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November 28, 2012

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The problem with Western Dharma centers and Buddhism books authored by many (not all) Western monks and nuns is they focus on the search for "happiness", not pure Mind or awakening. There is no such thing as happiness per se and people are just making themselves more miserable looking for it. It's a pointless search. What happens is that people go sit in a retreat and developed a sitting meditation practice, then they feel calmer (which is a normal thing). But after that, what? They are stuck with the same vague feeling of discomfort, discontentment, emptiness, alienation, etc.

Sad commentary, but an accurate description of the state of affairs in mainline Buddhism today. A good example of this are the writings of Pema Chödrön--the guru-nun whose work reeks of self-help techniques.

Well, at least in the Pali canon texts the Buddha is often met teaching ways to conventional happiness to those not quite capable of renunciation. That is householders and other samsaric types.

But then, maybe he was just blattering to simpletons to pass the time...

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