Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Understanding Happiness

Good Evening all,

I could really use some help understanding some certain aspects of Buddhism I don't think I have been able to understand or come to terms with. I am a very passionate person and "channel" myself through my hobbies. I used to like doing spray paint art(on canvas of course), working on my car, bowling, reading, writing, and more. I like to keep myself occupied in what I would call "positive" activities.

The part I am having trouble understanding is feeling passionate about other things besides Buddhism or meditation. I end up getting a guilty feeling if I were to say spend $30 on bowling instead of say the homeless or donation to charity. I am trying to see and understand where one's personal agendas fall in line with this religion. I try the best I can to model myself after the things I read about the Buddha. It just seems that if I do anything or spend any amount of money that could otherwise be done doing or spending in a more helpful manner, I am not doing justice to this world, Buddhism, or myself.

What are the current beliefs on these things? Am I that far out of line or am I being over the top for a Westerner.

Thank you!

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited February 2016

    Hi and welcome <3

    Guilty eh? Try bowling mindfully. Job done?

    StingRay
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Balance. Middle way. There is no reason to give up everything that brings you joy and pleasure. We should regularly investigate where we are along our path, and if you meditate regularly that should happen on it's own (in my experience). You will find your priorities shift. But unless you are looking to become a monk, giving it all up isn't any sort of requirement. There is no one watching except you.

    If you are feeling guilty about it, maybe it would help to write everything down. Maybe you will find a way to shift things around to make yourself feel more balanced. And remember, it isn't just money or resources we give of to those in need. We give of our time, and ourselves, too. And it's not limited to homeless people. There are needy people everywhere of all sorts. Stayed up late with your friend who is having a rough time, listening to him talk? That's giving to someone in need. Cuddled with your kids when they were sick? Giving to someone in need. Brought your pet for a checkup, got their ears cleaned and nails clipped? Someone in need. It happens all around us, every day. As westerners we tend to focus on the financial aspect, and while giving of money can indeed be helpful, it is not the only way by far.

    lobsterpersonrohitShoshin
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    You may feel guilty now about spending that money on bowling or whatever, so maybe the next time you find yourself with a little extra cash, you could plan ahead to give it to charity - doesn't have to be a big amount. You can pay it forward - later! In the very near future, that is to say... ;)

  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    When I first became acquainted with Buddhism and other eastern religions, I studied them to understand the set of beliefs, as you may be doing. But what I was missing is that there is no prescription for what to believe. Just see. Just understand and reflect. Keep doing this, and your behavior will ultimately stratify in synch with your mindfulness.

    lobsterkarastiShoshin
  • rohitrohit Maharrashtra Veteran
    edited February 2016

    By spending money , you are helping many people to avoid to be homeless. When we purchase car, home or needful objects then we are helping to create employment.
    You may donate money to needy people in limit as well. And also manage own budget to stay alright.

    silverBunksShoshin
  • Perhaps the next time you go bowling, you could take a date. Spring for bowling shoe rental, the frames, maybe even go all out and buy a greasy meal from the concession stand.

    Pull up under a bridge or outside a homeless shelter and say you're going bowling, don't want to bowl alone and it's your treat. Bowl some, help some, and maybe make a friend.

    rohitShoshinNirvana
  • The core teaching is the 4 Noble Truths.

    The part I am having trouble understanding is feeling passionate about other things besides Buddhism or meditation. I end up getting a guilty feeling if I were to say spend $30 on bowling instead of say the homeless or donation to charity. I am trying to see and understand where one's personal agendas fall in line with this religion. I try the best I can to model myself after the things I read about the Buddha.

    Here you have the 1st NT. The guilt feeling for not doing enough charity and enjoying yourself. Where did it come from? Perhaps from judgemental friends or from our own attempts to model an ideal. Dukkha comes from clinging (I should be doing this instead of that).

    Charitable works is ideally done out of compassion and because it creates a certain type of joy from giving. It is not helpful to give out of guilt but because the joy of giving is greater than the temporary reward of bowling.

