Matthew Ricard: Authentic Happiness

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Authentic happiness is not linked to an activity; it is a state of being, a profound emotional balance struck by a subtle understanding of how the mind functions.

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While ordinary pleasures are produced by contact with pleasant objects and end when that contact is broken,

sukha (happiness) —lasting well-being—is felt so long as we remain in harmony with our inner nature.

One intrinsic aspect of it is selflessness, which radiates from within rather than focusing on the self.

One who is at peace with herself will contribute spontaneously to establishing peace within her family, her neighborhood, and, circumstances permitting, society at large.

In brief, there is no direct relationship between pleasure and happiness.

This distinction does not suggest that we mustn’t seek out pleasurable sensations.

There is no reason to deprive ourselves of the enjoyment of a magnificent landscape, of swimming in the sea, or of the scent of a rose.

Pleasures become obstacles only when they upset the mind’s equilibrium and lead to an obsession with gratification or an aversion to anything that thwarts them.
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