Ten steps to happiness (Part 4)

12 May 2011 - 12:28pm Comments Off

Whenever we feel super depressed, remember life.

H.E. TSEM TULKU RINPOCHE

Life in the context of Buddhism means past, present and future lives. Remembering life means learning from the past in order to improve the future. This makes our present life a more meaningful and happier one.

For those who believe in only one life, thinking that life ends after 100 or so years, we close the door to finding true happiness. Such a wrong view leads us to negative and bad attitudes which bring on suffering.

If we believe we only have such a short time to live, it will make us impatient to get what we want. It will be quite natural for us to be reckless and vengeful, with little concern for others’ welfare and long-term consequences. We will get jealous when others get what we cannot get. How can we not get anxious and competitive when we have so little time to do what we want to do and enjoy what we wish?

How can we not get anxious and competitive when we have so little time to do what we want to do and enjoy what we wish?

How can we not worry and feel frustrated without the certainty of seeing the fruits or continuity of our efforts when time runs out on us, sometimes abruptly? What about the wrongs and mistakes we have committed? For most of us, we will die regretting making these mistakes and not being able to make amends.

We need to develop a strong belief in future lives, that there is continuity of life after death. Our physical form may change but we live on with the same mental continuum as the current one. Our present condition is the result of what we did in the past. Knowing this, we can accept adversity and difficulties better, and not make our situation worse by blaming others.

There is purpose and hope because we can create causes to have better conditions for our future lives. Negative and competitive attitudes are reduced because whatever we do not get now, we can have in future lives by creating the right causes. We can also create causes to attain temporary and permanent happiness and freedom from all suffering. This is what makes our life so precious.

Such an understanding gives meaning and purpose to our present life, as there is real hope to work with. If we think there is only one life, there is no hope, only depression.

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