The Fourfold Path - The Principles of Happiness
The happiness for which we seek at Happy Science is a twofold - private happiness and public happiness. Private happiness means each individual’s happiness, while public happiness means the happiness of society as a whole. Private happiness should contribute to harmonizing and developing the whole of mankind, which in fact is the realization of public happiness. We need to learn ways that will enable us to attain private happiness, realize public happiness and maintain harmony between the two. The Fourfold Path – the core teaching of Happy Science - is a set of practical principles that reconciles private happiness and public happiness without ruining either.
“There are numerous ways to become happy, but the kind of happiness I am talking about is not the sort you can enjoy only in this world. It is a joy that carries over from this world to the next. We’re exploring principles of happiness that apply to the past, the present, and the future.”
(From the book: The Science of Happiness | p12)
The Fourfold Path, known as “The Principles of Happiness” – is the unique teaching of Happy Science. It is a set of guideposts in exploration of the Right Mind and achieving true happiness - the kind of happiness which extends from this material world to the next one – the Spirit World. The principles of happiness are the four methods of freeing ourselves from worldly worries and distress, and, at the same time, a modern path to enlightenment accessible to each and every person.
The Fourfold Path
The Fourfold Path consists of four interrelated principles: the Principle of Love, the Principle of Wisdom; the Principle of Self-Reflection and the Principle of Progress.
The Principle of Love
teaches people to love others. Whilst this teaching of love is connected to the Christian idea of “love thy neighbor”, it is also an equivalent of the philosophy of compassion that runs through the heart of Buddhism. The principle of love states that true love is “love that gives” and giving love without any expectation or condition is the starting point of happiness. It is a selfless love, detached from personal desires.
The Principle of Wisdom
focuses on the importance of studying the Truth – the teaching which provides us an opportunity to know the mind of God (Buddha) and grasp the true meaning of life. This principle emphasizes the importance of gaining intellectual knowledge, which through practices and experience turns into wisdom. Wisdom helps us to cut through our worries and life's problems, know right from wrong, and guide others onto the right path.
The Principle of Self-reflection
emphasizes the importance of correcting wrong thoughts and returning our mind to a clean state – a state where we can discover our Buddha-nature. Self-reflection taught at Happy Science is the Noble Eightfold Path restructured to suit modern society. Beginners though can approach self-reflection as a reflection on your morality. We all make mistakes; we have been blessed with the freedom to do so. This is allowed because we have the ability to correct these mistakes. We can't turn back the clocks of time and repair a broken vase, but what happened in the mind can be undone. If you regret having done something wrong and reflect deeply on the deed in your mind, then the sin will be wiped from your past. This is the spiritual discipline of removing the stains and tarnishes that cover the mind and attuning it to the higher realms of heaven. By practicing self-reflection we can increase our awareness, polish our Divine or Buddha nature and protect ourselves from negative spiritual influences or possession.
The Principle of Progress
focuses on success or happiness through positive action and development. Progress is the attitude to develop one-self to attain not only prosperity, but also happiness that spreads to others. It is to make constant efforts, use the given time wisely and discover something new each day. Ultimately, it is to strive to become a better person and create a Utopia – an ideal society - on Earth.
Right Mind – a prerequisite to return to Heaven
The Right mind is a prerequisite to return to heaven. We will not go far astray in life, if we live with a mind of:
• "love" that lives in gentleness towards others,
• "wisdom" that tries to know the mind of God (Buddha),
• "self-reflection" that admits and apologizes sincerely to God (Buddha) and other people for mistaken thoughts and deeds,
• "progress" that desires further development and happiness for all.
If we always follow these four principles in life and persevere with The Exploration of the Right Mind, we will be able to return to heaven. These are the principles that assure genuine happiness when explored and practiced every day. The Exploration of the Right Mind is the practical expansion of the Fourfold Path.
Reference book - The Laws of Happiness
Reference book - The Science of Happiness
Reference book - Ten Principles of Universal Wisdom