Saturday, October 9, 2010

Are Buddhists always happy?

I was surfing the other day found this Venn diagram:

It’s based on Google’s search as can be seen to the left. And that got me to thinking, why do people think Buddhists are always happy?

I blame this guy:

His name is Tenzin Gyatso, better known as the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism (kind of like the Pope to Catholics). A Google image search will turn up ZERO pictures of this guy with anything but a smile on his face.

I think people believe Buddhists are always happy because when thinking about Buddhists, people think about monastics. As in, live in a monastery and protected from the pressures of everyday life. Sure, if we could all just focus on our spiritual practice and not have to worry about anything else, we’d all be smiling too.
People also assume that all Buddhists are somehow magically endowed with calm and peace of mind. What people fail to realize is there are very few of those Buddhists around. Most of us struggle through life like everyone else. We have to deal with job pressure, family life, mortgages, braces, flat tires, traffic, etc. And like everyone else, we deal with those things in varying degrees of calm.

Psst: a secret. Buddhists are human. Buddhists have emotions. Buddhists are not always happy.

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