What is Dharma and How Can It Make You Happy?

What is Dharma? The word Dharma literally translates to the word “Duty” or “Purpose”. In Hinduism it is the sacred way of how a person should live, in Buddhism, it is the Law and Order of Things. But for sentient beings, Dharma is equivalent of our meaning and purpose in our current state. It is our mission in this lifetime.

Dharma and Happiness

Many think that following rules can be constricting. They think of Dharma or Duty as something that removes their freedom, on the contrary, Dharma is what gives everyone freedom and total happiness. It is the driving force of life, that once you discover it, it will lead you to success and achievement.

The essense of Dharma is this. We are all unique. We are all different from another and that is our gift. Our uniqueness gives us a special place in this world. Dharma basically states that is our goal and duty to find out what is our special gift and use it to help others live a better life.

But how can this make us happy? Happiness truly comes when we have been able to go beyond ourselves and own little world and be able to help others achieve happiness. Have you ever helped someone and felt really good after? That is how Dharma works.

Samsara on the other hand, is suffering, and holds us back, so this is something we should seek to avoid.

Achieving Happiness Through Dharma

Dharma states that one must be true to one’s self in order for you to follow you purpose and calling in life. Without being true, you will be unable to follow your Dharma. You to have a purpose aligned to who you truly are in order to be successful and happy.

Achieving success does not mean riches, it means being contented and smiling evey night as you lay on your bed to sleep because you did your life’s calling.

How do you achieve happiness through Dharma?

1. Know yourself – You have to know who you are. You have to embrace every bit of you and not be ashamed of where you came from and what you’ve been through. You need to know your roots as well. Know where your parents and grandparents came from. Know your community. Know the people around you.

After knowing your family and your heritage, you need to know your soul. You need to know how your heart beats. You need to know your strengths and weaknesses. You need to know what makes you tick. And then use this. Use your core to fire your engine.

2. Be yourself – Stop being a follower and start being yourself. Forget the labels. Forget what social media asks you to be. Forget what others say. Know who you are and embrace it. No one else can be you so go ahead and be you, just YOU AND NO ONE ELSE. Don’t pretend and follow the crowd. Don’t crave for attention. Let go of your ego and the self image you think you need. Just be yourself.

3. Use your talents – You have many gifts. Use them. Combine them and best of all share them. Your talents are the Universe’s gift to you. Do not waste these gifts. Every morning, wake up and tell yourself “I will use my talents today”. Talents are like plants, they weither when they are not nurtured.

You talents can take you places. It can help you find people who also have similar talents. It can also help you those who don’t have the same talent but need your helpt for something.

4. Know your purposeEverything in this Universe has a purpose. Everything you see has a role and meaning. The planets are places in their cradles in space for a reason. You have a purpose in life. The moment you know what this purpose is, is the time you have truly found your Dharma. Hear this call. Live life towards your purpose and help others alsot to achieve theirs.

Dharma and Life

Life is complex. It is a wheel that turns. We are spokes on a wheel. If we know which way to go, we will be able to move well with life, fight your purpose and you’ll be twisted broken and bent. Live according to your Dharma and be happy.


The Ten Paramitas (Perfections) of Buddhism

buddhaBeing a Buddhist entails living a life towards becoming enlightened. You want to be free from suffering and desire. You also want other sentient beings to be free from the pain of life and to receive goodness. But while living in this current existence, there are teachings or Dharmas to be followed.

The Ten Paramitas or Perfections are the acts that people need to do in order to live a life of example and in order to attain enlightenment and assist others towards this path. The Ten Paramitas are simple truths that anyone can apply in his or her life to live with kindness, gentleness and purity.

What are The Ten Paramitas?

