30 Sec Answer: Buddhists believe that lasting happiness can be achieved by understanding and eliminating the causes of suffering in our lives, primarily through meditation and mindful living.
Happiness is a universal desire, but it can sometimes feel out of reach. For centuries, Buddhists have developed practices to help individuals find and sustain true happiness. In this article we will explore how Buddhist philosophy, teachings and practices are used to bring about inner peace and contentment.
What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who was born around 2,500 years ago in what is now Nepal. He became known as the Buddha or “the awakened one” after achieving enlightenment through meditative practice. The Buddha taught that all life contains suffering and that people should strive to end their own suffering by cultivating wisdom and compassion. His path to liberation has become known as the Eightfold Path.
The Eightfold Path
The Eightfold Path is divided into three categories – wisdom (right view & right intention), ethics (right speech, action & livelihood) and concentration (right effort, mindfulness & samadhi). By following this path, Buddhists aim to reduce the cycle of suffering caused by greed, hatred and delusion in their lives.
Right view refers to an understanding of reality as seen from a Buddhist perspective. It involves seeing impermanence in all things, understanding cause-and-effect relationships between actions and their results, seeing non-self (or not-self) and having faith in the law of karma.
This part of the path refers to intentions which lead away from craving or attachment and towards letting go. These intentions include: good will towards others; harmlessness; renunciation; and seeking spiritual freedom rather than material possessions.
This aspect encourages Buddhists to speak kindly and truthfully with respect for others. It includes refraining from lying, gossiping or speaking harshly to others.
Following right action helps us avoid causing harm in any way such as killing or stealing from others or engaging in sexual misconduct. It also encourages us to be generous with our time, energy and resources when possible.
This means finding work that does not involve exploiting or harming other beings or using drugs/alcohol which could cloud our judgement or lead to harmful behavior. Buddhists may choose occupations such as teaching, farming or medicine that help bring benefit to society while avoiding activities such as weapons trading or animal testing which could create negative karmic consequences.
This principle teaches us to make conscious choices regarding how we use our time, energy and thoughts throughout the day so that they don’t lead us away from positive qualities like kindness or joyfulness.
Mindfulness involves being present in the moment without judging our thoughts or emotions so that we can observe them objectively instead of allowing them to control our behavior. Regular meditation is often used to develop this skill as it allows us to become aware of the workings of our mind over time without getting caught up in them.
Samadhi is the final stage of meditation where all thought processes cease momentarily and only pure awareness remains before consciousness returns again at a higher level than before entering meditation. This experience can be very blissful but requires patience and dedication over many years of practice before it can be attained consistently.
How do Buddhists Achieve Happiness?
Now that we understand some core concepts within Buddhism let’s look at how they are applied practically in order to cultivate lasting happiness.
The Four Noble Truths
The Buddha taught his followers four noble truths which form a basis for understanding suffering and ultimately how it can be overcome through wise behaviour and insight into its causes:
1) Life is full of suffering – everyone experiences some kind of physical pain or mental distress during their lifetime which must be accepted as part of life’s natural cycle;
2) Suffering is caused by craving – humans crave pleasure and fear pain leading them into cycles of disappointment when these cravings cannot be fulfilled;
3) Suffering can be overcome – by following the eightfold path described above people can learn how to let go of these cravings and begin reducing their suffering;
4) The Eightfold Path leads to nirvana – nirvana is a state beyond suffering free from attachments and fears where one experiences true peace and contentment within themselves.
Meditation plays a large role in Buddhist practice as it allows practitioners access deeper levels of insight which can help them identify patterns of craving leading towards unhappiness so they can be released more easily over time with regular practice. There are many different forms of meditation including focusing on breathwork, chanting mantras or visualizing deities but ultimately they all serve the same purpose – bringing clarity into one’s mind so they can see more clearly what needs releasing in order to achieve greater inner peace.
Gratitude has been found by scientists across numerous studies   to increase feelings of happiness significantly due to its ability to shift focus away from negativity towards positivity creating a ripple effect which continues spreading through daily life until it takes root permanently within your subconscious mind leaving you feeling content even when faced with difficult challenges. This gratitude practice can take place either mentally through silently repeating affirmations throughout your day such as ‘I am grateful for…’ Or physically writing down five things each day that you are grateful for before bedtime so you wake up with a refreshed outlook on life each morning ready for whatever challenges come your way!
Compassion is another key factor for increasing overall well-being since helping others brings about feelings of connectedness which give rise to feelings of joy both inside ourselves and those around us . Practicing loving kindness towards ourselves first enables us to then extend it outwards so that everyone around us benefits too whether they realize it consciously or not! One example could include dedicating 10 minutes each morning sending wishes for well-being outwards onto friends family colleagues neighbours pets etc followed by 5 minutes dedicating similar wishes inwardly onto yourself! Doing this everyday gives rise eventually over time an overall feeling in your life where no matter what happens you know deep down you will always remain safe loved supported taken care off regardless if anyone else realizes this consciously or not!
Service work doesn’t necessarily mean volunteering abroad although there are many incredible organizations doing fantastic work globally  however if travelling isn’t an option service work can also be done locally depending on individual availability eg tutoring disadvantaged children helping build houses providing basic medical advice etc any activity where skills are put forth serving someone else benefits both parties immensely taking joy one step further beyond just feeling happy internally into contributing meaningfully outside oneself too enabling creation abundance prosperity growth expansion through offering assistance humbly graciously lovingly genuinely !
Achieving lasting happiness requires an understanding the causes behind human suffering while at same time developing inner peace acceptance gratitude compassion self love kindness generosity these attributes cultivate meaningful connection alignment focus effort dedication consistency these small moments repeated slowly overtime cultivate profound transformation wellbeing enlightenment every individual’s journey unique no single formula magic bullet spiritual growth gradual long term dedicated effort consistency sincerity humility persistence building blocks foundation success spirituality inner harmony fulfilment lasting joyful existence infinite possibilities lay ahead !!