The ultimate source of all happiness or misery is the individual mind. Individual happiness is essential for the happiness of society, and the happiness of society means the happiness of the nation; happiness of nations, in turn, leads to the happiness of the world.
We may live in this world quite happily if we are not attached to it by foolish desire. We are in it, but we must not be of it, at least not to such an extent as to let it cause worry, trouble and sorrow.
The physical source of happiness, such as wealth, name, fame, social position and popularity, are merely temporary sources of happiness; whereas happiness attained through the culture of the mind is real and enduring.
When we are less advanced spiritually it is the material and emotional pleasure and happiness that appeals to us most, and unfortunately some of us never try to get out of this rut. When we grow older, however, we realize that it is moral or spiritual happiness that is the genuine highest happiness, because it is real and lasting.
If a person cannot find happiness within himself, he will not be able to find it anywhere else.
A genuine smile or laughter is always accompanied by pleasure, otherwise one will not smile or laugh. However, there is a bad or ugly side of smiling or laughter, which is when the ordinary person does it because of getting something he wants. The good side, on the other hand, the profitable side, is when he smiles and is happy because of giving something to someone, not for gaining something.
In every case our happiness is rendered more intense and more permanent by being shared with friends; therefore the best way to be happy is to make others happy too. We should do everything we can for the sake of others-in short, whatever we do, whatever thought we think, whatever word we utter should be for the good, peace and happiness of not only ourselves, but others. The result of such actions is peace, happiness and friendship.
Since everything in the world is subject to impermanence, there can be no true and lasting happiness in the material things of the world. This would be a most pessimistic outlook were it not for the fact that there is a way out, a real happiness beyond the material, which changes it to a realistic and optimistic outlook. Culture is the answer; culture not necessarily of the body but of the mind, and further, of the higher moral nature, to achieve Nibbana.
Nations, families, friends, quarrel with each other. We talk about peace, yet we create confusion; we long for happiness, yet we obtain unhappiness, why? Because we are like logs carried helplessly along by the currents of greed, hatred and ignorance. If we are to revive the sense of a common humanity and find happiness, we must step outside these currents.