Tugas Gunadarma Gunadarma Tutorial VB.NET Download OST Anime Soundtrack Anime Opening Anime Ending Anime OST Anime Japan Download Lagu Anime Jepang

Results 1 to 27 of 27

Thread: The pursuit of happiness, or not

  1. #1
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    East Texas
    Posts
    1,263

    The pursuit of happiness, or not

    I have been noticing lately that happiness is happy, but the pursuit of happiness may be unhappy. When happiness happens, be happy, but chasing after happiness may be filled with peril. The pursuit doesn't have to be perilous, but too much certainly could be. If I could graph it the shape would be an upside down "U" where it's going good for a while but then too much turns it around and becomes bad. After all, pursuit is a form of desire, but the desire of happiness can lead to unhappy suffering. Just separating out the occurrence of happiness from the pursuit of such an occurrence is an interesting form of practice I have been discovering lately.
    What makes me happy, really?
    How can I facilitate that without ruining it at the same time?
    It's sort of like a koan.
    I see Barry Magid has a book on this topic. I will have to get it and add it to all my other books-to-be-read list.
    In the mean time I will just sit and let the discovery process continue.

  2. #2
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    East Texas
    Posts
    1,263

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    I forgot to say that I think we often mistake the pursuit of happiness for happiness itself, and that seems like a pretty good recipe for dukka. Many people these days feel they are doing all the things they need to in order to be happy, or so they think, but they are not happy and wonder why. I think the reason could be the mixing up of pursuit with the actual state of happiness.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Mexico City
    Posts
    1,066

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    Thanks for sharing

    _/_

  4. #4

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence and considered by some as part of one of the most well crafted, influential sentences in the history of the English language.[1] These three aspects are listed among the "unalienable rights" or sovereign rights of man.


    Its like the pursuit of food and shelter - ya gotta do it.

  5. #5

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    When happy, be very happy. Don't cling to the happiness though, let it go.

    When sad, be just sad. Don't cling to sadness however, just let it flow.

    Do not pursue happiness, even as one pursues it. Do not run from sad things, even as one does one's darndest to run from sad things! Drop all desires thoroughly and put the little self out of a job ... even while desiring stuff in moderation, without clinging. (All this is -not- a contradiction for Zen folks) :shock:

    All through, learn to allow and to drop all small human judgments of "happy" and "sad" in a moment of Shikantaza ...

    ... thus finding the Suchness, Contentment, Wholeness and Joy that sweeps in and out both life's "happy" and "sad".

    It ain't rocket science. No need to draw a curve, and just make a straight line to the Zafu! 8)

    Shikantaza.

    Gassho, Jundo

  6. #6

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    Alan, I think that pursuit of happiness could be the happiness itself if you don't separate them. Where does "pursuit" end and "happiness" begin? Every time we recite the bodhisattva vows we set our mind on saving all sentient beings, but how is it different from setting on a "pursuit of happiness for all beings"? Just my 5c.

  7. #7

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    My grandparents always said 'if you have your health you have everything' . When I got really sick in my late teens the doctor made it worse and that's when I realized I had to to take 100% responsibility for my health and happiness. Embracing the moment of not knowing doesn't leave much room for attachments. Some days are better than others. The pursuit is just action. forgive my rambling, just had some coffee.

  8. #8

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    The pursuit of happiness is a metaphor. Happiness isn't a rabbit, or a car, or any kind of "thing" that you can "pursue"; it is a concept--and our thinking about it is strongly affected by our language. The metaphor of happiness-as-thing (or knowledge-as-thing, or suffering-as-thing, etc.) is just a tool we use for thinking about our own thoughts. English speakers tend to conceptualize happiness as a thing, and so do speakers of many other languages, but it isn't a thing. That doesn't mean it isn't real, in the sense of originating as a dependent phenomenon, but that you can't stub your toe on happiness. What is a rabbit before you name it a rabbit? What is happiness before you name it happiness?

    Untei

  9. #9

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    Just remembering the children's song...

    If you're happy and you know it clap your hands
    if you're happy and you know it clap your hands
    if you're happy and you know it
    then you really ought to show it
    if you're happy and you know clap your hands.

