in buddhist practice the two main objectives are to end suffering and to become truly happy, not only for a moment but forever. in fact this is what makes us all equal. nobody wants to be unhappy no matter what skin colour they have or which language they speak. thinking about this we will come up with the question: how do we reach that state of beeing happy?
what is happiness?
some people think a new shiny car, a bigger house or a deep relationship will give us contentedness. that might be true but if we are honest with ourselves we will realise that this satisfaction won’t last for long. all those material things and also interpersonal relations don’t lead to infinite happiness.
to get closer to the answer let us have a look at different definitions of happiness. psychologist ed diener, author of happiness: unlocking the mysteries of psychological wealth, describes what psychologists call “subjective well-being” as a combination of life satisfaction and having more positive emotions than negative emotions.
according to martin seligman, who is one of the leading researchers in positive psychology, happiness is composed of three parts: pleasure, engagement and meaning. pleasure is the “feel good” part of happiness. engagement refers to living a “good life” of work, family, friends, and hobbies. meaning refers to using our strengths to contribute to a larger purpose. seligman says that all three are important but engagement and meaning make the most difference for living a happy live.
in buddhist teaching something else is necessary to become truly happy: inner peace. the method used to reach this is meditation, which means nothing else but clearing your mind from confusion and distraction. you can compare the mind to a house. a clear mind is like a clean house with wide open windows, flourished with light. but we haven’t cleaned our houses for years and now there are piles of dirty dishes, the bin is overfull and the hallways are cluttered. we start to think that this is normal but the truth is that we always see the world through a curtain of conditionings, old habits and judgements. after gaining some awareness we will regret that we didn’t start to clean up much earlier, it will take a long time and effort to get rid of all this garbage. if we would have washed the dishes every day and taken out the garbage regularly it wouldn’t have been so much work to do at once. after taking this effort the house will be shiny and welcoming again. you can finally start to enjoy living there and you can open the windows and let the light in. our mind has to be maintained constantly just like this house. otherwise one day we will find ourselves in a huge mess which often causes, anxiety, insecurity or anger and even depression.
inner peace through mindfulness meditation
mindfulness meditation means beeing able to keep the mind alert and focused on the present moment. while meditating we try to calm down the voice in our head that leads us trough our everyday life until we reach the moment when it disappears completely. this is when happiness will overcome us. once we gained this mental power we can benefit from many side effects such as controlling our mind, avoiding negative thoughts, more emotional stability, increased productivity as well as greater tolerance. a calmer mind also leads to positive effects on your body. it can reduce muscle tensions, enhance the immune system and prevent chronical diseases. so if we want a balanced personality and inner peace it is about time to start meditation.
a good way to learn different meditation techniques is attempting meditation classes which are given in buddhist centers. one of them is the kadampa buddhism center in barcelona. it is situated in the city center at barrio de l’eixample. kadampa buddhism is a time-honored tradition that for centuries has made buddha’s teachings and meditation practices available for people throughout the world.
another option is joining a retreat at the temple near montserrat mountains. it is a quiet and peaceful place surrounded by nature where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city. they offer different retreats with a duration between three days and one month. the master guiding the meditation is monch guen kelsang rabjor. he has been giving lessons for more than 15 years in several countries. his great ability is to communicate clearly and explain the profound buddist path of wisdom and compassion in an understanding way. rabjor guen is an extraordinary teacher and a well-liked monk to his students because of his simplicity, his wise counsel and his good humour. he is a living example of the kadampa way of life.
the center in montserrat was founded in 2012 and since then, it has been rebuild and modernized several times. in its big garden they grow vegetables and fruit trees as a resource for the vegetarian kitchen, which provides three meals a day during the retreat. for accommodation there are several options. you can choose whether you want to sleep in a tent or, for more comfort, in a private or a shared room. it is space for up to 30 people to recharge their batteries and learn about buddhist wisdom.