Is happiness a product of causes and conditions?

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fckw
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Is happiness a product of causes and conditions?

Post by fckw » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:02 pm

I have a very simple and maybe even naive questions:

Is happiness a product of causes and conditions (according to Buddhist thought)?

To my own surprise I just realized today that I had automatically assumed that if I just practiced enough at some point lasting happiness would somehow automagically be a byproduct of my realizations. It never occurred to me that perhaps a state of very ordinary, everyday happiness is simply something to be cultivated that can also be lost again at any time due to causes and conditions. The implication being that even after deep realization you keep practicing simply because you would rather be happy than unhappy. This quote says it all very nicely.
I wondered why the Buddha kept practising mindfulness and meditation even after he had already become a Buddha. Now I find the answer is plain enough to see. Happiness is impermanent, like everything else. In order for happiness to be extended and renewed, you have to learn how to feed your happiness. Nothing can survive without food, including happiness; your happiness can die if you don’t know how to nourish it. If you cut a flower but you don’t put it in some water, the flower will wilt in a few hours.
(Quote allegedly by Thich Nhat Hanh

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Wayfarer
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Re: Is happiness a product of causes and conditions?

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:21 pm

There is the emotion of happiness, which is contrasted with sadness or melancholy, which naturally is a conditioned state. ‘Emotion’ after all implies movement. But I also think that through meditation you can become aware of an inherent bliss, which is ‘sukha’. Wikipedia says ‘Sukha (Sanskrit, Pali; Devanagari: सुख) means happiness, pleasure, ease, or bliss. In the early texts, 'sukha' is set up as a contrast to 'preya' (प्रेय) meaning ‘transient pleasure’; whereas the joy of 'sukha' connotes an authentic state of happiness’.

But in my experience it’s also important to understand that is not something you can get or have, and that the very seeking for it prevents it from arising (because seeking it becomes a kind of hankering). I think of it as ‘the bliss you cannot have’. But once you accept its elusive nature, then awareness of it grows within you. As that happens, you also begin to realise the transience of emotions generally, which is one aspect of the growth of equanimity through meditation. That has been my experience.

:anjali:
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Is happiness a product of causes and conditions?

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:59 pm

Happiness comes from cherishing others, both in this life through cultivation, and in the fruit of buddhahood.
Thubten Chodron wrote about this here.
Amitābha!
OM PADMO USHNISHA VIMALE HUM PHAT (Lotus Pinnacle of Amoghapasha)
OM HANU PHASHA BHARA HE YE SVAHA ("Just by Seeing" Mantra)
AH AAH SHA SA MA HA (Six Syllables of Clairvoyance Mantra)


The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

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tomschwarz
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Re: Is happiness a product of causes and conditions?

Post by tomschwarz » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:31 am

fckw wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:02 pm
I have a very simple and maybe even naive questions:

Is happiness a product of causes and conditions (according to Buddhist thought)?

To my own surprise I just realized today that I had automatically assumed that if I just practiced enough at some point lasting happiness would somehow automagically be a byproduct of my realizations. It never occurred to me that perhaps a state of very ordinary, everyday happiness is simply something to be cultivated that can also be lost again at any time due to causes and conditions. The implication being that even after deep realization you keep practicing simply because you would rather be happy than unhappy. This quote says it all very nicely.
I wondered why the Buddha kept practising mindfulness and meditation even after he had already become a Buddha. Now I find the answer is plain enough to see. Happiness is impermanent, like everything else. In order for happiness to be extended and renewed, you have to learn how to feed your happiness. Nothing can survive without food, including happiness; your happiness can die if you don’t know how to nourish it. If you cut a flower but you don’t put it in some water, the flower will wilt in a few hours.
(Quote allegedly by Thich Nhat Hanh
Not simple.... ....if there was happiness in enlightenment it would be a feeling that coexists with omniscience, including the beginning and end of all life on our and every other planet. Honkidori? Nope.... I am happy but you are not? Nope.

So short answer happiness is conditioned. Enlightenment presupposes not being attached to peace of mind (see formless realm).
i dedicate this post to your happiness, the causes of your happiness, the absence of your suffering the causes of the absence of your suffering that we may not have too much attachment nor aversion. SAMAYAMANUPALAYA

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Grigoris
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Re: Is happiness a product of causes and conditions?

Post by Grigoris » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:44 am

For an Abhidhamma view on happiness http://www.saraniya.com/books/meditatio ... dhamma.pdf

Starts on page 52 in the book (page 79 of the pdf).
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

fckw
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Re: Is happiness a product of causes and conditions?

Post by fckw » Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:03 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:21 pm
whereas the joy of 'sukha' connotes an authentic state of happiness’.
Thanks for the clarification. I think distinguishing sukha from transient forms of pleasure is a good start to approach the topic. Is there any Sanskrit or Tibetan term for "authentic state of happiness" here being equated to the "joy of sukha"?

fckw
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Re: Is happiness a product of causes and conditions?

Post by fckw » Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:05 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:44 am
For an Abhidhamma view on happiness http://www.saraniya.com/books/meditatio ... dhamma.pdf

Starts on page 52 in the book (page 79 of the pdf).
Thanks, I did not know this book, will have a look.

fckw
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Re: Is happiness a product of causes and conditions?

Post by fckw » Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:08 pm

tomschwarz wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:31 am
Not simple.... ....if there was happiness in enlightenment it would be a feeling that coexists with omniscience, including the beginning and end of all life on our and every other planet. Honkidori? Nope.... I am happy but you are not? Nope.

So short answer happiness is conditioned. Enlightenment presupposes not being attached to peace of mind (see formless realm).
Interesting thought. Yes, if it was a factor of enlightenment, then it would co-exist together with omniscience. Since ordinary happiness however comes and goes in time, I think we have to exclude this option, and, yes, this implies it's indeed conditioned.

What I so much like about this thought is that it returns me the responsibility for simply asking myself repeatedly: What makes me happy right now? Just asking me this question leads to interesting insights. It's often not even something very fancy, for example writing a short text message to a friend you haven't talked to for some time is actually pretty satisfying. And since it's conditioned, it can be cultivated.

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Wayfarer
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Re: Is happiness a product of causes and conditions?

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:10 pm

fckw wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:03 pm
Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:21 pm
whereas the joy of 'sukha' connotes an authentic state of happiness’.
Thanks for the clarification. I think distinguishing sukha from transient forms of pleasure is a good start to approach the topic. Is there any Sanskrit or Tibetan term for "authentic state of happiness" here being equated to the "joy of sukha"?
'Sukha' is a Sanskrit term. As the excerpt I posted mentions, it is explicitly mentioned more frequently in the early texts, but I think the basic understanding is at least implicit throughout later teachings.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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