Intrinsic Happiness and Zen; Yoga and “Horsey-Rides”


While messing around on the computer (writing my thesis, actually) I watched my daughter (15 months) roll out a mat and set down a pillow.  She then started imitating some yoga poses.  When I layed down next to her and imitated the pose that she was doing, she took the opportunity to climb on my back and have her first horsey ride.  Not much balance but she was having fun.

This event brought back to mind comments from an earlier post on the elephant journal:

My feeling is that, at least in Zen and Tibetan Buddhism (the tradition I was trained in, along with this thing called Shambhala), the experience of Divine Union and ecstatic bliss and, more generally, happiness—needs to come out of being fully present, or “extra-ordinary” as Trungpa Rinpoche put it. You can’t shortcut your way there, whether through drugs of amateur hour kirtan (as opposed to folks who know what they’re chanting) or what-have-you. Bliss is talked about a great deal in Vajrayana. So is union. But it’s through the ordinariness of as-it-is, not through some sort of pyrotechnics, that true lasting bliss is realized (as opposed to achieved).

In my limited experience this holds to be true. When I think I’m happy, I’m just roiling about on the wheel of samsara. When I am truly happy, or content, or cheerful as Trungpa Rinpoche liked to call the state of happiness, as opposed to the momentary experience—it comes out of meditation practice, and just learning to be present, and ordinary. As ordinary, you could say, as taking a sh*zzle.

Just goes to show you that “Divine Bliss” or “extra-ordinary” happiness is not necessarily found on the mat or cushion staring at a wall.  In this case “the experience of Divine Union and ecstatic bliss” was staring me flat in the face and came in the form of a “horsey-ride”. 

While this period of happiness was only momentary and transient;  the realization of that moment is what we accomplish through those hours of sitting or stretching – bowing or prostrating – chanting or reiterating and listening.  A closer realization of the moment and the happiness that is inherit within it.

The truly frightening part of this realization is when it dawns on you that all moments have this intrinsic happiness.  We just choose to ignore 99% of them.




5 thoughts on “Intrinsic Happiness and Zen; Yoga and “Horsey-Rides”

  1. Children can be a great source of Dharma. My son often tells me when I not being compassionate. He has also been known to cite the eightfold path at me randomly.

    Gotta love the temple’s children’s program.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post. My practice has been brought to a new (and more difficult) level with the birth of my daughter.

      I don’t know if I would go with a children’s program at a temple/monastery/dharma center though. Something about it brings to memory of Sunday School (or as it was called in Greek Orthodox Church) “Greek School” where children are indoctrinated into a specific point of view at a very early age. One that is elevated above all else. I posted about this one previously.

      This is just a personal opinion from my childhood experiences, not a judgement, BTW.

      I would love to hear more about it though. Would you care to expand on Dharma School and what you think of it, How it works, etc?



  2. I have concerns about it too. My wife is very for it, however. I’ve advocated strongly for us to attend a Unitarian Universalist church where he would get many different points of view but my wife thinks that the Temple’s program is all he needs. I grew up in the United Church of Christ which is Christian but also called Unitarian-light, in parts of the country. My wife was raised Roman Catholic.
    The curriculum the English Dharma Group (EDG) at my Teple uses is below:

    It’s supplemented by crafts, chanting, and more Jataka tales.

  3. Here is a link to a list of Books I focused on:

    As I said in my tweet, the service was short 30 minutes. Small book, craft, and discussion. Everything was parent run, material was chosen by the volunteer parent for that day.

    I would also sugest getting into a kids yoga class or finding a great playful Yoga DVD.

    I recommend Yoga Child, you can download the CD from itunes. Very playful songs some teaching Pranayama that will really help a small toddler learn to calm herself.

    I hope that helps!


    • Hey Melissa!
      Much thanks and deep bows for the list and the link. Very interesting. I think a secular approach on meditation and yoga with emphasis on the philosophical aspects would preferencial for me. Anything for toddlers to calm themselves! I recall my kiddie yoga book from when I was a child.

      Oooo! You include Jon Muth. I love his art. I read Zen Shorts and Zen Ties to Samsara baby all the time.


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