Cheerfulness is discussed by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in both conditional and unconditional terms. He describes conditional cheerfulness as something we must rev up or achieve by organize our world just so, whereas unconditional cheerfulness he discusses in terms of discipline, compassion, and wakefulness.
The conditional form he describes as a temporary state of mind, like pleasure or pain, and he contrasts those with the unconditional form of cheerfulness.
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche does not use the term cheerfulness in teachings as often, and he more often uses "mundane happiness" and "true happiness" to draw the distinction between conditional feelings of joy and unconditional joyfulness.
In Shambhala culture, one often hears "cheerful" substituted for "happy", as in wishing someone a "cheerful birthday" instead of a "happy birthday".
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
- pages 141-142
- In a talk on compassion, Rinpoche mentions the lojong slogan Always rely on just a happy frame of mind (literally "Continuously maintain joyful satisfaction") and discusses maintaining a sense of satisfaction and joyfulness in spite of all the small problems and hassles in one's life. And then he equates that sense of joyfulness as the beginning of that compassion. "The warmth and sympathy of compassion that we are talking about is that same sense of joyfulness" and from that he goes on to talk about cheerfulness in blaming oneself for situations instead of others, and having a general approach of relating to everything with a cheerful approach. He describes this as transcending any kind of "oy-vey" situation. He says this cheerfulness approach is founded in buddha nature (Sanskrit tathagatagarbha). He also remarks that this approach is "ridiculously trippy" and similar to Maitri Bhavana practice. But then he goes on to discuss a basic softness and feelings of wretchedness and pain as a real working basis for buddha nature. One could contact it and letting it grow by relating properly to those feelings and not philosophizing too much. One student remarks a feeling of a "kernel of insanity" feeling and fear that pushing too hard would cause the insanity to grow, which Rinpoche equates to contacting buddha nature.
- page 145
- a student asks a question and relates cheerfulness to the lojong slogan driving all blames into one, but Rinpoche doesn't expand upon cheerfulness at all in the answer
- page 28
- Rinpoche introduces the eight types of antidotes by discussing unconditional cheerfulness that comes from having a "dharma fever" including feeling "fundamentally worthy, fundamentally fortunate, respect for your surroundings, you feel wholesome, you feel good. your existence is solid, steady, and balanced." This is in contrast to conditional cheerfulness, the result of specific good conditions. With this dharma fever instead one feels unconditionally positive, tremendous rightness.
- page 30
- When discussing drowsiness and wildness, Rinpoche describes the antidote to both as a light-handed warning system comprised of wakefulness and cheerfulness that come automatically from good posture, on or off the cushion.
- page 32
- Starting with the hinayana is a cheerful experience. All the antidotes in the abhidharma are part of the cheering up process.
- page 33
- a sense of freedom from being a dharmic person is related to a sense of cheerfulness, which comes along with giving into discipline
- page 47
- when introducing vipashyana practice, Rinpoche notes a sense of basic delight and cheerfulness comes from a complete connection to your practice and from shamatha practice and these together produce prajna which then leads to vipashyana.
- page 59
- the basic antidote to laziness and depression is cheerfulness
- page 74
- Rinpoche summarizes the path, we develop some awareness, then prajna, and discriminating insight develops. this means we are no longer involved with ourself all the time, because cheerfulness cuts through that. Cheerfulness is not just a state of mind but a tool. It seems like Rinpoche equates cheerfulness with vipashyana in this answer.
- pages 125-126
- Rinpoche discusses the lojong slogan, Continuously apply only a joyful mind with respect to cheerfulness. Instead of feeling guilt from seeing our own naughtiness, we can instead treat it as a temporary situation and "maintain some sense of cheerfulness all along". We can do this because we're on a path and are working with it, as opposed to people without a path, so we're in a good situation. It's incredible and fantastic, exciting and we should feel wonderful. So there is a sense of joy and celebration from that point of view that we can refer to whenever we feel depressed. No matter the situation, very good or very bad, we can maintain a sense of cheerfulness.
- page 41
- committing to helping others requires we start with ourselves, we need some cheerfulness "as the background" so that you are not "overwhelmed by the things of the world." This is because things are so deeply rooted and there is so much to deal with.
- pages 49-50
- Rinpoche describes his experience visiting Esalen in California, where everyone seemed quite cheerful but at the same time had a sense of dreading death. So cheerfulness is something one also has to disown rather than accumulate, which is also true of negative experiences. So with both cheerfulness and negative experiences, there is a quality of exposing oneself. It causes difficulties to be exposed, but speaking to the seminarians Rinpoche said they were ready to work with it. So we don't get too elated or fall down when things are bad, we can have a sense of evenness.
- page 71
- With regard to practicing between the mahayana and vajrayana sections of seminary, Rinpoche suggested students continue to practice silence, regular sitting, and cheering themselves up. If they worked harder at that then they would gain more. If they worked less hard, they would gain nothing. But if they attempted to purely gain something for themselves, they would also gain nothing.
- page 80
- Rinpoche contrasts the setting sun approach to cheering up and the unconditional cheering up of a warrior. In the latter, we can appreciate our situation and basic goodness, no matter what the world has in store for us each day. In the setting sun version, we have to crank ourselves up artificially.
- page 166
- Rinpoche describes the dignity of perky, where the environment of the snow lion includes a sense of unconditioned cheerfulness that comes from working with ongoing discipline. for the snow lion, discipline is not a demand but a pleasure.