Unlocking True Happiness is an exploration of the Buddha’s teachings as they are applied in our daily lives to deepen our experience of genuine well-being. Topics combine ideas from Buddhism with those from the fields of positive psychology, Western philosophy, and current events. People from all faiths and backgrounds can apply the principles explored in this series to enhance their lives. Venerable Tenzin Chogkyi (she/her/hers) is a Buddhist monastic, activist and teacher of both Buddhist and secular programs. She loves bridging the worlds of Buddhist thought, current events, and the latest research in the field of positive psychology.
Acceptance is not Complacency
54:57In these uncertain times, our roles as individuals in the sweeping events washing over the world stage can feel deeply unclear, sometimes frightening and frequently overwhelming. It is tempting to respond to these often painful situations by vacillating between anger and complacency. Buddhist teachings can offer insight into accepting “what is” while developing the capacity for equanimity and the courage for wise action. Join Ven Tenzin Chogkyi and Mathew Divaris in a lively conversation originally aired on KSQD Santa Cruz where we navigate the nuances of accepting where we are, while cultivating a wish for positive transformation and avoiding the traps of striving and complacency.
Words Matter: The Power of Skillful Speech
35:43The concept of Right Speech (or "Skillful Speech") is core to many Buddhist teachings about how to live an ethical life and avoid causing harm. In our hyperconnected world, our ability to communicate beyond face-to-face has increased exponentially, and navigating our own speech (and written words) is important because of the wide-ranging ramifications that our words can have on others, as well as on our own minds. In this talk and meditation, Ven Tenzin takes us through the practical advice given in the traditional teachings so that we can exercise our communication with skill and compassion.
The Neuroplasticity of Perception
37:11We’re raised to believe that our perceptions of the world around us has an objective quality, but both Buddhism and modern neuroscience agree that our perceptions can frequently be distorted, and these distortions can cause great suffering. This "naive realism” — the belief that the world exists in the way it appears to us — is so innate to many of us, yet our beliefs, past experiences and emotional states can dramatically alter how we perceive experiences. In this informative session, Ven Tenzin discusses the many ways that our minds can play tricks on us, particularly when it comes to the impact of experiences that we perceive as negative, and shares a simple practice that can help balance and enrich our minds by reinforcing the impact of positive experiences.
Mindfulness of Our Motivations
40:41In this episode, Ven Tenzin explores the Eight Worldly Concerns, a set of four dyads that correspond to many of the deeply held hopes and fears that drive the actions of all beings. As we engage with the spiritual path, or even the mundane decisions of the day-to-day, a clear understanding of these forms of attachment and aversion can serve as a way to become mindful of our motivations and bring clarity and skillfulness to our actions. In this way, we can ultimately become free from the suffering that these unconscious, habitual ways of engaging with the world can bring.
The Path to Genuine Happiness
27:16Capitalist consumer culture puts a huge emphasis on finding happiness in the external world. But, this hedonic happiness is shown, both in our experience and in the scientific experiments, to be fleeting. In this episode, Ven Tenzin speaks to a second, more durable type of happiness that is not nearly as predicated on external factors -- Eudaimonic happiness, which is derived from what we bring to the world.
40:33In popular culture, courage is often portrayed as loud and showy, and patience as passivity and inaction. Yet, in Buddhist philosophy, courage is a hallmark of patience, of facing life’s challenges with resilience and wise action. In this episode, Ven Tenzin speaks about the intrinsic link between patience and courage, and how we can build the courage to go outside of our own comfort zones and engage in meaningful action without losing our peace of mind.
The Perfection of Patience
41:30Patience, or forbearance, is taught as one of the six perfections, the six main practices of a bodhisattva (a being who is dedicated to attaining full enlightenment for the sake of all living beings). In the well-known text, The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, the 8th Century Indian master Shantideva devotes the longest chapter to the practice of patience because of its importance. But what does this patience involve? Why is it so emphasized on the spiritual path? Join us for an exploration of the perfection of patience, which is needed so desperately now in our increasingly divisive age.
Living with Awareness:: The Four Foundations of Mindfulness
44:41Mindfulness practice has become increasingly popular in recent years, and is being taught not only to Buddhist practitioners in meditation retreats but in every context, from maximum-security prisons to Silicon Valley boardrooms. But what did the Buddha teach about mindfulness, and why is this practice such a fundamental aspect of the path leading to awareness and awakening? The Four Foundations of Mindfulness, mindfulness of the body, the feelings, mind, and phenomena, was taught by the Buddha as a way to gain insight into the nature of reality. Join us for an exploration of this powerful foundational practice, and taste these insights for yourself!
The Art of Forgiveness
40:24Many of us are drawn to the practices of compassion and loving-kindness, but we still struggle with forgiveness of those who have hurt us. What’s the difference between forgiveness and compassion? Why is forgiving so difficult? Does forgiving mean forgetting? Condoning the harmful action? Join us in this discussion of what forgiveness is, what it isn’t, and how to begin the process of forgiveness.