What Buddhists mean by ‘happiness’

“Gradually I began to recognize how feeble and transitory the thoughts and emotions that had troubled me for years actually were, and how fixating on small problems had turned them into big ones. Just by sitting quietly and observing how rapidly, and in many ways illogically, my thoughts and emotions came and went, I began to recognize in a direct way that they weren’t nearly as solid or real as they appeared to be. And once I began to let go of my belief in the story they seemed to tell, I began to see the ‘author’ behind them – the infinitely vast, infinitely open awareness that is the nature of mind.

Any attempt to capture the direct experience of the nature of mind in words is impossible. The best that can be said is that the experience is immeasurably peaceful, and, once stabilized through repeated experience, virtually unshakeable. It’s an experience of absolute well-being that radiates through all physical, emotional, and mental states – even those that might be ordinarily labelled as unpleasant. This sense of well-being, regardless of the fluctuation of outer and inner experiences, is one of the clearest ways to understand what Buddhists mean by ‘happiness’.”

Mingyur Rinpoche

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