Happiness Is A Practice

Happiness is a practice to eradicate greed, hatred and delusion, and cultivate harmony, love and wisdom. Developing such a practice takes a journey on a right path.

First and foremost our view and intention must be right to set the course in the right direction. Our view should be towards seeing reality just as it is, not as what we believe it to be or want it to be. It should be free from blind beliefs and any rigid and dogmatic clinging to concepts, ideas, views and opinions. Our intention should be free from selfish and egoic desire and ill-will. It should be towards establishing peace, harmony, love and care for ourselves and all others.

Accordingly our words and actions should promote peace, love and harmony. Our words should be free from telling lies, backbiting and slanderous speech, harsh, rude, impolite, malicious, and abusive language, gossip, etc. Our action should be free from harming anyone physically or mentally and free from dishonest and covert acts. Likewise, our line of work should be free from harming, cheating, deceiving and manipulating others.

Then we should exert proper effort towards developing mindfulness and meditation. Without mindfulness of our thinking, speech and actions, we cannot distinguish good from bad, and right from wrong, and we will not see the beauty or the ugliness of our deeds. Through meditation training, the mind gains deep clarity, stability and wisdom. Without it, we cannot correct our wrong views and develop right views. Even if our intention is good, without proper training of mindfulness and meditation, we fail to recognize our wrong habitual patterns and tendencies and we lack capacity to come out of them. For example, without a proper horse riding practice, we cannot ride on a horse happily; we will just fall again and again badly.

This is a simple summary of the Eight-fold path prescribed by Buddha. Its eight factors can be understood as three divisions.

The night is long for the sleepless. The league is long for the weary. Life is long and difficult to the foolish who do not know the right path. — Buddha

[Wisdom Factors]

  • 1) Right View

  • 2) Right Intention

[Moral Discipline Factors]

  • 3) Right Speech

  • 4) Right Action

  • 5) Right Livelihood

[Meditation Factors]

  • 6) Right Effort

  • 7) Right Mindfulness

  • 8) Right Concentration (Samadhi)

[Wisdom Factors] set our direction right. If the direction itself is wrong, it will only lead to lifelong struggle and misery.

[Moral Discipline Factors] set our conduct and method right. If our conduct is wrong, we not only get stuck without making any progress, but also end up going in a wrong direction. Further, as it destroys our peace of mind, it is difficult to practice meditation and find clarity.

[Meditation Factors] give us clarity and wisdom towards the right direction and conduct. As our mind’s stability and strength increase, we can courageously face our suffering and difficulties, and continue to go in the right direction.

May we all find peace, harmony, love and happiness!