My topic: Ways to achieve happiness.

The religions that I am going to research are Buddhism and Daoism.

My sources:
http://www.pbs.org/edens/thailand/buddhism.htm
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/5minbud.htm
http://www.socwel.ku.edu/candagrant/gallery/hfc-thumbnail/taoism/Taoism%20page.htm

What is the First Noble Truth?
The first truth is that life is suffering i.e., life includes pain, getting old, disease, and ultimately death. We also endure psychological suffering like loneliness frustration, fear, embarrassment, disappointment and anger. This is an irrefutable fact that cannot be denied. It is realistic rather than pessimistic because pessimism is expecting things to be bad. lnstead, Buddhism explains how suffering can be avoided and how we can be truly happy.

  • What is the Second Noble Truth?
The second truth is that suffering is caused by craving and aversion. We will suffer if we expect other people to conform to our expectation, if we want others to like us, if we do not get something we want,etc. In other words, getting what you want does not guarantee happiness. Rather than constantly struggling to get what you want, try to modify your wanting. Wanting deprives us of contentment and happiness. A lifetime of wanting and craving and especially the craving to continue to exist, creates a powerful energy which causes the individual to be born. So craving leads to physical suffering because it causes us to be reborn.

• What is the Third Noble Truth?
The third truth is that suffering can be overcome and happiness can be attained; that true happiness and contentment are possible. lf we give up useless craving and learn to live each day at a time (not dwelling in the past or the imagined future) then we can become happy and free. We then have more time and energy to help others. This is Nirvana.

• What is the Fourth Noble Truth?
The fourth truth is that the Noble 8-fold Path is the path which leads to the end of suffering.

• What is the Noble 8-Fold Path?
In summary, the Noble 8-fold Path is being moral (through what we say, do and our livelihood), focussing the mind on being fully aware of our thoughts and actions, and developing wisdom by understanding the Four Noble Truths and by developing compassion for others."


Daoism:
"Unlike Buddhism, Daoists do not believe that life is suffering. Daoism believes that life is generally happy but that it should be lived with balance and virtue. The two religions often butted heads when both vied to become the official religion of the Imperial Court."
"Thus, the overarching goal of Daoism is to cultivate and balance these energies, and by doing so, to achieve happiness through an embrace of the simplicity and purity of the Dao. The original source of Daoism is said to be the ancient I Ching, or Book of Changes-a work that offers insights about the principles of the cosmos."
"The most common illustration of Taoist belief is the circular Yin Yang figure, which signifies the balance of complementary opposites (shadow or receptivity and light or proactivity). When these facets of life are in harmony, health and well-being are nurtured."
"In the realm of health, all Daoists idealize a simple and harmonious lifestyle which seeks to achieve holism through the balancing of yin and yang. Religious Daoists may also practice magic and supplication to deities related to cultural heroes and native powers in order to promote health and prosperity. A key Daoist concept is wu-wei, or action through inaction. This doctrine urges adherents to harmonize their actions with the flow of life and the natural order of things."

These quotes are saying that there is only one, true goal in Daoism. The ultimate goal is to find peace and serenity by balancing the "energies." These "energies" are the Yin and the Yang figure. It symbolizes good health and prosperity when it is harmonized.

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Introduction:
Happiness can be defined in many ways. In religion, there are many different ways that people express their happiness and there are also many ways that the religion, itself teaches us how to live our lives to achieve happiness. It is displayed in many different aspects and areas of life. The cultures have different interpretations of how to achieve happiness in life. Usually, people turn to a higher power, religion, because they loo for closure and religion provides them with what has been taught is the correct form of living. Happiness in religion can be defined in many different ways. What is overlooked is that "achieving happiness" in religion is however you interpret it. It is how you find peace with yourself and the rest of the world.

Buddhism teach of achieveing enlightenment, or leaving all desires and want - becoming one with the environment and the world. It involves the Noble Truths, or the ways to successfully live your life and become happy and above all, enlightened by the Buddha. The first Nobel Truth expresses all of the things in our lives that teach of sickness and ill mindedness and have negative connotations. This truth tell of how we can avoid suffering in life. The second Noble Truth continues on about how we must overcome and above all avoid suffering and the negativity caused by it. However, this truth speaks of how there are many forms of suffering. This in particular, being carving and desire. If we do this, we cannot become one with the world, cannot achieve happiness, and will keep being reborn until we do. The third Noble Path teaches us that happiness can overcome suffering. To do so, Buddhism explains that we should not dwell on issues that may cloud our vision and that we should live one day at a time, not dwelling on things in the past or the imagined future. By doing this, we have more time to help others and, in turn, become happier ourselves. This is Nirvana. The fourth and final Nobel Path does not teach of anything in particular, but instead inquires about the Noble 8-Fold Path, the way we achieve happiness: "...focussing the mind on being fully aware of our thoughts and actions, and developing wisdom by understanding the Four Noble Truths and by developing compassion for others." The Noble 8-Fold Path teaches of Right View, Right Intention are the first two. They are about becoming wise. The next 3, Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood teach us how to have Ethical Conduct. The final 3 "Rights" of the Noble 8-Fold Path are Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. All of the last three inform us how to properly develop our minds. One can achieve happiness in Buddhism by following these Truths. However, everybody's suffering and happiness can be and is portrayed and embodied differently.


How does one achieve happiness in Daoism? "Unlike Buddhism, Daoists do not believe that life is suffering. Daoism believes that life is generally happy but that it should be lived with balance and virtue. The two religions often butted heads when both vied to become the official religion of the Imperial Court.Thus, the overarching goal of Daoism is to cultivate and balance these energies, and by doing so, to achieve happiness through an embrace of the simplicity and purity of the Dao. The original source of Daoism is said to be the ancient I Ching, or Book of Changes-a work that offers insights about the principles of the cosmos. The most common illustration of Taoist belief is the circular Yin Yang figure, which signifies the balance of complementary opposites (shadow or receptivity and light or proactivity). When these facets of life are in harmony, health and well-being are nurtured."
These quotes are saying that there is only one, true goal in Daoism. The ultimate goal is to find peace and serenity by balancing the "energies." These "energies" are the Yin and the Yang figure. It symbolizes good health and prosperity when it is harmonized.


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In every religion, there is guidelines or a path to follow so that one may be happy. I understand that all of these religions in the world today have a different way of showing how that previous is achieved. Although that this apparent in most, if not all religions, what I think is not apparent is how the people themselves, each individual achieves that happiness and how they overcome their obstacles. What also should be more apparent is that any way you go about, any way you achieve that happiness, any mindset, however you do it, if you have good intentions, then the god or deity that is praised will accept you and forgive you for any of your wrongdoings.

Citations:
Buddhism: An Introduction." PBS.com. PBS, 12 2004. Web. 16 Nov 2012. <http://www.pbs.org/edens/thailand/buddhism.htm>.

White, B. (1993). What is buddhism?. Retrieved from http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/5minbud.htm

Dybicz, P. (1998). Toaism. Retrieved from http://www.socwel.ku.edu/candagrant/gallery/Mainpage.htm