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The Art of Happiness a handbook for living.

The right to Happiness

It is taken from the book “ The Art of Happiness-A HANDBOOK FOR LIVING” by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, MD.

“The very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…”

“Happiness can be achieved through training the mind.”

“The purpose of our existence is to seek happiness."

INNER CONTENTMENT

The dalai Lama:

“I think there are two kinds of desire,”

“Certain desires are positive. A desire for happiness. It’s absolutely right. The desire for more harmonious world, a friendlier world. Certain desires are very useful.”

“Self-satisfaction alone cannot determine if a desire or action is positive or negative. A murderer may have a feeling of satisfaction at the time he is committing the murder, but that doesn’t justify the act. All the non-virtuous actions- Lying, stealing, sexual misconduct, and so on – are committed by people who may be feeling a sense of satisfaction at the time. The demarcation between a positive and negative desire or action is not whether it gives you immediate feeling of satisfaction at the time. The demarcation between a positive and negative consequences. For example, in the case of wanting more expensive possessions, if that is based on a mental attitute that just wants more and more, then eventually you will reach a limit of what you can get.”

One thing that is quite characteristic is that although it arrives by the desire to obtain something, it is not satisfied by obtaining and that leads to trouble. Thing about greed is that although the underlying motive is to seek satisfaction, the irony is that even after obtaining the object of your desire, you are still not satisfied. The TRUE ANTIDOTE OF GREED IS CONTENTMENT. It doesn’t matter whether you obtain the object or not, either way, you are still content.”

So, how can we achieve inner contentment??

APPRECIATE WHAT WE HAVE rather than keep wanting to have MORE AND MORE, there will never be enough !!!

INNER WORTH

“Generally speaking, you can have two different types of individuals.

On the one hand, you can have a wealthy, successful person, surrounded by relatives and so on. If that person’s source of dignity and sense of worth is only material, then so long as his fortune remains, maybe that person can sustain a sense of security. But the moment the fortune wanes, the person will suffer because there is no other refuge.

On the other hand, you can have another person enjoying similar economic status and financial success, but at the same time, that person is warm and affectionate and has a feeling of compassion. Because that person has another source of worth, another source that gives him or her a sense of dignity, another anchor, there is less chance of that person’s becoming depressed if he or her fortune happens to disappear. This is very practical to practice human warmth and affection in developing inner sense of worth.”





HAPPINESS VERSUS PLEASURE (pg 32)



“Happiness that depends mainly on physical pleasure is unstable; one day it’s there, the next day it may not be”

“Happiness and pleasure were two different things."

“right choice is often the difficult one- the one that involves some sacrifice of our pleasure.”

THE PATH TO HAPPINESS (pg.37)

“We don’t need more money, we don’t need greater success or fame, we don’t need the perfect body or even the perfect mate—right now, at this very moment, we have a mind, which is all the basic equipment we need to achieve complete happiness.

“The first step in seeking happiness is leaning. We first have to learn how negative emotions and behaviours are harmful to us and how positive emotions are helpful. And we must realize how these negative emotions are not only very bad and harmful to one personally but harmful to society and the future of the whole world as well. That kind of realization enhances our determination to face and overcome them.There is the realization of the beneficial aspects of the positive emotions and behaviours.Once we realize that, we become determined to cherish, develop, and increase those positive emotions no matter how difficult that is. There is a kind of spontaneous willingness from within. So through this process of learning, of analyzing which thoughts and emotions are beneficial and which are harmful, we gradually develop a firm determination to change, feeling, “Now the secret to my own happiness, my own good future, is within my own hands. I MUST NOT MISS THAT OPPORTUNITY!”
(pg.39)
“To make sure that the causal conditions that normally give rise to that event no longer arise. Similarly, if you want a particular event or experience to occur, then the logical thing to do is to seek and accumulate the causes and conditions that give rise to it.”
“If you desire happiness, you should seek the causes that give rise to it, and if you don’t desire suffering, then what you should do is to ensure that the causes and conditions that would give rise to it no longer arise.”

“Hatred, jealousy, anger and so on are harmful. We consider them negative states of mind because they destroy our mental happiness; once you harbor feelings of hatred or ill feeling towards someone, once you yourself are filled by hatred or negative emotions, then other people appear to you as also hostile. There is more fear, greater inhibition and hesitation, and a sense of insecurity.”

“These things develop, and also loneliness in the midst of a world perceived as hostile. All these negative feelings develop because of hatred. On the other hand, mental states such as kindness and compassion are definitely very positive.”

“Compassionate, warm, kindhearted person as healthy. If you maintain a feeling of compassion, loving kindness, then something automatically opens your inner door. Through that, you can communicate much more easily with other people. And that feeling of warmth creates a kind of openess. You’ll find that all human beings are just like you, so you’ll be able to relate to them more easily. That gives you a result, feelings of fear, self-doubt, and insecurity are automatically dispelled. Also, it creates a feeling of trust from other people.

TRAINING THE MIND------(pg.37)

THE PATH TO HAPPINESS

“We don’t need more money, we don’t need greater success or fame, we don’t need the perfect body or even a perfect mate----right now, at this very moment, we have a mind, which is all the basic equipment we need to achieve complete happiness."

“So, the first step in seeking happiness is learning.We first have to learn how negative emotions and behaviors are harmful to us and how positive emotions are helpful. And we must realize how these negative emotions are not only very bad and harmful to one personally but harmful to society and the future of the whole world as well.That kind of realization enhances our determination to face and overcome them.”

“There is the realization of the beneficial aspects of the positive emotions no matter how difficult that is. There is a kind of spontaneous willingness from within. So through this process of learning, of analyzing which thoughts and emotions are beneficial and which are harmful, we gradually develop a firm determination to change, feeling, “ Now the secret to my own happiness, my own good future, is within my own hands. I must not miss that opportunity!”

“To make sure that the causal conditions that normally give rise to that event no longer arise.Similary, if you want a particular event or experience to occur, then the logical thing to do is to seek and accumulate the causes and conditions that give rise to it.”

“If you desire happiness, you should seek the causes that give rise to it, and if you don’t desire suffering, then what you should do is to ensure that the causes and conditions that would give rise to it no longer arise. An appreciation of this causal principle is very important."

“Hatred, jealousy, anger and so on are harmful.We consider them negative states of mind because they destroy our mental happiness;once you harbor feelings of hatred or ill feeling towards someone, once you yourself are filled by hatred or negative emotions, then other people appear to you as hostile. So as a result there is more fear, greater inhibition and hesitation, and a sense of insecurity.

“These things develop, and also loneliness in the midst of a world perceived as hostile. All these negative feelings develop because of HATRED. On the other hand, mental states such as kindness and compassions are definitely very positive.”

“Compassionate, warm, kindhearted person as health. If you maintain a feeling of compassion, loving kindness, then something automatically opens your inner door. Through that, you can communicate much more easily with other people. And that feeling of warmth creates a kind of openness. You’ll find that all human beings are just like you, so you’ll be able to relate to them more easily. That gives you a spirit of friendship. Then there’s less need to hide things, and as a result, feelings of fear, self-doubt, and insecurity are automatically dispelled. Also, it creates a feeling of trust from other people. Otherwise, for example, you might find someone who is very competent, and you know that you can trust that person’s competence.”


MENTAL DISCIPLINE (pg.41)

“Identify and cultivate positive mental states; identify and eliminate negative mental states.”


Dalai Lama:

“Achieving genuine happiness may require bringing about a transformation in your outlook, your way of thinking; and this is not a simple matter”

“It is similar to taking proper care of the physical body, you need a variety of vitamins and nutrients, not just one or two”

“It is not possible to accomplish that simply by adopting a particular thought or practicing a technique once or twice. Change takes time. Even physical change takes time. For instance, if you are moving from one climate to another, the body needs time to adapt to the new environment. And in the same way, transforming your mind takes time. There are a lot of negative mental traits, so you need to address and counteract each one of these. That isn’t easy. It requires the repeated application of various techniques and taking the time to familiarize yourself with the practices. It’s a process of learning.”

“But I think that as time goes on, you can make positive changes. Everyday as soon as you get up, you can develop a sincere positive motivation, thinking, “I will utilize this day in a more positive way. I should not waste this very day” And then, at night before bed, check what you’ve done, asking yourself, “Did I utilize this day as I planned?” If it went accordingly, then you should rejoice. If it went wrong, then regret what you did and critique the day. So, through methods such as this, you can gradually strengthen the positive aspects of the mind.”

“As you gradually build up the positive practices, the negative behaviors are automatically diminished. So, actually the practice of Dharma* is a constant battle within, replacing previous negative conditioning or habituation with new positive conditioning.”

“No matter what activity or practice we are pursuing, there isn’t anything that isn’t made easier through constant familiarity and training. Through training, we can change; we can transform ourselves’

“This was achieved through gradual practice; it didn’t happen overnight.” (44)

“We are born with brains that are genetically hardwired with certain instinctual behaviors patterns; we are predisposed mentally, emotionally, and physically to respond to our environment in ways that enable us to survive.

“The brain can design new patterns, new combinations of nerve cells and neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit messages between nerve cells) in response to new input.

“The regular practice and repetition of the task had recruited new nerve cells and change the neural connections that had originally been involved in the task."

“By mobilizing our thoughts and practicing new ways of thinking, we can reshape our nerve cells and change the way our brains work. It is also the basis for the idea that inner transformation begins with learning (new input) and involves the discipline of gradually replacing our “negative conditioning” (corresponding with our present characteristic nerve cell activation patterns) with “positive conditioning” (forming new neural circuits). Thus, the idea of training the mind for happiness becomes a very real possibility.

ETHICAL DISCIPLINE---(46)
“A disciplined mind leads to happiness and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.”

“bringing about discipline within one’s mind is the essence of the Buddha teaching.”

“When I speak of discipline, I’m referring to self-discipline, not discipline that’s externally imposed on you by someone else. Also, I’m referring to discipline that’s applied in order to overcome your negative qualities.”

“Untrained or undisciplined mind generally results in negative or unwholesome behaviors, so we have to learn and train ourselves to increase our positive behaviors”

“Knowledge does not come by naturally. We have to train; we have to go through a kind of systematic training program and so forth. And we consider this conventional education and training to be quite hard; oher-wise why would students look forward so much to vacations? Still, we know that this type of education is quite vital for ensuring a happy and successful life.

“In the same way, doing wholesome deeds may not come naturally, but we have to consciously train towards it. This is so, particularly in modern society, because there is a tendency to accept that question of wholesome deeds and unwholesome deeds- what to do and what is not to be done- is something that considered to be within the purview of religion.

”We must also develop an appreciation and awareness of that fact. And changing how we perceive ourselves, through learning and understanding, can have a very real impact on how we interact with others and how we conduct our daily lives.”

“The more sophisticated the level of our knowledge is, the more effective we will be in dealing with the natural world.”

“You also need the ability to judge the long-term and short-term consequences of your behaviors and weigh the two. For example, in overcoming anger, although animals may experience anger, they can not understand that anger is destructive. In the case of human beings, however, there is a different level, where you have a kind of self-awareness that allows you to reflect and observe that when anger arises, it hurts you. Therefore, you can make a judgment that anger is destructive. You need to be able to make that inference.

“The more sophisticated your level of education and knowledge about what leads to happiness and what causes suffering, the more effective you will be in achieving happiness. So, it is because of this that I think education and knowledge are crucial.”

“The most important use of knowledge and education is to help us understand the importance of engaging in more wholesome actions and bringing about discipline within our minds. The proper utilization of our mind intelligence and knowledge is to effect changes from within to develop a good heart.”

OUR FUNDAMENTAL NATURE-(52)
“When we combine a warm heart with knowledge and education, we can learn to respect other’s views and other’s rights."