    That is what the Middle Path is about. Achieving balance.

    lobsterlittlestudentKale4DayzShoshin
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @rohit said:
    By spending money , you are helping many people to avoid to be homeless. When we purchase car, home or needful objects then we are helping to create employment.
    You may donate money to needy people in limit as well. And also manage own budget to stay alright.

    Good point. In fact I'd suggest spending money on non material things like eating out, bowling, going to the cinema etc. are good things as you are keeping someone in a job and not buying some junk that will only end up in landfill.
    Instead of feeling guilty, rejoice in this!

    rohitShoshin
  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    "What are the current beliefs on these things?"
    -My take is you need to answer this question for yourself...

    Shoshin
  • See: "The Big Lebowski" and you will come to appreciate "Dudeism" and the quote/mantra: "Eh, fuck it Dude. Let's go bowling."

  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran

    @yagr said:
    ...Pull up under a bridge or outside a homeless shelter and say you're going bowling, don't want to bowl alone and it's your treat. Bowl some, help some, and maybe make a friend.

    Yagr, I think happiness would be to hang out with you.

    yagr
  • @huskypilot87 said:
    I like to keep myself occupied in what I would call "positive" activities.

    Sounds like the Buddhist/Taoist Path to me. 'Normal' activities practiced mindfully.
    http://dudeism.com

  • Thank you for all the wonderful replies. I have come to realize, especially after reading some of the messages here, that I do give back in this world, it is just hard to take credit for something as such when you have the Dali Lama doing so many amazing things or reading about how much the Buddha gave back in this world.

    silver
  • And @huskypilot87 does not do amazing things? If you can give even a simple smile to someone, you have done something amazing. The simple acts and gestures of humanity, compassion and kindness are of themselves amazing things. They are so because you touch another's life or heart with these simple things.

    Peace to all

    littlestudentlobsterrohit
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited February 2016

    I totally agree with @Lionduck
    When we first come to Buddhist dharma it is likely we compartmentalise. This for the Buddha, this for fun, this for the Holy Cods, this for my development, this on the offchance, this for the zzzzz ...

    'owever ... in time and with depth we begin to appreciate:

    • Everything is Practice
    • Attitude is more important than altitude
    • Buddha Fish Bowls

    Be kind.
    Iz plan!

  • It is only amazing not to smile and practice kindness. Why would you travel any other way? What is amazing is the rare being who treads on self while walking the path.

    lobster
  • I can remember a few miserable days that were literally saved by some kind words and a smile from somebody I hardly knew. This shows how much influence we can have upon somebody’s happiness, even if we don’t know him/her and don’t even realise what has happened!
    I sincerely hope I can do the same for other people. I’ll never know it, off course, but that makes it even more “exciting”! <3

    silverlobster
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Do what you enjoy.
    If you can't, then enjoy what you do.

    Nothing is ever totally bad.
    En-joy mean to find joy within something, or to place joy in a place you might not necessarily naturally find it.

    Rejoice and be glad.

    Then not only will you understand happiness, and embrace it; you will understand UNhappiness, and reject it.

    lobster
  • I rather like what @littlestudent says. To me it exemplifies 'right attitude' which I seem to remember is number 9 of the eight fold path. ;)

    To me moving towards this ideal of skilful friendliness is applicable from beginner to pre-Buddha and beyond. It is about becoming human, rather than a sleeping grinch.

    I would also mention in passing, a very 'advanced'/skilful form of friendliness which I stress is NOT open to new Buddhists. This is the powerful use of negativity to effect change. The simplest use of wrathful, protection, sudden impact friendliness is not a technique.

    We exactly as @littlestudent mentions, can be encouraged, happified [wot no such word] in fact life saved by the kindness of strangers.

    @grackle is right. Why would any human being be miserable and share misery? Yuk. Yukkity, yuk. :p

    Find happy within your situation. Be happy. Share. B)
    Of course iz plan!

Sign In or Register to comment.