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:14 pm

clw_uk wrote:Ive come across a strange statement which said that if one becomes happy after practicing Dhamma then one is not practicing Dhamma correctly


If one is happier practicing Dhamma and they remain happy in the same way after they practice Dhamma when they go back to their regular habitual way of being, I might say that they are likley not practicing correctly. The way I see it correct Dhamma practice lends to a happiness in practice which actually makes you less satisfied with your regular habitual way of being when you are "not practicing". However even half ass acting out of Dhamma practice can make our regular habitual way of being more enjoyable.

Metta

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Re: Dhamma and Happiness

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:22 pm

The Dhamma is supposed to make us happier, nothing wrong with that. The statement was probably made as an over-interpretation of some teachings on upekkha (equanimity) and/or dukkha.

Here is an article by Ven. Dhammika: Smiling and laughter

It is hard to find Sri Lankans (70% Theravada Buddhist) who are not smiling. They always have a nice and large smile on their faces.
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Re: Dhamma and Happiness

Postby clw_uk » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:22 pm

Retro, no way for me to find out sadly, was just a quote i read on some site

Gabriel, agree with what you said


The quote i read though seemed to state that if there was any kind of happiness then one wasnt practicing Dhamma, which to me is a ridiculous statement, the BuddhaDhamma leads one away from dukkha not further into it. I can understand how one is more aware of Dukkha in other beings, but to let that become Dukkha for yourself is to miss the point of Dhamma

At least thats my view

:anjali:
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
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Re: Dhamma and Happiness

Postby clw_uk » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:25 pm

Thedhamma,

thanks for the link :smile:



The Dhamma is supposed to make us happier, nothing wrong with that. The statement was probably made as an over-interpretation of some teachings on upekkha (equanimity) and/or dukkha.


I agree it probably was, after all when the Buddha realised nibbana he didnt brake down into depression did he :rofl:
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Re: Dhamma and Happiness

Postby Ben » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:56 pm

Hi Craig

I refer you to the Dhammapada verse in my signature!

Sukho Buddhānam uppādo
Sukhā saddhammadesanā
Sukhā sanghassa sāmaggi
Samaggānam tapo sukho


Variously translated:

Happiness lies in the arising of the Enlightened Ones.
Happiness lies in the teaching of true Dhamma.
Happiness lies in concord among the Sangha.
Happiness lies in meditating together.
-- VRI

Joyful is the arising of the Buddha;
Joyful the teaching of the holy Dhamma;
Joyful the harmony of the Sangha;
and Joyful the practice of those who live in harmony.
-- d'Ge-'dun Chos-'phel

Blessed is the birth of the Buddhas;
Blessed is the discourse of the Noble Law;
Blessed is the harmony of the Community of Monks;
Blessed is the devotion of those living in brotherhood.
--Harischandra Kaviratna

Blessed is the birth of the Buddhas;
blessed is the enunciation of the sacred Teaching;
blessed is the harmony in the Order,
and blessed is the spiritual pursuit of the united truth-seeker.
-- Ven Buddharakkhita

A blessing: the arising of Awakened Ones.
A blessing: the teaching of true Dhamma.
A blessing: the concord of the Sangha.
The austerity of those in concord
is a blessing.
-- Ven Thanissaro


Metta

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Re: Dhamma and Happiness

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:59 pm

Greetings Ben,

Spot on.

In fact I think the reverse of what Craig posted is true...

If you're not generally happier as a result of your Dhamma practice, then you're not doing it right.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Dhamma and Happiness

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:39 am

I think that it depends what level you want to answer this on. And what you mean by "happy".

Certainly, basic Dhamma practise usually seems to make people happier and more contented.

However, the Dhamma is not just a "feel good" exercise. If you look at the Progress of Insight
http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Progress/progress.html
or in various Suttas you'll find that full liberation involves becoming disenchanted with Samsara and having the motivation for release.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"For a person who knows & sees things as they actually are, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I feel disenchantment.' It is in the nature of things that a person who knows & sees things as they actually are feels disenchantment.

"For a person who feels disenchantment, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I grow dispassionate.' It is in the nature of things that a person who feels disenchantment grows dispassionate.

"For a dispassionate person, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I realize the knowledge & vision of release.' It is in the nature of things that a dispassionate person realizes the knowledge & vision of release.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
28. "Seeing this, monks, the well-instructed noble disciple becomes disgusted with corporeality, becomes disgusted with feeling, with perception, with mental formations, with consciousness.

29. "Through his being disgusted, his passion fades away. His passion having faded, he is freed. In him who is freed there is the knowledge of freedom: "Ceased has rebirth, fulfilled is the holy life, the task is done, there is no more of this to come," thus he knows.



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Re: Dhamma and Happiness

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:29 am

Hi Craig,

clw_uk wrote:Ive come across a strange statement which said that if one becomes happy after practicing Dhamma then one is not practicing Dhamma correctly


In the Buddha's teaching (e.g., AN. ii. 149) correct practice may be any of the following four:

1. dukkha and leading rapidly to awakening.
2. dukkha and leading only slowly to awakening.
3. sukha and leading rapidly to awakening.
4. sukha and leading only slowly awakening.

