The Buddhist Way to Happiness
There are many ways to achieve happiness through Buddhist practice. In Theravada Buddhism, for example, you can meditate on white skeletons, while in Mahayana Buddhism, we cultivate Bodhicitta, and in particular, the practice of exchanging one’s happiness for the suffering of others.
I am from Myanmar. My question is, what makes us happy from the Buddhist point of view? And what kinds of practices make us happy?
There are many ways to achieve happiness in Buddhism. For instance, in Theravada Buddhism, practitioners meditate on white skeletons. I’ve been to many places in Thailand where practitioners do white skeleton meditation. In this practice, by contemplating the twelve links of dependent origination, happiness can be attained. This is one method in the Theravada tradition.
In Mahayana Buddhism there are also many practices, such as meditations on Bodhicitta, and particularly that of exchanging oneself with others. Bodhicitta is the aspiration of liberating all sentient beings in samsara. With such a vast and great motivation, it is possible for us to become Bodhisattvas and finally attain Buddhahood. When this happens, we will be the happiest persons in the world!
So, to sum up the Buddhist ways of achieving happiness, some bring happiness to both oneself and others, and some are just for the happiness of oneself. Different paths lead us to different levels of liberation and happiness.