    ... trouble as adults - half the time we don't know it, show it - and chase after it.

    Authentic happiness is deep inside us - pre-language/concepts, etc -

    let's all

    Gassho

    Willow

  10. #10

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    When happy, be very happy. Don't cling to the happiness though, let it go.

    When sad, be just sad. Don't cling to sadness however, just let it flow.

    Do not pursue happiness, even as one pursues it. Do not run from sad things, even as one does one's darndest to run from sad things! Drop all desires thoroughly and put the little self out of a job ... even while desiring stuff in moderation, without clinging. (All this is -not- a contradiction for Zen folks) :shock:

    All through, learn to allow and to drop all small human judgments of "happy" and "sad" in a moment of Shikantaza ...

    ... thus finding the Suchness, Contentment, Wholeness and Joy that sweeps in and out both life's "happy" and "sad".

    It ain't rocket science. No need to draw a curve, and just make a straight line to the Zafu! 8)

    Shikantaza.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Gassho...

    I've noticed during zazen that thoughts and feelings come up. Sometimes I get feelings of extreme confidence and certainty in myself. Sometimes I get feelings of uncertainty, and I can feel my body literally get cold. Sometimes I get feelings of anger as I imagine conversations with someone where I prove myself right, them wrong, and they have to pay for it!!! And I feel my body get warm.

    The more I practice the more I'm beginning to allow myself just observe that stuff and not attach to it during sitting (and in daily life). But I've also noticed something really interesting. Not only do I try to hold onto good feelings, but I actually find it challenging to sometimes just be able to observe and let go of the anger and fear/uncertainty. I always assumed that I would want to push those bad feelings away, but I do often find that I try to grab on and relive those feelings... very strange but interesting.

    Risho

  11. #11

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    Quote Originally Posted by willow

    Authentic happiness is deep inside us - pre-language/concepts, etc -

    let's all

    Gassho

    Willow

  12. #12
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    East Texas
    Posts
    1,263

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    If Vegas was able to take bets on such things, I would've cleaned up on what Jundo said. I had it pegged pretty darn close. I would only add that when be sad, go ahead and be sad, but go do something that might bring you happiness so that you are less sad. It's the old acceptance without acceptance. For example, if you are sad, be perfectly sad; but if talking a walk in the woods makes you happy, then go take that walk in the woods and be perfect in the happiness that it brings. I will be placing a heavy bet in Vegas that Jundo will agree on this. Cha-ching!

    Just to be clear on some of the other postings, I am talking in the very practical sense of happiness as a "thing" that we pursue. I concede that it is not a "thing" and that authentic happiness is available within us at any moment through our practice. I further concede that "pursuit of happiness" is a metaphor that has been reified, just as is the concept of happiness as a "thing," but all of this is part of my point. We really do chase after this thing called happiness to the point of unhappiness rather than allowing happiness to occur more naturally, and I think this happens mostly out of awareness.

    One of the great things about zazen is how it slows life down as your awareness grows. We get conditioned in life to do all these things that we think make us happy, but the longer I do zazen and the more I study the self in this "happiness" the more I realize (a very s l o w process) that happiness isn't the "thing" I thought it was, and that some of the activities I did to try and achieve happiness didn't really make me happy. In other words, the delusions are beginning to be transformed. I am learning to separate out the things that really do bring happiness from those that I just thought they did, and this seems to break down into being vs. doing. I know that is a very dualistic way to think about it, but again, I am being very practical here and purposely not using too much zennish language or concepts. For example, it's not so much what I do with friends as it is being with them, or even it's not so much going out with friends (doing) as it is being at home on my own. And when it is a doing-type of activity like teaching, I am very much just being a teacher in those moments. But if I take it too far and start to stay home alone all the time as a means of chasing after happiness, then I am probably going to end up miserable, or if I go overboard on teaching to the point of neglecting other important aspects of my life and self-care, then that is a disaster waiting to happen. So I've been taking an inventory of what makes me be happy and what doesn't but I do because of old habit and/or delusion of happiness.

