In the pursuit of happiness
It has been several days since I came back from traveling to India and interviewing His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Danzanjamts for my “defacto” television program. Last week, I wrote an article titled “Mongolia’s great spiritual shift”, to summarize and reflect on the Dalai Lama’s teachings that relate to our society, economy, and public governance today. This time, I would like to convey his messages about life and happiness.
TRUE MEANING OF LIFE
Everywhere, there are many people who are only living for money and material things. However, some of them – maybe most of them, are seeking the meaning of life rather than wealth because money and power do not bring inner peace. Sometimes, the richer and more powerful one becomes, the more issues and problems one finds.
The most important goal or purpose in life must not be pursuing money and wealth. External material development must be combined with inner development. Everyone is emotional – they get happy, sad, and empathetic. It is related to our hearts and minds. Therefore, inner values are the real key to bringing about inner peace. The purpose of life is happiness. In order to have a happy life, one needs not only external material things, but also inner development.
Material wealth and material development should be combined with our rich tradition that is several centuries old. Material development, modern technology, and modern education provide us with physical comfort, whereas traditional values bring inner comfort.
BUDDHA IS NOT OMNIPOTENT
Spirituality is not exclusive to religion, but it is very important for happiness. The same goes for secularity. Spirituality and religion are not necessarily inherently linked.
It has already been proven by science that peace of mind is essential to being healthy. Constant anger, hatred, and fear are harmful to our health. You cannot buy peace of mind in a supermarket. It is a wealth created by the individual. It is wrong to think it is okay to do something wrong as long as you seek forgiveness and compassion afterwards. In Buddhism, we have no concept of a creator of everything. Buddha is a teacher. Buddha teaches us how to build peace of mind. Since he is not the creator of everything, Buddha cannot forgive our mistakes for a better future. Our future must be created by ourselves, with the right motivation, with the right vision, and with the right behavior. Buddha says you are your own master, so your future depends on you. It is in your hands.
In some countries, poor people are regarded as bad people who are paying for the sins they committed in their previous life. In India, the caste system says that poor people are poor because of their own karma, their own destiny. The Buddhist point of view explains that this is wrong. Everyone is equal at a fundamental level. Buddha treated beggars and poor people with great generosity. On one occasion, Buddha saw a sick person and had his disciple bring water, and he washed the sick man’s feet himself. That’s how Buddha, our teacher, shows us by example.
Even those who are wealthy will have to work as hard as others to live happily. Those who can offer others support in education and health should do so. Therefore, you can never say that a poor person is carrying his karma and living out his destiny. Many people lack a compassionate mind. It is the same in Tibet. The lack of compassion is even found in some senior lamas. They think that they cannot be close to some poor people because they remain too high to take care of them. This is absolutely wrong. It is time for some monasteries to pay attention to this. We need to understand our wrongdoings and we must change.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUPERSTITION AND RELIGION
There are no good days or bad days to do something. Buddha stated clearly that things happen due to your own previous karma. This means everything depends on your own behavior, not on the movement of certain planets or stars, or specific days. The Fifth Dalai Lama mentioned in his autobiography that on the day of his birth, a very special star was visible. He also said that at the same time, a lot of dogs were also born.
Before Buddhism reached Tibet and other central Asian countries, there were religious beliefs similar to shamanism during the 7-8th century. When Buddhism first reached Tibet, there were some difficulties, even clashes at the beginning. As time passed, people grew to see Buddhism in a more positive way. Eventually, the Tibetan emperors fully accepted Buddhist philosophy and religion. Buddhist concepts and philosophy greatly influenced shamanism. Nowadays, the Pen tradition, which is very similar to Buddhist tradition, lives on in Tibet.
VALUES OF LIFE
Happiness is the value of life. If a person takes shortcuts and eliminates enemies to gain some sort of short-term happiness, these actions will not result in long-term happiness. If you abstain from doing bad things to others and try helping them when you can, you will have the chance to live a truly happy life. It allows you to reflect on your life and feel true happiness; you have had a meaningful life when you’ve helped others. Those who spend their entire life seeking fame and wealth do not have anything to remember at the end of their life. Wealth and power cannot help anyone escape death.
Please read more about what the Dalai Lama had to say about human characteristics in my next article.
Translated By B.Amar
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