Happiness vs. Enlightenment

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Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 9/21/15 5:20 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 9/21/15 5:20 PM

Happiness vs. Enlightenment

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
I'm just curious to see what people think of this dichotomy.  Are hapiness and enlightenment related - are they the same path, different paths, complementary paths, antithetical paths?  Are you, personally, looking for happiness or enlightenment - like if you had to sacrifice one or the other, what would it be?  If you think they're the same thing, how is changing the perception of self related to greater happiness?  If you think they're different, why doesn't a change in the perception of self result in greater happiness?

As a bonus, lets add in the factor of perfection.  Is there, in your eyes, a "perfect enlightenment" or a "perfect happiness" and are they related in any way?

It's my suspicion that everyone will have a different answer to this.  I say feel free to get complex with your answer - I think it's a complex issue.  Also, feel free to substitute your ideal word for "happiness" if that doesn't fit your paradigm.
This Good Self, modified 7 Years ago at 9/21/15 8:10 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 9/21/15 7:43 PM

RE: Happiness vs. Enlightenment

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
I'm after the highest experience I can get.

I've been thinking about how powerful expectation is, how it shapes our reality.

I reckon a perfect life goes like this:

- desire arises >>> desire is fulfilled >>> new desire >>> fulfilled >>>> new desire >>>> fulfilled.

Each desire is more advanced than the previous desire (meaning no binding samsara).  You start off wanting toys, then friends, then sex, then acheievement, then status and property and wealth, then freedom from selfhood.

Attachment to desire traps you, not desire itself.  The attachment then manifests as greed and fear.  Greed and fear prevent natural fulfillment of desire.  The reason they prevent natural fulfillment is that they are expressions of negative expectation.

I work with this framework.  I've seen people who live it.  They have great lives!



The guy who got enlightened recently said on the 'It's happened' thread: 

"My wishes and intentions seem to be fulfilled almost automatically. Whether it's for money, teaching partners or whatever, anything connected to my prime purpose of spreading the Buddha's teaching, as I understand and realize it, just seems to happen almost effortlessly. It's some kind of state of grace, a beautiful dance with the universe".


It's this statement that really rang true for me.  Our first purpose is not to seek enlightenment, but to get material stuff we want.  The way to get the stuff we want is to let go fear of not getting it.  It's built into the system that we will move towards a state of grace (ie. complete letting go).  We learn by getting our desires fulfilled.  The process of fulfillment requires letting go.
Eva Nie, modified 7 Years ago at 9/21/15 11:07 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 9/21/15 11:07 PM

RE: Happiness vs. Enlightenment

Posts: 831 Join Date: 3/23/14 Recent Posts
IMO, typical happiness of most is short lived, you get something you want, you are happy for a little bit, then it's back to the grind.  Enlightenment style happiness is a kind of happiness that is more abiding and suffusing. They use words like piti, samadhi, etc for it and it feels a little different and deeper/stronger and with a different 'flavor' than kinds of happiness I've had before.  I have had good moods many times in life, but this piti stuff feels a bit different from those good moods.  It's hard to describe, kind of like how oranges taste different than apples, both are sweet but they have different flavors of sweet. Also the piti type stuff is mostly unattached to the environment.  Like someone may say he/she is in a good mood because look, food is in the fridge, the day is beautiful and I am alive!  (Which is great I might add!)  But for this other kind of happiness, if asked why, I have no special reason at all associated with it.  It lacks a feeling of causality, IME.

I don't think you have to sacrifice happiness for enlightenment so I can't answer that question.  Although I do think you probably have to let of of the lesser clinging grasping kinds of desire that bring very weak short lived happiness to get the longer more abiding kind of happiness.   
-Eva 
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Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii, modified 7 Years ago at 9/22/15 9:12 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 9/22/15 9:11 AM

RE: Happiness vs. Enlightenment

Posts: 118 Join Date: 7/21/13 Recent Posts
enlightenment is the non-thing which is totally, utterly unrelated to any emotional state. that's kind of the definition of it.

enlightenment is being in which there is zero resistance to any state, emotional state or otherwise.

happy is some state
sad is some state
carefree is some state
thinking is some state

in the enlightened 'state', all emotional states play out perfectly, naturally without hinderance or manipulation.