The Ten Paramitas are the teachings that are guidelines in our day to day existence. They help us to be kind and respectful to all life. They allow us to be more gentle and not hurtful. Unlike other commandments of other schools of thought and religions, these teachings are not harsh but rather useful in our current life

These are:

1. Generosity

2. Morality

3. Renunciation

4. Wisdom

5. Energy

6. Patience

7. Truthfulness

8. Determination

9. Loving-kindness

10. Equanimity



The path towards being enlightened means being able to help others even though we barely have enough for ourselves. We need to help others as much as we can. We need to go out of our ways to assist those who are hungry and alone. And this does not only apply to just humans but also other sentient beings such as stray cats and dogs, birds and other animals.


Living a moral life means being able to live a life free from desires and show good acts. It means for us to have integrity and do the right thing even if no one is watching us. Morality is doing and ensuring the right thing is done. To be moral means to be always honest; it means not seeking one’s own benefit alone.


Renunciation is to renounce everything that is worldly and does not benefit the path of enlightenment. It means not taking in intoxicating drinks. It means staying away from things that may cause you to feel greed, anger, desire and hate towards others. Renunciation also means to let go of the attachment to this world. To let go of life and desiring to live, but rather living in the way of the path towards enlightenment.

Wisdom (Pradjna)

Wisdom is the ability to hold discernment in your heart. It is the power to properly decide in times of confusion. It is the way of choosing the right path over the easy one. Wisdom is the ability to think first before acting or speaking.

Energy (Prana)

Our energy is the one that runs our body. It is the one that allows us to work and act and love with our whole being. Without proper energy, we will be unable to live a life which is an example of the ways of Buddha.

There are times that we devote our energies into the wrong things, causing us to burn out. This is because if fuel a fire and let it burn without us properly attending it, it may consume us. We need to focus our energys to the right things. These things are the acts and ways and thoughts of enlightenment.


One of the sacred teachings of Buddhism is to always be amiable and patient. It means for us to be more accepting of others. It means not losing our tempers on little things. It also means allowing kindness in our hearts and helping those who can never repay us. Patience gives us a light heart in the times of toil and hard work.


The path of enlightenment is the path of honesty and not of lies. Truthfulness means being a witness and saying the right words no matter what the cost is. It means allowing our tongues to only declare what is real. This virtue allows us to be able to freely live without the burden of lies. Observe your heart when you lie and observe it when you say the truth, don’t you see the difference?


Determination is the ability to work hard and attain the goals set for our spirit as well as the goals of living. It is the ability to stand firm and walk in the path of achieving spiritual freedom no matter how difficult it is.

Determination is also useful in our daily lives as we toil in our fields and work in our offices. It helps us to attain our dreams and aspirations.

Loving – Kindness

One of the most important teachings of Buddhism is Loving – Kindness. It is not only a Paramita, but also a Brahma Viharas or the Four Sublime States. Loving – Kindness is the type of love which is always gentle and meek. It is not self-seeking, but rather giving and kind. It only seeks the welfare of the ones loved. Loving – Kindness is also the way we should treat all sentient beings. It is the path of gentleness to those people and beings considered as nothings of the society.


This is the teaching that asks us to treat all with equality. That we should treat all beings with kindness and gentleness. That we should serve all others. Equanimity asks us to be helpful to not just humans but also animals and to treat them as our equals.

Following the Paramitas

The Ten Paramitas are very simple teachings and traits that any man, woman or child can live by. Through meditation, acts of kindness and working towards enlightenment we can achieve perfection. The teachings of the Paramitas help us to live in this modern day with the heart of a noble Buddha.

Why Are Buddhists Vegetarian?

vegetarian foodMany people equate Buddhism to vegetarianism. Buddhists believe that life is sacred and that killing sentient beings is unjust. For many religions and even people, choosing vegetarianism is the way to live a more peaceful life. By avoiding meat, vegetarians avoid spreading violence.

Are Buddhists vegetarian? Well the answer is not all of them. There are different schools of Buddhism. One of them is the Mahayana and the other one is the Theravada. The former believes that people should follow a strict vegetarian diet while the other one does not. The Mahayanas believe that partaking in food that has animals in it contributes to suffering of sentient beings. On the other hand. The Theravadists believe that since Buddha himself ate meat, that it is allowable to eat meat as well. For them, they follow the teachings in Nipata Sutta, where it says that immorality and evil stems from impure thoughts, feelings and spirit and not from consuming meat. Buddha has also mentioned to avoid only certain types of meat. Thus it means some meat are allowable

To Be a Vegetarian or Not?

