Chapter 6: Love and Happiness
The total absence of desire brings happiness. It also brings freedom and liberation, because whenever something is lacking there are both limits and dependency. Only when nothing at all is lacking is there the possibility of total freedom. Freedom brings happiness. And happiness is salvation.
The desire for total happiness and for ultimate freedom lies dormant in everyone. It is in the form of a seed. It is like a seed that contains a tree within it. In the same way, the fulfillment of man’s ultimate desire is hidden in his very nature. In its perfectly developed state, it is our nature to be happy, to be free. Our real nature is the only thing that is true, and only perfecting it can bring complete satisfaction.
The man who does not seek to fulfill his own nature mistakenly thinks prosperity will alleviate his misery. But material wealth can never fill his inner emptiness. And so, even when a man attains everything possible in the world he still feels that he has missed out on something. His innermost being remains empty. As Buddha once said, “Desire is difficult to fulfill.”
It is strange that no matter what a man may attain he is never satisfied, that even after he has accomplished his goal he yearns for still greater achievements. And so the poverty of beggars and emperors is the same. At this level, there is no difference between them at all.
No matter what gains a man makes in the outer world they are unstable. They can be lost, destroyed at any time, and in the end death claims them. So it is not surprising that one’s inner heart is never fulfilled by these sorts of things, by things that can so easily be taken away. This kind of prosperity will never give a man a sense of security, no matter how strenuously he pursues it. What really happens is that a man has to provide security for the things he has acquired.
It must be clearly understood that outward power and prosperity can never eradicate one’s sense of want, one’s insecurity or one’s fear. Self-deception is the only way to camouflage these feelings. Prosperity is an intoxicant; it hides the reality of life. And this type of forgetfulness is far worse than poverty itself because it prevents a man from doing anything to rid himself of his real poverty.
Poverty is an intoxicant; it hides the reality of life. And this type of forgetfulness is far worse than poverty itself because it prevents a man from doing anything to rid himself of his real poverty. Poverty is not caused by the absence of any material object, nor by the lack of power or prosperity, because even if one becomes rich and powerful it is still there. Do you not see the poverty of those who seem to have everything. Have your burdens ever been lightened by your material possessions?