Happiness

This morning, on the way in to work, I heard a debate on the radio about desire. One side of the argument that was being made is that desire leads to suffering. The debater was very clearly advocating that the easiest way to become happy is to be happy with what you already have and not to desire any more. I think he was confusing happiness with satisfaction. This view is also extremely short sided, and in a sense hedonistic.

Of course, it’s not as simple as that. He mentioned Buddha’s experiences both as a rich, and as a poor man. He said that Buddhism teaches “the middle road” between fulfilling every desire and depriving yourself in every where. In reality, that middle road could be very wide as long as your not at either edge which would teach you almost nothing. Maybe that’s the point and it’s just another koan.

What I don’t understand is why someone would think that you can’t be both happy and unsatisfied. Can’t we accept a little suffering now if we expect it to bring more joy and happiness in the future? Even if we go our whole lives replacing one goal with another — always wanting more — can’t we still be happy in the process? Maybe the real key is throwing away your junk.

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