Many people choose the vegetarian or even vegan lifestyle in order to be healthier or even be a better person. They believe that if we start with ourselves, then we can spread the life of non-violence. Many vegetarian people think that that eating meat causes pain and suffering and thus should be avoided at all costs. They also say that it is a healthier choice since some meat cause cancer.

On the other hand, meat eaters or omnivores argue that eating meat is a healthy choice. They believe that meat provides us with better protein than what vegetables or plants do. They also argue that other animals eat other animals; much like a lion eats a zebra. This basically supports their claim to eating meat. For the Theravadists, they will eat meat, as long as they were not the one who directly killed the animal. They believe that harvesting plants also causes pain and thus is no different from buying butchered meat.

Benefits of Vegetarianism

vegetarian food

Vegetarianism has many benefits. Aside from non-violence being a vegetarian can help you in a lot of ways. Many people who are trying to lose weight and keep the pounds off resort to being vegetarians. Aside from having a whole dose of vitamins and minerals, vegetables also contain protein. Studies find that certain vegetables like soy, broccoli, cauliflower may carry higher amounts of protein than meat.

Fruits also contain antioxidants that help ward off aging. Vegetable, fruits and grains have fiber that help fight cancer and promote a healthy digestion. Fruits and vegetable are also cheaper to produce and are easier to digest.

Benefits of Eating Meat

Meat is high in protein and zinc. Zinc an help fight of infection and diseases. Meat is also a good source of amino acids. The amino acids coming from meat is very similar to what the human DNA has and need. Meat such as fish also has Omega 3 Fatty Acids which is good for the brain and heart.

On the other hand, red meat may cause cancer if consumed too much. Moderation is key. Processed meat is also not advisable.

Buddhism and Peace

Gautama Buddha set out to be enlightened through the path of peace and love. He wanted to spread goodness in everyone. Ethical treatment of animals is needed in order for them to live a happy life even though they will later on die to serve man as food.

Eating meat is a personal choice. Not all Buddhists are vegetarians. Being a vegetarian has it’s pros and cons but if you feel that you will become a better person by not eating meat, then by all means do so. On the other hand, if you are a good person, care for animals but still eat meat, I don’t think you are evil. Peace comes from the heart. Buddhists and non Buddhists can learn from animals to take only what is needed and not more.

Buddhism in Your Everyday Life


Whenever we say Buddhism we picture men in yellow and orange robes peacefully chanting mantras and meditating. We think of peaceful bell sounds and Buddha beads. We think of another plane that is filled with utter melodious convocations and world which is not the same as the world we live in. We forget that Buddhism and spirituality is also about living a life that shows one’s faith and dedication. It should manifest in our day to day activities so that we may one day achieve Nirvana.

How Do I Use Buddhism and Mindfulness in My Daily Life?

People who come into Buddhism normally seek peace and tranquility in their lives. They long for balance in the everyday chaos that we call life. A lot of people who walk in the Buddhism ways think that they can only achieve total peace once they are no longer in this realm. But this is wrong. As I have read from one Vietnamese Buddhist teacher who said that “One may walk on water, one may walk in space but the greatest of all is to walk on earth”. This means that we cannot just simply detach ourselves from the whole world. We cannot lock ourselves all day in our houses and throw away the key or worse go into total isolation. Isolation may be for some but not for all.

Allot a Time for Meditation – Being mindful and kind needs concentration and contemplation. We must have self-awareness in order for our bodies and minds to be able to manifest kindness into this world. As we eat every day to feed our physical self, we must also meditate in order to feed our souls. A lot of people would say, “I am so busy, how can I ever make time to meditate?”. But even if you are the busiest person in the world, you can carve even a few minutes to meditate. Meditation and prayer is a must. If we are unable to meditate then we risk living life as if we are sleep walking.

