Happiness is the Way

One of the main reasons why we Westerners get such severe lung is because we forget that the purpose of Dharma is to attain happiness. True Dharma is joy, happiness, and pleasure. Generosity is pleasure, enthusiasm is pleasure, concentration is pleasure, wisdom is pleasure, compassion is pleasure, rejoicing in others' happiness is pleasure. This doesn't mean that we don't have to make any effort or that we should be lazy, avoiding the hardships that may come from practicing Dharma. However, there is a huge difference between forcing the mind and bearing hardships. In the first case, one has no joy in doing practice but does so anyway, even in a very unhealthy way. In the latter case, one wants to practice and does so with joy. It's like playing football or tennis, or playing the guitar-if you like it, you bear the hardships of learning how to do it well. Forcing the mind, on the other hand, is to think, "I don't want to meditate, but i have to do it." Sometimes we may have to do our practice when we don't want to, but we tend to go far beyond sometimes, we try to do an unhealthy amount of practice, which our mind cannot take in such a short time.


by Ven. Thubten Shakya

(excerpt from Balanced Mind, Balanced Body)