Seek not happiness in life. Why settle for second best? Seek pure Joy. Happiness depends on what happens to you. Pure Joy has no limitations.
Joy is an abiding state. It has no conditions attached – no small print at the foot of the page. It is not dependent on status, race or creed. It comes not as a result of economic conditions or political policies. It is for all people of all times and all places.
That is what the Buddha came to show us. He observed and was deeply affected by the joylessness in life. Many, including fellow Buddhists, miss this point. It is often stated that the Buddha came to show us a way out of suffering. No! He came to show us Joy and that we may all directly experience this. But, I hear you say, isn’t this the same thing? Almost! Except it falls short of the mark. The former seems to be afraid of naming it. We are so entrenched in our suffering that we are often afraid to proclaim its antidote. We are like blind people stumbling across a jewel and then ending up in endless debate about what we have found.
Happiness depends on what happens to us; thus its name – “happen-ness”. Happiness so often depends on moods, feelings, ideas and even values. Joy, on the other hand, transcends all these things. Happiness is a brightly decorated spider that the poor insect mistakes for a beautiful flower. When the insect thinks it has attained this flower the spider then grasps the insect. It is unable to escape the sticky web and eventually its fate is sealed by the poisonous fangs of the spider.
The Buddha experienced these things in his life. He found an antidote, a path to untangle the web of ignorance and lead us to Joy.
Joy is like the air we breathe. It is vital and fresh, pure and enhancing. However, in ignorance we have built houses and palaces of happiness whose walls have blocked out the fresh air of Joy. We will soon perish of asphyxiation in this condition.
Joy is pure being. When we begin to pull down the walls of self-cherishing and attachment then we will be able to breathe the fresh air of Joy. It is this Joy that is limitless.
My wish for the world and for you my dearest friend is everlasting Joy. May you practice its path and share it with others on the journey.