The Meaning of Happiness

Happiness or sukha in Pāli is the state of being blissful or comfortable in both physical and mental comfort and pleasure. In Buddhism, happiness is classified into two kinds namely: 1. Kāyika sukha= physical or bodily happiness, 2. Cetasika sukha=Mental happiness. It means that when our body is without an ailment and not injured, and the mind is not affected by any unpleasable object, that is called happiness. There are four causes of happiness as follow:

  1. Atthi sukha= Happiness because of having enough property or wealth
  2. Bogha sukha= Happiness because of having enough wealth to consume
  3. Anaṇa sukha= Happiness because of not being in debt.
  4. Anavajja sukha= Happiness because of not being involved in illegal jobs

Additionally, in Buddhism, happiness is clearly classified into two characteristics. First, it is a worldly happiness (Lokiya sukha) which emphasizes mainly on demanding on sensual pleasure, craving, and other kinds of passions and worldly aspiration. This leads to secular and sensual happiness. Mostly it is sensual happiness, which is a level of carnal happiness or sensual contacts which is still at risk of being punished and not transcend beyond being reborn again and again in the coming countless existences because it is mundane happiness, therefore, it is not transcendental beyond the circle of rebirth. It is the worldly happiness which is clouded by the power of sensual pleasure, greediness, anger, and delusion.

The second kind of happiness is called Lokuttara Sukha- super-mundane or transcendental happiness which is liberated from the attachment of the worldly things, beyond the birth and death, that is the happiness gained from the attainment of the Dhamma or the mental liberation to the shore of nibbāna which is called nibbāna sukha.

The first kind of happiness, it is generally easily attained by common people while the second kind has to be attained through experience or insight meditation practice in order to cultivate the willpower to develop the higher insight knowledge, to penetrate into the stream of enlightenment or nibbāna which is the ultimate goal in Buddhism.

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