Even though worldly happiness never lasts, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it when encountering external things that give rise to it. In fact, for as long as you are a samsaric being, worldly happiness is inevitable. Whether you are eating a delicious meal, or feeling the warmth of the sun on your back, or spending time with an old friend, or your football team wins, or you are listening to your favourite music, whatever it is, there is a high chance that you will experience worldly happiness. There are countless external things in this world that will give rise to worldly happiness, and may you enjoy them!

But without realising that your mind alone is the only source of true lasting happiness that is not dependent on external things, you will continue to search and grasp outwards for your happiness, as though you are placing your well being in the hands of other people and things. If you do this, it is as if you will always be at their mercy, as though you are handing over your power to them, as though you are allowing them to decide how you should feel.

This is certainly not the way to live your precious human life as a Buddhist practitioner on the path to buddhahood. You must become your own master of your emotions, and not be an emotional slave of the external world. You must break free from the chains of emotional dependency, by turning inwards into the depths of your mind to discover the true and only lasting source of happiness.

And while you are still a samsaric being on the path to buddhahood, have joyful gratitude when enjoying all of those external things that give rise to your worldly happiness, while at the same time work on weakening your grasping and attachment to them.

Imagine catching a bird with grasping and attachment, and holding on to it tightly with your clenched fist, and not wanting to let it fly away. Now imagine just allowing the bird to fly down and land upon your open hand, and without grasping or attachment, you enjoy watching it come and go as it pleases. Make your mind like the open hand, and enjoy life without grasping and attachment, as external things come and go, and you will not only experience worldly happiness, but a true lasting happiness will begin to arise deep within your mind.

So be in the world, but not of the world, and enjoy your outer and inner life as you progress on the path to your freedom from samsara, and to buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.

~ Chamtrul Rinpoche

(Posted by Chamtrul Rinpoche, Facebook, 2 February 2024)


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