Monday, July 28, 2008

The Source of Happiness

We are happy when things go well, and we are unhappy when things don’t go well. For me, for example, I am happy when I eat good sushi. I feel irritated when someone behind my vehicle honks. I have recognized that we are actually very much dependent on what happens with us for our happiness.
Buddhism teaches us that our happiness should not depend on someone but should depend on ourselves. And in order to make ourselves dependable, we need to know the Dharma.
Through the study and practice of Buddhism, we are able to build wider scope and clearer mind to see the reality of all beings. From the enlightened eyes, it is seen that we are caused to live in the midst of uncountable blessings at this right moment. The clearer our mind is, the higher sense of gratitude and happiness we would have.

This is the story from “Invisible Eyelash” by Rev. Nikkyo Niwano.
‘Near the gate of the temple Nanzen-ji in Kyoto, there once lived an old woman whom everyone called Tearful Granny. Rainy or shine, she was always in tears. One day the chief priest asked her, “What could be so sad that it makes you cry all the time?” The old woman replied, “I have two sons, one an umbrella-maker at Sanjo and the other a sandal-maker at Gojo. When it rains, I know people won’t want to go out and buy sandals from my first son, and that makes me sad. When the sun comes out, I realize people won’t buy umbrella from my second son, and I grieve over that.’ The priest said, “How about looking at it the other way around? When it rains, be glad that people will buy lots of umbrellas. When the weather improves, rejoice that your other son’s sandal business will prosper.” The old woman took his point. “You’re right,” she said, and from that day on she always smiled and lived happily.’
Rev. Niwano continues, ‘Most people, when they hear this story, laugh at the old woman’s foolishness. However, it is not something that can be so easily laughed away, because many people, big or small, think like this. By searching for the seeds of discontent in one’s surrounding, one makes oneself unhappy.’

“The Thought of the Week” on our RKINA homepage for this week is “The source of happiness is the ability to feel gratitude”. Knowing the Dharma is the key to build the ability to feel gratitude. Let’s study the Dharma with us.

Shoko Mizutani


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your message, I really enjoyed the reading.

What struck me the most is at the very beginning;

"Buddhism teaches us that our happiness should not depend on someone but should depend on ourselves. And in order to make ourselves dependable, we need to know the Dharma."

This is very powerful statement, and it evoked another story that once one of members of RK Chicago said to me;

"Many people have thought 'I wish I were a bird.' But, why do they wish so? They want freedom. But, are they really free once they attain wings? Birds have to find prey every day, keep wings moving, protect self from enermy and build the nest... Their life is so hard to survive. So, they are not free. People tend to seek for freedom outside yourself, but let's shift the focus to internal rather than external world. The key of real freedom dwells within yourself."

Thank to your message, I can increase motivation for studying Dharma. Gassho

fozhi said...

Ah!thanks Mr. Shoko Mizutani; thanks for the wonderful and peaceful writtings!

Anonymous said...

This story seems simple, just like the saying 'it's best to see the glass as half full, not as half empty' appears simple - yet in the simple noble truth of the dharma lies deep wisdom. The next time, you stress over some issue in your life, think about the story and try to apply this 'simple' change of attitude to your own situation - you will see how hard it is (but it works if you succeed). Om mane peme hung