    I hope this makes sense, as I am still learning how to make sense of it myself.

  13. #13

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    Happiness is the quite moments, in between the pursuit.

    W

  14. #14
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    2,902

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    Very good thread, indeed.
    Happiness does not seem to be the priority of our path. Not a state. Not something else to crave for. Resistance brings a lot of suffering into our life, the closer we are to the balanced state and to acceptance of things, we are then happy. We can be happily unhappy. Just being and not clinging.


    gassho

    Taigu

  15. #15

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    I am pursuing happiness by trying to make my family and friends more happy...and it does make me happy...plus I have been donating to charities lately and this makes me happy. I have been making all of this a major priority on my path...am I going about it the wrong way?

  16. #16
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    2,902

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    Hi Markkkemark,

    Certainly not. The balanced state in not a self centered activity or a selfish activity. So everything that opens you up to others, displaying a Bodhisattva mindset and action, is more than welcome. Just don't be attached to what you do, don't look back, learn to" make the tea and leave"as we say in our tradition.

    gassho

  17. #17

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    If Vegas was able to take bets on such things, I would've cleaned up on what Jundo said. I had it pegged pretty darn close. I would only add that when be sad, go ahead and be sad, but go do something that might bring you happiness so that you are less sad. It's the old acceptance without acceptance. For example, if you are sad, be perfectly sad; but if talking a walk in the woods makes you happy, then go take that walk in the woods and be perfect in the happiness that it brings. I will be placing a heavy bet in Vegas that Jundo will agree on this. Cha-ching! .
    Cha-ching, you have me pegged! That should make you happy! :wink:

    I guess, as I am older and move on in this Practice, I don't run toward "happiness" like I did in my younger days ... and I don't run from "sad" experiences as quickly. Sometimes, I sit still and don't run toward or from them at all!

    And the things that make me happy are simpler and all around ... more than before they are the "things that money can't buy". (I bought a new computer yesterday, and that sure will make me happy for awhile ... but not nearly as deeply as looking at the butterfly perched outside my window frame this morning).

    I am much much MUCH happier as a person than I was 30 years ago, even though that certainly does not mean I am happy about all of life all the time ... even the bitter parts. Certainly not! But there is a kind of Joy & Wholeness that transcends ordinary "happy" and "sad".

    Cha-ching!

    Gassho, J

  18. #18

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    I'm happiest when I forget myself.

    gassho
    Greg

  19. #19
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    East Texas
    Posts
    1,263

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    If Vegas was able to take bets on such things, I would've cleaned up on what Jundo said. I had it pegged pretty darn close. I would only add that when be sad, go ahead and be sad, but go do something that might bring you happiness so that you are less sad. It's the old acceptance without acceptance. For example, if you are sad, be perfectly sad; but if talking a walk in the woods makes you happy, then go take that walk in the woods and be perfect in the happiness that it brings. I will be placing a heavy bet in Vegas that Jundo will agree on this. Cha-ching! .
    Cha-ching, you have me pegged! That should make you happy! :wink:

    I guess, as I am older and move on in this Practice, I don't run toward "happiness" like I did in my younger days ... and I don't run from "sad" experiences as quickly. Sometimes, I sit still and don't run toward or from them at all!

    And the things that make me happy are simpler and all around ... more than before they are the "things that money can't buy". (I bought a new computer yesterday, and that sure will make me happy for awhile ... but not nearly as deeply as looking at the butterfly perched outside my window frame this morning).

    I am much much MUCH happier as a person than I was 30 years ago, even though that certainly does not mean I am happy about all of life all the time ... even the bitter parts. Certainly not! But there is a kind of Joy & Wholeness that transcends ordinary "happy" and "sad".

    Cha-ching!

    Gassho, J
    Cha-ching indeed

    Allow me to paraphrase and expand from the above.

    As I grow older in this practice, I don't recognize the same sort of happiness I did in my younger days. My disabled body is deteriorating, and due to some recent health issues I recognize I just can't chase after that same old delusion of happiness like I used to. While there may be some sadness with that, I have taken it as an aspect of investigation on and off (the wheelchair) cushion. I don't wheel towards the same old stuff, but I am still figuring out what I am going towards, or maybe how to just be more still with what's here rather than what I think (delusion) might be over there. I have been figuring this out via that straight path to the the (wheelchair) zafu, because I don't actually own a zafu.

