What is happiness? In our daily life we constantly experience happiness and unhappiness, but we are still quite ignorant as to what happiness really is. You can be financially secure and married and still be unhappy, you can have social recognition and many awards and still be unhappy.

You need to realize that the secret of happiness lays in building a strong inner self that no trial or hardship can ruin. You cannot get happiness just from simply having a formal education, wealth, or marriage. It begins with having the strength to confront and conquer one’s own weaknesses. Only then does it become possible to lead a truly happy life and enjoy a successful marriage.

I can say with confidence that happiness does not exist in the past or in the future, but within our state of life right now, here in the present, as we face the challenges of daily life.

Happiness is not a life without problems, but rather the strength to overcome the problems that come our way. There is no such thing as a problem-free life; difficulties are unavoidable. How we experience and react to our problems depends on us. Our vitality- the amount of energy or “life-force” we have – is in fact the single most important factor in determining whether or not we are happy.

However much you try, you can never run away from yourself and if you are weak, suffering will follow you wherever you go. You will never find happiness if you don’t challenge your weaknesses and change yourself from within. I believe that a person who is active and free from fear is truly happy.

Now that we’re getting to the core of happiness, you must understand that there are two types of happiness – “relative” and “absolute”.

Relative happiness is happiness that depends on things outside ourselves: friends and family, surroundings, your home or family income, etc. This kind of happiness shatters easily when external conditions alter.

Absolute happiness, on the other hand, is something we must find within by establishing a state of life in which we are never defeated by trials and where just being alive is a source of great joy and cannot be destroyed by any external forces. It is eternal and inexhaustible.

A person with a vast heart is happy. Such a person lives each day with a broad and embracing spirit. A person with a strong will is happy. Such a person can confidently enjoy life, never defeated by suffering. A person with a profound spirit is happy. Such a person can savor life’s depths while creating meaning and value that will last for eternity. A person with a pure mind is happy. Such a person is always surrounded by refreshing breezes of joy.          – Daisaku Ikeda


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