Happiness is Up To You

Many great teachers have said” “it is only the foolish that go looking for happiness outside of themselves; the wise and leaned know that all happiness and the causes of happiness are present in ourselves, in our own mind and heart.”

What this means is that happiness is up to us. If we know how to use this mind of ours, and if we come to understand our mind and its true nature, then nothing can be more wonderful. We become the master of our own self, and our mind becomes the source of freedom. Unfortunately, if we don’t know how to use the mind, and we are dominated by our thoughts and destructive emotions, then the mind can prove to be our very worst enemy, a real nightmare.

To know that the mind is the root of everything is to realize that we are ultimately responsible for both our own happiness and our own suffering. It is in our hands.


The Most Important Thing is How Your Mind Is

As the teachings say, mind is the root of everything. It is the creator of happiness and the creator of suffering; the creator of samsara and the creator of nirvana.

In this video from Myall Lakes, Australia, Sogyal Rinpoche explains that someone who practises dharma—the teaching of the Buddha—is someone who works with the mind. Dharma is a way of transforming the mind. As the Dalai Lama often says, ‘Buddhism is about transforming the mind.’ Therefore, since the mind is the root of everything it is up to you—or more precisely—your mind.

The Message of Goodness

When you are able to turn the mind inward, and be in the essential nature of mind, then there’s such a sense of groundedness; a sense of peace, relaxation, ease, freedom, contentment and happiness, born from within. You come into touch with yourself, your mind and heart open, and it’s almost like the love within you, which might have been blocked, is brought out and comes to love you. We need to taste and experience this more and more.

This is the second part of a two part teaching. You can see the first part here.

The Joy of Simplicity

We are fragmented into so many different aspects. We don’t know who we really are, or what aspects of ourselves we should identify with or believe in.

So many contradictory voices, dictates, and feelings fight for control over our inner lives that we find ourselves scattered everywhere, in all directions, leaving nobody at home. Meditation, then, is bringing the mind home. But how do we do this? In this video from Sydney in 2008, Sogyal Rinpoche shows how simple it can be. This is the first part of a two part teaching. You can see the second part here.

The Three Turnings of the Wheel of the Dharma

In this teaching, taken from a talk given in Tarragona, Spain, Sogyal Rinpoche briefly explains the three major teachings given by the Buddha and how they correspond to the three different vehicles of Buddhism.

First the Buddha taught that the root cause of all our suffering is grasping, particularly at a false view of self, and that through meditation and analysis this can be overcome.

Next he taught the wisdom of the realisation of our ultimate nature—realising that not only the self but even phenomena are empty of inherent existence—as well as the importance of training the mind in compassion. Finally the Buddha taught who we really are. He showed that our true nature is buddha.

When the Clouds Dissolve

In this short extract from a recent teaching in Zurich, Sogyal Rinpoche shares a simple mediation method through which we can release and relax the mind.

It is said that, in meditation, we should neither follow the past nor anticipate the future but just leave our minds in the clear awareness of nowness. When thoughts come, we do not try to suppress or block them but neither do we have to follow after or indulge them. By just remaining present and undistracted, our thoughts and thinking all settle; like clouds dissolving, revealing a clear sky.

When thoughts and emotions settle like this, in the state of calm abiding, and you are able to remain in the state of non-distraction, then clear seeing, clarity or insight is possible.

Awake Sydney 2013

In this inspiring teaching Sogyal Rinpoche addresses an audience of young people at Awake Sydney, a unique event created by Rigpa that has also previously been held in Amsterdam. Bringing together mediation and music, Awake aims to make the Buddhist teachings more accessible to younger generations. This teaching took place after a short guided mediation, and in it Sogyal Rinpoche shares the essence of Buddhism. Rinpoche explains how we can develop an attitude of contentment; shows how happiness and suffering depend upon the mind; and finally how the mind is usually turned outwardly, but can turn inwardly and recognize its true nature.

What Is Enlightenment?

In the modern world Buddhism can sometimes be presented as a way to deal with the concerns of this life only, and enlightenment often gets overlooked. Some people feel that enlightenment is no longer popular among Western people who have so much to do. The demands on our attention and our time seem endless, and we want a practical way to be free from all the complexity and suffering of our lives.

But there is nothing more practical than enlightenment. Whatever happiness we seek in this world is only temporary, and despite our best efforts we are always thrown back into suffering. But if we really want to completely uproot the causes of suffering – ignorance, negative emotions and negative action – and to achieve lasting happiness free from suffering, then enlightenment is the way.