What is Suffering and How to be Happy?

Today, 8 January 2017, the bilingual students were very privileged to have Venerable Jing Yuan to give us a discourse on “Establishing the Path to Enlightenment” in English.  This tells us how to practice Buddhism so as to progress from an ordinary person to an enlightened being like Buddha.

His message was well delivered and easily understood with lots of humour.  Indeed a fun way to learn Dharma.

As usual he kicked off with a Question and Answer Session on “What is Suffering and How to be Happy?”  A Question, which most of us was unable to give a straight answer. WHY?

Venerable Jing Yuan explained it’s because all of us want to abandon suffering but never succeeded. Reason is because we do not know what happiness is. Therefore we never lost or achieve it.

This is a very important question that has been with us since birth. It affects us every single moment of our life. Till now we are still desperately searching for it (happiness), otherwise we will not be attending and listening to his discourse.

Venerable Jing Yuan also quoted a famous Chinese phrase from the Lotus Sutra “WE ARE USING SUFFERING TO GET AWAY FROM SUFFERING BUT INSTEAD WE GET MORE SUFFERING.”  This is a true characteristic of the 6 realms.

Looking back he said “Don’t you think we are really foolish, ignorance, lack of wisdom and pitifully wasting our previous life away?”

As most of us come from a comfortable home, family, have money and enjoy some luxury like car, etc.  Why are we still not happy? Is this not enough and is this not happiness? So why learn the Dharma? Why waste your time?

Venerable Jing Yuan further explained, it’s because human views are too narrow and short-sighted. We are always affected by external factors.  Therefore, we need someone to teach us – a Teacher.

Our goal is to be like the BUDDHA who is omniscient, has the most perfect wisdom and is able to show us the way to Ultimate Happiness. Not just aim to go heaven or be a Sravaka or Pratyekabuddha.  Contemplate on his teachings, we have nothing to lose.

Besides Humans are under one of the six lower realms, in suffering realms. In the 4 happy realms, only Buddha is the most complete and perfect as there are many evidences to support this.  His teachings give the SOP to Enlightenment.  All Bodhisattvas and Buddhas follow this path without exception.  It is the way to Ultimate Happiness even though we have yet to achieve it. This way is call “THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT” or “THE LAMRIM” which is the most complete and powerful.

All who were present today have the favourable conditions, that is 1) We have a good Teacher 2) A life of Leisure and Opportunity and 3) The Method

This path takes a long time.  How can we be confident to get a human re-birth?  How do we travel this path without falling into the miserable realms?   That we can stop bad karma and always create good karma? So we need to find a method to always keep on this path without falling off it.  Venerablerefers to Lamrim to provide the answers and how we can continue to have good karma to progress up.

The way to take control of ourselves is by learning the right view.  Thus it is important to create 1) good weighty karma with the right views 2) motivate to cultivate Spirit of Enlightenment and 3) put into long term action without breaking or destroying it.

Lastly with the above motivation and action: 1) A happy and higher rebirth is guaranteed in many lifetimes to come 2) Each rebirth will get better and better and 3) Finally achieving Enlightenment and Buddhahood.

Venerable Jing Yuan final advise “DO NOT DESTROY IT AND BE MINDFUL”

Reported by Susan Gwee