So it would seem that your quoted statement is a non-Vibhajjavādin over-generalization. If the statement were true then it would mean that only #2 would count as correct practice, but the Buddha didn't teach that.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
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    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
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Re: Dhamma and Happiness

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:46 am

mikenz66 wrote:I think that it depends what level you want to answer this on. And what you mean by "happy".

Certainly, basic Dhamma practise usually seems to make people happier and more contented.

However, the Dhamma is not just a "feel good" exercise. If you look at the Progress of Insight
http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Progress/progress.html
or in various Suttas you'll find that full liberation involves becoming disenchanted with Samsara and having the motivation for release.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"For a person who knows & sees things as they actually are, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I feel disenchantment.' It is in the nature of things that a person who knows & sees things as they actually are feels disenchantment.

"For a person who feels disenchantment, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I grow dispassionate.' It is in the nature of things that a person who feels disenchantment grows dispassionate.

"For a dispassionate person, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I realize the knowledge & vision of release.' It is in the nature of things that a dispassionate person realizes the knowledge & vision of release.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
28. "Seeing this, monks, the well-instructed noble disciple becomes disgusted with corporeality, becomes disgusted with feeling, with perception, with mental formations, with consciousness.

29. "Through his being disgusted, his passion fades away. His passion having faded, he is freed. In him who is freed there is the knowledge of freedom: "Ceased has rebirth, fulfilled is the holy life, the task is done, there is no more of this to come," thus he knows.



Metta
Mike


Thanks for this Mike :anjali:
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Re: Dhamma and Happiness

Postby nathan » Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:39 am

Dhammanando wrote:In the Buddha's teaching (e.g., AN. ii. 149) correct practice may be any of the following four:

1. dukkha and leading rapidly to awakening.
2. dukkha and leading only slowly to awakening.
3. sukha and leading rapidly to awakening.
4. sukha and leading only slowly awakening.

Dhammanando Bhikkhu


mikenz66 wrote:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"For a person who knows & sees things as they actually are, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I feel disenchantment.' It is in the nature of things that a person who knows & sees things as they actually are feels disenchantment.

"For a person who feels disenchantment, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I grow dispassionate.' It is in the nature of things that a person who feels disenchantment grows dispassionate.

"For a dispassionate person, there is no need for an act of will, 'May I realize the knowledge & vision of release.' It is in the nature of things that a dispassionate person realizes the knowledge & vision of release.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html

28. "Seeing this, monks, the well-instructed noble disciple becomes disgusted with corporeality, becomes disgusted with feeling, with perception, with mental formations, with consciousness.

29. "Through his being disgusted, his passion fades away. His passion having faded, he is freed. In him who is freed there is the knowledge of freedom: "Ceased has rebirth, fulfilled is the holy life, the task is done, there is no more of this to come," thus he knows.



Ven. Dhammanando and Mike have the concise and precise answer in full here. To briefly expand, the conditionality of the moment has various perspectives both the subjective and objective to begin with are both any of these combinations and it compounds from there variously with body/mind, sensation/mind and so on all depending on the nature and tragectory of the sequence of momentary contacts of consciousness and forms. So, out of this mess, the mundane mind composes it's mundane concepts of happy and sad. Seen through, there is no reason for either but still there is pleasant, unpleasant and neutral conditions and interrelationships. Seen from the reflective POV of the whole process coming even momentarily to a complete halt a new comparison is exposed, any and all conditions vs. no conditions. No conditions is preferable in hindsight so there is the inclination for increased dispassion towards all conditions by the Noble beings as they have known the difference. At this point pleasant, unpleasant and neutral are all increasingly well known understood and tolerated but inclination for more begins to fade away and the supreme happiness of complete rest from it is taken to be the only worthy happiness to pursue.

Happiness continues to be a question of 'what is happiness?' for a given being in a given moment all along the way. Kind of slippery, isn't it, until a certain point?
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Dhamma and Happiness

Postby Individual » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:07 am

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Craig,

clw_uk wrote:Ive come across a strange statement which said that if one becomes happy after practicing Dhamma then one is not practicing Dhamma correctly


In the Buddha's teaching (e.g., AN. ii. 149) correct practice may be any of the following four:

1. dukkha and leading rapidly to awakening.
2. dukkha and leading only slowly to awakening.
3. sukha and leading rapidly to awakening.
4. sukha and leading only slowly awakening.

So it would seem that your quoted statement is a non-Vibhajjavādin over-generalization. If the statement were true then it would mean that only #2 would count as correct practice, but the Buddha didn't teach that.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

Dhammanando, I have a vague memory of a certain sutta in which the Buddha mentioned the same categorization (it might be that exact same sutta, I don't know).

In the sutta, the Buddha said that a path of realization which is joyous and quick is superior to a path which is slow and not joyous.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Dhamma and Happiness

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:11 am

clw_uk wrote:Ive come across a strange statement which said that if one becomes happy after practicing Dhamma then one is not practicing Dhamma correctly

Could just be me but isnt Dhamma practice intended to quench dukkha so there is peace and contentment which is the best kind of happiness?


:anjali:


It sounds to me like they may be refering to ordinary happiness, not the Bliss of the Middle Path and Enlightenment? remember there are two extremes both of which are unsatisfactory(to use another translation of Dukkha)

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