Less Desire, More Happiness
Material conditions in Tibet are often far from favorable, but if you have a chance to speak with those who live there, you will feel the happiness that seems to rise from the bottom of their hearts. Their secret is that the less that you desire, the more satisfaction you will feel.
Tibetan Buddhism has many teachings regarding the cultivation of inner happiness. We should not only try to understand the words of these teachings, but also to practice them, in which case they will bring us great benefits in this life.
Today, regardless of which city or place we choose to look at, people are experiencing great suffering. Many people in the big cities are driving luxury cars, wearing expensive clothes and living in high-rise apartments, so by this it might appear that modern people should be happier than before. In Tibet, however, when we see the housing, food, clothing, conditions and climate, we may feel that they are not so favorable. Nevertheless, their lives are just like the lives of the people in Bhutan, where the happiness index ranks among the top in the world. Similarly, in many places in Tibet, such as in the areas of Qinghai, Amdo, Lhasa, as well as my region, Kham, many people have a very happy feeling in their hearts. Why? In my opinion, it’s solely due to the effect of the teachings and practices of Buddhism.
Why do people in big cities have so much suffering? Very simply, it is caused by their excessive desires. In contrast to this, in some Tibetan areas with much poorer living conditions, people are very happy. How can this be? On the one hand, they have fewer desires; but most importantly, they have taken refuge in the Three Jewels from childhood, and often pray to the Three Jewels and to their gurus. This really benefits their mind.
At present, not only have Buddhists realized this, many neurobiologists have acknowledged it as well. They have conducted extensive research comparing people with or without religious beliefs, with or without meditation practice and so forth and their results have shown that religion can indeed bring inner happiness to humankind. This is widely acknowledged in the academic field.