Fo Guang Shan International Translation Center
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Written by Venerable Master Hsing Yun
Recorded by Leann Moore
We live life because of happiness. If life were only filled with suffering, it would be meaningless to live. As humans, we all have different goals in life due to our differing value systems. Some people want to make a lot of money, thinking it brings happiness. However, when there is too much money it can bring much suffering. As the saying goes, “Humans die for money.” What happiness, then, is wealth?
Some people believe that family is the source of happiness, but when family members are not getting along with one another, what happiness is there in living with all the infighting? Others seek happiness in love, and pursue it wholeheartedly. When love and hate are twin brothers, love can easily turn into hate, and the deeper the love the worse the hate. As spouses and lovers fall out and sometimes become each other’s worst enemies, one seems better off single and unattached.
Those who are fond of power think that there is happiness within. So they seek public office and run for high positions. However, many abuse their authority and end up being on the wrong side of the law. It seems that the higher they climb, the harder they fall, and high positions and power are not always the source of happiness.
Some others take happiness in their careers. They open a factory here, a company there, or one conglomerate locally and another in a foreign country. They shoulder heavy responsibilities as they juggle their accounts on the balance sheet and work with customers, suppliers and employees. They become a poor rich person; what happiness is there?
In their search for happiness, others retreat into the woods, high up in the mountains. Happiness for them is in the company of light breezes and the clear moon. Some look for a simple life and are happy with their lot, savoring the happiness of simplicity. Others enjoy reading and as they bask in the ocean of books discover the way to settle their minds, and the source of wisdom. They have found happiness in life.
Happiness also lies in peace, kind thoughts, the absence of cravings and contentment. While happiness is sought everywhere, it is actually not anywhere out there, but right inside the treasury of our hearts. Ask a bird why it flies in the sky, it will reply, “There is happiness in the sky!’ Ask a fish why it swims in the water, it will answer, “There is happiness in the water!” Ask a lake why it flows amidst the mountains, it will explain, “There is happiness in the mountains!” When we ask people why they are always busy running about here and there, the response is, “By making broad connections in the world and benefiting humanity, there is happiness!”
Where is happiness in life? There is happiness in religion, cultivation, serving others and a calm mind. When we have heart and mind, happiness is right within!
A closed window or door
will cut one off from the outside;
a closed mind
will confine the space of thoughts.
Venerable Master Hsing Yun grants voices to the objects of daily monastic life to tell their stories in this collection of first-person narratives.
The Medicine Buddha SutraMedicine Buddha, the Buddha of healing in Chinese Buddhism, is believed to cure all suffering (both physical and mental) of sentient beings. The Medicine Buddha Sutra is commonly chanted and recited in Buddhist monasteries, and the Medicine Buddha’s twelve great vows are widely praised.
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