Transforming Problems into Happiness - Foreword
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
I believe that the purpose of our lives is to achieve happiness. But happiness is of two kinds: one that derives from physical comfort and the other which essentially flows from our minds and our thoughts. Of these two, the happiness that derives from the mind is the more important. If our mind is calm and happy, we can put up with physical discomfort, but sensual pleasure alone will never set the mind at ease. When our minds are restless and disturbed, no matter how much luxury or physical comfort we may enjoy, these things alone will not make us happy.
The importance of our mental experience gives rise to the question, “Can we train the mind?” The Buddha explained many methods and paths by which we can purify our minds and achieve the fully awakened state of buddhahood. Among these, there is a special instruction called mind training. This instruction outlines the very heart of the Buddhist practice, cultivation of the awakening mind. These simple but far-reaching techniques for training the mind, particularly those that deal with concern for others and turning adversity to advantage, have virtually become part of the Tibetan character. It is this latter technique that Zopa Rinpoche particularly deals with in this book. And it is this pattern of thought, transforming problems into happiness, that has enabled the Tibetan people to maintain their dignity and spirit in the face of great difficulties. Indeed I have found this advice of great practical benefit in my own life.
Zopa Rinpoche has immersed himself in both the study and practice of the mind-training tradition, and in his travels around the world he is constantly meeting people who wish for happiness, but instead are beset by problems. He draws on a wealth of experience. Here he has taken as the primary focus of his advice a short text by the great scholar and remarkable yogi, Dodrupchen Jigme Tenpe Nyima. So, the source of the teaching is impeccable; what remains is for readers to put what they read into practice. I have no doubt that those who do will, over a period of time, notice a change in their mental attitudes and responses to people and events. Their minds will become more disciplined and positive. And I am sure they will find their own sense of happiness grow as they contribute to the greater happiness of others. I oﬀer my prayers that readers of this new edition who make this their goal will be blessed with success.
The Dalai Lama
February 14, 2001
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© Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, Transforming Problems into Happiness (Wisdom Publications, 2001)
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