“It is scientifically incorrect to say that we have an inherited tendency to make war or act violently. That behavior is not genetically programmed into human nature. They said that even though we have the neural apparatus to act violently. That behavior is not genetically programmed into human nature. They said even though we have the neural apparatus to act violently, that behavior isn’t automatically activated. There’s nothing in our neurophysiology that compels us to act violently, that behavior isn’t automatically activated. There’s nothing in our neurophysiology that compels us to act violently, the behavior isn’t automatically activated. There’s nothing in our neurophysiology that compels us to act violently. In examining the subject of basic human nature, most researchers I the field currently feel that fundamentally we have the potential to develop into gentle, caring people or violent, aggressive people; the impulse that gets emphasized is largely a matter of training."

“The people who were most self-focused (those who referred to themselves using the pronouns “I”, “me” and “my” most in an interview) were more likely to develop coronary heart disease, even when other health-threatening behavior were controlled. Scientists are discovering that those who lack close social ties seem to suffer from poor health, higher levels of unhappiness, and a greater vulnerability to stress.”

“If we are exposed to the correct environmental conditions, that is, a social that speaks, then those discreet areas of the brain begin to develop and mature and our capacity for language grows. In the same way, all humans may be endowed with the “seed of compassion”. When exposed to the right conditions- at home, in society at large, and later perhaps through our own pointed efforts- that “seed” will flourish. With this idea in mind, researchers are now seeking to discover the optimal environmental conditions that will allow the seed of caring and compassion to ripen in children. They have identified several factors: having parents who are able to regulate their own emotions, who model caring behavior, who set appropriate limits on the children’s behavior, who set appropriate limits on the children’s behavior, who communicate that a child is to help direct the child’s attention to affective or emotional states and the consequences of her or his behavior on others.

“The capacity and purpose of bringing pleasure and joy to others. By just observing a healthy infant, it would be hard to deny the underlying gentle nature of human beings.

“The act of nursing not only provides nutrients for the baby; it also serves to relieve tension in the breast. So, we could say that the infant is born with an innate capacity to bring pleasure to the mother, by relieving the tension in the breast.”

“As more investigation strike out to objectively discover the nature of human beings, the notion of the infant as a little bundle of selfishness, and eating and sleeping machine, is yielding to vision of a being that comes into the world with an innate mechanism to please others, requiring only the proper environmental conditions to allow the underlying and natural “seed of compassion” to germinate and grow.”
MEDITATION ON THE PURPOSE OF LIFE (pg62)

“The purpose of our life is happiness.”

“That simple statement can be used as a powerful tool in helping us navigate through life’s daily problems. From that perspective, our task becomes one of discarding the things that lead to suffering and accumulating the things that lead to happiness. The method, the daily practice, involves gradually increasing our awareness and understanding of what truly leads to happiness and what doesn’t.”

“It may be helpful to take an hour, an afternoon, or even several days to simply reflect on what is that will truly bring us happiness, and then reset our priorities on the basis of that. This can put our life

Back in proper context, allow a fresh perspective, and enable us to see which direction to take.”

“The turning-toward happiness as a valid goal and conscious decision to seek happiness in a systematic manner can profoundly change the rest of our lives.”

“Observing his own mind, exploring the nature of the human condition, and investigating these things within a framework first established by The Buddha over twenty-five centuries ago.”

“Sometimes when I meet old friends, it reminds me how quickly time passes. And it makes me wonder if we’ve utilized our time properly or not. Proper utilization of time is so important. While we have this body, and especially this amazing human brain, I think every minute is something precious. Our day-to-day existence is very much alive with hope, although there is no guarantee of our future.

“So, let us reflect on what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on basis of that. The purpose of causing trouble, harming others. For our life to be of value, I think we must develop basic good human qualities- warmth, kindness, compassion. Then our life becomes meaningful and more peaceful-happier.”

PART III
HUMAN WARMTH AND COMPASSION
Chapter 5 (pg.67)
A NEW MODEL FOR INTIMACY

The Dalai Lama:

“I think one factor is that I look at any human being from a more positive angle; I try to look at their positive aspects. This attitude immediately creates a feeling of affinity, a kind of connectedness.”

“My basic belief is that you first need to realize the usefulness of compassion.”

“That’s the key factor. Once you realize that compassion is something really worthwhile, realize it’s deeper value, then you immediately develop an attraction towards it, a willingness to cultivate it.”

“Without the attitude of compassion, if you are feeling closed, irritated, or indifferent, then you can even be approached by your best friend and you just feel uncomfortable.”

“Approaching others with the thought of compassion in your mind is the best way to do this.”

“The Dalai Lama’s strategy, however, seemed to bypass working on social skills or external behaviors, in favor of approach that cut directly to the heart- realizing the value of compassion and then cultivating it.

DEPENDENCE ON OTHERS VERSUS SELF-RELIANCE

“Practicing actions like kindness, generosity, tolerance and conscious restraint from negative actions like killing, stealing, and lying.”

“The factors necessary to enjoy a happy and joyful life. Factors such as: good health, material goods, friends, and so on. If you closely investigate, you’ll find that all of these depend on other people. To maintain good health, you rely on medicines made by others and health care provided by others. If you examine all of the material facilities that you use for the enjoyment of life, you’ll find that there are hardly any of these material objects that have no connection with other people. If you think carefully, you’ll see that all of these goods come into being as a result of the efforts of many people either directly or indirectly. Many people are involved in making those things possible.”

“When we’re talking about good friends and companions as being another necessary factor for a happy life, we are talking about interaction with other sentient beings, other human beings.”

“Those with more social support and intimate relationships had lower rates overall and lower rates of cancer.”

“Those with an intimate relationship had better immune function and lower cholesterol levels”

“Touch as the vehicle through which we comfort one another and are comforted, via hugs or clasps of hand and, when those avenues are not available to us, more indirect means of physical contact such as a manicure”

“Physical contacts we have with objects in our environment, from cigarettes to jewelry to water beds, act as substitutes for intimacy.”

“If what we seek in life is happiness, and intimacy is an important ingredient of a happier life, then it clearly makes sense to conduct our lives on the basis of a model of intimacy that includes as many forms of connection with others as possible. The Dalai Lama’s model of intimacy is based on a willingness to open ourselves to many others, to family, friends, and even strangers, forming genuine and deep bonds based on our common humanity.

Chapter 6

DEEPENING OUR CONNECTION TO OTHERS

Establishing empathy (pg.86)

The Dalai Lama:
“Approaching others with the thought of compassion in one’s mind.”

“Using reasoning to educate the individual about the value and practical benefits of compassion, and also having them reflect on how they feel when someone is kind to them and so on.”

“I think that empathy is important not only as a means of enhancing compassion, but I think that generally speaking, when dealing with others on any level, if you’re having some difficulties, it’s extremely helpful to be able to try to put yourself in the others person’s place and see how you would react to the situation. Even if you have no common experince with the other person’s perspective, to imagine what would be the situation if you were in his shoes, how you would deal with this. This helps you develop an important factor in reducing conflicts and problems with other people.”

“Understand the background of people – is the most basic and straightforward of advice, the kind that we tend to dismiss as na´ve, that can be the most affective means of enhancing communication.”

EXAMINING THE UNDERLYING BASIS OF A RELATIONSHIP (pg.97)

“Marry, and it may go well. But when a marriage fails, then those who marry live at home in hell”

“So, when we are dealing with trying to understand relationship problems, the first stage in this process involves deliberately reflecting on the underlying nature and basis of that relationship.”

“There are different types of relationships and understand the differences between them. For example, leaving aside the issue of marriage for a moment, even within ordinary friendships. Some friendships are based on wealth, power, or position. In these cases your friendship continues as long as your power, wealth, or position is sustained. Once these grounds are no longer there, then the friendship will also begin to disappear. On the other hand, there is another kind of friendship. Friendship that are based not on considerations of wealth, power, and position but rather on true human feeling, a feeling of closeness in which there is a sense of sharing and connectedness. This type of friendship is what I would call genuine friendship because it would not be affected by the status of the individual’s wealth, position, or power, whether it is increasing or whether it is declining. The factor that sustains a genuine friendship is a feeling of affection. If you lack that, then you won’t be able to sustain a genuine friendship.”

“Many problems occur simply because of insufficient time to know each other. Anyway, I think that if one is seeking to build a truly satisfying relationship, the best way of bringing this about is to get to know the deeper nature of the person and relate to her or him on that level, instead of merely on the basis of superficial characteristics. And this type of relationship there is a role for genuine compassion.”

“A sound relationship should include a sense of responsibility and commitment towards each other.”

RELATIONSHIP BASED ON ROMANCE (pg111)
“Romance leaves a lot to be desired.”
“When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving oneself, and one always ends up deceiving others. That’s what the world calls a romance.”

“If one is looking for lasting satisfaction in a relationship, the foundation of that relationship must be solid.”

“Like a good epoxy glue, that initial bonding agent needs to be mixed with other ingredients before it will harden into lasting bond.

“Basing our relationship on the qualities of affection, compassion, and mutual respect as human beings. Basing a relationship on these qualities enables us to achieve a deep and meaningful bond not only with our lover or spouse but also with friends, acquaintances, or strangers- virtually any human being. It opens up unlimited possibilities and opportunities for connection.”

Chapter 7
The Value and Benefits of compassion

DEFINING COMPASSION (pg.113)

“Compassion can be roughly defined in terms of a state of mind that is nonviolent, non-harming and non-aggressive. It is a mental attitude based on the wish for others to be free of their suffering and is associated with a sense of commitments, responsibility, and respect towards the other.”

“Genuine compassion is based on the rational that all human beings have an innate desire to be happy and overcome suffering, just like myself.”

“First, I think that there is a different quality between the feeling of genuine love, or compassion, and love based on attachment.

“The feeling of genuine compassion is much stronger, much wider; it has a very profound quality. Also, genuine love and compassion are much more stable, more reliable.”

“Compassion involves opening oneself to another’s suffering. Sharing another’s suffering.”

“Mental attitude makes a tremendous difference.”

“Human affection, warmth, friendship, and so on are condition absolutely necessary for happiness.”

“I truly believe that compassion provides the basis of human survival, the real value of human life, and without that there is a basic piece missing. A deep sensitivity to other’s feelings is and element of love and compassion, and without that, for example, I think there would be problems in the man’s ability to relate with his wife.”

“The more you give others warmth, the more warmth you receive. This is the basis of mutual trust and friendship.”

“Now suppose this man had all these material facilities, was successful in life, surrounded by friends, financially secure, and so on. I think it is even possible that his family and children might relate to him and experience a kind of contentment because the man is successful and they have plenty of money and a comfortable life. I think that it is conceivable that up to a certain point, even without feeling human warmth and affection, he may not experience a feeling of lacking something. But if he felt that everything was OK, that there was no real requirement for developing compassion, I would suggest that this view is due to ignorance and shortsightedness. Even if it appeared that others were relating to him quite fully, in reality what is happening is that much of the people’s relationship or interaction with him is based on their perception of him as a successful, wealthy resource. They may not receive human warmth and affection from him, they may BE CONTENTED; THEY MAY NOT EXPECT MORE. But what happens is if his fortune declined, then that basis of the relationship would weaken. Then he would begin to see effect of not having warmth and immediately begin to suffer.”

“However, if people have compassion, naturally that’s something they can count on; even if they have economic problems and their fortune declines, they still have something to share with fellow human beings. World economies are always so tenuous and we are subject to so many losses in life, but a compassionate attitude is something that we can always carry with us.”

“The lack of compassion leads to a certain ruthlessness. There are many examples indicating that at some level deep down, ruthless people generally suffer from a kind of unhappiness and discontent, people like Stalin and Hitler. Such people suffer from a kind of nagging sense of insecurity and fear. Even when they are sleeping I think that sense of fear remains…. All that might be very difficult for some people to understand, but one thing you could say is that these people lack something that you can find in a more compassionate person—a sense of freedom, a sense of abandonment, so when you sleep you can relax and let go. Ruthless people never have that experience. Something is always gripping them, there is some kind of hold on them, and they aren’t able to experience that feeling of letting go, that sense of freedom.”

(pg123)
“His fearfulness and suspiciousness of others eventually led to massive purges and campaigns against various groups of people in his country, resulting in the imprisonment and execution of millions.”

“Not long before his death he told Nikita Khrushchev, “I trust one, not even myself.”

“The more ruthless and powerful he become, the more unhappy he was.”

