How are you both doing? I have been going over the homework you gave us to do. You asked us to write down as much of the teaching you gave at the service on 11-7-2010 as we could remember. For both, as part of our learning and to check how well we remember.
Using one word to describe what happiness means to me. As I mentioned at the service, the more I think about it, the more it looks like I do not know what happiness actually is. What I currently think happiness is; are events or objects I am encountering and I am interpreting the experience with either the word good or bad. As you explained in the teaching, you gave about how we compare right away in our mind. It looks like I am applying this way of reaching a conclusion, comparing with a previous similar experience then determining if it is good or bad and if I label it good, it seems I am calling this happiness. So far each thing I thought of, when I wondered what happiness is; ended up being something transient, momentary. It is happiness, but it is happiness found in the mundane. What I should be looking for and trying to actualize is in the super mundane. As you said, real happiness must be experienced and cannot be explained. Like in your example when you asked us to pretend we never tasted sweet before and the glass of sweet water on the shelve. I need to find out what real happiness is in order to know what I am looking for. Is it okay if we can continue to talk about what happiness are in future visits with you?
Along with writing down and thinking about the teachings you gave us. I am also doing the 108 prostrations. Other practices that I do; is meditation on green Tara and I switch it with meditation on the Buddha everyday in the morning. First thing I do when I wake up in the morning is give a small prayer and set my motivation. I do three prostrations then I clean my room. I try to have the attitude that I am preparing for the Buddha, as if he were coming to visit me. During the day I try to study some of Buddha’s teachings in the books you sent us. At night I do purification meditation by visualizing Vajrasattva in the context of the four opponent powers.
Before I close, I want you to know that the brothers and I here in Centinela are very fortunate that you and Shirley have made it possible for us to receive the help we need with our Dharma practice. I send you both many prayers.