GOING BEYOND WORLDLY PLEASURES

The religions of the world have always maintained that human happiness does not depend merely upon the satisfaction of physical appetites and passions, or upon the acquisition of material wealth and power. Even if we have all the worldly pleasures, we still cannot be happy and peaceful if our minds are constantly obsessed with anxiety and hatred arising from ignorance with regard to the true nature of existence.

Genuine happiness cannot be defined solely in terms of wealth, power, children , fume or inventions. These no doubt bring some temporary physical and mental comfort but they cannot provide lasting happiness in the ultimate sense. This is particularly true when possessions are unjustly acquired or obtained through misappropriation. They become a source of pain, guilt and sorrow rather than bring happiness to the possessor.

Too often we are made to believe that pleasing the five senses can guarantee happiness. Fascinating sights, enchanting music, fragrant scents, delicious tastes and enticing body contact mislead and deceive us, only to make us slaves to worldly pleasures. While no one will deny that there is momentary happiness in the anticipation of pleasure as well as during the gratification of the senses, such pleasures are fleeting. When one views these pleasures objectively, one will truly understand the fleeting and unsatisfactory nature of such pleasures. One will thus gain a better understanding of realty: what this existence really means and how true happiness can be gained!

We can develop and maintain inner peace only by turning our thoughts inwards instead outwards. We must be aware of the dangers and pitfalls of the destructive forces of greed, hatred and delusion. We must learn to cultivate and sustain the benevolent forces of kindness, love and harmony. The battle-ground is within us and is not fought with weapons or with any other sources but only with our mental awareness of all negative and positive forces within our minds.

Mindfulness makes a full man. A full man speaks with an open mind. And like a parachute, the mind works better when it is fully opened. This awareness is the key to unlock the door from conflict and strife as well as wholesome thoughts emerge.

The mind is the ultimate source of all happiness and misery. For there to be happiness in the world, the mind of an individual must first be at peace and happy. Individual happiness is conducive to the happiness of society, while the happiness of society means happiness of the nation. It is on the happiness of nations that the happiness of this world is built. Here we must use the image of a net. Imagine the whole universe as an immense net and each being as a single knot in this net. If we disturb one knot, the whole net is shaken. So each individual must be happy to keep the world happy.
From the lessons of life, it is clear that real victory is never gained by strife. Success is be never achieved by conflict. Happiness is never experienced through ill-feeling. Peace is never achieved by accumulating more wealth or gaining worldly power. Peace is gained only by letting go of our selfishness and helping the world with acts of love. Peace in the heart conquers all opposing forces. It also helps us maintain a healthy mind and live a rich and fulfilling life of happiness and contentment. 'Since it is in the minds of men that wars are fought, it is in the minds of men that the fortresses of peace must be built'.

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