9 October 2017
Does Spiritual Practice Lead to Happiness?
Happiness can be summed up in many different ways. Laozi, an ancient Chinese philosopher, and Tenzin Gyatso “The Dalai Lama” both have their separate and identical views on the subject of happiness. We have our modern-day view on happiness that has a different outlook on how we function as individuals. I decided to write about the differences between the Dalai Lama and Laozi because Laozi has a much more traditional view of what brings us happiness while the Dalai Lama has more modern-day influences that he addresses. I aim to inform the reader about the differences and similarities of these great teacher’s views on happiness and the outlook of happiness in our modern world today.
The individual’s role in their own happiness is a constant topic in Laozi’s book The Tao Te Ching. Laozi explains that living a simple life will lead to inner peace and to focus on your own tasks, which will bring you tranquility. He also states that when we value our self-worth, we will no longer need to fear for anything. He argues that knowing ourselves will bring us true knowledge. The Dalai Lama’s view of the individual brings a different insight. He suggests that one’s happiness has more to do with how we observe the situation we are in and how content we are with our current status. He speaks a great deal about the dangers of comparing ourselves to others and on controlling our desires for unnecessary things. In agreement with Laozi, the Dalai Lama also focuses on self-respect and a sense of inner peace.
In terms of spirituality, Laozi mentions the we should count on our faith to come to terms with the situations we go through in our lives. Laozi focuses more on the individual working on one’s self than on spiritual practices. Additionally, the Dalai Lama stresses that we should not concern ourselves with spiritual methods at every moment. Dalai Lama suggests that we should completely focus on the gratification and contentment of life from a different viewpoint. The Dalai Lama advises that we do not always have to stress about constant perfection. Laozi and the Dalai Lama both draw attention to the fact that spirituality is not the main goal to focus on when it comes to one’s happiness.
Happiness and the community is not a topic that can easily be found in Laozi’s writings. Laozi focuses more on how the individual can work on bringing happiness to themselves in their daily lives. Laozi prompts the reader to be kind towards oneself and to not look for satisfaction in others as this will lead to inner peace. The Dalai Lama takes the community into more consideration. He indicates that when we insert ourselves within the community, we can all relate to each other as humans who are equally on the...