Family Dharma: Barbie, Ken and Ordinary Happiness

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The Buddha taught, "There is no greater happiness than peace." He described inner peace, or peace of mind as "genuine happiness" and contrasted this with the more "ordinary happiness" that can be gained from sensory pleasures, material possessions, money, fame, good health or good fortune. I have reflected often on this profound teaching, and as with all spiritual truths, my understanding of it continues to evolve over time. When I teach Buddhism and meditation to others, and when talking with my children about happiness, I find that significant explanation is needed. I repeatedly emphasize that there is nothing inherently wrong with sensory pleasure, material possessions, accumulation of wealth, good health, a good reputation, or good fortune. In fact, all of these things can be sources of great enjoyment. The problem is that we so easily confuse pleasure or enjoyment with happiness.

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