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    08 Jan '08 01:01
    Is happiness not just another veil that keeps one from reality?
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    08 Jan '08 01:48
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    Is happiness not just another veil that keeps one from reality?
    I would suspect that some disconnect from reality is a necessary (but certainly not a sufficient) condition for happiness in this world.

    If one were at all times mindful of all the pain and suffering going on in the world, it would probably be virtually impossible to be happy for any period of time other than a fleeting moment here and there.

    The nineteenth-century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer thought that happiness was only possible when we are least aware of our existence of the here and now.
  3. Joined
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    08 Jan '08 03:40
    Originally posted by gaychessplayer
    I would suspect that some disconnect from reality is a necessary (but certainly not a sufficient) condition for happiness in this world.

    If one were at all times mindful of all the pain and suffering going on in the world, it would probably be virtually impossible to be happy for any period of time other than a fleeting moment here and there.

    ...[text shortened]... t that happiness was only possible when we are least aware of our existence of the here and now.
    Do you think it more important to attain reality or happiness?

    Is one a more enlightened state than the other?
  4. Hmmm . . .
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    08 Jan '08 03:512 edits
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    Do you think it more important to attain reality or happiness?

    Is one a more enlightened state than the other?
    Why should perceiving the real as the real entail unhappiness?

    Note: I acknowledge the mental anguish that can come about as the result of dis-illusionment (hyphen deliberate). But if that continues, it means that one is still clinging somehow to illusion (e.g., in terms of wishfully wanting what one now cannot have). If that transient mental anguish is all that you’re referring to in your “happiness versus reality” dichotomy, okay.

    EDIT: Perhaps I don’t know exactly what you would mean by unhappiness. Do you mean something like transient episodes of grief, or a continuing mental state? Or is this simply a thought-experiment? As in, “If realization of the real (pun intended) entailed unhappiness, would you rather remain in a state of happy illusion?”

    EDIT ^2: Realization of the real does not entail a chronic state of unhappiness.
  5. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    08 Jan '08 05:13
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    Is happiness not just another veil that keeps one from reality?
    I was about to suggest that you'd be happier being a monk, until I realized the irony of the statement. 😀
  6. Standard memberknightmeister
    knightmeister
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    08 Jan '08 10:50
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    Do you think it more important to attain reality or happiness?

    Is one a more enlightened state than the other?
    If knowing the truth entails ultimate unhappiness then who would seek it? Sure , there can be some unhappiness along the way , the way of Christ is not exactly a walk in the park devoid of trials , but a lot depends on what reality is perceived to be.

    If reality is believed to be joyful and satisfying to all that human beings hold dear then knowing reality and happiness are one and the same. If reality is cold and heartless and devoid of meaning with only ammoral natural forces at work de-selecting those who are weak via natural selection then reality and happiness cannot be one and the same.

    Before your question can be answered we must first ask "what is reality?"
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    08 Jan '08 13:263 edits
    If reality means that we are subject continuously to various forms of pain/grief which will swallow us whole in the end via death then yes, reality and happiness are incompatible. However, if the reality of situation is that we can conquer such pain/grief and even death itself rather than it conquer us and in the end have eternal life then we can have true happiness even though we are grounded in reality. The question then becomes, what do you consider reality and what is the reality? How you percieve reality will effect your happiness as well as reality smacking you up side the skull one day no matter what you believe.
  8. Joined
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    08 Jan '08 14:40
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    Is happiness not just another veil that keeps one from reality?
    Happiness is illusive, but joy can be apprehended.

    Ga 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,..."
  9. Joined
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    08 Jan '08 17:061 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Why should perceiving the real as the real entail unhappiness?

    Note: I acknowledge the mental anguish that can come about as the result of dis-illusionment (hyphen deliberate). But if that continues, it means that one is still clinging somehow to illusion (e.g., in terms of wishfully wanting what one now cannot have). If that transient mental anguish ...[text shortened]... ion?”

    EDIT ^2: Realization of the real does not entail a chronic state of unhappiness.
    I found it interesting how you and others shifted from "happiness" in my post to "unhappiness" in yours. Are there only the two states? Or is there a third neutral state between? Is there a state where you just "are"? When the mind is quiet, is there happiness or unhappiness?

    The desire for happiness, "feeling good", etc. is very strong and instinctual. But does it mask reality? There seems to be an abundance of empirical evidence that in seeking this desire the mind can and does create rationalizations which allow human beings to commit all manner of transgressions. Someone once said that no one thinks they are a bad person, which is largely true. Is there a desire that one "clings" to more strongly? Perhaps the question is at what point does this desire stop influencing one's perception of reality?
  10. Joined
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    08 Jan '08 17:07
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    I was about to suggest that you'd be happier being a monk, until I realized the irony of the statement. 😀
    Good one 🙂
  11. Standard memberKellyJay
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    08 Jan '08 17:222 edits
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    Is happiness not just another veil that keeps one from reality?
    BibleGateway Mark 4 (New International Version)

    1Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge. 2He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3"Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times."
    9Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

    10When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12so that,

    " 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
    and ever hearing but never understanding;
    otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'[a]"

    13Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14The farmer sows the word. 15Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown."

