As we are exploring about mind, peace and happiness in earlier articles, I feel this article from Buddhist school of thought will add more insight to our exploration.
The teachings of the Buddha can be best summarized by the words of Buddha himself:
“Avoid wrongdoing, Do good and Purify the mind” – Dhammapada 183
Inner Peace – the real source of happiness
The real source of happiness is inner peace. If our mind is peaceful, we shall be happy all the time, regardless of external conditions, but if it is disturbed or troubled in any way, we shall never be happy, no matter how good our external conditions may be. External conditions can only make us happy if our mind is peaceful. We can understand this through our own experience. For instance, even if we are in the most beautiful surroundings and have everything we need, the moment we get angry any happiness we may have disappears. This is because anger has destroyed our inner peace.
“Mind precedes all things; mind is their chief, mind is their maker. If one speaks or does a deed with a mind that is pure within, happiness then follows along like a never departing shadow.” – Dhammapada 1
We can see from this that if we want true, lasting happiness we need to develop and maintain a special experience of inner peace. The only way we can do this is by training our mind through spiritual practice – gradually reducing and eliminating our negative, disturbed states of mind and replacing them with positive, peaceful states.
Meditation – the method for controlling the mind
Meditation is one of the method by which people can achieve inner peace. Meditation is a method for acquainting our mind with thoughts and feelings that are conducive to peace and happiness. When our mind is peaceful we are from worries and mental discomfort, and we experience true happiness. There are many lines of thought and feelings that Buddhists use as objects of meditation. These include love and compassion as well as special lines of reasoning that enable us to overcome negative states of mind such as self-centredness and having a biased attitude towards others. A very simple meditation used by nearly all Buddhists is breathing meditation. In this meditation we simply take the sensation of our breath as our object of meditation. Although it is only an introductory meditation, even this meditation can lead us to experiences of real inner peace and tranquillity.
Bringing peace and happiness to a troubled world is the ultimate aim.
Some people may believe that Buddhism is rather selfish because it seems to be concentrating only on inner peace. This is not the case, however; Buddha’s main purpose in teaching people how they could achieve inner peace was so that they could then go on to share that experience with others. Buddhism teaches that this is the most effective way in which it is possible for them to benefit others.
“Entangled by the bonds of hate, he who seeks his own happiness by inflicting pain on others, is never delivered from hatred.” – Dhammapada 291
Without inner peace outer peace is impossible. We all wish for world peace, but world peace will never be achieved unless people first establish peace within their own minds. Only by creating peace within our own mind and helping others to do the same can we hope to achieve peace in this world.