(pg126)
“But if they make their best efforts to be kinder, to cultivate compassion and make the world a better place, then at the end of the day they can say, ’At least I’ve done my best!”

THE BENEFITS OF COMPASSION (pg.126)
“Developing compassion and altruism has a positive impact on our physical and emotional health.”
“Compassion and caring behavior contribute to good emotional health.”
“Reaching out to help others can induce a feeling of happiness, a calmer mind, and less depression.”

PART III
TRANSFORMING SUFFERING

Chapter 8 Facing Suffering (pg133)

“In the time of the Buddha, a woman named Kisagotami suffered the death of her only child. Unable to accept it, she ran from person to person, seeking a medicine to restore her child to life. The Buddha was said to have such a medicine. Kisagotami went to the Buddha, paid homage, and asked, “Can you make a medicine that will restore my child?”

“I know of such a medicine,” the Buddha replied : “But in order to make it, I must have certain ingredients.”

Relieved, the woman asked, “What ingredients do you require ?”

“Bring me a handful of mustard seed,” said the Buddha.

“The woman promised to procure it for him, but as she was leaving, he added, “I require the mustard seed to be taken from a household where no child, spouse, parent, or servant has died.”

The woman agreed and began going from house to house in search of the seed. At each house the people agreed to give her the seed, but when she asked them if anyone had died in the household, she could find no home where death had not visited.

“Kisagotami was not able to find a home free from the suffering of death. Seeing she was not alone in her grief, the mother let go of her child’s lifeless body and return to the Buddha, who said with great compassion, “You thought that you alone had lost a son; the law of death is the among all living creatures there is no permanence.”
(pg134)
“No one lives free from suffering and loss. She hadn’t been singled out for this terrible misfortune. This insight didn’t eliminate the inevitable suffering that comes from loss, but it did eliminate the inevitable suffering that comes from loss, but it did reduce the suffering that came from struggling against this sad fact of life.”

“Although pain and suffering are universal human phenomena, that doesn’t mean we have an easy time accepting them. Human beings have devised a vast repertoire of strategies for avoiding having to experience suffering. Sometimes we use external means, such as chemicals-deadening and medicating our emotional pain with drugs or alcohol. We have an array of internal mechanisms as well-psychological defenses, often unconscious, that buffer us from feeling too much emotional pain and anguish when we are confronted with problems. Sometimes these defense mechanisms can be quite primitive, such as simply refusing to recognize that a problem exists.” At other times, we may vaguely recognize that we have a problem but immerse ourselves in a million distractions or entertainments to avoid thinking about it. Or we might use projection-unable to accept that we have a problem, we unconsciously project it onto others and blame them for our suffering: “Yeah, I’m miserable. But it’s not me that has the problem; it’s someone else who has the problem. If it wasn’t for that damn boss constantly giving me a hard time [or “my” partner ignoring me” or..], I’d be fine.”



“Suffering can only be avoided temporarily. But like a disease that’s left untreated (or perhaps superficially treated with medication that just masks the symptoms but doesn’t cure the underlying condition), the disease invariably festers and worsens. The high from drugs or alcohol certainly eases our pain for a while, but with continue use, the physical damage to our bodies and the social damage to our lives can cause far more suffering than the diffuse dissatisfaction or the acute emotional pain that led to these substances in the first place. The internal psychological defenses like denial or repression may shield and protect us from feeling the pain a bit longer, but is still doesn’t make the suffering disappear.”

136

“Most of us know a friend, acquaintance, or family member, for example, who avoids problems by projecting onto others and blaming them-accusing others of having faults that in fact, are his or her own. This certainly isn’t an effective method of eliminating problems, however, and many of these individuals are condemned to a lifetime of unhappiness as long as they continue in that pattern.”

“Accepting suffering as a natural fact of human existence, and courageously facing our problems head-on.”

“In our daily lives problems are bound to rise. The biggest problems in our lives are the ones that we inevitably have to face, like old age, illness, and death. Trying to avoid our problems or simply not thinking about them may provide temporary relief, but I think that there is a better approach. If you directly confront your suffering, you will be in a better position to appreciate the depth and nature of problem. If you are in a battle, as long as you remain ignorant of the status and combat capability of your enemy, you will be totally unprepared and paralyzed by fear. However, if you know the fighting capability of your opponents, what sort of weapons they have and so on, then you’re in a much better position when you engage in the war. In the same way, if you confront your problems rather than avoid them, you will be in better position to deal with them.”

pg.137
“Better to face it”

“For example, you might consider things like old age and death as negative, unwanted, and simply try to forget about the. But eventually these things will come anyway. And if you’ve avoided thinking about these things, when the day comes that any of these events occur, it will come as a shock causing an unbearable mental uneasiness. However, if you spend some time thinking about old age, death, and these other unfortunate things, your mind will be much more stable when these things happen as you have already become acquainted with these problems and kinds of suffering and have anticipated that they will occur.”

“That’s why I believe it can be useful to prepare yourself ahead of time by familiarizing yourself with the kinds of suffering you might encounter. To use the battle analogy again, reflecting on suffering could be seen as a military exercise.”

“There’s really no avoiding the fact that suffering is part of life. And of course we have a natural tendency to dislike our suffering and problems. But I think that ordinarily people don’t view the very nature of our existence to be characterized by suffering.”

“I mean on your birthday people usually say, ‘Happy Birthday!”,’ when actually the day of your birth was the birth of your suffering. But nobody says, “‘Happy Birth-of-Suffering day!’”

“In accepting the suffering is part of your daily existence, you could begin by examining the factors that normally give rise to feelings of discontent and mental unhappiness. Generally speaking, for instance, you feel happy if you or people close to you receive praise, fame, fortune, and other pleasant things. And you feel unhappy and discontent if you don’t achieve these things or if your rival is receiving them. If you look at your normal day-to-day life, however, you often find that there are so many factors and conditions that cause pain, suffering, and feeling of dissatisfaction, whereas the conditions that give rise to joy and happiness are comparatively rare.”
pg.140
“Our attitude towards suffering becomes very important because it can affect how we cope with suffering when it arises.”

“However, if we can transform our attitude towards suffering, adopt an attitude that allow us greater tolerance of it, then this can do much to help counteract feelings of mental unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and discontent.”

“For me personally, the strongest and most effective practice to help tolerate suffering is to see and understand that suffering is the underlying nature of Samsara, of unenlightened existence. Now when you experience some physical pain or other problem, of course at that moment there is a feeling of ‘Oh!, I shouldn’t be experiencing this.’ “But at the moment if you can look at the situation from another angle and realize that this very body…’” he slapped an arm in demonstration, “is the very basis of suffering, then this reduce that feeling of rejection- that feeling that somehow you don’t deserve to suffer, that you are a victim. So, once you understand and accept this reality, then you experience suffering as something that is quite natural.”

“How you perceive life as a whole plays a role in your attitude about suffering. For instance, if your basic outlook is that suffering is negative and must be avoided at all costs and in some sense is a sign of failure, this will add a distinct psychological component of anxiety, this will add a distinct psychological component of anxiety and intolerance when you encounter difficult circumstances, a feeling of being overwhelmed. On the other hand, if your basic outlook accepts that suffering is a natural part of your existence, this will undoubtedly make you more tolerant towards the adversities of life. And without a certain degree of tolerance towards your suffering, your life becomes miserable, then it’s like having a very bad night. That night seems eternal; it never seems to end.”

“When I speak of the unsatisfactory nature of existence, one needs to understand that this is in the context of the overall Buddhist path. These reflections have to be understood in their proper context, I agree that there is a danger, or even a likelihood, of misunderstanding this type of approach as being rather pessimistic and negative. Consequently, it’s important to understand the basic Buddhist stance towards the whole issue of suffering.”

“The point that has to be borne in mind is that the reason why reflection on suffering is so important is because there is a possibility of a way out; there is an alternative. There is a possibility of freedom from suffering. By removing the causes of suffering, it is possible to attain a state of Liberation, a state free from suffering. According to Buddhist thought, the root causes of suffering are ignorance, craving, and hatred. These are called the ‘three poisons of the mind.’

“A fundamental mis-perception of the true nature of the self and all phenomena. By generating insight into the true nature of reality and eliminating afflictive states of mind such as craving and hatred, one can achieve a completely purified state of mind, free from suffering.”

“As long as we view suffering as an unnatural state, an abnormal condition that we fear, avoid, and reject, we will never uproot the causes of suffering and begin to live a happier life.”
Chapter 9 (p.g149)

SELF CREATED SUFFERING
“Refusal to accept suffering as a natural part of life can lead to viewing oneself as a perpetual victim and blaming others for our problems-assure fire recipe for a miserable life.”

“We repeat our painful memories with the unconscious wish perhaps that somehow it will change the situation- but it never does.”

“When we have anger or hatred towards a person, there is less likelihood of its developing into a very intense degree if we leave it unattended.”

“If we think about the projected injustices done to us, the ways in which we have been unfairly treated, and we keep on thinking about them over and over, then that feeds the hatred. It makes the hatred very powerful and intense.”

“We also often add to our pain and suffering by being overly sensitive, overreacting to or things, and sometimes taking things too personally. We tend to take small things too seriously and blow them up out of proportion, while at the same time we often remain indifferent to the really important things, those things which have profound effects on our lives and long-term consequences and implications.

“So I think that to a large extent, whether you suffer depends on how you respond to a given situation. For example, say that you find out that someone is speaking badly of you behind your back. If you react to this knowledge that someone is speaking badly of you, this negativity, with a feeling of hurt or anger, then you yourself destroy your own peace of mind. Your pain is your own personal creation. On the other hand, if you refrain from reacting in a negative way, let the slander pass by you as if it were silent wind passing behind your ears, you protect yourself from that feeling of hurt, that feeling of agony. So, although you may not always be able to avoid difficult situations, you can modify the extent to which you suffer by how you choose to respond to the situation.”

“We also often add to our pain and suffering by being overly sensitive, overreacting to minor things, and sometimes taking things too personally.”
(pg 153)
“Unhappiness, I saw then, comes to each of us because we think ourselves at the center of the world, because we have the miserable conviction that we alone suffer to the point of unbearable intensity. Unhappiness is always to feel oneself imprisoned in one’s own skin, in one’s own brain.”

“BUT IT’S NOT FAIR!”
(pg 154)
“Problems themselves do not automatically cause suffering. If we can directly address our problem and focus our energies on finding a solution, for instance, the problem can be transformed into a challenge.”

“Accept the reality of these difficult situations, because of my Karma in the past. “They will attribute it to negative actions committed in either this or a previous life, and so there is a greater degree of acceptance.”

“Because although one’s experience are a consequence of one’s past deeds, that does not mean that the individual has no choice or that there is no room for initiative to change, to bring about positive change.”

“Karma means ‘action’. Karma is a very active process. And when we talk of Karma, or action, it is the very action committed by an agent, in this case, ourselves, in the past. So what type of future will come about, to a large extent, lies within our own hands in the present. It will be determined by the kind of initiatives that we take now.”

“Karma should not be understood in terms of a passive, static kind of force but rather should be understood in terms of an active process. This indicates that there is an important role for the individual agent to play in determining the course of the Karmic process.”

“God’s creation or plan. They may feel that even though the situation appears to be very negative, God is all powerful and very merciful, so there may be something, some significance, behind the situation that they may not be aware of.”

“With this kind of approach, you can look at the problem with the attitude ‘If there’s a way to fight the problem, then fight, even if you have to go to court!’”

“Then, if you find that there’s no way to win, you can simply forget about it.”

“An objective analysis of difficult or problematic situations can be quite important, because with this approach you’ll often discover that behind the scenes there may be other factors at play. For instance, if you feel that you’re being treated unfairly by your boss at work, there may be other factors at play; he may be annoyed by something else, an argument with his wife that morning or something, and his behavior may have nothing to do with your personally, may not be specifically directed at you. Of course, you must still face whatever the situation may be, but at least with this approach you may not have the additional anxiety that would come along with it.”

