Making Effort

and Pureland Buddhism in the Philippines

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What is our purpose in life? (and the 2 categories of Happiness)

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The question answered many times over but has never been really answered.  Maybe because each person has their own idea of what their purpose in life is. This question will all come to us. Early to some and late for others but it will come.

Buddhism teaches that the purpose of life is to be happy. Pretty simple, ey? Is it? We may even doubt the sensibility of this statement to some extent. But if we look beyond the simplicity of this sentence we will learn that it is telling us something deeper. Isn’t it that everything we do, we do it so we can feel happy – feel better, be satisfied, be fulfilled, feel contented, be free of worries, be free of troubles, be free of doubts, etc… I suspect there is anyone who would make effort to do things to make them feel miserable. Happiness is a means of living and we need it in our lives.

Sakyamuni Buddha taught that there are 2 categories of Happiness. They are listed below with a description of each

2 Categories of Happiness

1. Relative Happiness

This is the kind of happiness that we need to live, a means of living. It has 3 characteristics. It is temporary, no completion, and is destroyed by death. This kind of happiness stems from human desire (the need to acquire or do something), and human desire is limitless – money, partner, hobbies, good health, entertainment, the list goes on. However, when the novelty wears off the burse of pleasure that was so intense at the beginning will start to fade away. Like in the law of diminishing marginal utility, everything that we do wears off with repetition. Everything is temporary. Our youthful face fades overtime, our strong body will eventually become frail – this is the reality of life. The things that once brought us joy will lose its glow. That’s why it’s better to look at things in the long term because then we know when we get there, it has already diminished

2. Absolute Happiness

This kind of happiness is our purpose for living. This is a kind of happiness will never collapse and will never abandon us. This can be achieved by listening and practicing the teachings of Buddhism. The Law of Cause and Effect and The Six Good Deeds is a good place to start to learn the wisdom of Buddhism.

 

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