Chapter 18: Happiness
Dear Buddist followers, may you all prosper by my blessing. Today is a Buddhist observance day. It is the fifteenth of the fifth month of our Buddhist calendar. It is a day in which
you all come to gather in this monastery for two noble causes:
first, to offer food and other material requisites to the monks;
and second, to observe either the five or the eight moral
precepts as required by our religion. On a day like this, it is also
your duty to listen to the monks’ sermon and try to practise
whatever lessons you may get from the sermon. When you see
a statue of the Buddha, you kneel down to pay your respect.
That is good of you to show such respect to a statue of the
Buddha; but what I want you to do is something even more
worthy of praise and respect, that is, I want you to build a
Buddha in your heart. Fill your heart with the Buddha. In other
words, showing or paying respect to a statue of the Buddha is a
trifling matter, what is more or most important is that you
should practice the teaching of the Buddha! If you truly respect
him, then do or practise according to his teaching. This is what
I mean by “building a Buddha in your heart”.
You come to make merit, that is to do something good
which will give you happiness. Happiness is something which
comes from the mind. For one to make so-called “merit” does
not necessarily mean one must donate money or offer material
things to the monks or monastery. It is not the way of achieving
happiness, although of course it may make you feel good that
you have made some donation and offered material requisites
Untitled-1 155 29/9/2557, 11:01
The real happiness comes from a mind that is in a normal
and peaceful state. It is a mind free from anxiety, worries, and
suffering. It is a clear and clean mind. Only when the mind is
in this state, then only will we be able to truly feel the joy of
Happiness cannot be obtained from drinking, gambling,
taking drugs, money, fame, and the many other things which
many people claim to be the sources of happiness. Even if they
do feel happy by indulging in such things or by possessing them,
their “happiness” will not last long. Such ‘happiness’ is a
temporary pleasure which is superficial at best and only serves
to camouflage the actual problems, sorrow and suffering lurking
Some people simply love to talk. They get happiness from
having the chance to talk, but it is a pity that they often talk
about a lot of nonsensical things which have no meaning. Wise
people will only talk when it is necessary, and they talk with
great mindfulness. They are the people who know that when
happiness carries hidden, suffering – causing elements in it, as
they themselves must have experienced in the past, it is certainly
not true happiness.
There are people who, despite having reached the age of
70 or 80 years, still seek happiness from something like
gambling. They can gamble for the whole night and yet never
complain about an aching back.
Dear Buddhist followers, the happiness taught by the
Buddha is not the happiness which we are familiar with. It is
not a happiness motivated by defilements and craving, which
may lead us to intoxication and even ruin. It is a happiness of
a silent and peaceful mind. When you come to the monastery
Untitled-1 156 29/9/2557, 11:01
to observe the moral precepts, you exercise self – restraint and
mindfulness. You talk little and you feel at ease with yourself
and your surrounding. Your mind is silent and peaceful and
happiness springs from a mind like that.
On the other hand, if you come to observe the precepts
with no sincere aim, then what you do is probably talk and
gossip, or may be even engage yourself in petty quarrels with
your friends and even with the monks or novices. I assure you
I have come across people like that.
Thus, if you simply sit at a corner of the hall and do
nothing for the whole day, then you get nothing. No happiness.
No wisdom. Nothing at all. You may sit there till the hall
collapses, and you still get nothing.
To obtain happiness, do what the Buddha told you to
do. Learn the Dhamma and practise it. Learn to meditate and
you will obtain peace of mind. True happiness comes with peace
of mind. No one can do it for you. You have to do it by yourself.
Selfish people find it hard to be happy. They have an
Untitled-1 157 29/9/2557, 11:01
unhealthy mind. A healthy mind is a happy mind. When you
are happy, you may also want other people to share your
happiness too, so you will have the time and the mind to think
about others. On the other hand, when you are miserable, you
may want to be left alone; or you may yearn for someone to
give you moral support or say a few kind words. Whatever it is,
it shows that we all want to be happy.
Untitled-1 158 29/9/2557, 11:01
Credit: eBooks. Wat Amphawan.