“If you carefully examine any given situation in a very unbiased and honest way, we will realize that to a large extent we are also responsible for the unfolding of events.”
(pg.157)
“Many people blamed the Gulf War on Saddam Hussein. Afterwards, on various occasions I expressed, That’s not fair!” Under such circumstances, I really feel kind of sorry for Saddam Hussein. Of course, he is a dictator, and of course, there are many bad things about him. If you look at the situation roughly, it’s easy to place all blame on him- he’s a dictator, totalitarian, and even his eyes look a little bit frightening!”

“But without his army his capacity to harm is limited, and without military equipment that powerful army cannot function. All this military equipment is not produced by itself from thin air! So, when we look at it like that, many nations are involved.”
(pg.158)
“Often our normal tendency is try to blame our problems on others, on external factors. Furthermore, we tend to look for one single cause, and then try to exonerate ourselves from the responsibility. It seems that whenever there are intense emotion involved, there tends to be a disparity between how things appear and how they really are. In this case if you go future and analyze the situation very carefully, you’ll see that Saddam Hussein is part of the source of the problem, one of the factors, but there are other contributing conditions as well. Once you realize this, your earlier attitude that he is the only cause automatically falls away and the reality of situation emerges.”

“This practice involves looking at things in a holistic way- realizing that there are many events contributing to a situation. For example, our problem with the Chinese - again, there is much contribution made by ourselves. I think perhaps our generation may have contributed to the situation, but definitely our previous generations I think were very negligent, at least a few generations back. So I think we, as Tibetans , contributed to this tragic situation. It’s not fair to blame everything on China. But there are so many levels. Of course, although we might be a contributing factor to a situation, that doesn’t mean we are solely to blame.”
(p.g159)
“Whenever you are looking for your own contribution to a situation, what about those situations that clearly aren’t your own fault, that you have nothing to do with, even relatively insignificant everyday situations, such as when someone intentionally lies to you?”

“Their motives for hiding something from me may not be the result of a bad motive. It may be that they simply have a certain lack of confidence in me. So sometimes when I feel disappointed by these kinds of incidents, I try to look at them from another angle; I ‘ll think that may be the person did not want to fully confide in me because I won’t be able to keep it secret.”

“Finding ‘your own contribution’ to another’s dishonesty.”

GUILT
“As products of an imperfect world, all of us are imperfect. Everyone of us has done some wrong. There are things we regret--- things we have done or things we should have done. Acknowledging our wrongdoings with a genuine sense of remorse can serve to keep us on the right track in life and encourage us to rectify our mistakes when possible and take action to correct things in the future. But if we allow our regret to degenerate into excessive guilt, holding on to the memory of our past transgressions with continued self-blame and self-hatred, this serves no purpose other than to be a relentless source of self-punishment and self-induced suffering.”
(pg 162)

RESISTING CHANGE
“The torture of guilt is in thinking that any problem is permanent. Since there is nothing that doesn’t change, however, so too pain subsides---- a problem doesn’t persist. This is the positive side of change. The negative side is that we resist change in nearly every arena of life. The beginning of being released from suffering is to investigate one of the primary causes: resistance to change.”

“One must begin that process by appreciating the impermanent, transient nature of our existence. All things, events, and phenomena are dynamic, changing every moment; nothing remains static.”

“Nothing exists in a permanent condition, nothing is able to remain the same under its own independent power. Suffering of change”
pg164)
“Contemplation of impermanence serves two main vital functions within the Buddhist path. On a conventional level, or in an everyday sense, the Buddhist practitioner contemplates his or her own impermanence- the fact that life is tenuous and we never know when we’ll die. When this reflection is combined with a belief in the rarity of human existence and possibility of attaining a state of spiritual Liberation, of release from suffering and endless rounds of rebirth, then this contemplation serves to increase the practioner’s resolve to use her or his time to best advantage, by engaging in the spiritual practices that will bring about this Liberation. On a deeper level, the impermanent nature of all phenomena, begins the practitioner’s quest to understand the true nature of reality and, through this understanding, dispel the ignorance that is the ultimate source of our suffering”

“Life is change” “And to the degree that we refuse to accept this fact and resist the natural life changes, we will continue to perpetuate our own suffering”

“The acceptance of change can be an important factor in reducing a large measure of our-self-created suffering. So often, for instance, we cause our own suffering by refusing to relinquish the past. If we define our self-image in terms of what we used to look like or in terms of what we used to be to do and can’t do now, it’s a pretty safe bet that we won’t grow happier as we grow older. Sometimes, the more we try to hold on, the more grotesque and distorted life becomes.”

“Acceptance of the inevitability of change, as a general principle, can help us cope with many problems, taking a more active role by specifically learning about normal life changes can prevent an even greater amount of the day-to-day anxiety that is the cause of many of our troubles”

“What seems to be the problem?” the pediatrician asked a mother.

“MY BABY! SOMETHING’S WRONG!” She cried frantically, “I think he’s choking or something! His tongue keeps protruding; he just keep sticking it out…over and over again…. like he’s trying to get something out, but there’s nothing in his mouth….”

“After a few questions and a brief examination, the doctor assured her,” There’s nothing to worry about. As a baby grows, he develops an increasing awareness of his own body and what it can do. Your baby has just discovered his tongue.”
(pg 168)
“A relationship is also a dynamic living system, composed of two organisms interacting in a living environment. And as a living system, it is equally natural and right that the relationship go through stages.”

“In any relationship, there are different dimensions of closeness-physical, emotional, and intellectual. Bodily contact, sharing emotions, thoughts, and exchanging ideas are all legitimate ways of connecting with those we love.”

“It is normal for the balance to wax and wane: sometimes physical closeness decreases but emotional closeness can increase; at other times we don’t feel like sharing words but just want to be held. If we are sensitive to this issue, we can rejoice in the initial bloom of passion in a relationship, but if it cools, instead of feeling worry or anger, we can open ourselves to new forms of intimacy that can be equally- or perhaps more-satisfying. We can delight in our partner as a companion, enjoy a steadier love, a deeper bond.”

“Each of us repeatedly goes through three stages:

“Hold me tight,” “Put me down,” and “Leave me alone.”

“The cycle first becomes apparent in the first years of life when children move from the “Hold me tight,” “Put me down,” and “Leave me alone.” The cycle first becomes apparent in the first years of life when children move from the “hold me tight,” phase characteristic of infancy to the “Put me down” stage when the child first begins to explore the world, crawl, walk, and achieve some independence and autonomy from the mother. This is part of normal development and growth. These phases do not just move in one direction, however; at various stages a child may experience some anxiety when the feeling of separateness becomes too great, and then the child will return to the mother for soothing and closeness. In adolescence, “Leave me alone” becomes the predominant phase as the child struggles to form an individual identity. Although this may be difficult or painful for the parents, most experts recognize it as a moral and necessary phase in the transition from childhood to adulthood. Even within this phase, there is still a mixture of phases. while the adolescent is crying “Leave me alone!” to his parents at home, the “hold me tight” needs may be met by strong identification with the peer group.”

“But the main point to keep in mind is that a growing distance doesn’t automatically spell disaster. It can also be part of a cycle that returns to redefine the relationship in a new form that can recapture or even surpass the intimacy that existed in the past.”

“These transitional periods can become pivotal points when true love can begin to mature and flower. Our relationship may no longer be based on intense passion, the view of the other as the embodiment of perfection, or the feeling that we are merged with the other. But in exchange for that—to see the other as he or she is, a separate individual, with faults and weaknesses that we can make a genuine commitment, a commitment to the growth of another human being------ an act of true love.”

“Things still aren’t the same, but it doesn’t seem to matter, we’re really happy together. It just feels right.”
Chapter 10 (pg 172)
SHIFTING PERSPECTIVE
“Once there was a disciple of a Greek philosopher who was commanded by his Master for three years to give money to everyone who insulted him. When this period of trial was over the Master said to him, “Now you can go to Athen and learn Wisdom. ”When the disciple was entering Athens, he met a certain wise man who sat at the gate insulting everybody who came and went. He also insulted the disciple, who burst out laughing.” Why do you laugh when I insult you?” said the wise man.” Because,” said the disciple, “for three years I have been paying for this kind of thing and how you give it to me for nothing. ”Enter the city,” said the wise man, “it’s all yours…”

“The ability to shift perspective can be one of the most powerful and effective tools we have to help us cope with life’s daily problems.”

“The ability to look at events from different perspectives can be very helpful. Then, practicing this, one can use certain experiences, certain tragedies to develop a calmness of mind. One must realize that every phenomena, every event, has different aspects. Everything is of a relative nature.”

“It seems that often when problems arise, our outlook becomes narrow. All of our attention may be focused on worrying about the problem, and we may have a sense that we’re the only one that is going through such difficulties.”

“If you look from a different angle,” he said, “then surely the person who caused this anger in you will have a lot of other positive aspects, positive qualities. If you look carefully, you will also find that the act which has made you angry has also given you certain opportunities, something which otherwise would not have been possible, even from your point of view. So with effort you’ll be able to see many different angles to a single event. This will help.”

“Spend some time seriously searching for different perspective on the situation. Not just in a superficial way. But in a very pointed and direct way. You need to use all your powers of reasoning and look at the situation as objectively as possible.”

“When you are really angry at someone you tend to perceive them as having 100 percent negative qualities. Just as when you are strongly attracted to someone the tendency is to see them as having 100 percent negative qualities. But this perception does not correspond with reality. If your friend, who you view as so wonderful, were to purposely harm you in some way, suddenly you would become acutely aware that they aren’t composed of 100 percent good qualities. If your enemy, the one you hate, were to sincerely beg your forgiveness and continue to show you kindness, it’s unlikely that you would continue to show you kindness, it’s unlikely that you would continue to perceive them as 100 percent bad. So, even though when you are angry at someone you might feel that the person has no positive qualities, the reality is that nobody is 100 percent bad. They must have some good qualities if you search hard enough. So, the tendency to see someone as completely negative is due to your own perception based on your own mental projection, rather than true nature of that individual.”
pg177
A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON THE ENEMY
“Let’s begin by examining our characteristic attitude toward our rivals. Generally speaking, of course, we do not wish good things for our enemies. But even if your enemy is made unhappy through your actions, what is there for you to be so joyful about? If you think about it carefully, how can there be anything more wretched than that? Carrying around the burden of such feelings of hostility and ill will. And do you really want to be that mean?”

“If we take revenge upon one’s enemy, then it creates a kind of vicious cycle. If you retaliate, the other person is not going to accept that—he or she is going to retaliate against you, and then you will do the same, so it will go on. And especially when this happens at the community level, it can go on from generation to generation.”

“If you can learn to develop patience and tolerance towards your enemies, then everything else becomes much easier- your compassion towards all others begins to flow naturally.”

“There is no fortitude similar to patience, just as there is no affliction worse than hatred.”

“One must exert one’s best efforts not to harbor hatred towards the enemy, but rather use the encounter as an opportunity to enhance one’s practice of patience and tolerance.”

“In fact, the enemy is the necessary condition for practising patience. Without an enemy’s action, there is no possibility for patience or tolerance to arise. Our friends do not ordinarily test us and provide the opportunity to cultivate patience; only our enemies do this. So, from this standpoint we can consider our enemy as a great teacher, and revere them for giving us this precious opportunity to practice patience.”

“Now there are many, many people in the world, but relatively few with whom we interact, and even fewer who cause us problems. So when you come across such a chance for practicing patience and tolerance, you should treat it with gratitude. It is rare. Just as having unexpectedly found a treasure in your own house, you should be happy and grateful towards your enemy for providing that precious opportunity.”
(pg 180)
“Otherwise, if it is just the actual act of hurting us, then we should hate doctors and consider them as enemies because sometimes they adopt methods that can be painful, such as surgery. But still, we do not consider these acts as harmful or the acts of an enemy because the intention on the part of the doctor was to help us. So, therefore, it is exactly this willful intention to harm us that makes the enemy unique and gives us this opportunity to practice patience.”

“One appreciates good weight equipment not for any immediate pleasure it provides, but for the ultimate benefit one receives.”

