Every act counts. Every thought and emotion counts too. This is all the path we have. This is where we apply the teachings. This is where we come to understand why we meditate. We are only going to be here for a short while. Even if we live to be 108, our life will be too short for witnessing all its wonders. The dharma is each act, each thought, each word we speak. Are we at least willing to catch ourselves spinning off and to do that without embarrassment? Do we at least aspire to not consider ourselves a problem, but simply a pretty typical human being who could at that moment give him- or herself a break and stop being so predictable?
My experience is that this is how our thoughts begin to slow down. Magically, it seems that there’s a lot more space to breathe, a lot more room to dance, and a lot more happiness.
– Pema Chödron
from the book “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times”
To expect happiness without giving up negative action is like holding your hand in a fire and hoping not to be burned. Of course, no one actually wants to suffer, to be sick, to be cold or hungry – but as long as we continue to indulge in wrong doing we will never put an end to suffering. Likewise, we will never achieve happiness, except through positive deeds, words, and thoughts. Positive action is something we have to cultivate ourselves; it can be neither bought nor stolen, and no one ever stumbles on it just by chance.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
from the book “The Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones”
With thanks to Just Dharma Quotes
In truth, happiness is suffering in disguise but in such a subtle form that you don’t see it. If you cling to happiness, it’s the same as clinging to suffering, but you don’t realize it. When you hold on to happiness, it is impossible to throw away the inherent suffering. They’re inseparable like that. Thus the Buddha taught us to know suffering, see it as the inherent harm in happiness, to see them as equal. So be careful! When happiness arises, don’t be overjoyed, and don’t get carried away. When suffering comes, don’t despair, don’t lose yourself in it. See that they have the same equal value.
– Ajahn Chah
The search for happiness is not about looking at life through rose-colored glasses or blinding oneself to the pain and imperfections of the world. Nor is happiness a state of exultation to be perpetuated at all costs; it is the purging of mental toxins, such as hatred and obsession, that literally poison the mind. It is also about learning how to put things in perspective and reduce the gap between appearances and reality. To that end we must acquire a better knowledge of how the mind works and a more accurate insight into the nature of things, for in its deepest sense, suffering is intimately linked to a misapprehension of the nature of reality.
– Matthieu Ricard
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
~ Max Ehrmann, 1927