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    The Dali Lama said something today that struck rather close to home for me.

    This happy life is not a religious concept.

    Happiness is a secular concept, and so “our aim is secular.”

    What do you guys think?   People turn to a lot of things seeking happiness, some more worldy than others, yet even in turning to non-secular things, is that still serving to  satisfy a worldly desire?

    Kol Drake

    Happiness and unhappiness are opposite sides of a judgement about your situation.
    If you judge your situation as bad for you, that’s unhappiness. If you judge a situation as good for you, that’s happiness.

    The experience of happiness is one of those general terms we use to say, “I feel good emotionally.”  People use different terms to describe what feels good for them.  For someone it might be excitement, passion, exhilaration, fulfillment, freedom, feeling fully alive with inspiration and joy.  For another it might be more peaceful, content, capable, hopeful, satisfied, and comfortable feeling.  Whatever you call it, it just feels darn good.

    Our natural state of being is to be happy.  When you remove all the uncomfortable emotions we humans can experience (and they are numerous), you’re left with happiness.

    Pleasure vs. Happiness
    Happiness is not pleasure although they can appear similar.  Pleasure is enjoyment of an outside stimuli.  You might find pleasure in buying a new car, or in going on vacation, or having friends over for dinner, or having sex, or….the list is long on what you might enjoy experiencing.  

    Pleasure requires an external stimuli for you to experience it. Happiness does not. Happiness is a belief about yourself and the outside world. You can be doing something you normally experience as pleasurable but not be happy! Pleasure is born from the external world, happiness is born from the internal workings of our own minds.

    So, ya… happiness is NOT a religious concept… it is what is going on in your own head.

    Now Pleasure… getting a brand new working lightsaber might come close to becoming a religious moment!


    If people equate happiness with religion only, then that is their prerogative, isn’t it? People define their own happiness and how they obtain it. The problem is this: it is fashionable to have a good relationship with “the Lord, Jesus Christ” and many people feign this ideology. They put happiness on the same playing field with not being afraid of salvation. When, in actuality, I think His Holiness is trying to help us understand that happiness is not SIMPLY anything… it is a combination of how we live our lives. If we define happiness in any other way, then we are cheating ourselves by not living as fully as we can. We cannot live ALL the way into religious Cloud Nine. It is impractical to leave this Earth mentally until death. To do that before is to, again, cheat yourself out of the only life you have. If you believe in reincarnation, you won’t remember your previous life anyway unless you work on that for a while. Life is hard, but it can be a “happy” life through service, love, and by not focusing on the negative.

    Don’t think His Holiness was discounting religion as a keeps for happy thoughts… he simply was saying it is the whole encompassing of our lives and how we choose to live it. We define our happiness. :)


    It’s an interesting quote!

    No “religion” is going to give happiness.  I think that has been established.  But then, religion is an organizational purpose in spiritual matters.

    Through time I’ve come to feel that “balance” is the core of happiness.  Maybe not frolicking high kicks down the street happiness, but that basically “happy life” type of happiness.

    Just my take…


    First of all I do like what Kol had written about this. For me this is a very good observation/explanation on this subject.

    And to the quote of the Dali Lama itself, it reminds me in a way on a saying here in Austria/Germany which could be translated as: “Man forges his own destiny.” or “Every man is the architect of his own fortune.” The direct translation of “happiness” into German and specially in this saying will be retranslated into “destiny” or “fortune”.
    So, in the meaning of this saying, happiness is not a religious thing as it needs your own activity, personality to gain, to achieve it and not a external action.

    Brandel Valico

    This happy life is not a religious concept.

    I doubt he meant it as to imply that happiness can’t be found in Religion or that it is a secular concept. So much as to imply that one finds happiness not from outside sources but from within by being content with who you are where you are and with what you have.


    Most modern religions focus on something greater than this life.  One person’s life from birth to death is only a small part of the greater whole, in terms of the universe, of time, and of life beyond.  Many people join a religion because they think it will make them happier.  However, most modern religions do not actually promise you a happier life, just a promise to help you connect better to your place in the grand scheme of things.  It is quite possible to find great satisfaction in this, but it seldom matches the secular definition of “happiness”.


    Agreed- I think thats why when we refer to religious happiness, we tend to use words like rapture, bliss, or enlightenment. I also think that the Dalai Lama’s comment certainly points to the need for both religious and secular kinds of contentment. Religion/Spirituality is good, but we are physical and emotional beings, with physical and emotional needs that are absolutely valid. ‘Happiness’ is a fulfillment of those things.


    Happiness is the combination of SPIRIT, MIND, annnnnddd BODY. Yeah. :)


    I like to include heart in that lineup…

    Spirit, Mind, Heart, and Body….    anyone employing the traditional four elements (or in my case the seasons) into their practice can also correlate these to those.  :)

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