As humans we long for happiness. We search for ways to achieve happiness. We are in the constant state of wanting to be happy. And thus the constant search for what would ever makes us happy causes us to suffer and be miserable.
A lot of times things that actually make us happy actually cause us to feel sad. Things that once hold value become old and we find them burdensome because we want to replace them. We go through life wanting and looking for things while thinking of the “I” or the “Me”. We always utter the words “my happiness”. But this constant selfish longing to fulfill the wants to the “SELF” and the “ego” causes us more strife.
Buddha however has taught us the simple path to happiness. It is COMPASSION. Compassion lets us forget the selfishness and the constant wants of the EGO and thinks of others’ happiness.
Why Do We Need To BE Happy?
Why do we need to be happy? Happiness gives us the smile on our faces when we wake up in the morning to face a hard day. Happiness is like a boost to our system that allows us to do anything without any complaint and to face any pain head on.
But happiness is not just that giddy, excited feeling. It is also the serenity and contentment in our hearts when we lie down at night. It is the feeling of calm despite all the troubles. And this is the very reason why we need to be happy.
Happiness has many benefits. Aside from the obvious fact that all humans seek it, happiness also helps us go through the suffering in life much more easily.
But true happiness does not come from things. It comes from being able to share moments of compassion with other beings. It comes from kindness and charity to those who need it. Happiness also comes from peace when we do not anger those around us. The path of real happiness comes from compassion.
The Path of Compassion
Buddha has taught many about being compassionate. In his teachings, Buddha has taught us about two things that we need to achieve enlightenment. These are wisdom and compassion; prajna and karuna. He teaches that one is related to other. In order for one to be wise, one must be compassionate and to be compassionate one must be wise.
Wisdom and Compassion
Compassion stems from the understanding that there is no such thing as a boundary of oneself versus others; and that we are all one. Suffering stems from many things but it mostly comes from selfishness. It comes from thinking about the “I” and the “MY”. Hence when we become wise and understand that there is no such thing as them and me, we become more loving and compassionate.
The teachings of the Buddha give rise to wisdom. They teach us the Right Way through the Eightfold Path. These teachings also teach us that all beings suffer through the lessons of the Four Noble Truths. But once we understand these teachings, we begin to learn that we need to be more compassionate and help others relieve themselves of suffering.
What is True Compassion?
What is compassion? Compassion is the inner call of the universe and all it’s beings to our hearts to be one with those who need us. It is understanding that all beings suffer, and that being a part of this whole, it is our duty to help those who need us. It is also not causing pain to others. Compassion chooses the path of peace and caring for all instead of putting others in strife or misery.
True compassion is not helping others and then seeking fame, glory or praise. It is not the form of help where we ask others to repay our kindness or even thank us. True compassion stems from the wisdom that all beings and oneself are but one. Anatta: no self. There is no I, there is only WE.
True compassion for others on the other hand is not just helping others. It is also living a day to day life that is helpful to all. Simple acts such as conserving water helps others. Being on time helps others. Doing your work dutifully helps others. Helping those who are despised by others. These are acts of compassion.
How Does Compassion Leads to Happiness?
Compassion leads to happiness because it gives you no room for anger. Compassion erases feelings of selfishness and self doubt. It allows you to rejoice in simple things and to truly celebrate life.
1. We truly feel happy when we help other
Scientific studies has showed that humans experience an increase in dopamine and serotonin when we help others. Different religions talk about helping others as the way to reach paradise. The truth of the matter is that we feel truly happy when we see others happy and help them achieve happiness.
2. Compassion makes life easier
Many complicated things arise from selfishness. When we think too much about our self worth and our own selfish desires, we become hateful and resentful of others. These negative emotions pollute our beings. On the other hand, when we are compassionate, we do not demand from others. We do not hate or become selfish. This allows us to live a life which is much more simple and free from negative emotions.
3. Compassion for oneself leads to self care
At lot of times we forget to take care of ourselves. We try to take care of others too much neglecting our own needs. This leads to feelings of low self esteem and also makes us feel undervalued. However, once we truly learn the the balance of helping others and caring for ourselves, we begin to be more kindhearted and humane.
Buddha himself has tried to deny himself for six years as an ascetic. But when he meditated and discovered the Middle Way, he learned that he needs to balance his love for others as well as his love for himself.
4. Compassion allows us to enjoy life more – Life is full of suffering. This is the first teaching of the Four Noble Truths. And since life is already full of suffering, we need wisdom and compassion in order to bear living life.
When we are compassionate to ourselves and to others, we do not become easily angered, but rather try to understand things before reacting. When we are compassionate to ourselves, we do not overwork our selves to earn money, but rather live a life of balance. Compassion helps us gain wisdom and wisdom allows us to understand life. Gaining this understanding gives us meaning in our lives. This meaning allows us to enjoy life.
Compassion for Everyday
Living the path of Prajna and Karuna is an everyday task. This is done through the Eightfold Path. We begin to learn that each of these eight teachings is not separate from the others, but they are but one. And in order to be truly compassionate everyday, we must live a life in accordance to the Eightfold Path.
The Eightfold Path is the way of kindness, wisdom and gentleness. It allows us to grow not only in mind and body but also gives us the ability for others to grow as well. If we choose compassion, we must choose to live by it everyday.
Once we realize that the path to true happiness is compassion, then we are now on our way to Enlightenment.