    This portion of scripture helped me turn towards God, it was the part
    about the pleasures/good things of this world choking out the life
    within that really spoke to me since at the time I was sort of given to
    the pleasures of the world. If one seeks happiness above all other
    things I doubt happiness will be what is acquired, it can blind as
    much as sorrow can.
    Kelly
  12. Joined
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    08 Jan '08 18:502 edits
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    BibleGateway Mark 4 (New International Version)

    1Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge. 2He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3"Listen! A farmer went out to sow ubt happiness will be what is acquired, it can blind as
    much as sorrow can.
    Kelly
    Well said!! You know I have always found it interesting that those who are truly happy are those who show a great deal of love towards others. After all, love is what drives us and what gives our life meaning. Also interesting is the fact that love often involves investing in others and as a result, tends to generate a sacrificial state of mind that ignores ones own love for personal pleasure. I suppose you could say it is a love for another that is greater than a love for self.
  13. Hmmm . . .
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    08 Jan '08 22:012 edits
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    I found it interesting how you and others shifted from "happiness" in my post to "unhappiness" in yours. Are there only the two states? Or is there a third neutral state between? Is there a state where you just "are"? When the mind is quiet, is there happiness or unhappiness?

    The desire for happiness, "feeling good", etc. is very strong and instinctual stion is at what point does this desire stop influencing one's perception of reality?
    Thank you for the questions.

    I think that the possible answers to the question, “Are you happy?” are, broadly, (1) Yes, (2) No, or (3) I don’t know. The last implies a state of unawareness. There is a range of happy/unhappy mental states: from, say, contentment/discontentment to jubilation/despair. One might expand on those answer by identifying some state along the range.

    I don’t know what an aware neutral state would be. Happiness (as I think of it) has to do with experiencing harmony or disharmony in mind, body and environment (circumstances). If one is aware, one is aware of experiencing either harmony or disharmony—whether one is actively thinking about it or not.

    If one is in an aware state of harmony, one is happy. If one is in an aware state of disharmony, then one either changes the situation or adapts. One does not have to add to the disharmony with one’s thinking—

    “It’s so hot, and I want it not.
    “O woe is me!
    “I wish there was a tall shade tree.”

    One the one hand, the Serenity Prayer offers practical counsel here.

    On the other hand, if one is not making any thoughts, whence unhappiness? Before you are asked, and think about it, are you unhappy?

    So, I could revise what I said above: If one is in an aware state of harmony, and one thinks about it, one might say they are happy. If one is in an aware state of disharmony, and one thinks about it, one might say they are unhappy. At that point, one can choose to continue to be unhappy or not, within a broad range of latitude, and depending on whether one has learned the capability. I do not say it is easy; I confess that I have known only a handful of people who can do it with strong consistency.

    Be aware, especially of your own mental activity (with the same detached awareness you might have watching a flock of birds flying), and realize the power of your own mind to think harmony/disharmony into happiness/unhappiness.

    ________________________________________

    Regarding so-called “enlightenment”, one might raise the counter-questions: could seeking after “enlightenment”—as some sort of special way of being—imply some kind of veil of illusion. What exactly is one seeking, if one says they are seeking after "enlightenment"? And with what does one seek?

    The everyday mind—unencumbered by entangled thinking!—is the Buddha mind. What you’re looking for is what you’re looking with.

    Perhaps the question is at what point does this desire stop influencing one's perception of reality?

    I think you know the answer to this yourself—with regard to any desire. 🙂 And, as it relates to happiness/unhappiness as mental states, I think you know the Buddha’s answer (and we could just reduce everything I said above to that). And if that is what you were getting at in your opening post, we’re in accord.

    EDIT:

    All of this talk depends crucially (as someone else pointed out) on how we are using words such as “happiness” or “enlightenment”. In the clear-aware state, where one is not adding any thinking/concepts, there is no thought “I” to think “happy” or “unhappy”. I would not call that a neutral state, however (which is itself another concept).

    One can say that in such a state there is neither happiness nor unhappiness, or one can say that one is in a state of harmony, or one can say that that is happiness, or . . . I would say that in that state one experiences harmony and thus happiness—but now I am talking conceptually about what is prior to concepts. Perhaps I should have made that clear up front. I just don’t want anyone to think that harmony and/or happiness must be sacrificed for either disharmony/unhappiness—or some sort of in-between blank-state blandness. That is not what it’s about.
  14. Hmmm . . .
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    09 Jan '08 04:47
    A student told Suzuki Roshi about an experience in which he had dissolved into amazing spaciousness.*

    “Yes, you could call that enlightenment,” Suzuki said, “but it’s best to forget about it. And how’s your work coming?”

    —from To Shine One Corner Of The World, edited by David Chadwick.

    ___________________________________

    * That is the sense of what happens when one stops making the “I-thought-complex” (and all I-Other thinking) in pre-conceptual, non-conceptual clear awareness. All such descriptive statements should be taken metaphorically. Your own metaphors will be your own.
  15. Hmmm . . .
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    09 Jan '08 05:271 edit
    See through maya.

    Then in maya play
    with sheer en-joy-ment.

    Help others do the same,
    sharing your en-joy-ment with them—
    alleviating suffering
    here and there each day,
    a lot, a little,
    with no weights and measures bothering.

    That is the Bodhisattva way.
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