(The following is an extract from “Was the Buddha a Pessimist?” published by VRI. It is the translation and adaptation of the VRI Hindi publication “Kyā Buddha Dukkhavādī The?” written by Goenkaji.)
The Buddha used the word sukha to refer to different kinds of happiness because suitable words were not available to describe the various kinds of happiness in the language of those days. He sometimes qualified his usage of the term; for example, he enumerated four types of worldly happiness for ordinary householders:
1. Ānaṇya sukha: The happiness of being free from debt. Every honest householder knows what misery it is to be burdened by debt. When the debt is repaid, one becomes happy.
2. Atthi sukha: The happiness of possessing wealth and property, even if one is not enjoying it or using it. “My credit balance is increasing; the turnover of my business is increasing; the price of my property is increasing; the price of my stocks is increasing.” This sukha is the joy of possession.
3. Bhoga sukha: When the joy of possession becomes the joy of enjoying possessions. When this happens, one’s happiness increases. Due to one’s wealth, one enjoys various comforts: one sees pleasing sights; one hears melodious music; one smells sweet fragrances; one tastes delicious foods; and one enjoys pleasant physical contact. All these comforts give happiness.
4. Anavajjasukha: To abstain from deeds which go against the Truth. For a householder, there is a happiness that is greater than the preceding three. It is to abstain from those deeds that go against the Path. A householder examines oneself and ensures that he abstains from unwholesome conduct: he abstains from killing; from stealing; from sexual misconduct; from lying and deceiving others; from harsh speech, backbiting, and slanderous speech that hurts others. He abstains from the use of intoxicants. He ensures that his livelihood does not involve dealing with weapons, poisons, animals for slaughter, meat and intoxicants such as alcohol. His mind delights in this. He remains free from fear of laws of the government or censure from society in the present life, as well as fear of descending to the nether worlds in the after-life. He also remains free from the agony of remorse. Remaining joyful, calm and fearless, such a pure-minded person experiences a type of happiness that is undoubtedly superior to other worldly pleasures.
It is not possible to give a different name to each type of happiness. Even so, while comparing various types of happiness, the Buddha once explained, in detail, which happiness is lesser and which is greater:
1. The happiness of home and the happiness of homelessness (of a monk or a nun) — of the two, the happiness of homelessness is greater.
2. The happiness of sensual pleasures and the happiness of renunciation — of the two, the happiness of renunciation is greater.
3. The happiness of various realms and the happiness beyond all the realms of existence — of the two, the happiness beyond the realms of existence is greater.
4. The happiness accompanied by āsavas (intoxicating impulses) and the happiness not accompanied by āsavas — of the two, the happiness not accompanied by āsavas is greater.
5. The happiness of material comforts and the happiness transcending material comforts — of the two, the happiness transcending material comforts is greater.
6. The happiness of the ariyas (noble ones) and the happiness of anariyas (of unenlightened ones) — of the two, the happiness of ariyas (noble ones) is greater.
7. The happiness of body (one that comes from physical comfort) and the happiness of mind — of the two, the happiness of mind is greater.
8. The happiness accompanied by pīti (pleasurable sensations in the body) and the happiness without pīti (beyond the pleasurable sensations in the body) — of the two, the happiness without pīti is greater.
9. The happiness of indulgence and the happiness of restraint — of the two, the happiness of restraint is greater.
10. The happiness of a scattered mind (of the mind not in jhāna) and the happiness of a concentrated mind (of the mind in jhānic states) — of the two, the happiness of a concentrated mind is greater.
11. The happiness with pīti (pleasurable sensations in the body) as its object and the happiness beyond pīti as its object — of the two, the happiness beyond pīti as its object is greater.
12. The happiness dependent on indulgence as its object and the happiness dependent on restraint as its object — of the two, the happiness dependent on restraint as its object is greater.
13. The happiness with form as object and happiness with formlessness as object — of the two, the happiness with formlessness as its object is greater.
The Buddha has enumerated many types of happiness such as:
kāyikasukhaṃ, cetasikasukhaṃ, dibbasukhaṃ, mānusakasukhaṃ, lābhasukhaṃ, sakkārasukhaṃ, yānasukhaṃ, sayanasukhaṃ, issariyasukhaṃ, ādhipaccasukhaṃ, gihisukhaṃ, sāmaññasukhaṃ, sāsavasukhaṃ, anāsavasukhaṃ, upadhisukhaṃ, nirūpadhisukhaṃ, sāmisasukhaṃ, nirāmisasukhaṃ, sappītikasukhaṃ, nippītikasukhaṃ, jhānasukhaṃ, vimuttisukhaṃ, kāmasukhaṃ, nekkhammasukhaṃ, vivekasukhaṃ, upasamasukhaṃ, sambodhasukhaṃ.