ths includes gross manipulation (actions and thoughts which are based in unwillingness to be in the emotional state)

or subtle manipualtion (subtle body tensions which slightly block feelings).

this also includes believing any delusive thought patterns based on "I exist", as we can say this is a manipulative pattern to avoid the misery of non-existence.

what is non-resistance?

non-resistance seems simple, everyone knows it in some way. But it is a deep skill/ wayless-way so you only have access to certain levels of it, and you never know what the next deeper level is.

so your level of surrender or insight, whichever you prefer to call it, will determine your maximum level of non-resistance

buddhists say experiencing emptiness, full no-self, rigpa, is the zero level of resistance.

without this insight, this correct, understanding and this experience-realisation, it is not possible to keep your resistance at zero, as your delusion will cause resistance (your delusion IS resistance)
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Psi, modified 7 Years ago at 9/22/15 1:33 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 9/22/15 1:33 PM

RE: Happiness vs. Enlightenment

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 11/22/13 Recent Posts
Not Tao:
I'm just curious to see what people think of this dichotomy.  Are hapiness and enlightenment related - are they the same path, different paths, complementary paths, antithetical paths?  Are you, personally, looking for happiness or enlightenment - like if you had to sacrifice one or the other, what would it be?  If you think they're the same thing, how is changing the perception of self related to greater happiness?  If you think they're different, why doesn't a change in the perception of self result in greater happiness?

As a bonus, lets add in the factor of perfection.  Is there, in your eyes, a "perfect enlightenment" or a "perfect happiness" and are they related in any way?

It's my suspicion that everyone will have a different answer to this.  I say feel free to get complex with your answer - I think it's a complex issue.  Also, feel free to substitute your ideal word for "happiness" if that doesn't fit your paradigm.
Instead of  Happiness vs. Enlightenment it could be seen as Happiness and Enlightenment.  Or separate, whatever, because there is mundane everday Happiness also.

Here is my summary of the situation.  Happiness arises from within, most people have to have an external trigger to start up the happiness effect.  Happiness can be aroused by skillful means, in other words happiness can be aroused at will, a skill. The Enlightenment Factor is understood in this manner, Happiness is not dependent on external circumstances or situations.

But, but, but, The level or degree one can initate happiness independent of external situations is in direct proportion to the level that the mind is enlightened.

And, this is how I understand the phenomenon.  

And, I am unsure how happy anyone could ever be with electrified battery cables attached to their body parts, i.e. under torture.  In other words, this only applies to the common human experience, though there may be exceptions.

And there may be some biological underpinnings unique to different individuals that may make it easier or not easier to arouse happiness via Mental Cultivation.  An oversized Amygdala, brain tumor, or stuff like that comes to mind. There is dukkha.

Does all that make sense?

Psi

P.s. yeah, here I go again  To put it another way, Happiness can be trained just like any other mental phenomenon, Happiness arises from within, so therefore it can be aroused at will once one learns the triggers and conditions.

We can do the same with Anger, we can consciously or unconsciously train ourselves to be Angry.  Let me see your Warface!!!!  ARRGGGHHH!!!!   emoticon


Okay, now arouse Happiness   AHHHHH!!!!!  emoticon
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Psi, modified 7 Years ago at 9/22/15 1:54 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 9/22/15 1:54 PM

RE: Happiness vs. Enlightenment

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 11/22/13 Recent Posts
Psi:


And now that I have said all of that above, and for me it seems true, I must prepare for the Universe to give me an ass whoopin' and put it all to the test, the Unconscious Mind is probably already roiling with subversive thoughts of depression, discontent, and restlessness.

Time will tell.

Psi
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Not Tao, modified 7 Years ago at 9/22/15 3:00 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 9/22/15 3:00 PM

RE: Happiness vs. Enlightenment

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
My own thoughts on this kind of agree and disagree.

I don't think non-resistance leads to happiness, but rather that happiness can grow out of non-resistance.  Like, to be accepting, to let go of things, that kind of development is reductive.  Kind of like pruning weeds.  It doesn't cause anything to grow. But it makes it very easy to find somewhere to rest and grow. The growth itself has a cause and conditions.

It's like what Psi said, we can't really be happy with electrical cables attached to us. We can't be happy in a martian atmosphere. Maybe we can't even be happy in a verbally abusive or emotionally volitile environment. Can we be non-resistant in all of that? Maybe, but then what's the reason for it? Non-resistance is a coping mechanism, or a way of dealing with something - it can't bring contentment in its own right, no?

