Everybody or the majority of people in this world always seek for happiness.

Who needs misery, suffering, or sorrow? Probably nobody, as everybody keeps on saying, “I want happiness, I want happiness, ……” But how to acquire happiness in an easy and effective way?

You will notice that there are 3 words in the topic we are discussing: I – WANT – HAPPINESS.

So, if you can get rid of the word “I”, eradicate the word “Want”, then “Happiness” will come automatically.

I am not joking. But I will show you how it becomes true. How the “Dhamma” can improve your life as well as your mind development.

So, from this point of view, you will see that Dhamma is not a difficult task to learn, it depends on how well you can apply certain techniques to help you understand “Dhamma” easier.

Now, let's talk about “Self” or “I”. Lord Buddha said, “Because you attach too firmly to the “Self” or “I” or “Ego”, in Pali term we call, “Atta”, this is the cause of all sufferings.

Egoism stems from the attachment to “I” or “Self”. People believe that their pride, their fame, and their prestige should not be hurt, and if their selfhood are not respected by other people in a way they should deserve that respect, they are ready to attack back. Take one good example:

Most psychologists believe sex or sexual desire is the most powerful force in human being. What happens if a man decides to have sex with his girl friend, and before they begin, the woman starts criticizing him, using words to look down upon him or berate him, his sexual desire will fade promptly in order to protect his “Ego”. So, egoism is a deeper and more profound force than sexual desire, right?

If I ask one of you to come to the stage and I beat you in front of the audience, of course, the person who was beaten would get hurt. How about the rest of the audience? Do you get hurt? Probably not. Why? Because so long as I do not disturb your “Ego” or your “Self” or your “I”, you feel nothing. Some may think in such a way that so long as you don't beat me, I don't care. Or, if the situation happens with somebody else, I am indifferent. Is this saying correct?

Now, if the person who was beaten is your own child, do you get hurt? Of course yes. Why? Because your mind keeps on telling you that this is my child. You have no right to beat my son. If my son suffers, I do suffer with him though I was not beaten physically or directly by you. Right?

So, you can see the big role of the personal “I” or “Self”? Once it exists firmly in your mind, you will have these feelings: “I must react”, “I will lose”, “I hate you”, etc. All these will lead to actions which will bring about sufferings to you in one way or the other, either at the present moment or at a later time.

Now, let's examine together. Look at your body. It is a combination of something coming from your mother, and something coming from your father. You grow up because of food, milk and all the nutrition you have taken. They form parts of your body. Is there any “Self” or “I” staying in your body?

Now, contemplate on the mind. Your mind has this feeling as a result from this event. And suddenly your mind has another feeling as a result from another event. Think carefully, all the feelings the mind experiences are just the results from this or that event, which are merely an accumulation of the experiences from this and that. Where is the “Self” in the mind then?

Life is composed of the body and mind. And since there is no “I” or “Self” in both your body and mind, why are you still so crazy to attach to “Self” or “I”?

Lord Buddha said, “Everything in the universe and beyond composes of compound factors. If we separate these compounds, say: a car, you will get parts like a wheel, engine, dashboard, braking pedal, etc. And if we further separate them into the smallest part, we find only the elements. So, there is no such thing like a car. If you can realize this “Truth”, you will see that everything or every phenomenon has no intrinsic existence. They cannot be viewed as a set of independent entities by themselves, but they follow the law of interdependence. That's why our perceptions in most of the time are deceptive. And people attach to the man-created words, like a car, a pen, a microphone, etc. This gives them a personal “Self” whenever they possess all these things. And when the things are deprived of from them, suffering comes suddenly.

Hence, if your sense of “Self” or “Egoism” can be totally eradicated, no suffering can exist. Or, if you can make smaller the size of your “Ego”, the lesser suffering you will get in your life.

Now, come to the second word, “WANT”.

To want is to have a desire or need for something. Mind is a mechanism of desiring. Mind is always in desire, always seeking something, asking for something, etc.

Every desire is a barrier to mind liberation, as desire leads to greed, and greed leads to the accumulation of wealth, power and prestige. So, the more you have, the more you suffer because all these material wealth, power or fame will fall away or be departed from you some day.

Then, how to eradicate the “desire”? If you study carefully, to desire means to expect something to come to you in the future to satisfy the “Self” staying in your body and mind. The fulfillment of a desire always comes in the future, but not here and now.

Desire leads into the future, which may turn out to be successful or unsuccessful. As for mind development, the Buddha insists us to have “no desire” in your mind. Why? Because only in “no desire” you will move into reality. But with the “desire”, you move into expectation or even into a dream. And if your expectation or dream does not come true, you feel disappointed and depressed. This is a real suffering.

The present moment is the only door leading to mind liberation. That's why Lord Buddha teaches us to be in a keen awareness, most Thai people prefer to call it “mindfulness” or in Thai “sati” at every moment whether walking, sitting, standing, talking, eating, driving or during the performance of any action. The practitioner must not allow the mind to think of the future nor recall the past as this will distract the mind from the present moment. With the condition of “no-desire”, happiness will come certainly.

If you bear in your mind all the time that desire leads to misery and make this as a fixed program in your mind, when this becomes a realization to you, desiring will disappear.

Or, naturally, the mind can function only one activity at one moment, like thinking, seeing, hearing, etc. It functions one at a time, never two at the same time. But in our daily life, we have the feeling that the mind can perform several functions at a time, like seeing and hearing at the same time. This is because of its super high speed in the function of the mind. Notice the electricity bulb which is lighted all the time, but scientifically it is not. Why? Because the current we are using is the alternate current or AC, which means the current jumps from the positive pole to the negative pole at a speed of 50 rounds per second, which we call 50 Hz. or 50 cycles per second, and with this high speed we have the feeling that the bulb is lighted all the time, which in fact the current is connected and disconnected at a speed of 50 times per second. So, we are deceptive by its very high speed.

Come to the mind, if you can have keen awareness or “sati” in watching the function of the mind by developing your speed of “sati” at more or less the same speed of the mind, you will be fully aware of what is to be going next with the function of the mind before it is too late to allow the mind to start craving or seeking whatever the mind desires. So, “sati” is the only tool to stop the mind from further thinking or seeking which will turn into greed and anger at a later time. Thus, whenever you have “sati”, desire will stop.

In conclusion, if you can get rid of the word “I” and “WANT”, “HAPPINESS” will come to you automatically.