Is happiness something we should seek? I feel discontent seeking the state of happiness or creating this state of mind when I know that other beings are suffering. For example, if one knows that animals are being slaughtered inhumanely to satisfy the desire of greed and glutony, then how can one conciously feel happy with this in one's mind? I cannot simply ignore this. There are many examples of these bad acts in many forms.

What is the right mindfullness and how should I perceive these bad acts as a buddhist?

  • 1
    I just read this short article and it might have something helpful for you in it on this topic. buddhismnow.com/2012/08/17/compassion-without-drowning
    – Robin111
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 12:29
  • I would tend to think that a good first step is to redefine the way you indulge judgment. For example, you are classifying these as "bad" acts, when they are simply acts. Yes, they violate a rule, but they ultimately have a purpose: they are extensions of our survival mechanisms. But outside of a context of survival, they're not very useful. So we should overcome them so that we don't waste so much energy on them. Thus, while less beneficial, none of these is inherently "bad".
    – Vishwa Jay
    Commented Nov 22, 2014 at 10:17

3 Answers 3


As a Buddhist you should seek your happiness while working towards the happiness of others. Feeling bad is a self-indulgent activity done to justify inaction.

There is nothing selfish about being happy in the face of suffering, provided you are doing something to help address this suffering. For instance, you mention the suffering of animals. Very well, what are you doing about it? Are you a Vegan? Are you encouraging Veganism? Do you contribute or volunteer at any related causes?

If you aren't doing something to address the issue, then ask why. Why do nothing to materially fix the world (which benefits the suffering), yet go to such great lengths to make yourself unhappy (which benefits no one and adds to the suffering of the world -- you). Could it be that this "feeling bad" is a way of feeling better about not helping?

The mind often throws barriers to the path, and sometimes the best thing you can do is see through these barriers by asking what is REALLY going on.

So the Buddhist path is to seek your happiness while working towards the benefit of others. The right mindfulness component of this is to scrutinize your thoughts in this regard, in particular the thoughts propping up this "guilt".


You have to train your mind to to be immune to external stimuli through Vipassana. This means that what every decision you take is not clouded by emotions. Keeping you mind in balance and judgement un clouded you can take action about things you can influence. E.g. if you see an injustice which you can correct you can take a action. This is not based on anger towards the party doing the injustice which would be the normal case.

Also happiness is something you should actively seek, but this you cannot do unless in a very high stage of meditation. You should look an any unconformable sensations in body and mind and dissolve them a way by bringing strong attention to these sensations. That is you should calm your metal and bodily fabrications. The natural outcome of this is you become happy. Also see: Matt Killingsworth: Want to be happier? Stay in the moment


If it's any consolation to you, I imagine that other animals eat each alive without any help from humans.

"Slaughtered (1) inhumanely (2) in third world countries (3) to satisfy the desire of greed and glutony (4) by humans (5)" is a specific example of a more general situation.

I'm not sure that you can control the world, to make it to your liking. You can perhaps control yourself: you yourself can abstain from killing, for example.

While you do what you can, perhaps the Middle Way suggests that you extend to yourself the same compassion which you would extend to others: if you want others to be happy, if you think "may they be happy" then perhaps you should be willing to extend that same compassion to yourself: "may I be happy".

Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.

(Dhp 5)

I think that Buddhist are supposed to be "motivated" by compassion ... but may also feel equanimity.

Some Buddhists work with (or found) an animal shelter.

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