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Article XCII: Kama - Pleasure - Desire

1. "There is suffering. Suffering should be understood."
2. "There is the origin of suffering, which is attachment to desire. Desire should be let go of."
3. "There is the cessation of suffering. The cessation of suffering should be realized."
4. "There is the Eightfold Path, the way out of suffering. This path should be developed." [Eightfold Path: right understanding, aspiration, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration]
Buddha's Four Noble Truths -- Samyutta Nikaya (LVI: 11)

The goal in Vedanta is moksha, which is the realization of Brahman, supreme existence- consciousness-bliss (satchitananda). Bliss (ananda) is indeed exemplified in moksha, or enlightenment. However, bliss of enlightenment differs from transient happiness typically experienced each day. Everyday happiness tends to be transient because it is dependent on situations or material objects. The happiness is only maintained during a situation or in the presence of an object. When the situation or object ceases to exist, the contextual happiness ceases to exist. The bliss of enlightenment is independent from situations and objects, and that eternal bliss results from realization of the Divine within.

The impermanent happiness of each day is not unrelated to that ultimate bliss of enlightenment. Every step toward enlightenment, allows one to experience more permanent bliss in life, which is independent of situations and objects. As one approaches enlightenment, one experiences greater permanent bliss in life, and when one reaches enlightenment, one realizes eternal blissfulness.

The temporary happiness one experiences from an object or a situation is a taste of that ultimate bliss of enlightenment. However, the temporary happiness passes, and one is forced to search for more objects and situations to experience more of that happiness. Unfortunately, that approach cannot be constantly sustained since it is always dependent on finding more situations and objects.

Vedanta offers a more direct path -- realizing the source of that ephemeral happiness, which is the eternal bliss of the Divine. Aspiring and approaching enlightenment, allows bliss to become more and more permanent -- ultimately becoming eternal bliss.

East-West Counseling & Meditation -- Modern Psychiatry Integration -- Himalayan Philosophy -- Penn & Stanford Medicine
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