In our General Program classes [GP] we began reading the book, ‘The New 8 Steps to Happiness’. A short review of what we were reading follows.
Every reader will have their own takeaway from the readings – and that is the beauty of reading such profound texts. Still we can observe a theme that can be helpful to keep in mind as we read the rest of the book. This theme is now given in a form of short bullet points:
- Everybody wants to be happy and free from all pain and difficulties
- Not many people know how to make themselves happy. Instead we:
- Destroy our world and make our lives increasingly complex, full of frustrations, tensions, and general unpleanetness
- The reason for this is that we do not understand:
- The difference between outer and inner problems
- That inner problems are delusions
- That these delusions are our actual problem
- There are those who have managed to free themsevles from their inner problems – their actual problems. They called Enlightened Beings, or Buddhas.
- Buddha = awakened one.
- Buddha Shakyamuni is the founder of Buddhism
- His 84.000 teachings encourage us to transform our present mind to the mind of enlightenment
- All these teachings on how to transform our mind from our present painful habit of self-centeredness to a totally unconditional loving and compassionate view are condensed in the short text called ‘8 Verses of Training the Mind’
- These 8 verses were written by Bodhisattva Langri Tangpa
- They are very powerful and totally relevant to our contemporary lives
We read about Bodhisattva Langri Tangpa’s life story. Why? Because through reading his life story we come to realize that the author is a reliable person. This realization allows us to take his teaching into our heart. One of the beautiful things in his life story is his inability to remain blind to the suffering of those around him. Think about it – how often do you close your eyes to the various pain and suffering that you see around you? Bodhisattvas are different. They use the pain they see to help them to improve themselves.
When we read ‘The New 8 Steps to Happiness,’ fresh horizons open up for us. These horizons are like options for a better future. Through practicing the ideas we are now studying can solve our problems in a completely different way- a way that is reliable and wonderful.
Finally, the real takeaway from all of this is simple: A recognition that we have stumbled upon a rare and precious tradition that is designed to bring peace to the hearts of people and through this, peace to the world we live in. Recognizing this, we are delighted to give this precious method a go.