Inner Happiness In Modern Life Through Spirituality

“I used my awareness to gain wisdom and the awareness to realise the futility of running after materials.” His Eminence the 8th Choekyong Palga Rinpoche of Ladakh

At the ‘Festival of Well-being’ conference of BW Wellbeing, His Eminence the 8th Choekyong Palga Rinpoche of Ladakh, Buddhist Teacher and Spiritual Speaker, spoke about balancing our inner selves with the materialistic world.

In conversation with Dr. Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld, His Eminence stated that in the conference he found the speakers before him from different backgrounds creating a very educational and invigorating environment, expressing their opinions, their thoughts, their methods and principles about wellbeing. He went on to say, “Though, I think most of them were very concerned with addressing our issues with happiness and wellbeing externally and not that internally.”

He spoke about how he went through the phase of a very lavish and luxurious life in Europe for many years with his very expensive cars and good friends. He accumulated a lot of wealth and became a multi-millionaire, and invested in the stock market. He further described this phase by saying that, “It was not the sustainable and spontaneous happiness he wanted. It was always dependent on something else. It was dependent on big cars, five-star hotels, Michelin food, a social circle which are very difficult to keep up with and one just gets lost in this big world of materialism.”

Dr. Annurag Batra asked him about the difficult switch from a very different environment that His Eminence made, and how he managed to make it. He replied saying, “I used my awareness to gain wisdom, to understand the futility of running after material things. I understood that materialism is in itself not the problem, the problem is attachment. Sometimes that switch is made for you because of circumstances that are beyond your control. For example, like the Covid-19 pandemic that hit the globe made lot of people make that switch about realizing that true happiness is wellbeing.”

He said he personally got disillusioned with that lifestyle and hence decided to come back to his spiritual roots. He locked himself up for 3 years 3 months in a small 10 by 10 feet room and also did meditation in the Himalayas in the winter when the temperature was as low as -30 degrees and with just the meditation belt and underwear, in the month of January in Ladakh, and he had to meditate with his inner heat to purify his negative emotions.

“Right now, I won’t use the word ‘happiness’, I would use the words bliss, peaceful, serene and tranquil,” he stated about how he felt now. He was able to help people by listening to them, talking to them, by holding their hands, by looking them in the eye and telling them that they are fine. He doesn’t believe in judging anyone and accept ourselves and others as beautiful the way we are.

“It will take a long time if I start preaching and giving speeches as it would take days to pass on lessons, but I would like to say that I believe in compassion, to understand the suffering of other people. To relate to the suffering side of people. Love, to wish them a lot of happiness to relate to their happy side. To be in a state of awareness through meditation, to being in the moment and with awareness manage to gain wisdom. I call it CLAW – Compassion, Love, Awareness and Wisdom. Compassion should be projected towards others, awareness and wisdom projected towards yourself. If we use these principles and understand how to apply them, you can come out of your negative state with CLAW,” he stated furthermore.

According to him, it is fortunate for people to have enemies especially even if they are relatives or family members. He feels people who have unprovoked enemies are lucky. He quoted Buddha saying that, “We should be careful of our close ones as they have the ability to push the buttons that hurt the most.”

On a conclusive note, he said we should see our enemies as our biggest teachers of patience. Living in a social media era and a digital era what His Eminence preaches is that, “Never look at somebody who has more than you and wish for what that person has. Be grateful for what you already have. In a nutshell, the half full glass principle is what I follow. I am very grateful for what I have. Whenever you see someone like that, always focus only on what you have and practice gratitude. For example, last time when I was in Mumbai, whilst on a teaching tour where I delivered a Ted talk at Pune and on the way back stayed in Mumbai for a bit. My host arranged a very luxurious BMW car for me, brand new as he was the first to sit in that car and he wanted blessings from me. Outside I saw an auto driver who was gesturing that my life is very prosperous. On the other side I saw a Rolls Royce but I did not feel that I wish I had it, instead I felt grateful that I was not in the auto. I was in a posh airconditioned car, 4 or 5 bottles of water whilst he had a yellow soft drink bottle, a scarf around his face and he was wiping the sweat off. I was grateful to have clean water and sitting in the AC. I could feel his pain.” We should focus on what we have and not what we don’t have.


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