Happiness

“Once I was staying with my mother in London. At the time she was the housekeeper for a very wealthy Canadian who lived in a luxury flat just off Hyde Park. They all went off for a while, and I had the flat to myself. There I was in London, living in this luxurious flat with two huge color television sets and all the food I could possibly eat! I had enough money for whatever I wanted, lots of records, lots of everything. But I was so bored!
I told myself, “Please remember this. If you are ever tempted to think that physical comfort gives happiness, remember this.”

But then, another time I was staying in a cave, not my cave but another cave, which was very small. It was so small that you couldn’t stand up in it, with a tiny box you could only just sit in, and that was the bed as well. It was full of fleas, so I was covered in flea bites. You had to go half a mile down a very steep track to bring up water. There was also almost no food at all, and it was hot. But I was in bliss. I was so happy. It was a very holy place, and the people there were wonderful. Although from a physical point of view the situation was difficult, so what! The mind was happy. I remember that whole place as being bathed in golden light. Do you see what I mean?”

Ani Tenzin Palmo, from “Reflections on a Mountain Lake: Teachings on Practical Buddhism’

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