“Imagine what it would be like if we went through life never encountering an enemy or any other obstacles for that matter, if from the cradle to the grave everyone we met pampered us, held us, hand-fed us (soft bland food, easy to digest), amused us infancy we were carried around in a basket (later on, perhaps on a litter), never encountering any challenge, never tested- in short, if everyone continued to treat us like a baby. That might sound good at first. For the first few months of life it might be appropriate. But if it persisted it could only result in one becoming sort of gelatinous mass, a monstrosity really- with the mental and emotional development of veal. It’s the very struggle of life that makes us who we are. And it is our enemy that test us, provide us with the resistance necessary for growth.”
182
IS THIS ATTITUDE PRACTICAL?
The Eight Verses on the Training of the Mind
Whenever I associate with someone, may I think myself the lowest among all and hold the other supreme in the depth of my heart!…

When I see beings of wicked nature, pressed by violent sin and affliction,

may I hold these rare ones dear as if I had found a precious treasure!…..

When others, out of envy, treat me badly with abuse, slander and the

like, may I behold him as my supreme Guru!

In short may I, directly and indirectly, offer benefit and happiness to all beings, may I secretly take upon myself the harm and suffering of all beings….

A SUPPLE MIND
“The ability to shift perspective, the capacity to view one’s problems “from different angles,” is nurtured by a supple quality of mind.”

“The whole world should be demilitarized. So, on one level we should be working toward developing inner peace, but at the same time it’s very important to work towards external disarmament and peace as well, making a small contribution in whatever way we can. That’s our responsibility.”

THE IMPORTANCE OF FLEXIBLE THINKING
(p.g. 191)
“Even on an evolutionary scale, the species that have been most flexible, most adaptable to environmental changes, have survived and thrived. Life today is characterized by sudden, unexpected and sometimes violent change. A supple mind can help us reconcile the external changes going on all around us. It can also help us integrate all our internal changes going on all around us. It can also help us integrate all of our internal conflicts, inconsistencies, and ambivalence. Without cultivating a pliant mind, our outlook becomes brittle and our relationship to the world becomes characterized by fear. But by adopting a flexible, malleable approach to life, we can maintain our composure even in the most restless and turbulent conditions. It is through our efforts to achieve a flexible mind that we can nurture the resiliency of the human spirit.”

“Sometimes I’m so flexible that I’m accused of having no consistent policy.”

1) “I am a human being.”

2) “I want to be happy and I don’t want to suffer.”

3) “Other human beings, like myself, also want to be happy and don’t want to suffer.”

Emphasizing the common ground he shares with others, rather than the differences, result in a feeling of connection with all human beings and lead to his belief in the value of compassion and altruism.

FINDING BALANCE

“A balanced and skillful approach to life, taking care to avoid extremes, becomes a very important factor in conducting one’s everyday existence. It is important in all aspects of life. For instance, in planning a sapling of a plant or a tree, at its very early stage you have to be very skillful and gentle. Too much moisture will destroy it, too much sunlight will destroy it. Too little will also destroy it. So what you need is a very balanced environment where the sapling can have a healthy growth. Or, for a person’s physical health, too much or too little of any one thing can have destructive effects. For example, too much protein I think is bad, and too little is bad.”

“The gentle and skillful approach, taking care to avoid extremes, applies to healthy mental and emotional growth as well.”

“The practice of Dharma, real spiritual practice, is in some sense like a voltage stabilizer is to prevent irregular power surges and instead give you a stable and constant source of power.”

“Our ultimate aim in seeking more wealth is a sense of satisfaction, of happiness. But the very basis of seeking more is a feeling of not having enough, a feeling of discontentment. Thee feeling of discontentment, of wanting more and more and more, doesn’t arise from the inherent desirability of the objects we are seeking but rather from our own mental state.”
pg196
“So I think that our tendency to go to extremes is often fueled by an underlying feeling of discontentment. And of course there may be other factors which lead to extremes.”

“While going to extremes may seem appealing or ‘exciting’ on the surface, it can in fact be harmful.”

“For example, on a planetary scale if we engage in excessive fishing, without proper regard for long-term consequences, without a sense of responsibility, then it results in depletion of the fish population… Or sexual activity, it leads to so many problems, abuses…. like sexual abuse and incest.”

“The example of excessive fishing leading to depletion of the fish population would be an instance of narrow thinking, in the sense that one is looking only at the short term, and ignoring the wider picture.”

“I think in many ways narrow-minded attitudes lead to extreme thinking. And this creates problems. For instance, Tibet was a Buddhist nation for many centuries. Naturally that resulted in Tibetans feeling that Buddhism was the best religion, and a tendency to feel that it would be good thing if all of humanity became Buddhist. The idea that everyone should be Buddhist is quite extreme. And that kind of extreme thinking just causes problems. But now that we’ve left Tibet, we’ve had a chance to come into contact with other religion closer to reality-realizing that among humanity there are so many different mental dispositions. Even if we tried to make the whole world Buddhist it would be impractical. Through closer contact with other traditions you realize the positive things about them. Now, when confronted with another religion, initially a positive feeling, a different tradition more suitable, more effective, then that’s good! Then it’s like going to a restaurant- we can sit down at one table and order different dishes according to one’s own taste. We might eat different dishes, but nobody argues about it!”

“So, I think that by deliberately broadening our outlook we can often overcome the kind of extreme thinking that leads to such negative consequences.”
(p.g199)
Chapter 11
Finding Meaning in Pain and Suffering
“Man is ready and willing to shoulder any suffering as soon as long as he can see a meaning in it.”

“Finding meaning in suffering is a powerful method of helping us cope even during the most trying times in our lives.”
(pg.200)
“Finding meaning in our suffering is not an easy task. Suffering often seems to occur at random, senselessly and indiscriminately, with no meaning at all, let alone a purposeful or positive meaning. And while we are in the midst of our pain and suffering, all our energy is focused on getting away from it. During periods of acute crisis and tragedy it seems impossible to reflect on any possible meaning behind our suffering. At those times, there is often little we can do but endure. And it’s natural to view our suffering as senseless and unfair, and wonder, ‘Why me?’”

“A tree with strong roots can withstand the most violet storm, but the tree can’t grow roots just as the storm appears on horizon.”

“So where do we begin in our search for meaning in suffering?”

“For many people, the search begins with their religious tradition. Although different religions may have different ways of understanding the meaning and purpose of human suffering, every world religion offers strategies for responding to suffering based on its underlying beliefs. In the Buddhist and Hindu models, for example, suffering is a result of our own negative past actions and is seen as a catalyst for seeking spiritual liberation.”

“In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the universe was created by a good and just God, and even though His master plan may be mysterious and indecipherable at times, our faith and trust in His plan allow us to tolerate our suffering more easily, trusting, as the Talmud says, that “Everything God does, He does for the best.” Life may still be painful, but like the pain a woman experience in childbirth, we trust that the pain will be out-weighted by the ultimate good it produces. The challenge in these traditions lies in the fact that, unlike in childbirth, the ultimate good is often not revealed to us. Still, those with strong faith in God are sustained by a belief in God’s ultimate purpose for our suffering, as a Hasidic sage advice, ‘When a man suffers, he ought not say, “That’s bad!”

Nothing God imposes on man is bad. But it is all right to say, that’s bitter!”

“Suffering can serve many purposes: it can test and potentially strengthen our faith; it can bring us closer to God in a very fundamental and intimate way; or it can loosen the bonds to material world and make us cleave to God as our refuge.”

“What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.” And while it is natural to recoil from suffering, suffering can also challenge us and at times even bring out the best in us.”
(p.g202)
“While at times suffering can serve to toughen us, to strengthen us, at other times it can have value by functioning in the opposite manner-to soften us, to make us more sensitive and gentle. The vulnerability we experience in the midst of our suffering can open us and deepen our connection with others.”
(pg203)
“In searching for ways that one’s personal suffering can take on meaning, we turn once again to the Dalai Lama, who illustrated how suffering can be put to practical use within the context of the Buddhist path.”
pg203)
“In Buddhist practice, you can use your personal suffering in a formal way to enhance your compassion- by using it as an opportunity for the practice of Tong-Len. This is a Mahayana visualization practice in which one mentally visualizes taking on another’s pain and suffering, and in turn giving them all of your resources, good health, fortune, and so on.

“So, in doing this practice, when you undergo illness, pain, or suffering, you can use that as an opportunity by thinking, ‘May my suffering be a substitute for the suffering of all other sentient beings. By experiencing this, may I be able to save all other sentient beings who may have to undergo similar suffering.’ So you use your suffering as an opportunity for the practice of taking others’ suffering upon yourself.”

“May my illness act as a substitute for others, who are suffering from similar illnesses,’ and you visualize taking on their illness and suffering and giving them your good health’

“When dealing with illnesses, first of all it’s important to take preventative measures so you don’t suffer from these illnesses, like taking all the precautionary measures such as adopting the right diet or whatever it may be. And then when you become ill, it is important not to overlook the necessity of taking the appropriate medications and all the other methods that are conventional.”

“However, once you do become ill, practices such as Tong-Len can make a significant difference in how you respond to the situation of illness in terms of your mental attitude. Instead of moaning about your situation, feeling sorry for yourself, and being overwhelmed by anxiety and worry, you can, in fact, save yourself from additional mental pain and suffering by adopting the right attitude. Practicing Tong-Len meditation, or ‘giving and receiving,’ may not necessarily succeed in alleviating the real physical pain or lead to a cure in physical terms, but what it can do is protect you from unnecessary additional psychological pain, suffering, and anguish. You can think, ‘May I, by experiencing this pain and suffering, be able to help other people and save others who may have to go through the same experience.’ Then your suffering takes on new meaning as it is used as the basis for a religious or spiritual practice.”

“Instead of being sorry and saddened by the experience, the person can see it as a kind of privilege. The person can perceive it as a kind of opportunity and, in fact, be joyful because this particular experience has made him or her richer.”

“Reflecting on your suffering can reduce your arrogance, your feeling of conceit.”

“When you are aware of your pain and suffering, it helps you to develop your capacity for empathy, the capacity that allows you to relate to other people’s feelings and suffering. This enhances your capacity for compassion towards others.”

DEALING WITH PHYSICAL PAIN
(pg 206) “Finding an underlying purpose and meaning behind our pain modify our attitude about it?

“Living without pain sensation - of the repetitive injuries, of cases of rats gnawing off fingers and toes while the patient slept peacefully.”
(pg208)
“Pain not as the universal enemy as seen in the West but as a remarkable, elegant, and sophisticated biological system that warns us of damage to your body and thus protects us. But why must the experience of pain be so unpleasant? He concluded that the very unpleasantness of pain, the part that we hate, is what makes it so effective in protecting us and warning us of danger and injury. The unpleasant quality of pain forces the entire human organism to attend to the problem. Although the body has automatic reflexive movements that form an out layer of protection and move us quickly away from the pain, it is the feeling of unpleasantness that galvanizes and compels the entire organism to attend and act. It also sears the experience into the memory and serves to protect us in the future.”

“But if we can begin to think of pain as a “speech your body is delivering about a subject that is of vital importance to you, in the most effective way of getting your attention,” then our attitude about pain will begin to change. And as our attitude about pain changes, our suffering will diminish.

“I am convinced that the attitude we cultivate in advance may well determine how suffering will affect us when it does strike.”

“We may not be grateful for the experience of pain, but we can be grateful for the system of pain perception.”

“Our mental attitude influences our ability to perceive and endure pain isn’t limited to theoretical situations such as this;”

“To lessen the suffering of pain, we need to make a crucial distinction between the pain and the pain we create by our thoughts about the pain. Fear, anger, guilt, loneliness, and helplessness are all mental and emotional responses that can intensify pain. So, in developing and approach to dealing with pain, we can of course work at the lower levels of pain perceptions and other procedures, but we can also work at the higher levels by modifying our outlook and attitude.”

