Eternal Happiness

By Thich nu Minh Tam

Joy, satisfaction, power, wealth, self-fulfillment . . . all of these emotional and sensational human’s feelings and states have included and shortened in one word “Happiness.”

What do we mean “Happiness?”What can we explain “Happiness?”

Happiness is a very abstract word.It is very difficult to explain exactly right and correct like “love.”Happiness is not money, money can count but happiness cannot.Happiness does not look like long life although we do not know exactly how many years is concerned as a long life.Happiness is very hard to express; happiness appears and disappears; happiness is here, is not here; it depends on what our position and our concept, our experience.

I remember when I was a teenager.

When I was 11 years old, I always dreamed to be a writer, to be one of the best - known writers in the world.This foolish dream followed me year by year and forced me to read books hours and hours, to write tirelessly, to collect any famous and interesting documents or articles.I have pursued my dream patiently, diligently, and hopefully.

However, life is never always a bed of roses.It rarely gives you a sweet glass of lemonade.My family faced a lot of tragedies after the lost of my Mom when I was 15.I grew up suddenly, fast and fearfully.I could not smile innocently and happily again.Something happened in my mind, in my soul!Only one person whom I can trust in this world was my Mom, and losing her meant I lost all happiness of my life.

After my Moms’ death, I lived with my sister in my uncle’s family.One year later, my sister went to America.I was lonely again, and this time, I felt terribly sad because really now, I had no family, no relatives besides me.Night after night, I buried my head in a pillow to cry and cry.

Time passed by, and the destiny did not leave me alone.Two years later, when I was about 18, I fell in love with a good-looking guy.He was a senior student of engineering.Everything went on smoothly, and I thought may be this time happiness smiled to me again.But, certainly, nothing lasts long, and one more time, the fate played rudely her game on me.One day, accidentally, I caught him went out intimately with my close girlfriend.A paradise of love collapsed, my dream of happiness flew away immediately.I could not cry that day, I only felt an immense sadness, untrust and despair rising up in my soul.That is Life?That is what so called Love?

From that day, I hide from everyone and tried my best to recover myself, but in vain, something like greed, anger, hatred and sadness always stood by there to attack me.I felt terribly miserable and disappointed about everything, everyone.

I led a horrible life in a darkness of my soul until one day, by chance, I went to a Buddhist temple with my aunt.A miracle happened to me.Listening to the abbot’s lecture about suffering and healing of suffering according to the Buddha’s teachings, I realized that this was the only path that I had to follow.Since then, I came to the temple everyday and after 6 months of practice, I decided to be a nun.

The first day I received an ordination, I burst out of tears.Now, I have a religious family.I have a master as my second mother, I have sisters who will take care of me.I can feel the blissfulness of joy that invades my soul anytime I bow the Buddha’s statue and put my head under His lotus throne.I can hear voices of Bodhisattvas chanting from above to welcome me into their realms of divine and purity.

         Happiness, Real Happiness comes to me when I study, meditate or pray.This True Happiness does not look like the one that people desire to get.

The Inner Happiness is totally different from worldly happiness.It cannot be expressed by words, only you can taste it by your own empirical experience.Suffering has gone when I meditate, Buddha’s image appears when I pray, a quietness, tranquility, calmness spares my mind when I recite Buddha’s name.I feel a mystical transformation arises and changes myself to another one, new and fresh.

That is a miracle of Buddha’s power and compassion.That is an inner transformation.Now, I am not lonely anymore.I am a favorite child of Buddha, a child who has wandering away from her father’s house for a very long time, now searching the way to return home.

Let’s read these verses written by Patrul Rinpoche about the self- liberated mind:

The Self – Liberated Mind

In emptiness there is no stinginess,

Stinginess arises because of confusion.

Look undeludedly into the one who is feeling stingy,

The stinginess is cleared and turns into emptiness.

Rest undistractedly in this empty state

That is the total purification of stinginess.

There is no generosity higher than this,

How wonderful for the yogin who realizes it!

In emptiness there is no anger,

Anger arises because of confusion.

Look undeludedly into the one who is feeling angry,

Look and maintain that without distraction.

The anger is cleared and turns into emptiness

Rest undistractedly in this empty state,

That is the total purification of anger.

There is no patience higher than this,

How wonderful for the yogin who realizes it!

In emptiness there is no distraction,

Distraction arises because of confusion.

Look undeludedly into the one who is feeling distracted.

The distraction is cleared and turns into emptiness.

Rest undistractedly in this empty state

This is the total purifiation of distraction,

There is no concentration higher than this,

How wonderful for the yogin who realizes it!

Nowadays, through my own realization of suffering, looking at life, I notice how it changes and how it continually moves between extremes and contrasts.I notice rise and fall, success and failure, loss and gain; I experience honor and contempt, praise and blame, and I feel how my heart respond to all that happiness and sorrow, delight and despair, disappointment and satisfaction, fear and hope.These mighty waves of emotion carry human beings up, fling them down, and no sooner they find some rest, then they are carried by the power of a new wave again.There is a world where any little joy that is allowed to beings is secured only after many disappointments, failures and defeats.This is a world where scanty joy grows amidst sickness, desperation and death.This is a world where everything is impermanent and leads to the round of rebirths and deaths.This is a world where sensual joy and happiness are illusion and suffering.

Understanding and seeing life as it is, I focus my time and energy on my duty and responsibility of a nun.I have to sacrifice my life for all living beings’ happiness in order to help myself and others to release the cycle of Samsara (cycle of rebirths) and to attain Nirvana, the state of True Happiness.If I can save others through my words, my good deeds, I have already completed my self- fulfillment and that really is the highest spiritual reward for me in this life.