The Importance of Being Happy
Happiness is of prime importance.
When our minds are happy, everything reminds us to rejoice. However, if unhappiness takes hold we will lapse into depression.
The hearts and minds of unhappy people tend to contract and they become bored. Depression makes us see life as uninteresting, meaningless and dreary. Laughter vanishes and sighs proliferate.
Our hearts are like a flower, which blooms in all its splendor, freely and naturally, stretching outward. To describe someone's joy, we say his heart is like "a flower in full bloom." A flower does not become fragrant until it blooms. But once it does, its perfume permeates the air.
While unhappiness saps our energy, happiness energizes every fiber of our being. It will inspire us to smile and laugh often, which increases our popularity. Everyone likes a happy person; most people avoid melancholy individuals.
To learn from, and to become, Bodhisattvas is to learn to be happy. The schools of the Sacred Path (self-power) focus on bodhicitta (attaining enlightenment to help others), while the Pure Land school tells us we will "see the Buddha as the flower blooms."Says Nagarjuna in his Chapter on the Easy Path: "If you entertain doubts, even if you plant roots of goodness, the flower will not blossom. But it will for those with pure faith -- and they will see the Buddha."
Like being happy, resolving to practice should be natural and spontaneous, a joyous thing. Some practitioners seeking to gain enlightenment have knitted brows; they still carry expressions of suffering and vindictiveness. This suggests their hearts have not opened. If other people can be happy, why should one resolved on the Bodhisattva path be upset? Perhaps our resolution was made incorrectly.
Take a flower, for example. If the soil is fertile and there is abundant sunshine, it will grow and bloom at its own pace. If we try to force the bud to open we will end up destroying the flower. Even if it opens, it will be a false blossoming. It will soon close again, or give out no fragrance. Ordinary beings lack mental strength and their roots of virtue are weak. When they hear that the merit is great from resolving to attain enlightenment, they may give a forced performance, which increases their suffering.
If we rely on Amitabha Buddha and recite his name, we are always nourished by the Dharma waters of his loving compassion, and bathed in his light. Naturally and spontaneously, our hearts will bloom like flowers and we will see the Buddha. The bud of enlightenment opens to reveal a dignified Buddha image sitting within. Buddhahood is accomplished.
Faith in, and acceptance of, Amitabha’s deliverance
Single-minded recitation of Amitabha’s name
Aspiration to rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land
Comprehensive deliverance of all sentient beings