    And the things that make me happier are simpler all around. I bought a nice queen anne chair and placed it in front of my stereo (which is pretty cheap) so that I can hear it better. I just came from that new spot, smiling all the time, as I listened to music that gave me that smile (Levon Helm' Ramble at the Ryman, among other albums). In the past... well, the just sitting with music like now (ok, there were a couple glasses of wine, too) would never happen; rather it would have been some chasing of experience (more wine or stronger, more and louder music, etc.) that I thought (delusion) that made me happy. That's the upside down "U" I referred to in the first post. I know now, because of this practice, that there is a middle way beyond just moderation, however.

    I am a much happier person than I was just a few years ago. I am a much happier person since I took up this practice and joined Treeleaf and took Jukai. I am nowhere near happy all the time, nor do I desire to be. In fact, I get pretty pissed off some times (search "getting mad fits sometimes" here), but I am ok with all of that. Those feeling states come and go like clouds now in comparison to then. The storms still happen, but they pass more quickly now. I am not looking to be happy by getting rid of storm clouds. That's just silly!

    That joy and wholeness that transcends happy and sad is where I am going. But I take that Bodhisattva vow every day that says it's non-attainable. That's the Path I am exploring. Thanks for letting me share it here.

    And thanks Jundo for the guidance along the way and the prompting post. You too, Taigu, my fellow curmudgeon :wink:

  20. #20
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    488

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    Cha-ching!

    This is an insightful thread...and very a propos to my current situation. Deep gassho.

    Julia

  21. #21
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    Awesome thread!

    To Alan:

    The Magid book is recommended...although it may be my recommendation will cause you too not want to read it.

    Chet

  22. #22
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    East Texas
    Posts
    1,263

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    Dan Gilbert, wellness psychologist, on synthesizing happiness. Very apropos.
    [youtube] [/youtube]

  23. #23
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    Something occurred to me the other day. I can be rather obsessive about things. Occasionally life brings me low or I simply become dissatisfied with things...not because I haven't gotten what I want, but because I've gotten what I want and am not 'happy'...or I've made a big purchase or reached a goal and it leaves me feeling empty. When that happens, I can go on a bit of a 'Buddhist bender' where I truly try to de-emphasize the attainment of happiness. I've noticed, though - that this can leave me rather directionless, and no matter the depth of my dissatisfaction, I eventually start the cycle all over again.

    (Bear with with me, I'll bring this around to how it's relevant to the conversation.)

    This cycle is Samsara - but the things, the desires, or the acting itself is not Samsara. It's the wavering between the pursuit and the relinquishment of the pursuit that is problematic, because in each of these, there is a very profound investment of self-idea. To relinquish pleasure or goals has in it a very significant ego-idea (it is quite definitely repression, and in order to repress something, there must be a very strong sense of self doing the repressing) and to pursue pleasure or goals with the idea that there will be a 'happiness end point' also requires a great deal of delusive ego-idea.

    With the ego very invested, both paths are likely to bring suffering. However, I'm starting to see that you can be fully eyes-open about the fact that goal-attainment does not bring happiness, and yet playfully follow where your desires are beckoning - granted this is only in the pursuit of natural pleasures and goals - goals that aren't in themselves harmful to yourself or others.

    IMHO.

    Chet

  24. #24

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    Chet wrote

    I'm starting to see that you can be fully eyes-open about the fact that goal-attainment does not bring happiness, and yet playfully follow where your desires are beckoning - granted this is only in the pursuit of natural pleasures and goals - goals that aren't in themselves harmful to yourself or others.

    I read this before I drifted off last night and 'am still pondering on it this morning.

    also - To relinquish pleasure or goals has in it a very significant ego-idea (it is quite definitely repression, and in order to repress something, there must be a very strong sense of self doing the repressing

    I feel you've hit on something important here Chet.

