I re-read "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari every
year. It reminds me that much of the world is made of stories in our collective
thoughts, e.g., countries, corporations, herachies, money, the Communist
Manifesto, the Declaration of Independence, etc., etc. Harari explains what many
modern isms promise and how they have fared. Unlike most history books,
"Sapiens" discusses the condition of human happiness and offers a Buddhist's
point of view. I learn or relearn something everytime I open the book.
Here are some extracts on Buddhism happiness. I believe they tell the truth and
worth keeping in mind, all the time.
"Gautama's insight was that no matter what the mind experiences, it usually
reacts with craving, and craving always involves dissatisfaction."
"Buddha agreed with modern biology and New Age movements that happiness is
independent of external conditions. Yet his more important and far more profound
insight was that true happiness is also independent of our inner feelings.
Indeed, the more significance we give our feelings, the more we crave them, and
the more we suffer. Buddha's recommendation was to stop not only the pursuit of
external achievements, but also the pursuit of inner feelings."
P.S. As Marcus Aurelius was said to pursue "virtue above pleasure" and
"tranquility above happiness," there indeed seems to be a connection between his
philosophy and Buddhism. The Stoics don't have the tools from Buddha, e.g., his
ethic rules of living, meditation, etc. Instead, they adopt a "death in harness"
attitude, which sounds impressive all the same.