“Scottish terrier pups in a padded environment in which they wouldn’t encounter the normal knocks and scrapes of growing up. These dogs failed to learn basic responses to pain; they failed to react, for instance, when their paws were prickled with pin; as opposed to their littermates who squealed with pain when pricked. On the basis of experiments such as these, he concluded that much of what we call pain, including the unpleasant emotional response, was learned rather than instinctive. Other experiments with human beings, involving hypnosis and placebos, have also demonstrated that in many cases the higher brain functions can overrule the pain signals from the lower stages on the pain pathway.”

“Our attitude about pain can influence the degree to which we suffer is not simply based on philosophical speculation but is backed up by scientific evidence. And if our investigation into the meaning and value of pain results in a change of attitude about pain, our efforts will not be wasted. In seeking to discover an underlying purpose of our pain, Dr. Brand makes one additional fascinating and critical observation.”

“Pain not only warns us and protects us, but it unifies us. Without pain sensation in our hands or feet, those parts no longer seem to belong to our body.”

“In the same way that physical pain unifies our sense of having a body, we can conceive of the general experience of suffering acting as a unifying force that connects us with others. Perhaps that is the ultimate meaning behind our suffering. It is our suffering that is the most basic element that we share with others, the factor that unifies us with all living creatures.”

The Practice of Tong-Len

“Imagining your own future suffering and, with an attitude of compassion, take your own future suffering upon yourself right now, with the sincere wish of freeing yourself from all future suffering. After you gain some practice in generating a compassionate state of mind towards yourself, you can then expand the process to include taking on the suffering of others.”

“When you do the visualization of ‘taking upon yourself’, it is useful to visualize these sufferings, problems and difficulties in the form of poisonous substances, dangerous weapons, or terrifying animals-things the very sight of which normally makes you shudder. So, visualize the suffering in these forms, and then absorb them directly into your heart.

“The purpose of visualizing these negative and frightening forms being dissolved into our hearts is to destroy our habitual selfish attitudes that reside there.”

“For those individual who may have problems with self-image, self-hatred, anger towards themselves whether this particular practice is appropriate or not. It may not be.” “Imagine ‘receiving’ when inhaling and ‘giving’ when exhaling.”

“No particular exercise will appeal to or be appropriate for everyone. In our spiritual journey it’s important for each of us to decide whether a particular practice is appropriate for us. Sometimes a practice will not appeal to us initially, and before it can be effective, we need to understand it better.”

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.”

“If you could try to consider each individual as truly equal to yourself- no more important but no less either—I think that would be enough to start with.”

Part IV
OVERCOMINGS OBSTACLES
Chapter 12 Bringing About Change
(pg219)

THE PROCESS OF CHANGE

“The first step deservedness's learning.”

“Education is very important in learning”

“The next step is developing conviction”

“This conviction to change then develops into determination.”

“Determination into action”

“The strong determination to change enables one to make a sustained effort to implement the actual changes. This final factor of effort is critical”

“No matter what behavior you are seeking to change, no matter what particular goal or action you are directing your efforts towards, you need to start by developing a strong willingness or wish to do it. You need to generate great enthusiasm.”

“And here, a sense of urgency is a key factor.”

“This sense of urgency is a powerful factor in helping you overcome problems.”

“I think that often, once you obtain the proper information, that sense of seriousness and commitment will come. So, this sense of urgency can be a vital factor in effecting change. It can give us tremendous energy.”

“If there is a sense of desperation, there can be a tremendous sense of urgency- so much that the people may even forget that they are hungry, and there is no feeling of tiredness or exhaustion in pursuit of their objectives.”

“The importance of urgency not only applies to overcoming problems on a personal level, but on a community and global level as well.”

In order to accomplish important goals, we need an appreciation of the sense of urgency.”

“Preciousness of human existence; the potential lies within our body, how meaningful it can be, the good purposes it can be used for, the benefits and advantages of having a human form, and so on. And these discussions are to instill a sense of confidence and courage and to induce a sense of commitment to use our human body in a positive way.”

“Then, in order to generate a sense of urgency to engage in spiritual practices, the practitioner is reminded of our Impermanence, of death.”

“We are reminded that one day, we may no longer be here. The sort of understanding; the awareness of impermanence is encouraged, so that when it is coupled with our appreciation of the enormous potential of our human existence, it will give us a sense of urgency that we must use every precious moment.”

“Oh, there is no guarantee that I am going to be a live tomorrow, so I might as well just have lots of fun today!”

“I think the most effective method, and perhaps the only solution, is to be constantly aware of the destructive effects.”

“It’s because we simply become habituated or accustomed to doing things in certain ways. And then, we become sort of spoiled, doing only the things that we like to do, that we are used to doing.”
(pg 225)
“By using habituation to our advantage. Through constant familiarity, we cam definitely establish new patterns”

“So, by making a steady effort, I think we can overcome any form of negative conditioning and make positive changes in our lives. But you still need to realize the genuine change doesn’t happen overnight.”

“Through gradual familiarization; mental development takes time.”
(pg226)
“The need for a high level of enthusiasm and determination to transform one’s mind, to make positive changes.”

“When change takes place so slowly, it’s easy to become discouraged.”



“If I encounter some obstacles or problems, I find it helpful to stand back and take the long-term view rather than the short-term view.
“As long as space endures
As long as sentient beings remain
May I too live
To dispel the miseries of the world. ”
“Here, one needs to take more immediate or active involvement.”

“If I look from a wider perspective, look from a world perspective, then, I see the international situation in which whole communist and totalitarian systems are collapsing, where even in China there’s a democracy movement, and the spirit of Tibetans remains high. So, I don’t give up.”

“It is interesting that the Dalai Lama identifies learning and education as the first step in bringing about internal transformation, rather than more transcendental or mystical spiritual practices.”
(pg228)
“Numerous surveys have conclusively found that higher levels of education have a positive correlation with better health and longer life, and even protect an individual from depression. In trying to determine the reasons for these beneficial effects of education, scientists have reasoned that better-educated individuals are more aware of health risk factors, are better able to implement healthier lifestyle choices, feel a greater sense of empowerment and self-esteem, have greater problem-solving skills and more effective coping strategies- all factors that can contribute to a happier, healthier life.”

“The next step in the Dalai Lama’s path to change involves generating “determination and enthusiasm.” This step is also widely accepted by contemporary Western science as an important factor in achieving one’s goal. In one study, for instance, educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom examined the lives of some America’s most accomplished artists, athletes, and scientists. He discovered that drive and determination, not great natural talent, led to their success in their respective fields. As in any other field, one could assume that this principle would equally apply to the art of achieving happiness.”
(pg229)
“Three principle types of motives”

Primary motives are drives based on biological needs that must be met for survival. Need for food, water, and air.
Need for stimulation and information: Innate need, required for proper maturation, development, and functioning of nervous system.

Secondary motive are motives based on learned needs and drives. Need for success, power, status, or achievement. One’s behavior and drives can be influenced by social forces and shaped by learning.

“ ‘Effort’ is the final factor in bringing about change. Effort as a factor in establishing new conditioning.”

“By offering strategies to create new conditioning, behavior therapy has proven to be effective for a broad range of problems.”

“One’s genetic predisposition clearly plays a role in an individual’s characteristic, most social scientists and psychologists feel that a large measure of the way we behave, think, and feel is determined by learning and conditioning, which comes about as a result of our upbringing and cultural forces around us.”

“Making a sustained effort to change external behavior is not only helpful in overcoming bad habits but also can change our underlying attitudes and feelings.”

“‘going’ through the motions’ and repeatedly engaging in a positive behavior can eventually bring about genuine internal change.”
(pg231)
REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

“It takes a long time to develop the behavior and habits of mind that contribute to our problems. It takes an equally long time to establish the new habits that bring happiness. There is no getting around these essential ingredients: determination, effort, and time. These are the real secrets to happiness.”

“When embarking on the path to change, it is important to set reasonable expectations. If our expectations are too high, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. If they are too low, it extinguishes our willingness to challenge our limitations and achieve our true potential.”

“You should never lose sight of the importance of having a realistic attitude- of being very sensitive and respectful to the concrete reality of your situation as you proceed on the path towards your ultimate goal”

“It’s important to make a clear distinction in your mind between your ideals and standards by which you urge your progress. As a Buddhist, for instance, you set your ideals very high: full Enlightenment is your ultimate expectation. Holding full Enlightenment as your ideal of achievement is not an extreme. But expecting to achieve it quickly, here and now, becomes an extreme. Using that as a standard instead of your ideal causes you to become discouraged and completely lose hope when you don’t quickly achieve Enlightenment. So you need a realistic approach. On the other hand, if you say, “I’m just going to focus on the here and now; that’s the practical thing, and I don’t care about the future or the ultimate attainment of Buddhahood,’” then again, that is another extreme. So we need to find as approach that is somewhere in between. We need to find a balance.”

“Dealing with expectations is really a tricky issue. If you have excessive expectations without a proper foundation, then that usually leads to problems. On the other had, without expectation and hope, without aspiration, there can be no progress. Some hope is essential. So finding the proper balance is not easy. One needs to judge each situation on the spot.”

“Now, for example, all of us are born in an ignorant state. In this sense, ignorance is also quite natural. Anyway, when we are young, we are quite ignorant. But as we grow, day by day through education and learning we can acquire knowledge and dispel ignorance. However, if we leave ourselves in an ignorant state without consciously developing our learning, we won’t be able to dispel ignorance. However, if we leave ourselves in an ignorant state without consciously developing our learning, we won’t be able to dispel ignorance. So, if we leave ourselves in a ‘natural state’ without making an effort to dispel it, then the opposing factors of forces of education and learning do not come naturally. And in the same way, through proper training we can gradually reduce our negative emotions and increase positive states of mind such as love, compassion, and forgiveness.”

“In considering how to fight against the negative emotions, it is useful to know how the human mind works,”

“Human mind is of course very complex. But also very skillful. It can find ways in which it can deal with a variety of situations and conditions. For one thing, the mind has the ability to adopt different perspectives through which it can address various problems.”

“Within Buddhist practice, this ability to adopt different perspectives is utilized in a number of meditations in which you mentally isolate different aspects of yourself, then engage in a dialogue between them.”

“Although negative traits such as hatred and anger are part of your mind, you can engage in an endeavor in which you take your anger and hatred as an object and do combat with it.”

“From your own daily experience, you often find yourself in situations in which you blame or criticize yourself. You say, ‘Oh, on such and such day, I let myself down.’ Then you criticize yourself. Or, you blame yourself for doing something wrong or not doing something, and you feel angry towards yourself. So here also, you engage in a kind of dialogue with yourself.”
“Because of the capacity to adopt a different perspective, we can isolate parts of ourselves that we seek to eliminate and do battle with them.”
(pg237)
“No matter how powerful, deep down these negative emotions have no valid foundation. They are based on ignorance. On the other hand, all the positive emotions or states of mind, such as love, compassion, insight, and so on have a solid basis. When the mind is experiencing these positive states, there is no distortion. In addition, these positive factors are grounded in reality. They can be verified by our own experience. There is a kind of grounding and rooted ness in reason and understanding; this kind of grounding and rooted ness in reason and understanding; this is not the case with afflictive emotions like anger and hatred.

“All these positive states of mind have the quality that you can enhance their capacity and increase their potential to limitless degree, if you regularly practice them through training and constant familiarity”

“Compassion is considered a positive emotion. In generating compassion, you start by recognizing that you do not want suffering and that you have a right to have happiness. This can be verified or validated by your own experience. You then recognize that other people, just like yourself, also do not want to suffer and they have the right to have happiness. This becomes the basis of your beginning to generate compassion.”

“Essentially, there are two kinds of emotions or state of mind: positive and negative. One way of categorizing these emotions is in terms of understanding that the positive emotions are those which can be justified, and the negative emotions are those which cannot be justified.”

“Desire for one’s basic necessities to be met is a positive kind of desire. It is justifiable. It is based on the fact that we all exist and have the right to survive. And in order to survive, there are certain things that we require, certain needs that have to be met. So that kind of desire has a valid foundation. And, as we discussed, there are other types of desires are not based on valid reasons, and often just create trouble and complicate one’s life. Those kinds of desires are simply based on a feeling of discontentment, of wanting more, even though the things we want aren’t necessary. Those kinds of desires have no solid reasons behind them. So, in this way we can say that the positive emotions have a firm and valid foundation, and the negative emotions lack this valid foundation.”