10-40 minutes total a day is ideal for someone who is very busy. However if you can at least do 5 minutes in the morning then it would do you wonders. Even for people who are not Buddhists, setting aside a time to reflect is a great way to relieve stress. When you meditate, do not multitask. This is not meditation at all. Do not think about your work, your bills or your problems. Try to empty your mind. Listen to meditative music. Emptying one’s mind may be difficult but with practice you can do it.

Create Beautiful Mornings – Most of us wake up in a hurry. We feel we are running out of time and rush to get out of bed, shower and go. We curse at the traffic light or the crowded train. This in turn affects our work. It stresses us out because we always feel that we have no time for anything. We dread the morning because we dread the rush it brings. One of the most important things we need to remember is to wake up and take a few minutes to breathe and meditate. This may mean waking up a bit earlier. This may mean not spending too much time on Facebook at night; scrolling mindlessly as we read the random posts there. We need to learn how to manage our time so that we can wake up feeling refreshed. Not rushing in the morning allows us to transition through the day with ease.

Begin the day with some tea and meditate. Chant your mantras and do breathing exercises. Allow your soul to slowly open up to the world. As little as five minutes of meditation in the morning can help you combat stress at work. It is also important to remember your purpose in life: you must be able to bring more peace into everyone else, you must not harm anyone.


Chant Your Mantras When You are Stressed – A lot of us break down when we are stressed. We become hurtful to others and to ourselves. We speak hurtful words and become antagonistic. We must remember the goal of our existence, to help others to achieve peace. Once we feel stressed we may chant our Mantras to calm our minds and souls. We can do so quietly or in a soft voice. We must follow the sacred teachings and imbibe the Dharma in our everyday lives. Dharma is the way of Buddha; the natural law of the cosmos that we should follow.

We Must Help Others – “No man is an island” as a famous saying goes. One of the greatest Dharma or duties is to serve others. We must fulfill this in order to rid the world of suffering and pain. There is so much suffering around us. If we do not reach out to others and just live a life of holiness, then what is the sense of it? We must feed the homeless and visit the sick and the ones in jail. But we must also help the people we see in our day to day lives. We must help our officemates, our classmates and even those we hate. We must treat each other fairly and equally.

Buddhism is not just a religion, it is a way of life. Just like Gautama Buddha who left his life of riches we too must surrender our pride. We can still live a normal lives, but we must live in a mindful and peaceful way. We need to plant the seeds of love, friendship, hope and truth in this world. The current world is full of pain and sorrow. Many people rush in and out of their daily life forgetting why we are alive. We must never succumb to the demands of this money driven society. It is our sacred duty to be a symbol of goodness to others.

I hope that these words have inspired you to live a life that shows that Buddhism is useful and beneficial to our day to day existence.



Videos From the Buddhism Conference

Here are some of the best videos from the Conference.  I’ve really enjoyed watching them and I hope you do too, there is much that can be learned from these excellent videos.

2010 ICTB Opening Session with Keynote Address by His Holiness the Dalai Lama from Carol Beck on Vimeo.



Translating the Dharma from Carol Beck on Vimeo.



Tibetan Buddhism and Social Engagement from Carol Beck on Vimeo.

Surviving Modernity in Traditionally Tibetan Buddhist Regions from Carol Beck on Vimeo.



Tibetan Buddhism’s Encounter with Modern Science from Carol Beck on Vimeo.



Tibetan Buddhism in Modern Western Culture from Carol Beck on Vimeo.

The Tenets of Tibetan Buddhism

photographer: linda rosendahl
photographer: linda rosendahl

Buddhism originated in India and made its way to Tibet in the 6th century where it became the official religion. It was eventually combined with the Bon religion which was Tibet’s original “official” religion to form what is now known as Tibetan Buddhism.

