DDM Global News

Finding and Feeling Joy: A Talk given to Cambridge University Buddhist Society

On November 18th, 2020, Venerable Chang Wu, abbot of Vancouver Chan Meditation Centre, was invited to give an online talk, called "Finding and Feeling Joy", to Cambridge University Buddhist Society (CUBS). Around 50 attendees were present for the talk, including seven members of London Chan Meditation.
To bring the participants closer, the Venerable began by emphasizing that she is also a "student", and that to be forever learning is a joy in itself, tagging on the moderator Christoph's introduction of the speaker. The Venerable then guided the participants to meditate, relaxing from the parts to the whole body through awareness of sensations. After 15 minutes, she checked in with the participants to see if they felt a sense of calmness and a touch of Joy.
Starting with the definition of joy, the Venerable explained that the happiness we usually refer to is obtained from sensory stimuli, such as amusing music or tasty food. However, this kind of happiness can never last long, and, once it vanishes, we would feel loss. Next, the Venerable turned the talk to a deeper level of happiness, called joy or True Happiness. She mentioned that joy comes from a harmonious relationship and close connections between our body and mind, between others and ourselves, and between the environment and ourselves.
The Venerable also explained that we have become accustomed to a state of dissonance between body and mind because our survival instinct makes us prone to believe in fanciful stories, justify our wrong behaviors, and even blind ourselves.  Sometimes our mind is so busy that the body performs one action while the mind is filled with other unrelated thoughts. Only when our body and mind are together, living in the present moment, clearly aware of the body's sensations and actions, can we start to have peace and joy. This is also an important foundation work of True Happiness.
Modern society has evolved to become a place where self-reliant and competitive winners are often praised. This, in turn, makes us see others as the opposite party. Furthermore,  in our pursuit of independence and self-fulfillment, we neglect close connections with other people. The Venerable emphasized that we can't exist in this world without other people. When we recognize this fact and stop focusing only on ourselves-- seeing that others have the same needs and feelings as we do-- we would have more power to share, care, and thus have more joy.
At the end of the lecture, members asked for advice on meditation, work, and life issues. Finally, Venerable Chang Wu again responded to the request of the host and the members by leading a meditation session of Metta Contemplation to end this joyful meeting.

Text & Photos: Dharma Drum Mountain Vancouver
Translation: Hsiao Chen-an
Edition: Shujen Yeh; Keith Brown