Laughing Buddha in London (partI)

The voice of happiness

After Bankei had passed away, a blind man who lived near the master’s temple told a friend: “Since I am blind, I cannot watch a person’s face, so I must judge his character by the sound of his voice. Ordinarily when I hear someone congratulate another upon his happiness or success, I also hear a secret tone of envy. When condolence is expressed for the misfortune of another, I hear pleasure and satisfaction, as if the one condoling was really glad there was something left to gain in his own world.

“In all my experience, however, Bankei’s voice was always sincere, whenever he expressed happiness, I heard nothing but happiness, and whenever he expressed condolences sorrow was all I heard.”

Conditions are created by thoughts far more powerfully than thoughts create conditions

Inflow of new thoughts can remake you

The world in which you live is not primarily determined by outward conditions and circumstances, but by thoughts that habitually occupy your mind.

“A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.” “A man is what he thinks about all day long.”

You can actually think yourself into or out of situations. You can make yourself ill with your thoughts and by the same token you can make yourself well by the use of a different and healing type of thought. Think one way and you attract the conditions which that type of thinking indicates. Think another way and you can create an entirely different set of conditions.

Two kinds of happiness

In the west, our culture emphasized the pursuit of happiness through external means. Most people would complete the sentence, I’ll be happy when I’ve made a million pounds, when I am married to the person of my dream, when I find a job, etc. we are told from a very early age that these are the things that will make us happy, but a quick glance at the news each day reveals clearly that having “good things in life” can only be part of the story.

In the East, traditional culture emphasizes acceptance of the conditions of existence, positing the idea that happiness is found within.

Real wealth is not about money – it is about your access to resources, whether or not those resources technically belong to you. So money is essentially a symbol of value. Money is a symbol of our confidence in our product, our service and ourselves!

Much suffering, much unhappiness arises when you take each thought that comes into your head for the truth. Situations don’t make you unhappy. They may cause you physical pain, but they don’t make you unhappy. Your thoughts make you unhappy. Your interpretations, the stories you tell yourself make you unhappy.

Little stories we tell ourselves and others, often in the form of complaints. They are unconsciously designed to enhance our always deficient sense of self through being “right” and making something or someone “wrong”. Being “right” places us in a position of imagined superiority and so strengthen our false sense of self, the ego.

Many people are in the manufacturing business. They manufacture their own unhappiness. How foolish to manufacture personal unhappiness to add to all the other difficulties over which you have little or no control!

Let us proceed to the formula for putting an end to this misery-producing process. We manufacture our unhappiness by thinking unhappy thoughts, by the attitudes which we habitually take, such as the negative feeling that everything is going to turn out badly, or that other people are getting what they do not deserve and we are failing to get what we do deserve. Our unhappiness is further distilled by saturating the consciousness with feelings of resentment, ill-will, and hate.