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Buddhist book that talked about temporary state of happiness

  1. Jul 13, 2008 #1
    Few years ago, I remember reading a Buddhist book that talked about temporary state of happiness, and also how to achieve permanent happiness by getting satisfied with most basic things, having a calm mind all time and getting rid of fear: mindfulness + others. I worked hard for like some months but I couldn't keep it up because of my daily tensions/hectic life.

    This research seems to prove that point
    Money/material objects including having children, getting married cannot increase the level of happiness in your life. And same goes for losing things.

    Seems like I will start working on mindfulness practices again along with Buddhism way of achieving happiness.

    Anyone else working/trying to achieve permanent happiness?

    I don't know if Buddhism is the only discipline that teaches about permanent happiness or even if there is something like permanent happiness.

    I want to get rid of fear and achieve full mindfulness which seems impossible when I am always dealing with materialistic problems.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 13, 2008 #2
    Re: Happiness

    If you were always happy life would be depressingly sad. You have to have sad emotions to fully appreciate the happy.

    Giving up everything material to obtain 'happiness' seems like an absurdly silly and stupid notion.
  4. Jul 13, 2008 #3
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  5. Jul 13, 2008 #4
    Re: Happiness

    Yep, I agree. But, It would still be a good idea to get rid of emotional thoughts/other things. I don't have precise thoughts but I am not talking about achieving one extreme. I just want to get out of the whole spectrum of happiness and sadness.

    Actually, the book I read was about mindfulness. It never said anything about giving up everything you have. It had a quote like this one "Don't think about sleep when you work and think about work when you sleep", and other thing was feeling of fear. And, from other book, some western er went to a zen master in Japan and while having a conversation with him, a earth quake came but the zen guy hardly moved - he went into some state (I don't know the exact name for it). And satisfaction is the last thing. Almost everyone thinks grass on the other side is greener - or he can always get better than what he has right now.

    I never came across a Buddhist book that wanted me to get converted into Buddhism and leave everything behind.
  6. Jul 13, 2008 #5
    Re: Happiness

    I dont follow?
  7. Jul 13, 2008 #6
    Re: Happiness

    I think he means it's okay to have pretty things, just keep it to a minimum. When you value yourself based on the things you own, that's treading dangerous ground. I.e. a fire or flood not only means you are out of a home, but it means you as a person are ruined and that is hard to cope with.
  8. Jul 13, 2008 #7
    Re: Happiness

    I would never be able to have clear thoughts about happiness and sadness as I said before.

    When you were thinking about happiness, you took it as opposite to sadness. So, anyone would have happiness if he is trying to run away from sadness. And when originally, I was thinking of happiness I was not trying to run away from sadness/ even thought about the existence of sadness. My happiness doesn't have an opposite.

    I think that permanent happiness doesn't mean that you would have no sufferings/problems/depressions. It mean more like accepting your sufferings/problems rather than working towards achieving happiness (running away). So, those problems are still there but you just have changed your attitude and thoughts such that they can't make you sad (a feeling which obviously doesn't exist/have no meaning).
  9. Jul 13, 2008 #8
    Re: Happiness

    I like books by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dalai Lama like "art of happiness", "how to practice way to a meaningful life", "How to see yourself as your really are", "The wisdom of forgiveness : intimate conversations and journeys". I read both last summers and after that hardly ever got time. They both have very neutral language, and they are directed towards normal people who have busy lives and don't want to get into their religion. I also had a slight look over some Zen books.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  10. Jul 13, 2008 #9
    Re: Happiness

    Why do you assume one has to run way form sadness to obtain happiness? I have no idea what you mean by 'My happiness doesn't have an opposite'.....

    I wouldnt call happiness 'accepting' your sufferings/problems. That's giving up in life....I donno, I'm really not one to get sad and mope around.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2008
  11. Jul 13, 2008 #10
    Re: Happiness

    Yes one of the main frame of Buddism system is based on the "4 noble truths", which are around "suffering" of life: Definition of suffering, Why there is suffering, Way to end it, and how to end it. Accepting is just one of the starting points. The system is quite active in a way that it suggests the believers to try and seek the end of his own suffering, or even the suffering of other lives as a whole. Changing attitude, or more generally improving oneself to cope with problem, is one of the path suggested by the noble truths. Quite positive a religion it is :smile:
  12. Jul 13, 2008 #11
    Re: Happiness

    Man, if that article is true that sucks for me because I'm always pretty upset or pissed about things, the state of the world, etc..

    I do agree though one doesn't need a lot of possessions to be happy. For a while, I was collecting books but not reading the darn things. That probably contributed to my unhappiness (when I'm busy with intellectual work I feel a lot better). Sometimes, though, when I'm feeling down or have "the blues" there will be times when I lose any depression and all of a sudden feel really good, but quickly forget the feeling again. And I also agree that marriage and more ownership doesn't necessarily lead to more happiness. I've seen people remarry and end up far more unhappier than they were as widows.

    But, as for Buddhist tactics, I think it's more about trying to be productive than simply limiting possessions. One of the tenants of Buddhism is that suffering comes from ownership, self-possession, etc., and you have to release the self to truly be free. Another large part of Easten philosophy is that inaction is healthy. However, I've found that owning a limited amount of things doesn't make me happy and being unproductive, say, with my computer leads to far more unhappiness than if I am actually productive with it (even though i know this sometimes it's still hard to get me to complete assignments early and stuff).

    So I think you have to be careful with that stuff.
  13. Jul 14, 2008 #12


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    Re: Happiness

    I don't really get like down and depressed.

    To me the happy life is living with your personal choices and not to allow them to be influenced by others. It should be your choice and not someone else's choice.

    Like for example, my girl always asks me who I am dancing with at clubs and how I dance with them. I barely answer the question as she's trying to invoke me to not go at all or if I do go, to not look at girls and all this. If I'm out to have fun, do you really think I will have fun standing around with all these restrictions imposed on me, by her, and not by a personal choice I made. She knows I see it like that. And she hopes that I impose the restriction on myself. (I don't.)

    It sucks for me because she knows that she literally has no restrictions on my part, and it's not being recipricated (that she's not returning it to me). I'm sure this allows her to be herself and feel so basically free, which makes her or anyone happy. I believe she tried to get me to feel weird about things when she said she met a cool guy at work and they will hang out together and watch some hockey game. They were going to go to a bar and watch a game and have fun. Since she got nothing out of me, she went on to say that the bar might not play the game and so they might decide to do something else. My response... I'm sure he has cable. Just go watch the game at his place.
  14. Jul 14, 2008 #13
    Re: Happiness

    IMO, the buddish system on possession should be taken in this way: I tries hard to seek continual possession of somethings which makes me happy. But eventually and natually I will lose them. Could you smell some foolishness in the "seek of presistent procession" itself? One tries to find goodness and avoid bad things, both with presistence. This presistence is regarded as pointless, and Buddish system oppose to this idea. This should be derived from the main concept Impermanence, i think. I should say the "possession" here is not the main point.:smile:
  15. Jul 14, 2008 #14
    Re: Happiness

    Cyrus is barking up the right tree here. Albert Camus put it best.

    There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night.
  16. Jul 14, 2008 #15
    Re: Happiness

    There's more to life than being happy.
  17. Jul 14, 2008 #16
    Re: Happiness

    I heard from my friends dad (who is very wise), a saying that can be translated as;

    Only sun yields desert.
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