Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Buddhists are considered happy

Who would not bear in mind the Dalai Lama with a happy laugh on the face, if one was talking about Buddhism and happiness? It is believed that the serenity of the Buddhists is achieved by regular meditation through positive emotions.

But won’t we find this also in Christianity? The following line was found in the church song "Whoever leaves it to the care of God" [German: "Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten"] by Georg Neumarck from the year 1657: "Just keep a little quiet, and be happy in yourself" ["Man halte nur ein wenig stille / und sei doch in sich selbst vergnügt"].

In his 45th sermon "In omnibus requiem quaesivi" [English: In everything I sought rest], Meister Eckehart speaks of rest, silence, tranquility. All creation is in search of rest. Verses of the 24th chapter in the book Jesus Sirach are the basis for this sermon. "With them all I sought a place of rest, ..." (Sirach 24:7) Or: "In the city [Jerusalem] which he loves [God] as well as I, I found rest ..." (Sirach 24:11) This rest can be found in both testaments in many places, such as: "He said, my face will go with you and bring you to rest." (Exodus 33:14) "Better a handful of rest than both fists full of trouble and hardship after wind." (Sirach 4:6) "Come to me, all you troublesome and laden, and I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28,29).

Han Shan (寒山) has become known in the West by Gary Snyder. The characters mean "Cold Mountain". He is a vagabond poet of the Tang () period; and so it is not surprising that he was the godfather of Jack Kerouac's "The Dharma Bums". Han Shan wandered through the woods, laughed a lot, meditated in nature, and wrote poems on rocks and trees. He was closely associated with the Guo Qing Monastery / Temple (国清寺). The monastery dates back to the 6th century and still exists today. 300 poems by Han Shan have been handed down - but most Chinese poetry collections have 300 poems! “I am sitting quietly between the cliffs”, he writes in a poem.

The worst things that can happen to nowaday's people are a quiet place and an empty battery of the smartphone. But perhaps one does not need immediate enlightenment, but only a slow allowance of phases of rest. And then your stress falls off and you experience cheerful serenity and nevertheless are amused within yourself.

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