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Creating a Happy and Fulfilling Life

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  1. Creating a Happy and Fulfilling Life Tim Chiu April 7th, 2012 English Tao Class Kuang Ming Saint Tao Temple

  2. The Paradox of Our Time • The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. • We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less. • We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; • We've learned how to make a living, but not a life; we've added years to life, not life to years. • We've conquered outer space, but not inner space. • These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes.

  3. Suffering and Happiness • Everyone seeks long-lasting joy, but most are not able to obtain it. So people settle for short-term happiness and suffering instead. • Fulfill our external sensations • Ex. Coffee and caffeine addiction • E.x. iPad, iPad 2, new iPad • Long-lasting joy • An internal feeling and experience • E.x. warmth of a family, even when you’re far away from home • Various techniques to create a happy and fulfilling life • The ability lies within us and not without

  4. Where Does Happiness Come From? • If happiness = ability/desires, then we simply need to raise our abilities and/or lower our desires • When is the happiest period(s) of our life? • Childhood • Ian as an example • Not many abilities • Can’t walk/run/eat solid foods • But his needs/desires are even less • Don’t need new toys or clothes, tasty foods, etc • Our monthly income was $2K, but monthly expense was $4K • Unhappy, worried, stressed • Our monthly income was $4K, but monthly expense was $2K • Happiness is to lower our needs and desires while raising our abilities

  5. How to Create Happiness? • See from multiple perspectives • If a person can see his wife/mom’s daily reminder as a form of caring, he will feel a sense of joy. But if he sees it as a form of constant nagging, then he will be in suffering. • Asking Debbie what she and Ian did each day • A coin can appear as a line, cylinder, or circle depending on the perspective • Learn to embrace each other’s views and perspectives instead of just your own narrow views • Story of two traveling angels • All things can not be viewed from a single perspective

  6. Different Perspectives • Stuck in traffic • Someone is probably in a bigger rush than you • Car breaks down in the forest • Enjoy and appreciate the natural scenery • Get some exercise • Laid off from work • Grateful for company’s training and pay • Take a break and find an even better employment opportunity • Sick • Reminding us that our body needs to rest • Warning that we need to watch our healthy • Family passes away • No more suffering and pain for the family member • Reminder life is transient and to cherish the present

  7. How to Create Happiness? • Avoid limiting yourself • Sit on a chair and you occupy a small square. Remove the chair and the entire floor is yours. • Peers who may judge you by the kind of clothes, car, or house you have • Worried about not having the money to buy them just to please others • People who matter don’t mind, and the people who mind don’t matter • There is no such thing as “Should” – avoid the unnecessary stress • Husband should support the family financially; wife should take care of the children and other domestic affairs • When your heart is wide, there is nothing that it can not embrace and hold and still be at peace • Throw a rock at a puddle versus into a lake

  8. How to Create Happiness? • Maintain a heart of gratitude • Patriarch: “Gratitude is heaven. Resentment is hell. Joy is for those with gratitude. Happiness is for those who are content.” • Cherishing and being grateful for what you have is joy • Ex. Coming to ETC versus watching TV/movies • “We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” – Fredrick Koeing

  9. How to Create Happiness? • Learn to let go • Of the need to always be right • Not at the risk of ending great relationships, or cause a great deal of pain • Would I rather be right, or be kind? What difference will that make? Is my ego really that big? • Of the need for control of events, situations, people, etc • It’s OK when life doesn’t pan out the way you expected • Hold a fist and you will be empty-handed. Let go of your fist and the whole world will be yours • Everyone is #1

  10. “Whenever I hear the sound of applause, I know I have also made another step forward • But I used to not be able to stand up straight before” • My road is not your road • My sufferings are not your sufferings • Everyone has hidden potential • To conquer everything • My tears are not your tears • My pain is not your pain • The same sky, a different glory • But it's equally moving • There's no need to fear in anguish and self-pity • You only need to remain calm and rush forward • Tell yourself, I have worth in my natural abilities • Everyone is number one • Don't ask if you can do ordinary things or not • With a single breath, you can change your life • You should welcome the future, no need to wait • Everyone is number one • The secret to success is if you're willing or not • Sweat the hottest sweat, and use your most sincere heart • First place belongs to everyone • My hands are not your hands • My mouth is not your mouth • As long as a heart can withstand hardships • We can all be good friends • Don't fear how cold the road ahead may be • Until there is a little bit of warmth, I will strive to reach it

  11. How to Create Happiness? • See the world with a kind and positive light • “When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arisesWhen it knows good as good, evil arises” – Tao Te Ching Ch 2 • We live in a world of relatives and opposites (beauty/ugly, fat/skinny, tall/short, big/small • We can’t change the world to fit our desires, but we can change our attitude to adapt to the world • Want a job that pays high, close to home, and has few responsibilities • Reveal the good and hide the imperfections • Not lying, but to use a kind and positive heart to see the world • Story of the king and the artists • Wisdom in constructive communication • Story of the daughter and the father

  12. Positive Words • When we use a kind, selfless, and positive heart to view the same event, it will result in a different effect with our choice of words • The window is open and a cold breeze blows into the room. You can scold your wife, “Don’t you know how cold it is outside? Why don’t you go close the window??” • Or one can say, “Hun, I’m afraid you’ll catch a cold. Do you want to close the window?” • You give a stash of cash to a friend and say, “Count it and make sure it’s right so that you can’t blame me later on if the sum isn’t correct” • Instead say, “Why don’t you count it just to make sure I didn’t give you any extra as I often make mistakes counting money.”

