How to Solve Our Human Problems p. 39

“Patient acceptance not only helps us, it also helps those with whom we are patient. Being accepted feels very different to being judged. When someone feels judged, they automatically become tight and defensive, but when they feel accepted they can relax, and this allows their good qualities to come to the surface. Patience always solves our inner problems, but often it solves problems between people as well.”

~ How to Solve Our Human Problems p. 39 by Geshe-La

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Ask a Buddhist: My Boss is Stressing Me Out! by Jason Gots

Your shoulders bunch. Your jaw clenches. 

Enjoy the video!

 

International Temples Project – New Kadampa Tradition

Buddhist Center offers guidance for daily living by Deirdre Cox Baker

The Lamrim Kadampa Buddhist Center, established seven months ago in Davenport, is an urban oasis of light and spirituality.

Part 1: Contentment day course, Sydney

This Sunday was my centre’s day course on Contentment. The following are some notes I took – I hope the words inspire you to change to a happier you!

This course resonated with me profoundly especially since I am reading the 2nd book called Affluenza (When too much is never enough) by Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss. From this book I learnt a new word:  ” downshifter” someone who voluntarily reduces their income.

A few of my favourite lines from the book:

  • “in the coming decade most of our income growth will be spent on consumer products the craving for which has yet to be created by advertisers
  • “the 1960s and 1970s saw a flood of literature predicting a future in which technological progress would allow us to work only a few hours a week and our main problem would be how best to enjoy our leisure… a society able to devote itself to activities that are truly fulfilling”
  • “instead of our growing wealth freeing us of our materialist preoccupations, it seems to have had the opposite effect”
  • “people in affluent countries are now even more obsessed with money and material acquisition, and the richer they are the more this seems to be the case”
  • “no matter how much money people have they feel they need more”
  • “striving to become richer even at the expense of their own happiness and that of their families”
  • “most people cling to the belief that more money means more happiness”
  • “raising the threshold of desire creates an endless cycle of self deception”
  • “hedonic treadmill”
  • “the only way to win is to stop playing the game”
  • “Australia is in a collective psychological disorder – we indulge in the illusion that we are deprived”
  • “we complete ourselves symbolically by acquiring things that compensate for our perceived shortcomings… marketers understand much better than we do how we want to create an ideal self”
  • “increasing levels of materialism that characterises affluent societies has been shown to be associated with declining well-being and a rise in pathological behaviours”
  • the famous anon quote “in rich countries today, consumption consists of people spending money they don’t have to buy goods they don’t need to impress people they don’t like”
  • “Big houses serve to keep family members apart because there is less need to be together”
The teachings:
We all long for happiness and to be free from suffering. But we make the mistake of believing happiness is outside ourself; this belief causes us to create so much suffering.
Our mind has been mis-programmed! We crave for things and objects of desire. We need to rectify this mistake. Even if we can decrease this attachment just a little we will experience some freedom and liberation. Try to decrease attachment a little, which is more realistic than complete renunciation!
Our craving mind is a source of discontent. We must develop a determination to decrease that mind! It will be enough at first to decrease the excess attachment. Craving minds finally will not arise. We have a mind of desirous attachment.
We need a multi-pronged attack on our delusions. With 2 motivations:
  1. aversion to experience suffering and
  2. to pursue happiness.
Contemplating these ways, how to overcome our mind of discontent we experience results that make a difference in our minds.
The basic human wish is to be happy and free from suffering – it is an innate wish. The question is not if we want to be happy the question is where does happiness come from?  We are not experiencing the happiness we long for, we work so hard to achieve it! We turn to various objects: relationships, our career, people, friends, family, material possessions, homes etc
The satisfaction is what we desire but it seems like whatever our circumstances are, it eludes us …. sometimes short lived pleasure arises eg a new relationship but it wears off .. we don’t experience the same satisfaction we thought we would. We have a restless discontented mind that jumps from 1 situation to another hoping to find satisfaction but eventually we want something better. We get the desired object but we don’t get the satisfaction we thought we would. This is the tragedy of the discontented mind. We are human beings with limitation but we have spiritual potential which is capable of freeing the mind from limitation. We need to train the mind to be free from obstructions and faults until one awakens. Practice Buddha’s teachings to improve your life even if you do not want to be enlightened. When we start a relationship we are happy and excited and after a while we get bored; we say we chose the wrong person! I chose wrong house .. I should have waited for a better one, with better view !
We believe problem lies outside ourselves, that we we are innocent victims that we are surrounded with wrong objects. We look at our clothes in wardrobe and can’t find anything nice to wear … I need to buy more clothes.
Wrong mind – relationship between subject (mind) and object (world) is of a dreamlike nature; emptiness.
