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Rime Buddhist Center

Monastery & Tibetan Institute of Studies
"Achieving Peace Through Compassion"
700 West Pennway
Kansas City, Missouri 64108
(816) 471-7073
Lama Chuck Stanford

The following is Lama Chuck's monthly column that appeared in the Kansas City Star
newspaper on Sunday, December 4, 2004.  

QUESTION: "Since life is so short, is there anything wrong with enjoying life (eat, drink and be merry) as long as you don't hurt others?"

ANSWER: Of course there is nothing wrong with enjoying life. When asked the meaning of life, His Holiness the Dalai Lama once responded that the meaning of life was simply to be happy. After all, doesn't everyone want to be happy? But then the larger question becomes, how does one go about finding happiness. And what is real (and lasting) happiness?

Most of us believe that happiness lies somewhere outside of ourselves. We chase after happiness like a dog chases after it's tail. We falsely believe that lasting happiness can only be found either in material possessions or in a series of (often failed) relationships. As a result happiness becomes equated with self cherishing activities.

The 12th century Indian saint, Shantideva, said, "All those who suffer in the world do so because of a desire for their own happiness. All those happy in the world are so because of their desire for the happiness of others.'

From the Buddhist perspective real and lasting happiness comes only by dropping our self cherishing attitudes and replacing them by putting other's needs ahead of our own. H.H. the Dalai Lama expressed it best when he said, " ...genuine happiness consists in those spiritual qualities of love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness and so on. For it is these which provide both for our happiness and others happiness."

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