Of course, we all want to be happy! It’s universal and legitimate. We seek happiness in everything we do – why should following a spiritual path be any different? Maybe the question is: do we seek temporary happiness and relief from suffering or are we aiming… at ultimate peace and joy that transcends all worldly concerns?
There is a big difference between these two but, actually, Buddhism can help us in both cases.
The great Tibetan Teachers are constantly encouraging us to let go of any mundane pursuits and develop towards samsara what they call “the heart of sadness”. I think we all have felt it once in a while, whenever things have gone wrong, beyond fixing. When all anger subsides and we stop trying to find someone or something to blame, we end up recognizing that it is the nature of samsara to go wrong. That is when we feel this “heart of sadness”, a sort of quiet disillusionment. We feel like the wounded deer or the yak with one horn (both being Tibetan examples) – humbled, a little disgusted and willing to let go of the unending hopes and fears of samsara.
Of course, this only lasts for some time… Quite rapidly we start hoping and again get caught in the wishing for temporary happiness and welfare. Even when we had the chance to meet and be around the greatest of the great, it is no easy to let go of this hope that, in the end, we will be able to control happiness and suffering.
Keeping our interest and enthusiasm for the practice of dharma is not an easy thing…