In our day-to-day life, we all have the tendency to look for happiness outside ourselves. We succumb to the allure of thinking, “If I have the right house (car, job, friends), then I’ll be truly happy.” We spend almost all of our time adjusting the conditions of the external world, trying to make them conform to our wishes and provide us with the happiness we desire.
Although we’ve spent our entire life trying to surround ourselves with the people and things that make us feel comfortable, secure or stimulated, still we have not found pure and lasting happiness.
Happiness is a state of mind. So, the real source of happiness must lie within the mind, not in external conditions. If our mind is pure and peaceful we shall be happy, regardless of our external circumstances, but if it is impure and not peaceful, we can never be truly happy no matter how hard we try to change our external conditions.
We could change our home, our partner, our friends or our job countless times, but until we change our restless, discontented mind we’ll never find true happiness.
Buddhist Psychology: How to change our mind
The first step towards changing our mind from a state of discontent to a state of happiness is to identify which minds produce happiness and which produce suffering.
In Buddhism, states of mind that are conducive to peace and happiness are called “virtuous minds,” and those that disturb our peace and cause us suffering are called “delusions.”
We have many different types of delusion inside our mind, such as desirous attachment, anger, jealousy, pride, miserliness, and ignorance. These are known as “inner enemies” because they are continually destroying our happiness from within.
Delusions are distorted ways of looking at our own self, other people, and the world around us. The way a deluded mind views these phenomena does not accord with reality. When we train our mind gradually to overcome delusions, we see things as they really are. This brings peace and happiness to ourselves and everyone around us.
The class on Thursday evenings from October 26 to November 16 will offer a practical overview of Buddhist psychology. The class will also provide methods for finding happiness within our mind that can be immediately put in to practice.
Patience: A key practice for modern life
One of the best ways to overcome negative states of mind and produce lasting happiness is to engage in the practice of patient acceptance. We often think of patience as a weak and passive response to the problems that we have neither the power nor the courage to resolve. However, being patient is not a passive mind – we are engaging very actively when we practice patience.
Patience is a mind that fully and happily accepts whatever occurs. It is much more than just gritting our teeth and putting up with things. Patient acceptance does not necessarily mean that we do not take practical steps to improve our situation. If it is possible to remedy the situation, then of course we should; but to do this we do not need to become unhappy and impatient.
The peaceful mind of patience enables us to avoid become angry and upset no matter what are our external circumstances. The capacity to remain completely calm in situations of great provocation is a sign of high spiritual realizations and the result of a great deal of mental preparation.
The class on Saturday, September 23 will explore the Buddhist approach for dealing with stress and teachings on the practice of patience.
Experience meditation and its benefits.
Gen Kelsang Khedrub, a western Buddhist monk for over 20 years, is the Resident Teacher at Kadampa Meditation Center Washington, a Buddhist temple in Ballard. Having taught several sold-out classes in the winter and spring term, he will be teaching two classes in this fall term – a Saturday workshop and a weekly Thursday evening class.
Saturday, September 23. 9:30am-12:30pm. Meditation to Develop Patience and Deal with Stress; Item #8967. Click here for more information or registration.
Thursdays, 7:00-8:30pm from October 26 – November 16 (4 weeks). Meditation & Buddhist Psychology; Item #8972. Click here for more information or registration.
Last Updated August 14, 2017