Introduction to Philosophy/Zen Buddhism
Zen Buddhism states that in order to live a happy life, one needs to be free from unimportant desires, and focus more on 'important' aspects of life, such as nature, children, etc. Thich Nhat Hanh, a highly respected Zen Buddhist monk, noted that in order to be truly happy, one needs to have the ability to derive pleasure from any experience. An example he gave involved appreciating a toothache. He stated that "Suffering from your toothache you get enlightened: you say: "It’s wonderful not to have a toothache." So, how to enjoy your non-toothache? Just remember the time when you had a toothache. Suffering plays a very important role in helping you to be happy. That is why even what you call suffering, loneliness, meaninglessness, sadness, fear and despair can be wonderful, because it is thanks to them that you have an opportunity to discover what freedom, stability, friendship, interbeing and love are.1"
Thich Nhat Hanh also taught that one should be happy with what they have, and appreciate their well-being in order to ever achieve true happiness.
Reference and further reading
- Zen Buddhism at Wikipedia.