So the term sukha (happiness) is dependent on circumstances and has different meanings in different contexts.
Thus, we see that this great sage enumerated different kinds of happiness by providing detailed, analytical explanation in words. But even more importantly, he taught a clear method to allow its practitioners to experience the superior kinds of happiness:
Cittaṃ dantaṃ sukhāvahaṃ
Restraint of mind brings happiness.
Cittaṃ guttaṃ sukhāvahaṃ
Guarding one’s mind brings happiness.
Dhammo ciṇṇo sukhāvaho
The practice of Dhamma brings happiness.
Wherever he discussed dukkha (suffering), he explained its cause, how to eradicate this cause, and the actual practice of its eradication. Anyone who says that the Buddha was a pessimist who discussed nothing but misery is only displaying ignorance of the Buddha’s original teaching.
Bhavatu sabba maṅgalaṃ — May all beings be happy!
One-day Course at Global Pagoda
The Global Vipassana Foundation invites all Vipassana meditators for the one-day course on 1 October 2006 from 11 am to 5 pm at Global Pagoda, Dhamma Pattana, Gorai, Mumbai. Goenkaji will be present during the course. This course will be the second one-day course to be held within the dome of the main pagoda.
Students/groups coming from outside Mumbai are kindly requested to inform the organizers in advance so that bath and breakfast can be organized for them.
Contact: Mr. Derek Pegado,
Tel: (022) 2845 2261, 2845 2111; Tel/Fax: 2845 2112.
Those who wish to serve the course may contact the above.
Please bring your own cushions. Please note that there are no facilities for overnight stay at the Global Pagoda. Those coming a day early will have to make their own arrangements.
Inauguration of Global Pagoda Dome
The inauguration ceremony of the dome of the main pagoda will be held on 29 October 2006 from 9 am onwards. Leading venerable bhikkhus from Myanmar and guests from India and abroad will be attending this function. After the blessings and chanting by the venerable bhikkhus, Goenkaji will give a short discourse about the purpose and importance of the Global Pagoda. This will be followed by Sangha dāna and lunch for the venerable bhikkhus. Finally, there will be lunch for all the guests. Contact: Mr. Derek Pegado, Tel:  (22) 2845 2261, 2845 2111; Tel/Fax: 2845 2112. Email: email@example.com
Arrangements have been made for accommodation for guests at a hostel near Global Pagoda. Accommodation is limited and once it is filled up, the remaining visitors will have to arrange for their own stay. Therefore, those who need accommodation are requested to contact the above at the earliest.
Goenkaji's Public Talks in Mumbai
A public talk in Hindi by Goenkaji has been arranged in Mumbai at Government Colony Ground, Pragya Sanskritik Kendra, Bandra (E), Mumbai 51 on 8 October 2006 (Sunday) at 7 pm. There will be group meditation of old students at the venue from 6 to 7 pm.
Contact: 1. Mr. Kushal Tambe, Tel: (022) 2657 0355.
2. Mr. Prakash Pawar, 98692-81410.
3. Mr. Rahul Jadhav, 98920-46903.
Goenkaji has authorized Vipassana Research Institute to produce Vipassana audio CDs, video CDs and DVDs. Copying of Goenkaji’s CDs and DVDs in any format including MP3 should not be done by anyone else. Vipassana Teachers and centre managers are requested to ensure that such unauthorized production and sale of CDs and DVDs is not done at their centres.
Admission to Pali Courses at VRI
1. One-Month Crash Course in Pali-Hindi – Basic
This course was introduced last year. This will be the second batch. Classes will be held from 21 November 2006 (afternoon) to 22 December 2006 (morning) without any break. The last date for application is 30 September 2006. Vipassana meditators, who have completed five 10-day courses and one Satipatthana course, are observing five precepts and maintaining 2 hours of daily practice for the last two years and are committed to this tradition are eligible for admission. However, preference will be given to those who have done at least one 20-day course. Academic Qualification: minimum XIIth class, preferably graduates. Area Teacher’s recommendation is required. About 20 students, both male and female, will be enrolled in this course.
