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August 20, 2010


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Lauren Crane

Bang, bang. Shoot. Shoot! That song (the first part, at least), seemed to be about me. I'll have to try the second on the way to work...or maybe longer.

Thanks, Barry.


Being appreciated, honestly for me, includes the strategy of putting 'other' before 'self'. I don't think for most people there is such a thing as selfless giving. If we just give and give and give, with little or no recognition of the effort, our battery gives out. There's also the weird scenario in which you manage to make yourself happy, but find there is no one to give it to -- that's pretty depressing. Or the scenario when you realize that the thing the person you've been giving to needs the most, is for you to be 'not present' -- that is one of the deepest sources of unhappiness there is, although its important to recognize that situation can arise either because that person doesn't recognize you as a source or just cares too much (e.g., my own interaction with my parents right now.. which is occurring just because I don't have any answers for them at the moment).

Alternatives to the above, for me, have included sitting meditation and sangha, but even these can be a source of difficulties and unhappiness, again following the laws of physics, "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

At the start of my blog, I recognized the possibility of donating my efforts to an organization such as the Peace Corps or Doctors w/o Borders etc. This may be a way out. Where one recognizes the pay back or sense of appreciation is just getting folks back on their feet and on their way, whatever their way turns out to be. Given my experience at Antaiji, I have been asking myself if I'm ready for that. And right now, I don't have the resources to make that move anyway... Probably best to start small at the soup kitchen in town.

I recognize this has all been me, me, me sounding. But just maybe it will help someone else nonetheless.

I must say I do enjoy your blog(s), so thank you for your efforts.

- *Just*Happi (in recognition of the effort and consequences involved)


(the intended first part of my comment. sorry, for the mixup)

Hey Barry -
Please forgive what's likely to be a rather long-winded comment, but, given my name, I've been following your series this week with curiosity and would like to 'weigh in'.

My own conclusions regarding happiness:
(a) First, there is no such thing as 'happiness forever.' In my opinion, 'happiness' is, by definition, a self-motivated concept. As such, for every happiness there is an equal and opposite reaction -- eventually.
(b) For me, sources of happiness are a sense of fulfillment and/or a sense of being appreciated.

Fulfillment can be little or big, eg, a nice dinner or a college education, but eventually, even the college education is realized to be a transient source of happiness, though admittedly, you can get a lot more of the little happinesses out of it for awhile. Billionaires may be the most unhappy because they realize the 'carrot' is a lie.


Final thought. Everyone wants to be happy. Which of the above solutions works best differs from person to person. Even 'giving up' on the big happiness as it seems in the Zen tradition, is a strategy.

Lol, didn't realize I'd be getting my muddy feet all over your blog! :-D

Barry Briggs

Well, the Beatles song does get under the skin, doesn't it, Lauren?

Barry Briggs

Hi JustHappi - Thank you so much for your wonderful piles of mud!

The Buddha was quite clear that happiness ("sukha")was attainable by anyone who practiced. In the Mahayana tradition, teachers commonly say that genuine, lasting happiness arises only when we turn away from self-absorption.

My experience has been that whenever I seek something to make me happy, any resulting happiness will pass fairly quickly. So (taking the Buddha's teaching on faith, here) this strategy for obtaining happiness is not what the Buddha talked about.

I remember when someone would suggest going to a movie with Zen Master Seung Sahn (a movie that he didn't want to see), he would say, "You like, I like."

I think he meant those words - meant them in a way that I still can't comprehend. But I do perceive the great gift in them: first you, then me.

Thanks again!

Bill Carr

I hope you can point me to a Huayan Flower Garland source. No self help books, I am "Helpless, Helpless, Helpless".

I thought of this earlier in the mirrors section...

Thanks for a great dharma resource

David Clark


Try "Entry into the Inconceivable" trans. by Thomas Cleary. If you go to the google books site for it, you can read some of it online.
I've spent some time with this book and it is a real mindbender!

My favorite "Happy" song?

Happy Happy Joy
Happy Joy Joy,
Happy Happy Joy
Happy Joy Joy,
Happy Happy Joy
Happy Joy Joy, - Ren and Stimpy

Says it all!

Bill Carr

Thanks David Clark
Checked it out. The Happy song starts 2 min in...
The one about discipline bring up memories...


Yes. Maybe we just have to keep hearing Buddha's words over and over until we get it right. Thanks!

Barry Briggs

Hi Bill,
To my knowledge the entire Avatamsaka Sutra is not available online. However, large sections of it can be found on the following two sites:
Perhaps between these two sites, the entire sutra can be pieced together.

The sutra contains the following passage, which Zen Master Seung Sahn emphasized contained the "wide view" of Mahayana Buddhism - that everything was an aspect of mind and not to be rejected - good/bad, anger/happiness, clear/confusion - all mind.

"If you wish to thoroughly understand
All the buddhas of the past, present, and future
Then you should view the nature of the whole universe
As being created by mind alone."

Thanks for the Ren & Stempy link!


[[When I give you the remote control]]

Hah! Deal-breaker!!!!

Thought you could slide that past me, eh? ;-)

Oh, I'm soooo irredeemable!

Barry Briggs

Dang, Genju! It's always something!

We could star in a major motion picture: The Irredeemables.

Bill Carr

Thanks Barry
The mind is created too? I think that's the problem that arises with the Yogacara school.
Why does Cleary not say Thus Have I Heard? - or did I miss something? The Venerable Master Hsuan Hua points us to why those words are important.
Thank you - still reading btw

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