1.Since time immemorial we human beings have been trying to find the true meaning of and also find happiness in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. It is estimated that happiness is the most sought after commodity in this world, followed by wealth and power. Unfortunately, we have not been able to establish the true meaning of happiness in our lives in spite of many Saints in the past elaborating on this commodity and the road to happiness. What we mistake for happiness is our possessions of material things in this world which does not give us happiness but comfort. With comfort comes an easier life, with easier life comes relief; relief brings smile on our faces. This is not happiness; it is only a temporary phenomenon of relief and comfort which should never be mistaken for happiness. When these articles of comfort are worn out and new ones with better features appear in the market, older ones turn an eyesore for its owners. Sooner they get rid of those old ones and own better and more versatile ones, for them to find happiness once again. For any common man, this remains the true definition of happiness. No, happiness in its truest form is far from any such material things in life. We need money, home and paraphernalia to live, alright, but that should not be the benchmark for happiness. The secret to finding true happiness is different, once acquired, it remains with you till your last breath; gift that is most precious and also free, like air, water and sunshine. The way to finding true happiness is total simplicity of your body and mind. The secret code is for you to unlock within you; like a number lock, unique to your very own secret setting.
2.There is an inbuilt mechanism within each one of us, finding and operating it to seek true happiness is only in our own hands; anytime on attaining maturity till our last breath we should be able to find it and use it to attain peace, happiness, and health. This gift of nature is beyond any religion, wealth, or power. You only need to cultivate it and put it into good use day after day and see how it grows happiness and peace within you with each passing day.
3.The first step is to learn to see the world from a different perspective. See yourself as a fortunate being with facilities at your disposal which many unfortunate people and creatures are deprived of. Learn to understand the difficulties and misfortunes of others. See yourself as a saviour of all living beings. Respect people and creatures, like roadside dogs, cats, cows and other animals. If you can afford, offer them food and water. You will realise how much this first step to success will make a difference in your life. `This first step will awaken you to realise how much these creatures need us and how much they appreciate your little service to them.
4.Always stay away from complicated and useless thoughts and actions. The major cause of all diseases and malady in this world has always been our unhealthy thoughts and ways. Simplicity of thoughts and actions always brings true happiness because you avoid stress and excitements which go hand in hand with evil thoughts and evil ways. People who practice complicated ways in their lives turn old and grey faster, with deteriorating health attached to them till their last breath. Simplicity releases healthy hormones and this is responsible for good health, good and pleasing personality liked by all and a healthy and ageless mind to compliment it all.
5.The major code to unlocking in finding true happiness lies within your heart. Saints like Jesus, The Buddha, and Mahavira were awakened to this bright secret code. The bright codes are love, compassion, mercy, care, and charity for all living beings including living plants and the atmosphere which include earth, air, and water. It remains our prime duty never to harm or disturb these atmospheric conditions for monetary gains. When, for gains we do this, we actually harm other living beings, disturbing their share of the healthy atmospheric conditions.
6.All religions of the world have one common goal, to make us good people, to believe that God is kind and merciful and we, in return, should be kind and merciful. This is why Jesus said 18:10 “You know your commandments, do not kill”. Does religion make us good people? No, because religion is based upon delusion and myth, so much so that most of us do not become good people. This comment of mine may offend many people. OK, let us take a small example. USA is a country of the Christians, the Roman Catholics, and the staunchest sect among the Christians. USA, like China, is foremost in killing, man and animals alike. The Christians there are ruthless and violent. See the animal abuse in the farms, how cows and pigs are beaten with chains and rods. See the hangings of the criminals, torture to the blacks, torture and merciless killings of the inmates in Iraq. Would Jesus do these acts? As Christians, how can they do it? Do they follow the Christ? The answer is in front of you. Same goes for the Arab nations, brother killing brother is shocking, and by the day, with people turning more religious, violence is increasing worldwide. So not religion but our own realisation can only transform us into become good and kind people.