2. One-Month Crash Course in Pali-Hindi – (Advanced)
This course is being introduced this year. Classes will be held from 24 December 2006 (afternoon) to 23 January 2007 (morning), without any break. The last date for application is 30 September 2006. Students, who have completed the VRI Basic Crash Course in Pali-Hindi last year are eligible. Vipassana meditators having basic knowledge of Pali and fulfilling the above requirements are also eligible. Area Teacher’s recommendation is required. About 20 students will be enrolled in this course.
Application forms are available at VRI, Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri.
Exhibition Gallery at Global Pagoda
A special exhibition gallery will be built in the Global Pagoda, which will throw light on the true nature of the historical personality of Gotama Buddha. This gallery will depict numerous important events of the life of the Buddha through the use of sophisticated state-of-the-art audio-visual technology.
In addition to research and publication work on Vipassana, the Vipassana Research Institute has taken up the important responsibility of setting up the exhibition gallery at the Global Pagoda. Meditators may share in the merits of this noble project. All donations to VRI are eligible for 125% income tax exemption.
The exhibition gallery will include about 400 life-sized fibreglass statues of monks, householders, etc., as well as animals, birds and numerous plastic bushes and trees. Vipassana meditators who have technical knowledge about production of these statues etc. or their materials or are acquainted with anyone having this expertise are requested to contact: Mr. Sri Prakash Goenka (Trustee, Vipassana Research Institute) Green House (second floor), Green Street, Mumbai 400 023. Tel: (022) 2266 4039, 2266 2113; Mobile: 98211-18635; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Income Tax Exemption to VRI
Income Tax exemption (125% deduction u/s 35(1)(iii) of IT Act granted earlier to Vipassana Research Institute by Revenue Department, Ministry of Finance, Government of India has been renewed and extended until 31 March 2007 vide Notification no. 44/2006 (F. No. 203/34/2004-ITA-II) dated 7 March 2006. This information is also available on www.vri.dhamma.org, which can be downloaded and printed, if necessary.
AT Training Workshop
This workshop is being organized at Dhamma Giri from 25 October (9 am) to 28 October (evening) for all assistant teachers, senior assistant teachers and teachers, particularly trainee and newly appointed assistant teachers. Goenkaji will address all the participants of the workshop. All participants are invited to attend the inauguration of the main dome of the Global Pagoda on 29 October. Please contact Dhamma Giri for registration for the workshop.
Vipassana Newsletter subscribers whose mailing address has changed should send both their old and new addresses to the Patrika Section, VRI, Dhamma Giri 422 403. Please mention the computer code number printed above the subscriber’s name in the address label in all correspondence about non-receipt of Newsletters, change in address, receipt of extra copies, change in language etc.
Spread of Dhamma in Central America
Vipassana courses have been held throughout Latin America for many years but the only Central American country to hold courses has been Panama. However this year marks the beginning of the spread of Dhamma to Central America. In January 2006, the first ten-day course was held in Nicaragua, in April 2006 in El Salvador and in July 2006 in Costa Rica and it is likely that Guatemala will have its first course in 2007.
The continuing spread of Dhamma throughout Latin America and now in Central America again brings forth Goenkaji’s words of mettā:
May Dhamma continue to spread for the good of all.
May all beings everywhere be peaceful.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be liberated.
First Course in Costa Rica
The first Vipassana course in Costa Rica, a Central American country between Nicaragua and Panama, was held from 5 to 16 July 2006 at a rented site on the Pacific Coast in a hillside bed and breakfast in the midst of a cocoa grove two kilometers from the sea. With only one Costa Rican old student and one foreign old student serving and four foreign old students sitting, the course introduced Vipassana meditation to 13 new students. All stayed to the end and were smiling on the tenth day. Three weeks later, the first group sitting was held in San José with ten meditators. A half-day self course has been scheduled for 10 September. The next ten-day course in Costa Rica will be held from 4 to 15 July, 2007.
Goenkaji's Discourses on Television
Aastha TV channel: Daily from 9:40 to 10 am (Goenkaji’s Sri Lanka tour). Hungama TV channel: Hindi discourses telecast daily from 4.30 to 6.00 am (IST). Zee TV: Daily, 4:30 am (IST). USA: Aastha TV will be telecasting Goenkaji’s discourses at 6 pm EST (Monday to Friday) on the WORLDDIRECT platform of DIRECTV on channel no. 2005.
Children's Courses in Mumbai
To serve children’s courses in Mumbai, call 98200-22990.
||28 & 29 Sept
||5 & 6 Oct
||12 & 13 Oct
||19 & 20 Oct
|27 to 29 Oct (Residential)
||20 to 22 Oct
||4 & 5 Nov
||9 & 10 Nov
||9 & 10 Nov
||9 & 10 Nov
||16 & 17 Aug
||30-11 & 1-12
||7 & 8 Dec
||7 & 8 Dec
||14 & 15 Dec
Course Timing: 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. Registration: 11 am to 1 pm.