  13. How To Avoid Suffering? • Avoid criticizing others • “People should criticize less, blame less, and resent less in order to be happy. Only then will they be able to communicate and bring happiness to others.” – Carnegie • Arguing about who should change the diaper or which position Ian should sleep in • Criticizing, blaming, and resenting each other will only affect Ian and our quality of rest • While the techniques and results may not be the same, our intentions and heart are the same – for the family • “There are no perfect actions, only perfect intentions” – Mr. Miyagi – Karate Kid • When others criticize us, we should be grateful to them as they are ridding us of our past sins and karma • There is no need to associate yourself with every criticism • There are many lecturers and Tim Chiu’s in the world • When others insult you or anger you, that is their problem. But if you become angry, then it’s become your problem as well. • Buddha: “You came ten years too late. Back then, I would have reacted to your insults, but now, I have chosen to not be controlled by others, to be enslaved. I am my own master and act according to my conscience only.”

  14. How To Avoid Suffering? • Don’t ask others to be just like us • We live in a world of opposites, so nothing will be identical, even twins • Our differences is what makes the world so interesting • The world is beautiful because of the various mountains, hills, plains, rivers, lakes, trees, grass, etc • If we all had an 180 IQ and the same ego, the world would be in a lot more chaos • Avoid comparing yourself with others. We all have our own talents and abilities • Can’t be a tall tree, then be a small grass; can’t be the manager, then be the individual contributor • Avoid giving ourselves and our kids unnecessary pressure or stress • Most important is to discover who we really are as a person and to be ourselves to the best of our abilities • Living a fulfilling and meaningful life

  15. How To Avoid Suffering? • Distinguish what is true from the false • True = character, virtue, merits; internal and eternal attributes that people can’t take from you • False = material, temporal; external manifestations that can disappear someday • Measuring our self-worth based on our material possessions is a source of suffering because they are not everlasting • House (fire), car (accident), job (fired), body (sickness/death), riches (robbers) • Doesn’t not mean that we shouldn’t ever buy/own anything, but rather how we use our possessions to do meaningful work • Getting a new Mac Book Pro from work • Felt so lucky, happy, worthy, only to be reminded by Debbie that it is not mine to keep, but to use to do worthwhile things • “My riches consist not in the extent of my possessions, but in the fewness of my wants.” – Joseph Brotherton

  16. How To Avoid Suffering? • Trials are actually opportunities for growth • Don’t waste a crisis – Bruce Martin • Gold is not as valuable until it has gone through the smelting process • Giving lecture is an opportunity for us to improve our understanding • Why lecturers are always thankful to give lectures • When we have friction with our family, friends, and coworkers, we need to thank them for giving us the opportunity to see things from a different perspective and opening our wisdom • Suffering = wisdom not revealed yet • Happiness = wisdom revealed with a peaceful heart

  17. How to Create Happiness? • Share your happiness with others • The world has many things which if you give to others, you will end up with less. The only exception is Happiness where the more you give, the more you shall receive • Smile and compliment each others • It’s easy, free, and will be returned to you many fold

  18. Conclusion • Learn to elevate our abilities while lowering our needs and desires • Learn to see life from multiple perspectives • Avoid limiting and self-defeating thoughts • Maintain a heart of gratitude • Learn to let go of our need to always be right and be in control • Use a kind and positive heart to see the world • Avoid criticizing others • Avoid asking others to be like us • Distinguish what is true from the false • Embrace trials and challenges as they make us better and wiser • Share your joy and happiness with others • Learn more, cultivate, and propagate Tao as that will lead you to a joyous and fulfilling life

  19. Group Discussion • Describe an experience that has brought you a lot of joy or sorrow and the feelings you experienced at the time. • From the different techniques that were discussed today, which one resonated with you the most and is most applicable to your daily life?

  20. Synopsis • Creating a Joyful & Meaningful Life【創造幸福美滿人生】: A life that is filled with long-lasting joy and meaning is a goal that many of us seek, but few are able to achieve and maintain. Instead, we focus our attention on the short-lived sensations which often leads us to disappointment and emptiness at the end of the day. In this class, we will learn some of the secrets that wise philosophers, professors, and enlightened individuals have shared with us over the years which we can apply to our daily life so that we may all live an even more joyful and meaningful life