The Principal Book of Won-Buddhism

Part Three : Practice

Chapter Fourteen: The Dharma Instruction on Suffering and Happiness

A. An Explanation of Suffering and Happiness

As a rule, once people are born into this world, there come to be things they dislike and things they like; the first type is the suffering they endure and the second is the happiness they enjoy. Suffering may be either inadvertent suffering or the suffering they create for themselves; happiness too may be either inadvertent or self-created. But every person without exception dislikes suffering and likes happiness. However, few people try to examine the causes of suffering and happiness. Thus, few of us reflect on whether this suffering will be everlasting or will change into happiness, or whether this happiness in its turn will be everlasting or will change into suffering. But our days should ever be filled with deserved suffering and happiness by our discerning closely the suffering and happiness that are appropriate and inappropriate. So that this inappropriate suffering and happiness will never occur, we should be heedful to make choices based on sound thought in our applications, whether we are walking, standing, sitting, reclining, speaking, keeping silent, active, or at rest.

B. The Causes behind Abandoning Happiness and Embracing Suffering

1. Ignorance of the origins of suffering and happiness.
2. Even when we know these origins, we do not act accordingly.
3. By acting as we please and stopping when we please in whatever we see, hear, or think, we have nurtured without forethought habits of body and spirit until they are as inflexible as iron or stone.
4. We have not completed our practice until we have clearly changed our temperaments by disciplining body and spirit according to the dharma to eliminate bad habits, and by training them in the right dharma.
5. Our wish for quick results in our applications, without taking any pains.