He was recognized, at the age of 16, by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama as the 6th reincarnation of Hor Choeje Rinpoche of Eastern Tibet, and received extensive training in the traditional Tibetan Buddhist method of listening, contemplation and meditation.
Za Choeje Rinpoche Special Interview Vol.4
Listen to Interview
Part 5 : Happiness is different from pleasure
――How can people be happy? What is happiness?
Rinpoche: That will take…, to answer that maybe it will take many days. Maybe a lifetime.
Life after life, maybe in our past lives we didn’t learn it. In this life, we are still not learning it. Maybe you will not learn in the next life also.
So I think it’s a big question. Happiness.
What is happiness? Basically happiness is not a pleasure. You know, we always think that happiness is pleasure.
Or some kind of like… always… what do you call… being in the La La Land – always laughing and singing.
And happiness is not always that. Happiness is kind of satisfaction. Contentment.
That kind of contentment can be kind of like… for example, we taste the happiness when we appreciate something. When we feel grateful of something or anything.
When you are feeling grateful, what are you feeling?
“I’m grateful for this.” “I really appreciate this.”
So that time, there is a feeling. And that feeling is happiness.
And it is not actually pleasure. But it is just something that is like contentment.
But we have a misunderstanding that people think that happiness is always kind of like pleasure.
So people often mistake happiness with kind of like laughing and kind of partying and then just shouting, you know.
They think that is the only happiness. But happiness is not necessarily that way.
You can be happy. You can be content. Even… for example, that is like this mental state. It’s not really a physical state.
Like… mentally if you are content, you can be happy anywhere. Even though if you don’t have anything.
Like all the good things or whatever like material things that we don’t have it if someone has a mental contentment, then you know, that is happiness.
So happiness is not about to really about physical pleasure. It is more of a mental state.
Like your mind state is just kind of like… your mind is totally open.
I always say this is kind of like “Daijobu (Okay)” state.
Your mind actually says “Daijobu” – “it’s okay.”
That is an expression of happiness. “Daijobu” – “I’m okay.”
You know your mental state is like “I’m okay” kind of mental state. That is kind of contentment.
Sometime you see the Buddha doing like this. This is the okay sign. Universal okay symbol. He will be like teaching like this.
So somehow maybe that’s what I interpret. Okay? That’s not in the spiritual texts.
So personally when I see the Buddha doing like this I’m thinking like “okay, he’s saying ‘Daijobu’ Okay”.
So if you get into that state, if you really truly feel and think that I’m okay, that is happiness.
Living with open mind and open heart
――How are you going to live from now on?
Rinpoche: I think I’m already living what I want to live, so I will just maintain.
Just kind of important thing. I learned how to live with the open mind, open heart. And that opening doesn’t have any limit.
My mind is open. My heart is open. And so I will keep it open. Then just keep opening and opening it because that opening doesn’t have any limit.
It’s just because the sky is the limit. You know, I can open and open and open just like the universe doesn’t have any limitation.
So I will just, you know, keep my mind and heart open open open all the time.