27 Oct Happiness according to 4 religious leaders
A fascinating look at happiness from different religious perspectives from Psychology Today…
by Mel Konner
Last Sunday at Emory (my university), the Dalai Lama was the center of a conversation-a “summit,” according to the press-on happiness. Also included were a Presiding Episcopal Bishop, the Chief Rabbi of Britain and the Commonwealth, and a famed Islamic scholar. None of them said anything about mood, and several denied that happiness has much to do with pleasure.
The Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, defined it as “using the blessings of the world for the benefit of all…None of us can be truly happy unless all are happy.” If she’s right about that, then, alas, none of us is truly happy. But she clarified this a bit, making it more attainable: “In the reign of God, when God rules, when all are in right relationships, we will find the greatest happiness.”
She also said she is “struck that happiness is both physical and mental. In Christianity, bodies are of utmost importance. The incarnation teaches us that our bodies are a blessing. Part of happiness is having our bodily needs satisfied. Having enough to eat, having shelter, having meaningful work.” And yet we understand, “that all existence is a prayer, that there are blessings in each moment of the day. Washing the dishes, putting the body to work, all is a blessing. The simple awareness of God’s presence in every moment, every encounter, every challenge is happiness.”
The Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, joked at one point that when you study Jewish literature and history, “happiness is not the first word that comes to mind.” But he noted that there are two Hebrew words for happiness: osher, which refers to a kind of individual happiness, and simcha, which is the happiness shared with others-the latter being the best and most important.
He also defined what happiness isn’t: “We spend money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need to make us happy.” But far from increasing happiness, this is “the most efficient way to manufacture and distribute unhappiness. If I have a certain amount of money and power and give some to you, I have less. If I have love and happiness and give some to you, I have more. Spiritual happiness is the world’s greatest renewable energy.”
Read more about happiness from the perspectives of Islam and Bhuddism…JUST CLICK HERE