What the situation is for us depends on our mind, if it is a restless mind it is coloured by our mind, objects we perceive by this mind appear imperfect, not right, because nature of mind craving … we don’t have capacity, a mental muscle we never used. We need an intensive mental boot-camp on contentment. Wake up to the truth! we have a restless mind and this can be proved. Look at your own mind, situations in your past, objects you acquired, life changes, pursuit of happiness. But why don’t we experience contentment : I have enough, I have what I need, I can relax, I am at peace, settled. We won’t reach that point with the mind we have now, even if we are close to conditions we deem ‘perfect’ because of our discontented mind. Mind doesn’t let us recognise this. You can transform your life, give yourself ability to enjoy life instead of “this is not enough”. We always want something … we say “when I pay off debts I will be happy” … we manage to pay off and more may arise! We are anxious and dissatisfied. To do lists …. if we fulfill wishes we buy home etc then it is not long before we want something more. Temporary cessation of previous sufferings.
The late Sir James Goldsmith, on marrying his mistress, Lady Annabel Birley, declared, “When you marry your mistress, you create a job vacancy.”
You fulfil 1 desire you automatically have more unless you oppose the desirous mind. We know this from our life; we change goalposts for ourselves. We say when we make $1 million we will be happy … that is the nature of the mind. Basic contradiction in seeking happiness: we create causes of suffering.
We experience a life of desire and with it experience associated problems – attachment, anger…..
We develop negative minds when anything arises between us and our desire; we hurt other people in the process. the strong desire to fulfil our wishes causes us to experience anger towards anything that arises to stop us. We manifest  anger and aversion towards what stands between us and our wish. We end up feeling bad, regret, fracture in relationships. This arises due to strong attachment to the result – negative karma. WE WILL ALWAYS WANT
Buddha said we are “desire realm beings; beings of the unforgettable world” : we have inability to forget object of desire even for a moment.
Dust is covering our eyes – we can’t see the truth: humans always want. It is not a problem to desire happiness, it is wanting it from outside ourselves that is the problem. My human condition is to WANT.
Geshe-La, on seeing some cows in a field during an ordination ceremony at Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre, Ulverston, UK, said
 “see those cows? they have more contentment than you!”.
We want so many things! Unlike cows who want and need shelter, food and to reproduce. We want gadgets,  jewellery, fancy cars, reputations, status etc we have ENDLESS DESIRES: it is exhausting. Animals are more content. We have to learn to SEE this mind. We are like a thirsty man in the desert.
Atisha said “Friends, there is no satisfaction in the things you desire. It is like drinking sea water to satisfy thirst. Therefore be content.”
Practice contentment. Drinking sea water makes you thirstier. we search for the satisfaction  to fill the gap we feel inside us but we turn to the wrong things! We think: he/she will complete me! But they can’t! The gap is in our mind of discontent. We need to identify mind of discontent to stop searching for things outside ourselves. Whatever we have externally doesn’t matter. It is important to remember and share with others.
We know of examples of famous, wealthy people committing suicide. They think: “I’m not capable of being happy”. Because they have everything money can buy and still do not feel happy they despair.
Living with a mind of discontent is having a life characterised by a state of waiting. The mind of dissatisfaction and discontent: life hasn’t started! We desire something and if we get what we want, then we find something else to want. DESIRE BREEDS DESIRE.
Obtaining our wishes never leads to end of desire. In getting 1 thing we create conditions for more desire e.g. we get a bigger home and we have more rooms to fill and decorate ….Nature of desire: like gremlins, they multiply. Life becomes hard, overwhelming. The more we have the more we want.
When you are content with what you have and you know this is enough,, then you can focus on what is REALLY IMPORTANT … it doesn’t matter if you are single, unemployed etc as this cannot complete me. So we have a healthy focus – turn within: meditation.
Novelty wears off eg a new girlfirend ,after a while you realise you cannot chase other girls now, you have to be faithful…Doesn’t matter what we have, what we get.
We can enjoy life no matter what situation we are in; instead of desperately searching for happiness. Life becomes balanced and healthy and we have a healthy relationship to external objects as we know they don’t make a difference. As contentment is in my own mind. We get the external  object but don’t derive feeling of satisfaction FROM IT. We are after feeling of satisfaction. With our mistaken view we think this object is equivalent to satisfaction but it weans off. We are left with desire. Satisfaction is an INNER EXPERIENCE. An external object cannot give rise to feeling of satisfaction. Cause and effect. Pure and positive feelings from the mind are not external. Concentrate on love and patience. Internal not external : don’t fool yourself. Fundamental mistake. External objects can’t make a difference to your internal feeling. Western civilisation was founded on this! Rise above these impurities/mistakes of society.
Practice contentment to be rich!
FAULTS OF DISCONTENT
Recognise within your life that all unpleasant things arise from the mind of discontent.  We are always convinced the grass is greener. Things WILL go wrong!
Make changes in your life with wisdom and realistic expectations. LEARN from situations – E.g. you buy something you do not really need or afford and then you get a massive credit-card bill – say “look what mind of discontent has brought me to!” Bad habits, addictions, war : instead of enjoying life.

Kung Fu Panda and the Secret Ingredient

Kung Fu Panda and the Secret Ingredient.

Venerable Geshe-la’s Kindness in America

A 1998 BBC Documentary: An Unholy Row – New Kadampa Tradition & Dorje Shugden

A BBC Documentary about the New Kadampa Tradition / NKT and Dorje Shugden controversy. With Interviews of the 14th Dalai Lama, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Stephen Batchelor and NKT ex-members

Modern Budhhism book – download for free!

http://www.emodernbuddhism.com/

Meditation on the Subtle Mind