    I think I might want to use the term relinguishment rather than repression (to relinquish is a conscious act - but repression may be less aware or unconscious). Lately I've been wondering if relinguishing goals in the pursuit of a calmer state of mind has flattened my emotions a bit. I ask myself - 'is this just a buffer against disappointment?'

    I don't have a clear answer to this - still pondering - and there's no doubt life is more comfortable with less stressing about achieving - but there's definately a (subtle) loss of drive.

    Perhaps it's just a shift in gear - the goals are still there - but I'm approaching them is a more relaxed manner?

    One goal I did set myself a few years back - was that I would never want/desire something to the point that the desiring of it would make me/anybody else discontented and unhappy.

    I guess it's all about balance - and a shift in perception.

    Still working on it.

    Gassho

    Willow

  25. #25
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    East Texas
    Posts
    1,263

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    I am learning that goals have little to do with happiness. First of all, goals set up a duality of sorts; if you don't have something then you develop a goal to have it. The problem then becomes the duality of goal attainment (happy) or not (sad), or so we think (as the video explains). Same old trap, just new furniture. I am trying to get away from the whole goal-to-happiness cycle of samsara, as Chet puts it, even on the day-to-day level. That being said, however, I have a goal to get a lot of work done today, and if I don't do it I will be unhappy, as will all the students expecting grades tomorrow. Attaining this grading goal won't make me happy as much as it will keep me from being unhappy. But once again, that leaves the duality samsara trap. Such is life, so where is the nirvana that's right here in that samsara trap?

    When I mash up the above video with previous Buddhist teachings I get the following: Accepting things as it is leads to happiness. That's where I'm trying to go. But I am in trouble as soon as I call it a goal, so let me rephrase: Learning the process of accepting things as it is leads to a process of being happy. I gladly accept I have about 8 hours of grading to do today, and getting through all that is just a process, because there is lots more to do after that, both in terms of grading and life in general.

    Goals (even though we need them in the practical sense) lead to the delusion of outcome, but our practice tells us life is more about process. So where do we put the emphasis? Well, we are all in the process of figuring that out, because we can't have goal of finding ONE answer. It just (co)depends.

    Ok, I gotta go to work now.

  26. #26

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    That is hard... can we maintain goals without being emotionally *attached* to them such that they cause us to suffer?

  27. #27
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    East Texas
    Posts
    1,263

    Re: The pursuit of happiness, or not

    One goal I did set myself a few years back - was that I would never want/desire something to the point that the desiring of it would make me/anybody else discontented and unhappy.
    Willow wrote that, and it didn't hit me until hours later. The reason it took so long was really just one word - "me." That we shouldn't want something to the point it hurts others most any reasonable person would agree with. I mean, you don't have to be a Buddhist to say that hurting another for your own pleasure is wrong (though we may do it more often than we admit), but to do it to yourself? What?

    My neighbor, who is a good country cook, likes to bring me food, usually after I've already eaten. This happened just the other night. She brought me a full meal - still hot - after I had only just a bit before eaten a nice, balanced, healthy meal. I was quite content (happy), but here was all this new delicious food, with dessert! So, with the delusion of moderation, I only ate the two pieces of buttered cornbread and the jelly donut dessert. Oh, it tasted so good, a goodness I mistook for happiness. But then I felt sooooo full, so unhappy that I had eaten all that extra, not so balanced or healthy food. This is just the latest of plenty of examples where I trade unhappiness later for what I think of as happiness now, but that's not true happiness; rather it's desire and delusion. In other words, instead of the happiness that comes with accepting "things as it is" (Suzuki), there are plenty of times when by pursuing more happiness I actually achieve unhappiness. Wow, this was an eye-opener for me.

    Thanks, Willow!

Similar Threads

  1. On happiness
    By kirkmc in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 06-19-2011, 08:29 PM
  2. 108 Bows for Happiness
    By Seiryu in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 41
    Last Post: 03-11-2011, 04:16 PM
  3. Happiness Research
    By Jundo in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 05-14-2008, 07:31 AM
  4. On happiness
    By kirkmc in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 06-18-2007, 07:09 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •