2020-07-09: Dharma Samadhi (4 of 5) Happiness
3:45PM Jul 9, 2020
So today is the fourth talk on the Dharma Samadhis, these five qualities that are an integral part of how the Dharma practice unfolds. When we kind of get into the flow of it, when the settleness, that letting go,` the really being present in a deep, connected, intimate way, seems to kind of give life to something which is not necessarily something we do, but it's certainly something we create the conditions for, and that we allow to bubble up.
And today, the topic is happiness. And happiness is maybe not the best translation. All these words, you're welcome to find your own word that may be fits better. What's important is not so much the exact word, but that you appreciate the sequence of how there's a settling or deepening opening or kind of going from more activated states to more sublime and wonderful, quieter, harmonious, unified, connected states. So that to go from gladness, which is a little bit more evaluative and maybe involves more thinking, to some deeper connection that comes with stronger concentration, stronger subtleness to joy and how that flows and moves to a kind of tranquility, to that flows now to kind of a happiness. And then tomorrow I'll talk about how that opens up to concentration. It's that sequence. It's that flow which is actually the one of the important things to understand. And if you understand that, that is a kind of going from more active states of being to more quieter and peaceful states. More coarser states to more sublime states. There's a flow and the Buddha uses the example of the flow of river water down and mountainside. One example he gives us with a water gets as the so the rain falls on the mountainside, the raindrops come together to create little, you know, rivulets or streams, teeny little, you know, and those kind of go into little creeks to streams to rivers. And as long as it's a high up in creeks with boulders and stuff, it's very noisy. But when it comes down into the, it gets really big and down into the plains of India. It flows quietly and fully and so that we're kind of going from something that's a little bit noisier in the mind and the body to a harmony of a big river, that just kind of flowing quietly along. And we're in that stream, in that current.
So there's some movement from gladness to happiness and then concentration is actually something's getting bigger and fuller, but quieter and stiller. So to go from course to more quiet is not becoming more diminished as a human being. It is actually becoming fuller. So it's that sequence which is important, rather than necessarily knowing exactly what each of these states are. So that gives you some room to choose your own English word that you associated with it. You know, you it's, you know, you put you in the ballpark the words that I offer, and then how is it for you personally and I suspect for each person there's a little different way these things are felt and experienced. And maybe you choose different words and in different times maybe different experience a little bit more differently. And so when I get to happiness, sukha, sometimes I like to just call it well being, because that seems like a very broad word that allows all kinds of things to fit into it and people can find themselves a little bit easier than the English word happiness.
But happiness is things like joy and happiness, some people will point out or have a different come to us in a different way than pleasure. That pleasure is something we can do for ourselves. And you can go out and drink alcohol for the pleasure of it. You can go out and get a massage maybe or stand in the sun or all kinds of things. that you can do to get pleasure and you can even pay for pleasure, but joy, and even more so happiness takes more than doing something, deep contentment, deeps, that feeling of satisfaction and well being, cannot be bought, cannot be, you know made to happen. It's not like, you know, let's go out and get some deep satisfaction by buying more or, you know getting more doing more world experiences or something. There's a something about allow to have to allow something, something beyond our own little actions are the wellsprings of some of the deepest forms of happiness and well beings we can have.
And so in Buddhism, it's a lot about creating conditions. And so mindfulness and being settled and meditation are creating the conditions. Letting go is creating the conditions for this flow of the Dharma Samadhi, tapping within us. At some point, it comes to what's called in Pali sukha. And sukha, I like to translate it as happiness. There's maybe there's other choices for it. And depends what people's association with the word happy is. But it's something very sublime, and it's very embodied. It's said that the joy that happens earlier in this flow is more mental or kind of a thrill, a kind of mental thrill that might kind of thrill the whole body. But it's more like a, you know, more like a thrill or excitement little bit of really being connected and involved in in the flow of it all. But whereas happiness, that excitement has been tranquilized, become calmer, and now there's something much more sublime. People often report about it that it's very feels very embodied this happiness and because has such a strong embodied feeling Bhikkhu Bodhi, the translator, in this context will translate sukha as pleasure. But pleasure to me has whole different connotations than what's going on here, whether it's a steep wellspring of sublime sense of deliciousness and calm and you know, the kind of feeling of sitting on a maybe cold day and coming in into a warm room and having, you know, hot chocolate or something and just really feeling content and happy and settled, you know, and to say that's pleasant or pleasure seems to miss a lot of what, you know what's happening there.
And now, this happiness that comes with it. It's not the goal exactly. But it's considered little the means. But if you think of it too much as the means and make it kind of a little bit more, you know that technique to get somewhere, then you lose the connection to the deeper parts of it, we have to let go so fully of even wanting or thinking about using it to get somewhere else. However, it is really a means to move further and go deeper. And the purpose of the happiness is a deep sense of unification, of concentration. But that's not the purpose either. The purpose is to become free. The purpose is to see deeply, see things as they are in such a way that we can let go of the clingings, the holdings, the cravings, the fears that we're stuck with. And so happiness is a stepping stone. And so but we have to allow ourselves to feel it and I had the you know silly circumstance of trying to avoid happiness, enjoy in practice, because I thought that was not really the point. I thought it was kind of silly to be happy or joyful. And I wanted to go to places where it was really deep and serious somehow. But that was silly because you have to go in happiness well being is kind of a door to going deeper. And of course, it's not easy to feel this well being or happiness. And sometimes it can be months and years before it really opens up. And we have to really appreciate the power of mindfulness in all circumstances of our life, and not be ahead of ourselves to looking for the happiness. But at the same time, we want to know that happiness is part of the path. And so we want to kind of get be able to get out of the way. We want to be able to allow it and recognize it and get out of the way so that flow can come so we can avail ourselves of well being.
And it's my theory that for most people, there's much more joy, much more tranquility, much more happiness, contentment, satisfaction available in any given moment, then most people avail themselves of. That we're so caught up in our thoughts, our concerns our projections in the future, or fantasies or desires or fears, or concerns or things, that they sometimes predominate in such a strong way, that the simple joys, the simple happinesses that are here, that are available, we don't avail ourselves of them. And there can be very strong resistance that people have to becoming happy. Some people don't want to experience too much happiness because it's bad luck. Something bad is gonna happen if we do that, or we don't deserve it. Or people resist it because in order to be a good person or to be a, I don't know, how to do the right thing for family, the world, we have to worry more, we have to be alarmed and concerned and show that we're oh everything has to be taken care of, I have to do things. And we don't have time. I can't focus on myself. I have to focus on the disaster that's out there in the world. That can come from a very good place to have that kind of orientation, but to appreciate, to discover, that we can, in fact take care of ourselves and the world, from this place of happiness, from this place of being settled. And so to avail ourselves of greater happiness, greater well being, to take the little bit of time sometimes it takes sometimes it doesn't take much. That to realize that maybe you're in a traffic light with a car, and you realize, wait a minute, I have 15 seconds to sit here. Why don't I simply relax here? Feel that some kind of something that's feels good at this moment, something it feels some deeper satisfaction. And then I can be concerned about driving once the light turns green.
And so, as the practice as our life unfolds in the Dharma with mindfulness, there are layers and layers of well being and happiness that we can begin to appreciate. And that with time that sense of happiness becomes stronger and bigger and fuller. And it becomes a place that we live in or come from a place where friendliness and kindness and compassion and peace can arise from. That's very difficult if we center our life on our thinking. With all the kinds of crazy ways that many of us can think, to center a life in a deeper place a wellsprings of wellbeing, and then learn that that is a place where we can effectively work for justice effectively, work with compassion effectively, care for other people effectively be a caring and actively involved in the welfare of our communities, the place from which we can engage in difficult conversations with others, including the kind of conversations around racism and, and politics that are becoming more and more important for us to deal with and look at, but not to sacrifice our well being. But to realize that is a place we're actually we can be more effective and in the long term, than if we come from anger and fear. And then eventually, to just happiness leads to liberation and freedom. It's a foundation for it and that is considered a whole different degree of happiness. Sometimes in Buddhism, it's called maha sukha, great happiness.
And so may your greater familiarity, your greater exploration, investigation, your greater contact with well being and happiness, lead to greater happiness for you and for others as well. And you might in the next 24 hours, see if you can kind of settle in and open up and avail yourself of happinesses that are not as excited as joy, but have more sublime, more settled, more contented, more, kind of embodied, embodiedly satisfying and see what it's like that more of the day is connected to it. Have reminders to remind you come back, come back, open to something here.
So thank you. I appreciate it. And I look forward to our time tomorrow. And tomorrow, we'll do a zoom, move at 7:45 over to a Zoom Room and have a YouTube, this YouTube community that we're creating over these months, we'll have a YouTube community meeting and you're welcome to come for as long as it works for you. And as part of that will maybe answer some questions but also we'll have a time for breakout groups and in so you get to meet some of the other people you're saying hello to in the chat, you're seeing their names. And also that may be you've never met before, and have a few minutes together. So thank you so much.