The Dalai Lama the spiritual leader of a sect of Tibetan Buddhism (there are four) lives in exile because of the Chinese occupation of this country, however he is recognized the world over as the true leader of the Tibetan people. He encourages the people of Tibet to hold true to the religious tenets of Buddhism even when faced with so much struggle and strife. Many people turn to Buddhism when they experience spiritual awakening symptoms, as a way to progress the feelings that they are having.

The Basics of Buddhism

In the Buddhist tradition there are several main principles that we believe, although there are four main schools of thought and all the schools do not share the same idea. The basic principles are the same in all four school of thoughts.

We all believe that Buddha was a man that left his luxurious home and discovered the four main principles of life. He spent years and years meditating and becoming something greater that what he was. He became enlightened which is our highest calling. The term “Buddha” means enlightened.

Not all Buddhists believe in reincarnation, some believe in rebirth. There is a difference between the two. While reincarnation is simply the soul moving from one host to the next and rebirth is the karmic energy passing from one life to the next whether that life form is a house fly, a human, a bird or other form of life. Rebirth is a much more complex concept than reincarnation.

Some Buddhists may believe in the power of the mind, not just for healing and calmness, but also for its psychic ability.

All four sects of practicing Buddhist from Tibet can agree that doing no harm to any form of life is the only way to reach Nirvana. We also agree that we are all potential Buddha’s. We all have the ability to reach Nirvana (the ultimate peace) with the right practices.

The Three Jewels

As Buddhist we trust our spiritual growth to three main entities. We accept that Buddha is the perfect teacher and follow his writings. The Dharma (Buddha’s holy teachings) are the path to enlightenment and the Lamas, ordained and the Tulkus can help us along on our path to awakening.

These three beliefs are called “the Three Jewels” in our religion.

Karma and the Four Noble Truths

It can be hard to understand Buddhism if you have never been exposed to the belief system. While most religions in the world focus on the worship of one God or deity we focus on the positive and negative energy or our own lives.

Buddha recognized that life is suffering with the greatest suffering being death. The goal is a happy life to achieve that happy life the mind and body have to work as one. In other words while in Christian, Muslim or Jewish religion the God punishes in Buddhism the negative actions like stealing and killing is not prompted by a God but by our own choices. Those choices can either lead to a good path or a bad path. In every action there is a reaction and we ourselves control those things.

Karma is the payback so to speak. If you do not correct your deeds in this life than you will likely pay for them in the next.  Sometimes those wishing to know more about their karmic path will try a past life regressions session, or have their numerology paths worked out for them. Not everyone agrees that these methods are effective, but if you do want to try it you may wish to check out these recommended psychic email readings.

What are the Four Noble Truths?

The four noble truths that Buddha discovered are:

  1. This is Suffering
  2. The Causes of Suffering
  3. Nirvana
  4. The 8 Noble Paths to Nirvana

Life is full of psychic suffering (although suffering is not really a true translation of the word Dukkha which is what the sacred text describes). Suffering is seen in our lives everyday, things like frustration, feelings of not being satisfied with our lives and stress.

Although this may sound very negative it is actually a positive to recognize the causes of suffering and the goal of reaching Nirvana by recognizing the causes of suffering and the human condition.

The 8 Noble Paths are a list of ways to find true happiness by practicing everyday these tenets:

  1. Correct Thoughts
  2. Correct Speech
  3. Correct Actions
  4. Correct Livelihood
  5. Correct Understanding
  6. Correct Effort
  7. Correct Mindfulness
  8. Correct Concentration


We are taught how to properly attempt the 8 Noble Paths. We believe that practicing these paths everyday will lead to a truly peaceful psychic and spiritual existence, Nirvana.


In Tibetan Buddhism meditation plays a big role in how we live our lives. The last three Noble paths focus on meditation and getting in the right mind set through meditation. We meditate on the 8 Freedoms and 10 Endowments often which describe god fortune like I am living as a human, I have the choice to choose, basically we focus on the good and righteous. We also spend a lot of time thinking about death which can take us at any moment.

There are many misconceptions about Tibetan Buddhism hopefully this writing has shed some light on the practices of Buddhism.