7.When I said violence is increasing worldwide, I also mean another secret code to true happiness. We need to respect all living beings, including animals. We need to lead a vegetarian life. We need to avoid flesh of any living being. We need to avoid milk in excess as our food. We need to stop the use of honey, collection of which is a criminal act. Honey bee collects honey as their winter provision; we steal it away from them, the same way someone withdraws money from our savings using a fake credit card. OK, most of you will be offended when I suggest you to turn vegetarian. Let me give you an example. War, rape, murder, senseless killing, mass killing, violence, excessive anger, torture, and intimidation including terrorism has one thing in common- all people involved are non-vegetarians. This phenomenon is the curse of the dying animals which finds its flesh on our dinner table. At 63 years of age, I have been studying this phenomenon, starting my own people, friends and relatives, down to the country people and the world at large, I see the consumption of animals as our food is increasing by the day with an equal increase in the nature and intensity of violence generated by the increasing consumption of animal flesh. The truth is in front of you, I can only point it out to you.
8.Did you ever stop to show some love to the rodents and the lizards that take shelter somewhere in your home? How awful, how crazy to suggest this. If you find this suggestion crazy and awful, believe me you are heading towards some disease. This is a hard fact which I have observed in so many years. People who detest and prefer to kill house pests like the domestic rodents, rats, mice and lizards lean more towards some disease. Yes, I feed all the rats and lizards every evening, keeping biscuits in bits and pieces under my gas oven and the window sill. The most moving scene is, they wait for their evening meals with beady eyes and do not run away on seeing me. I talk to them too. Strange enough these rats never nibble into all what is kept on the dinner table or any provision kept elsewhere in the kitchen. They never nibble our clothes too. Now they are like family members! Morning, I feed all the crows, cats, mine as well as the neighbourhood ones, pigeons. They have all turned my friends and know me. The feeling is ecstatic and very joyful, with a surge in healthy hormones in my body. What else a man can ask for when nature brings such joyful moments in our lives each morning and evening. We only deprive ourselves of such joyful moments by neglecting and hating such unfortunate living beings, which are deprived of love, food, shelter, and security. Remember, they too are the creations of the same nature that created us on this planet. Did you ever stop to talk to a crow or a roadside dog, cat or a cow? See how they respond on offering them biscuits while talking to them. If each one of us did this every day of our life, this planet would turn so healthy, brimming with love, joy and care for each other. Diseases, anger, disappointments, and negativity would all disappear from our lives. The intensity of senseless shooting, terrorism and hatred would certainly go down if not completely disappear.
9.Meditate, whenever you can. You need not keep long beard, wear lose gowns or keep an unkempt hair or go to the jungles to meditate. Meditate before sleeping, on waking, in the bus, while waiting for someone in the waiting room or while walking. You will find answers to so many questions as well as it would turn you towards reality rather than any religious way. Reality is the base for finding peace and happiness. For instance, God is good and kind, loves us and sent us fruits, flowers and made our world so sweet. Should we buy this story? The same God sends us earthquakes, lightning, thunder storm, flood, famine, malady, reptiles, beasts, and predators to kill us. So, the quicker you turn yourself towards reality of this life, the quicker you accept the hard facts of life and start to believe in yourself rather than in any religion or God. I wonder if the school children who got crushed when their school roof collapsed in the famous Indonesian earthquake were singing “Thank you God for the world so sweet”. Most of our doctrines are based upon whims handed down to us since our forefathers. Our duty is to correct those and delve deep into the reality of this universe. When we succeed in doing this we actually succeed in finding true happiness, followed by peace and good health of body and mind.
10.As a member of this planet and this society, it is imperative I contribute towards the benefit of mankind. In line with the Chinese proverb, I can show you where to see, it is up to you what to see. May happiness, good health, and peace always be with you and your family.
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Eric Ershad Hossain Buddhadharma