Good Cheer and Chogyam Trungpa

Ed Halliwell, a Buddhist who writes on health and well-being for the UK Guardian, conjures up the late meditation master (and founder of Shambhala Sun) Chogyam Trungpa in this holiday post on “Reasons to be Cheerful”. (Thanks for the tip, Waylon of Elephant):

“The next week or so will bring most of us a higher-than-usual number of wishes for our “happiness”….

…Whereas the word happiness implies an end state, the result of causes and conditions over which we may have little control, cheerfulness is volitional, a deliberate decision to be good-spirited. Indeed, it may be especially appropriate to rouse “good cheer” at times – such as midwinter – when outer circumstances seem wretched and we are more likely to feel downcast.

The value in distinguishing between ‘happy’ and ‘cheerful’ was underlined by the Tibetan meditation master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Trungpa was hugely influential in bringing Buddhism to the west in the 20th century, not least because of his precise and profound understanding of the English language and his ability to apply it in expounding Buddhist principles. He used to make a point of wishing people a “cheerful birthday” or a “cheerful new year”, emphasising that we can make a decision to connect and identify with our basic wellbeing (also known as Buddha-nature), even when we are in the midst of suffering.” Read the full story here.

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