Is it contradictory to seek to be both non-reactive and also seek a favorable environment? If you're in a favorable environment, can you really practice being non-reactive? I've often seen comments on here that go something like this, "Sure, he may be happy now, but what happens when his house burns down or he loses his job?" Are these really factors worth considering. If a non-reactive person loses their job, they're still going to have a period of uncertanty and trouble.

To me, the way to be happy seems to be about finding a foothold below the threshold where things can go wrong, and then forgetting the whole thing entierly. This isn't contradictory to being non-reactive, but it is a different course of development. It's hard to know exactly where to place buddhism within this understanding for me.
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Psi, modified 7 Years ago at 9/22/15 3:08 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 9/22/15 3:08 PM

RE: Happiness vs. Enlightenment

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 11/22/13 Recent Posts
Not Tao:
 I've often seen comments on here that go something like this, "Sure, he may be happy now, but what happens when his house burns down or he loses his job?" Are these really factors worth considering. If a non-reactive person loses their job, they're still going to have a period of uncertanty and trouble.
I think in the example of the person's house burning down and losing their job, some might carry that regret and carry resentment towards everything because of these types of things to their graves.

And, I think that some can get over tragic events such as losing their job and having their house burn down in as quickly as the next mind moment, even enjoying the heat of the fire and the little vacation time, to boot...  emoticon  There is Anicca...

Psi
Eva Nie, modified 7 Years ago at 9/22/15 5:11 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 9/22/15 5:11 PM

RE: Happiness vs. Enlightenment

Posts: 831 Join Date: 3/23/14 Recent Posts
Not Tao:
My own thoughts on this kind of agree and disagree.

I don't think non-resistance leads to happiness, but rather that happiness can grow out of non-resistance.  Like, to be accepting, to let go of things, that kind of development is reductive.  Kind of like pruning weeds.  It doesn't cause anything to grow. But it makes it very easy to find somewhere to rest and grow. The growth itself has a cause and conditions.
Well you get into theories of enlightenment, is it just one thing or are there levels?  What state do we eventually get to in millions of years, maybe that state is something not much related to earth, typical feelings or any such, maybe it will be beyond simple concepts of happiness.  I couldn't say myself but over time I've learned it's easier to keep an open mind about stuff I don't really know about like how far I may evolve in the distant future.  Cuz once you are sure you already know, then it's much harder to learn anything new.  ;-P

It's like what Psi said, we can't really be happy with electrical cables attached to us. We can't be happy in a martian atmosphere. Maybe we can't even be happy in a verbally abusive or emotionally volitile environment. Can we be non-resistant in all of that? Maybe, but then what's the reason for it? Non-resistance is a coping mechanism, or a way of dealing with something - it can't bring contentment in its own right, no?
It is likely possible to turn off pain receptors.  Hypnotists can do it to the easily hypnotized so there is no reason to suspect it can't be done in general with very good personal mind control. Heck, even a big dose of adrenalin can do it in some situations plus pain sometimes releases endorphins like in the second wind of jogging.  In sports, I will automatically block out a lot pain due to concentrating on the game very hard.   Just because nerves send impulses does not mean the mind has to listen.   This is just what I see around me and I figure the potential is probably even greater.   
Is it contradictory to seek to be both non-reactive and also seek a favorable environment? If you're in a favorable environment, can you really practice being non-reactive? I've often seen comments on here that go something like this, "Sure, he may be happy now, but what happens when his house burns down or he loses his job?" Are these really factors worth considering. If a non-reactive person loses their job, they're still going to have a period of uncertanty and trouble.
I suspect what we can get to while still on Earth is low reactivity.  But you still have preferences according to what I've read.  However low reactivity still stands out in stark contrast to the usual level you see in the general public.  Perhaps when reactivity gets low enough, then we are done with the Earth game and it's time to move on. 

To me, the way to be happy seems to be about finding a foothold below the threshold where things can go wrong, and then forgetting the whole thing entierly. This isn't contradictory to being non-reactive, but it is a different course of development. It's hard to know exactly where to place buddhism within this understanding for me.
I suspect a lot of this is just different ways and angles and perspectives to look at it filtered through languages that are not qualified to handle it. 
-Eva

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