Ghatkopar: SNDT School, New Building, Cama Lane, Ghatkopar West, opp Vidyut Society, Mumbai 400086, Tel: 25101096, 25162505.
JNPT: Trainee Hostel Bldg, Sector 3, Sheva Taluka, Uran, Navi Mumbai. 98923-87145, 98218-08488, 2747-2554.
Matunga: Amulakh Amirchand High School, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road, New SNDT College, King’s Circle, Matunga (CR), Tel: 2510-1096, 2516-2505.
Ulhasnagar: Guru Nanak High School, Kurla Camp, Ulhasnagar-4. Tel: (0251) 252-2693.
South Mumbai: Times of India Bldg., Opp CST station. Tel: 2308-1622
NB Please *bring cushion, *register on the specified phone numbers, *inform in advance if unable to attend after registration, *arrive on time for the course.
Senior Assistant Teachers:
1. & 2. Dr. Tian-Ming Sheu & Dr. (Mrs.) Yuh-Wen Wang, Taiwan
To assist the area teacher to serve the proposed new long course centre in Taiwan
3. Mr. Ping-San Wang, Taiwan
4. Ms. Suvana Soh, Malaysia
5. Ms. Mirjam Berns, Venezuela
6. Ms. Luisa Perez, Venezuela
Mr George Hsiao, Taiwan
To serve Korea and to assist the area teachers to serve People’s Republic of China and Taiwan including Dhammodaya
1. Mr. Lakshman Das Dadhichi, Nainital
2. Dr. (Ms.) Gunwanti Hirji Gadda, Thane
3. Mrs. Anupama Vinayak Jagtap, Pune
4. Mr. Tej Nath Jha, Lucknow
5. Mr. Sharad Mane, Pune
6. Mrs. Kanumuri Madhavi, Bhimavaram
7. Mr. Deepak Muchrikar, Jalgaon
8. Mrs. Sarasvati Satya, Mysore
9. Mr. Jay Merchant, Mumbai
10. Mr. D. H. Henry, Sri Lanka
11. Mrs. Indrani Senaviratna, Sri Lanka
12. & 13. U Kyi Thein & Daw Tin Tin Yee, Myanmar
14. & 15. Mr. Hwai-An Goh & Mrs. Wei-Wei Toh, Singapore
16. Ms. Lynne Martineau, USA
17. Mr. Frank Mettler, USA
18. Mr. Peter Simpson, USA
Children Course Teachers:
1. Mr. Bhrigu Mani Chakma, Tripura
2. Mr. Bimal Kanti Chakma, Tripura
3. Mrs. Saibalini Chakma, Tripura
4. Ms. Revati Nigishette, Hyderabad
5. Mr. Ravindra Kulkarni, Pune
6. Daw Than Than New, Myanmar
7. Daw Than Win, Myanmar
8. Daw Thet Khine, Myanmar
9. Daw Wa Wa Hnin Myanmar
10. Daw Khim Tee, Myanmar
11. Ms. Lisa Chey, Cambodia
12. Mrs. Canny Kinloch, Australia
13. Mrs. Michele Ellis, Australia
14. Mrs. Eloise Charleson, Australia
15. Mr. Michael Hubner, Germany
16. Mr. David Lander, the Netherlands
Kabhī bāga vīrāna hai, kabhī basanta bahāra;
Samatā meṅ pramudita rahe, santa nihāra nihāra.
At times the garden withers, at times spring makes it bloom;
Remaining joyful with equanimity, the saint simply observes.
Tana sukha, dhana sukha, māna sukha, bhale dhyāna sukha hoya;
Para samatā sukha parama sukha, atula aparimita hoya.
Better than pleasures of the senses, wealth or reputation
Is the happiness of concentration;
But best is the happiness of equanimity,
Beyond compare or limit.
Antara meṅ ḍubakī lagī, bhīga gae saba aṅga;
Dharama raṅga aisā caḍhā, caḍhe na dūjā raṅga.
Plunging deep within, the entire being has become so saturated
With the color of the Dhamma that no other color can impinge.
Jaise mere dukha kaṭe, sabake dukha kaṭa jāṅya;
Jaise mere dina phire, sabake dina phira jāṅya.
As my suffering was cut off, may the suffering of all be cut off;
As my life was renewed, may that of all be renewed.