“The premise is based on the fact that our positive states of mind can act as antidotes to our negative tendencies and delusory states of mind. So, the second premise is that as you enhanced the capacity of these antidotal factors, the greater their force, the more you will be able to reduce the force of the mental and emotional afflictions, the more you will be able to reduce the influences and effects of these things.”

“Within Buddhist practice, the cultivation of certain specific positive mental qualities such as patience, tolerance, kindness, and so on can act as specific antidotes to negative states of mind such as anger, hatred and attachment. Applying antidotes such as love and compassion can significantly reduce the degree or influence of the mental and emotional afflictions, but since they seek to eliminate only certain specific or individual afflictive emotions, in some sense they can be seen as only partial measures. These afflictive emotions, such as attachment and hatred, are ultimately rooted in ignorance-misconception of the true nature of reality.”

“The ‘Wisdom factor’ involves generating insight into the true nature of reality.”

“So, within the Buddhist tradition, we not only have specific antidotes for specific states of mind, for example, patience and tolerance act as antidotes to anger and hatred,”

“The third premise is that the essential nature of mind is pure. It is based on the belief that the underlying basic subtle consciousness is untamed by negative emotions. Its nature is pure, a state which is referred to as the ‘mind of Clear Light.’ That basic nature of the mind is also called Buddha Nature. So, since the negative emotions are not an intrinsic part of this Buddha Nature, there is a possibility to eliminate them and purify the mind.”

“So it is on these three premises that Buddhism accepts that the mental and emotional afflictions ultimately can be eliminated through deliberately cultivating antidotal forces like love, compassion, tolerance, and forgiveness, and through various practices such as meditation.”

“It is also possible for a layperson to attain high levels of spiritual realization- someone who has a job, a family, a sexual relationship with one’s spouse, and so on. And not only that, but there have been people who didn’t start serous practice until later in life, when they were in their forties, fifties, or even eighties, and yet, they were able to become great highly realized masters”

“I think that true sincere practitioners never show off these things.”

“Many in the West turn to religious beliefs as a source of happiness, yet the Dalai Lama’s approach is fundamentally different from many Western religions in that it relies more heavily on reasoning and training the mind than on faith.”

“The Dalai Lama’s approach resembles a mind science, a system that one could apply in much the same way as people utilize psychotherapy.”

“The Dalai Lama’s method for achieving happiness is based on the revolutionary idea that negative mental states are not intrinsic part of our minds; they are transient obstacles that obstruct the expression of our underlying natural state of joy and happiness.”

“Positive states of mind can act as direct antidotes to negative states of mind.”

“We can change the structure and function of the brain by cultivating new thoughts, then the idea that we can achieve happiness through training of the mind seems a very real possibility.”

Chapter 13
Dealing With Anger and Hatred

“If one comes across a person who has been shot any an arrow, one does not spend time wondering about where the arrow came from, or the caste of the individual who shot it, or analyzing what type of wood the shaft is made of, or the manner in which the arrowhead was fashioned. Rather, one should focus on immediately pulling out the arrow.”

“Dr. Robert Sapolsky at Stanford University have conducted studies that demonstrate that anger, rage, and hostility are particularly damaging to the cardiovascular system.”

“A major risk factor in heart disease, at least equal to, or perhaps greater than, the traditionally recognized risk factors such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.”

“There are many different kinds of afflictive or negative emotions, such as conceit, arrogance, jealousy, desire, lust, closed-mindedness, and so on. But out of all these, hatred and anger are considered to be the greatest evils because they are the greatest obstacles to developing compassion and altruism, and they destroy one’s virtue and calmness of mind.”

“In thinking about anger, there can be two types. One type of anger can be positive.”

“Where anger is motivated by compassion, it can be used as an impetus or a catalyst for a positive action. Under these circumstances, a human emotion like anger can act as a force to bring about swift action.”

“We cannot overcome anger and hatred simply by suppressing them. We need to actively cultivate the antidotes to hatred: patience and tolerance.”

“When you are engaged in the practice of patience and tolerance, in reality, what is happening is you are engaged in a combat with hatred and anger.”

“Someone who gains victory over hatred and anger through such an arduous process is a true hero.”

“It is with this that we generate this strong enthusiasm. Enthusiasm results from learning about and reflecting upon the beneficial effects of tolerance and patience.”

“When a very strong or forceful thought of hatred arises within you, at that very instant, it totally overwhelms you and destroys your peace of mind; your presence of mind disappears completely. When such intense anger and hatred arises, it obliterates the best part of your brain, which is the ability to judge between right and wrong, and the long-term and short-term consequences of your actions. Your power of judgment becomes totally inoperable; it can no longer function. It almost like you have become insane. So, this anger and hatred tends to throw you into a state of confusion, which just serve to make your problems and difficulties so much worse.”

“Even at physical level, hatred brings about a very ugly, unpleasant physical transformation of the individual. At the very instant when transformation of the individual. At the very instant when strong feelings of anger or hatred arise; no matter how hard the person tries to pretend or adopt a dignified pose, it is very obvious that the person’s face looks contorted and ugly. There is very unpleasant expression, and the person gives out a very hostile vibration. Other people can sense it. It is almost as if they can feel steam coming out of that person’s body. So much so, that not only human beings capable of sensing it, but even animals, pets, would try to avoid the person at hat instant. Also, when a person harbors hateful thoughts, they tend to collect inside the person, and this can cause things like loss of appetite, loss of sleep, and certainly make the person feel more tense and uptight.

“For reasons such as these, hatred is compared to an enemy. This internal enemy, this inner enemy, has no other function than causing us harm. It is our true enemy, our ultimate enemy. It has no other function than simply destroying us, both in the immediate term and in the long term.”

“This is very different from an ordinary enemy. Although an ordinary enemy, a person whom we regard as an enemy, may engage in activities that are harmful to us, at least he or she has other functions; that person has got to eat, and that person has got to sleep. So he or she has many other functions and therefore cannot devote twenty-four hours a day of his or her existence to this project of destroying us. On the other hand, hatred has no other function, no other purpose, than destroying us. So, an opportunity for this enemy, hatred, to arise within us.”
(pg252)
“Feelings of anger and hatred arise from a mind that is trouble by dissatisfaction and discontent. So you can prepare ahead of time by constantly working toward building inner contentment and cultivating kindness and compassion. This brings about a certain calmness of mind that can help prevent anger from arising in the first place. And then when a situation does arise that makes you angry, you should directly confront your anger and analyze it. Investigate what factors have given rise to that particular instance of anger or hatred.”
(pg254)
“The only factor that can give you refuge or protection from the destructive effects of anger and hatred is your practice of tolerance and patience.”

“Anger builds on anger, and as our state of arousal increases, we are more easily triggered by anger-provoking environment stimuli.”

“If left unchecked, anger tends to escalate. So, how do we go about diffusing our anger?”

“Avoidance of our problems does not make them go away.”

“The first step is preventative: cultivating an inner contentment and calmer state of mind”

“And when anger does occur, research has shown that actively challenging, logically analyzing, and reappraising the thoughts that trigger the anger can help dissipate it.”

“So long as the person has tolerance and patience, the person’s calmness and peace of mind will not be disturbed.”

“If you respond to situations with anger and hatred, not only does it not protect you from the injury or harm that has already been done to you- the injury and harm has already taken place.-You created an additional cause for your own suffering in the future.”

“If you respond to an injury with patience and tolerance, then although you may face temporary discomfort and hurt, you will still avoid the potentially dangerous long-term consequences. By sacrificing small things, by putting up with small problems or hardship, you will be able to forgo experiences or sufferings that can be much more enormous in the future. To illustrate, if a convicted prisoner could save his life by sacrificing his arm as a punishment, wouldn’t that person feel grateful for the opportunity? By putting up with that pain and suffering of having an arm cut off, the person would be saving himself or herself from death, which is a greater suffering.”

“Patience and tolerance are certainly considered virtues, but when you are directly beset by others, when someone is actively harming you, responding with patience and tolerance’ seems to have a flavor of weakness, of passivity.”
(pg256)
“Since patience or tolerance comes from an ability to remain firm and steadfast and not be overwhelmed by the adverse situations or conditions that one faces, one should not see tolerance or patience as a sign of weakness, or giving in, but rather as a sign of strength, coming from a deep ability to remain firm. Responding to a trying situation with patience and tolerance rather than reacting with anger and hatred involves active restraint, which comes from a strong, self-disciplined mind.”
(pg257)
“Positive and negative kinds of patience. Impatience isn’t always bad. It can help you take action to get things done.”

“Like cleaning your room, if you have too much patience, you might move too slowly and get little done. Or, impatience to gain world peace- that certainly can be positive. But in situations that are difficult and challenging, patience helps maintain your willpower and sustain you.”

“Humility and patience, true tolerance or patience has a component or element of self-discipline and restraint.”

“helplessness or incapacitation - it isn’t genuine tolerance.”

“But with this thought in mind, you can do it out of compassion and concern for that individual.”

“Countermeasures can ultimately be more effective without feelings of anger and hatred.”
(pg259)
“Using reasoning to analyze the situation, adopting a wider perspective, and looking at other angles of a situation. When you are truly patient and tolerant, then forgiveness comes naturally.”

“If you analyze the situation, you’ll realize that the past is past, so there is no use continuing to feel anger and hatred, which do not change the situation but just cause a disturbance within your mind and cause your continued unhappiness.”

“Forgetting and forgiving are two different things. There’s nothing wrong with simply remembering those negative events; if you have a sharp mind, you’ll always remember,” he laughed. “I think the Buddha remembered everything. But with the development of patience and tolerance, it’s possible to let go of the negative feelings associated with the events.”

“Reasoning and analysis to investigate the causes of anger through understanding.”


Chapter 14
Dealing With Anxiety And Building Self-Esteem
(pg266)
“Some kinds of fear are very genuine, based on valid reasons, fear of violence or fear of bloodshed, for example. We can see these things are very bad. Then there’s fear about the long-term negative consequences of our negative actions, fear of suffering, fear of our negative emotions such as hatred. I think these are the right kinds of fear; having these kinds of fears bring us onto the right path, bring us closer to becoming a warmhearted person.”

“Although in a sense these are kinds of fears, I think perhaps that there may be some difference between fearing these things and the mind’s seeing the destructive of these things.”

“On the other hand, some kinds of fears are our own mental creations. These fears may be based mainly on mental projection. For example, there are very childish fears,”

“There are other types of fear based on mental projection, for example, if you have negative feelings, because of your own mental situation, you may project those feelings onto another, who then appears as someone negative and hostile. And as a result, you feel fear. That kind of fear, I think, is related to hatred and comes about as a sort of mental creation. So, in dealing with fear, you need to first use your faculty of reasoning and try to discover whether there is a valid basis for your fear or not.”
(pg268)
“If the situation or problem is such that it can be remedied, then there is no need to worry about it.”

“In other words, if there is a solution or a way out of the difficulty, then one needn’t be overwhelmed by it. The appropriate action is to seek its solution. It is more sensible to spend the energy focusing on the solution rather than worrying about the problem.

“Alternatively, if there is no way out, no solution, no possibility of resolution, then there is also no point in being worried about it, because you can’t do anything about it anyway.”

“In that case, the sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be on you. This formula, of course, implies directly confronting the problem. Otherwise you won’t be able o find out whether or not there is a resolution to the problem.”
(pg270)
“I think having proper motivation and honesty are the keys to overcoming those kinds of fear and anxiety.”
“I’ll remind myself that the main reason, the aim of giving the lecture, is to be of at least some benefit to the people, not for showing off my knowledge. So, those points which I know. I’ll explain. Those points which I do not understand properly- then it doesn’t matter; I just say, ‘For me, this is difficult.’”

“So, I’ve found that sincere motivation acts as an antidote to reduce fear and anxiety.”

“Well, sometimes the anxiety involves more than just appearing foolish in front of others. It’s more of a fear of failure, a feeling of being incompetent.”
(pg271)
“I can’t help everybody. But I think the main thing is motivation- to have a sincere motivation to help. Then you just do the best you can, and you don’t have to worry about it.”

