I see many people telling that buddhism restricts the happiness of "gihi" (non clergy) life. What do you think? Does teaching in buddhism ask people to always think of uncertainty?

  • This is a very common mistake, another one also common is: "Do Buddhist don't feel anything and avoid being happy?" Like we are vulcanos (Dr Spock) or something... :)
    – konrad01
    Sep 18, 2014 at 15:44
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    I should note that we discourage asking "what do you think?"-type questions on this site, since the format doesn't lend itself well to discussion. We are more interested in decisive, expert (preferably source-based) answers than subjective opinions. Sep 18, 2014 at 15:44
  • I enjoy my life quite a bit! :-)
    – user698
    Sep 18, 2014 at 17:37
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    @konrad01 Just to clarify, Spock is a Vulcan. Dr. Spock was a pediatrician and author of one of the best selling books of all time. ;-)
    – crthompson
    Sep 18, 2014 at 19:43
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    Lol, of course I was talking about the alien one, I thought he was a doctor too! Anyway, thanks for the explanation, live long and prosper!
    – konrad01
    Sep 18, 2014 at 19:50

4 Answers 4


Welcome to Buddhism.SE!

Anyone who says that is misrepresenting Buddhism completely. The primary goal in Buddhism is the attainment of true happiness. The problem, of course, is that, according to Buddhism, no thing in the universe can bring such happiness. This is what is meant by the concept of uncertainty; not that we should always think of it, but that it is a characteristic inherent in all arisen phenomena.

The good news is that by understanding this reality, we can find true and lasting happiness because we will no longer seek out happiness in that which cannot provide it. We will no longer face disappointment when that which we think of as stable turns out to be unstable; when that which we think of as satisfying turns out to be unsatisfying; and when that which we think of as controllable turns out to be out of our control.

sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā”ti, yadā paññāya passati.
atha nibbindati dukkhe, esa maggo visuddhiyā.

All formations are impermanent. When one sees this with wisdom,
thereupon becoming disenchanted with what is unsatisfying, this is the path of purification.

-- Dhp. 277

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    Good answer Bhante, I used to talk a lot aboud Buddhism until a friend of mine has said to me: "What is hapiness to you is not hapiness to me". Ok, I could argue with that, explaining that his concept of hapiness was clouded by ignorance, I could have talked about the 4 noble truths etc., but I decided that is better to let people live like they want, so we pursue our hapiness, they pursue their hapiness and we will all receive the fruits of what we are working for! :)
    – konrad01
    Sep 18, 2014 at 15:32

Buddhism does not teach that one should abandon happiness. Buddhism teaches that happiness can be divided into three categories: Sensual happiness which is the least happiness, happiness based on concentration which is better, and the happiness of Nibbana, which is the supreme happiness.

Buddhism doesn't ban a lay person from sensual happiness, but teaches that people must avoid certain types of actions which are clearly harmful to ones self or others (for example, killing, stealing, adultery, lying, and taking intoxicants), and for lay people, sensuality that is not clearly destructive are permitted, although moderation is encouraged, and renouncing sensuality entirely is highly encouraged as a superior path towards the higher happiness of Nibbana.


Remember, in the sutra Samyutta Nikaya #35, the Buddha says:

What ordinary folk call happiness, the enlightened ones call dukkha.

Note 'dukkha' means suffering.

All experience, happiness and sadness, is Dukkha. Buddhist's identify with each other through their experience of 'moksha' (or 'liberation') within dukkha (which is also thought of as 'conditioned' existence itself).

As such the ordinary ones are 'deterred' from happiness (or more correctly, taught to think of it as something entriely negative), while the enlightened ones are encouraged to, strangely, also renounce it (depsite calling it 'moksha' or 'liberation'). This may seem paradoxical, but it demonstrates a repeated step-like descending process where all experience is associated with dukkha until one entirely disconnects with conditioned reality and therefore suffering.

The goal is the cessation of suffering, not the occupation of the suffering mind with happiness. This is not a moral activity, and one does not generate bad karma by seeking happiness-dukkha, though a movement away from viewing any experience at all as positive is always rewarded with 'meat' (as it is called). Renouncing the meat as positive causes a chain-reaction, though one usually begins to crave the so called meat and the chain breaks.


The goal of Buddhist is to achieve true happiness. The way to achieve this is changing your perspective and outlook of the world to be in line with reality. All the Buddhist training is geared towards this goal. Bring your outlook of the world inline with reality at the experiential level in order to be able to live happily.

The misery we create is a product of our untrained mind and us not knowing through 1st hand experience the realities of nature. So we have to:

  1. understand the realities at the experiential level
  2. change out outlook and thinking to be inline with the realities so misery or unhappiness does not arise

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