It is common to assume the happiness of this life is more important that the happiness of future lives, but if we consider more carefully we shall see that the happiness of future lives must be more important because the happiness of this life is brief whereas future lives are many and long. We work so hard and put so much effort into securing happiness for ourself later on this this life, but it makes more sense to work as hard as we can to prepare for future lives. We are certain to experience these, whereas the future of this life is very uncertain. We make plans for our holidays and years of retirement, and yet our future lives may come sooner. Our future life is not very far away. We do not have to travel great distances or climb high mountains to find it, for only one breath separates us from it. As soon as our breath fails our future life has begun.
If somebody were to ask us ‘Which do you think is more worthwhile, immediate happiness that is short-lived, or future happiness that is long lasting?’ we would all choose future long-lasting happiness. Therefor, if we are wise, we shall understand how important it is to ensure the welfare of our future lives.
We do not like to think about death and sickness and the problems and pains of this life, and we regard these as the greatest dangers. However, Buddha said that losing our moral discipline is much more dangerous than dying, because our death destroys only this present life whereas the actions we commit when we lose our moral discipline endanger all our future lives. In his Advice, Venerable Atisha says:
‘Since future lives last for a very long time, gather up riches to provide for the future’
Atisha’s advice is to practice giving and moral discipline, which are the main causes of higher rebirth. These are the best insurance policies for future happiness. Both the young and the old need to take this advice to heart.
The actual methods for gaining the happiness of higher states of existence are:
- Going for refuge, the gateway to Buddhadharma
- Gaining conviction in the law of karma, the root of all good qualities and happiness.
Enjoy this Kadampa Video on finding happiness and avoiding discouragement: