The four pillars of happiness

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Rinpoche’s third pillar, non-attachment or impermanence, is a Buddhist concept that is at the root of Bhutanese culture. “When something goes wrong, don’t become depressed immediately because things will change,” Rinpoche said. “If we accept that all things are impermanent, then that means there can be change, and with change there is hope.” Rinpoche explained that this also holds true for the positive things in life. “Accepting that things don’t last, including success and wealth, allows you to truly appreciate what you have at hand.”

In addition to embracing self-kindness and living compassionately towards others, the pandemic has also reinforced the importance of welcoming change to Dozi. Since returning to his village, he has learned carpentry and has been helping his neighbours repair their homes while embarking on a big communal project. “We renovated a traditional farmhouse that was abandoned by a family and transformed it into a farm stay. I have been advocating a long time for a more immersive approach to tourism and for people to explore the culture and lifestyle of the more rural areas of Bhutan. At the end of the day, I learned to be happy with what I have and make the best of it.”

According to Rinpoche, the fourth pillar, karma, isn’t what it seems.

“Karma is totally misunderstood. Most people think it means that if you do something bad, then something bad will happen to you, like a form of universal revenge or punishment. It isn’t that at all. It is about cause, condition and effect. Accepting that your actions and choices have an impact on the world around you. It is like planting a seed of a tree. If we plant a mango seed, we get a mango tree. We can’t plant an apple seed and expect a mango tree to grow!” he chuckled. “Believing in karma is an opportunity for you to transform yourself, to shape yourself, to really work on who you want to become and do what you want to achieve.”

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