“When people place too much trust or belief in me, in circumstances in which some things are beyond my capability.”

“In such case, sometimes anxiety, of course, develops. Here, once again, we return to the importance of motivation. Then, I try to remind myself as far as my own motivation is concerned, I am sincere, and I tried my best. With a sincere motivation, one of compassion, even if I made a mistake or failed, there is no cause for regret. For my part I did my best. Then, you see, If I failed, it was because the situation was beyond my best efforts. So that sincere motivation removes fear and gives you self-confidence. On the other hand, if your underlying motivation is to cheat someone, then you fail, you really become nervous. But if you cultivate a compassionate motivation, if you fail, then there’s no regret.”
(pg272)
“I think that proper motivation can be a sort of protector, shielding you against these feelings of fear and anxiety. Motivation is so important. In fact all human action can be seen in terms of movement, and the mover behind all actions is one’s motivation. If you develop a pure and sincere motivation, if you are motivated by a wish to help on the basis of kindness, compassion, and respect, then you can carry on any kind of work, in any field, and function more effectively with less fear or worry, not being afraid of what others think or whether you fail to achieve your goal, you can feel good about having made the effort. But with a bad motivation, people can praise you or you can achieve goals, but you still will not be happy.”

“If there is a solution to the problem, there is no need to worry. If there is no solution, there is no sense in worrying either.”

“Reshaping and changing one’s underlying motivation to one of compassion and kindness.”

“The closer one gets to being motivated by altruism, the more fearless one becomes in the face of even extremely anxiety-provoking circumstances.”

“Sincere motivation as an antidote to anxiety”

HONESTY AS AN ANTIDOTE TO LOW SELF-ESTEEM OR INFLATED SELF-CONFIDENCE
(pg279)
“One sense of self , or ‘ego,’ is concerned only with the fulfillment of one’s self-interest, one’s selfish desire, with complete disregard for the well- being of others. The other type of ego or sense of self is based on a genuine concern for others, and the desire to be based on a genuine concern for others, and the desire to be of service. In order to fulfill that wish to be of service, one needs a strong sense of self, and a sense of self-confidence. This kind of self-confidence is the kind that leads to positive consequences.”

“I think perhaps honesty and self-confidence are closely linked.”

“The more honest you are, the more open, the less fear you will have, because there’s no anxiety about being exposed or revealed to others. So, I think that the more honest you are, the more self-confident you will be...”

“I think that, generally, being honest with oneself and others about what you are or are not capable of doing can counteract that feeling of lack of self-confidence.”

“Those who have a realistic and accurate view of themselves tend to like themselves better and have more confidence than those with poor or inaccurate self-knowledge.

“The expression is it’s like an old person eating - an old person with very poor teeth. The soft things you eat; the hard things, you just leave.”

REFLECTING ON OUR POTENTIAL AS AN ANTIDOTE TO SELF-HATRED
“Our self-image is shape by our parents and upbringing, how we pick up implicit messages about ourselves from them as we grow and develop, and I outlined the specific conditions that create a negative self-image. “

“When our behavior fails to live up to our idealized self-image, and self-hatred can be culturally reinforced, particularly in some women and minorities.”

“Of course, we love ourselves!”

“Love is difficult to define, and there may be different definition: unqualified wish for the happiness of another individual. It is a heartfelt wish for other’s happiness regardless of whether he does something to injure us or even whether we like him. Now, deep in our hearts, there’s no question that everyone of us wants to be happy.”

“So, if our definition of love is based on a genuine wish for someone’s happiness, then each of us does in fact love him or herself-every one of us sincerely wishes for his or her own happiness.”

“No matter how much we may dislike some of our characteristic, underneath it all we wish ourselves to be happy, and that is a profound kind of love.”

“From the Buddhist point of view; being in a depressed state, in a state of discouragement, it is seen as a kind of extreme that can clearly be an obstacle to taking the steps necessary to accomplish one’s goal. A state of self-hatred is even far more extreme than simply being discouraged, and this can be very-very dangerous. For those engaged in Buddhist practice, the antidote to self-hatred would be to reflect upon the fact that all beings, including oneself, have Buddha Nature- the seed or potential for perfection, full Enlightenment- no matter how weak or poor or deprived one’s present situation may be. So those people involved in Buddhist practice who suffer from self-hatred or self-loathing should avoid contemplating the suffering nature of existence or the underlying unsatisfactory nature of existence, and instead the should concentrate more on the positive aspects of one’s existence, such as appreciating the tremendous potential that lies within oneself as a human being.”

“All human beings have the capacity to be very determined and to direct that strong sense of determination in whatever direction they would like to use it.

“So if one maintain an awareness of these potentials and reminds oneself of them repeatedly until it becomes part of one’s customary way of perceiving human beings- including oneself- then this could serve to help reduce feelings of discouragement, helplessness, and self-contempt”

“Similarly, so long as we know and maintain an awareness that we have this marvelous gift of human intelligence and a capacity to develop determination and use it in positive ways, in some sense we have this underlying mental health. An underlying strength, that comes from realizing we have this great human potential. This realization can act as a sort of built-in mechanism that allows us to deal with any difficulty, no matter what situation we are facing, without losing hope or sinking into self-hatred.”

“Reminding ourselves of the great qualities we share with all human beings acts to neutralize the impulse to think we’re bad or undeserving.”
Part V
Closing Reflections On Living A spiritual Life


CHAPTER 15
BASIC SPIRITUAL VALUES
“The art of happiness has many components. As we’ve seen, it begins with developing an understanding of the truest sources of happiness and setting our priorities in life based on the cultivation of those source.”

“It involves an inner discipline, replacing them with positive, constructive states of mind, such as kindness, tolerance, and forgiveness.

“I believe that it is essential to appreciate our potential as human beings and recognize the importance of inner transformation. This should be achieved through what could be called a process of mental development. Sometimes, I call this having a spiritual in our life.”

“There can be two levels of spirituality. One level of spirituality has to do with our religious belief. In this world, there are so many different people, so many different dispositions. There are five billion human beings and in a certain way I think we need five billion different religions, because there is such a large variety of dispositions. I believe that each individual should embark upon a spiritual path that is best suited to his or her mental disposition, natural inclination, temperament, belief, family, and cultural back ground.”

“If I believe that Buddhism were best for everyone, that would be foolish, because different people have different mental disposition. So, the variety of people calls for a variety of religions. The purpose of religion is to benefit people, and I think that if we only had one religion, after a while it would cease to benefit many people. If we had a restaurant, for instance, and it only served one dish- day after day, for every meal- that restaurant wouldn’t have many customers left after a while.”

“In the same way, religions are meant to nourish the human spirit. And I think we can learn to celebrate that variety of religions.”

“We must respect and appreciate the value of all the different major world religious traditions.”

“All of these religions can make an effective contribution for the benefit of humanity. They are all designed to make the individual a happier person, and the world a better place.”
(pg296)
“These different religious traditions will give inspiration to millions of coming generations.” “Very important to realize that reality and respect other traditions.”
(pg297)

“Religion should be a remedy to help reduce the conflict and suffering in the world, not another source of conflict.”

“And everyone has the right to overcome suffering. So if someone is deriving happiness or benefit from a particular religious tradition, it becomes important to respect the rights of others; thus we must learn to respect all these major religious traditions. That is clear.”

“A simple daily reminder of your deeply held principles and evictions. I, myself, repeat certain Buddhist verses every morning. The verses may look like prayers, but they are actually reminders.

Reminders of how to speak to others; how to deal with other people; how to deal with problems in your daily life; things like that. So, for most part, my practice involves reminders-reviewing the importance of compassion, forgiveness, all these things.”
(pg299)
“True spirituality is a mental attitude that you can practice at any time.”

“Every event, every experience you are exposed to comes as a kind of a teaching. It’s a learning experience.”

“Every event, every experience you are exposed to comes as a kind of a teaching. It’s a learning experience.”

“Even when you are exposed to, for instance, disturbing scenes of violence and sex, like in TV and films, there is a possibility to view them with an underlying mindfulness of the harmful effects of going to extremes. Then, instead of being totally overwhelmed by the sight, rather you can take these scenes as a kind of an indicator of the damaging nature of unchecked negative emotions-something from which you can learn lesson.”

“Religious faith offers concrete help in times of trouble. Recent surveys seem to confirm the fact that religious faith can substantially contribute to a happier life.”
(pg304)
“Studies have found that not only is faith a predictor of self-reports of feelings of well-being, but a strong religious faith also appears to help individuals deal more effectively with issues such as aging or coping with personal crises and traumatic events.”

“There have in fact, been literally hundreds of scientific and epidemiologic studies establishing a link between strong religious faith, lower death rates, and improved health.”

“Heart-transplant patients with strong religious beliefs have less difficulty coping with postoperative medical regiments and display better long-term physical and emotional health.”

“It was found that patients over the age of fifty-five who underwent open-heart surgery for coronary artery or heart valve disease and who had taken refuge in their religious beliefs were three times more likely to survive than those who did not.”
(pg306)
“So, in speaking of having a spiritual dimension to our lives, we have identified our religious beliefs as one level of spirituality. Now regarding religion, if we believe in any religion, that’s good. But even without a religious belief, we can still manage. In some cases, we can manage even better. But that’s our own individual right; if we wish to believe, well! If not, it’s all right.”

“But then there’s another level of spirituality. That is what I call basic spirituality - basic human qualities of goodness, kindness, compassion, caring. Whether we are believers or nonbelievers, this kind of spirituality is essential. I personally consider this second level of spirituality to be more important than the first, because no matter how wonderful a particular religion may be, it will only be accepted by a limited number of human beings, as long as we are members of the human family, all of us need these basic spiritual values. Without these, human existence remains hard, very dry. As a result, none of us can be a happy person, our whole family will suffer, and then, eventually, society will be more troubled.

So, it becomes clear that cultivating these kinds of basic spiritual values becomes crucial.”

“Here I think that education is crucial - instilling in people a sense that compassion, kindness, and so on are the basic good qualities of human beings, not just a matter of religious subjects. I think earlier we spoke at greater length about the prime importance of human warmth, affection, and compassion in people’s physical health, happiness, and peace of mind. This is a very practical issue, not religious theory or philosophical speculation. It is a key issue.”

“For those who choose not to follow any particular religion. For those people, I think we can educate them and impress upon them that it’s all right to remain without any religion but be a good human being, a sensible human being, with a sense of responsibility and commitment for a better, happier world.”

“These practices or activities are secondary to your inducting a truly spiritual way of life, based on the basic spiritual values, because it is possible that all of these external religious activities can still go along with a person’s harboring a very negative state of mind. But true spirituality should have the result of making a person calmer, happier, more peaceful.”

“All of the virtuous states of mind- compassion, tolerance, forgiveness, caring, and so on- these mental qualities are genuine Dharma, or genuine spiritual qualities, because all of these internal mental qualities cannot coexist with ill feelings or negative states of mind.”

“So engaging in training or a method of bringing about inner discipline within ones mind is the essence of a religious life, an inner discipline that has the purpose of cultivating these positive mental states. Thus, whether one leads a spiritual life depends on whether one has been successful in bringing about that disciplined, tamed state of mind and translating that state of mind into one’s daily actions.”

“The Dalai Lama has repeatedly emphasized that inner discipline is the basis of a spiritual life. It is the fundamental method of achieving happiness. From his perspectives inner discipline involves combating negative states of mind such as anger, hatred, and greed, and cultivating positive states such as kindness, compassion, and tolerance. He also has pointed out that a happy life is built on a foundation of a calm, stable state of mind.”

MEDITATION ON THE NATURE OF THE MIND
“When you are able to stop your mind from chasing sensory objects and thinking about the past and future and so on, and when you can free your mind from being totally ‘blanked out’ as well, then you will begin to see underneath this turbulence of the thought processes. There is an underlying stillness, an underlying clarity of the mind”


HAPPY PRACTISING
DHARMA IS FOR US TO REFLECT AND PRACTICE…


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