Oh Joy to Know At Last – There is No Happiness in Samsara!

For a mind that only knows cycling through experiences that can be described as the six realms, the search for happiness is endless, and bound to be disappointing, and frustrating, again and again and again. This is teaching us: There is no lasting satisfaction for a samsaric mind – one that clings to a self, and misperceives the nature of this life…


As I remember it, I first heard the line Oh joy at last – to know there is no happiness in the world in a zen teaching. Under the moonlight, an old mendicant is walking alone when he realizes the profound truth, and his search for peace at last reaches its aim.

From the smallest creature right up to the most famous, rich and powerful figures, we all wish for happiness. However, it’s only when this fundamental intention realizes a transcending wisdom that its aim is fulfilled.

We then become a bridge, a light in the wilderness, food and shelter, medicine, comfort and care for all other wanderers.

This doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our ice cream, or fortunate circumstances, or relationships. On the contrary, we enjoy them even more, because we are no longer unconsciously asking them for what they are simply unable to provide – such things as lasting peace, and security, and satisfaction.

There is a kind of knowing that is qualitatively different from a mind that grasps at concepts, of self, and others, and experiences, chasing projections and not recognizing the profound nature of all of our being here. The Indian Saint said

Hafiz saw this for fifteen seconds,
and it made him a servant for life…

When we are able to step beyond cycling through the hell, and hungry ghost mentalities, animal dispositions, human dramas, deva and exalted, rarified divine outlook and experiences, then we see them all differently. As long as they are the result of causes, and subject to change, they are not ultimately satisfying, as alluring and pleasurable as some of those states may be.

What we long for, in a deep way is lasting peace and well being. That is fulfillment – anything less and we’re not fully at ease, or satisfied, even when we’re enjoying ourselves. See for yourself if this is so. Check up.

Many give up on ever attaining joy and satisfaction, figuring to just take as much of ordinary happiness as they can, while they can. They lower their aims and expectations, close themselves off to any higher possibilities, and gradually de-volve. These same minds though are always able to transcend the six realms, and find freedom and ease. Now that is truly something to celebrate.

‘Oh joy – at last’ means that, after ages of fruitless search, and great frustration, and disappointment, we have finally seen the nature of all these experiences, and have stepped beyond them. We have glimpsed the ever present, ever fresh truth, like stepping out into an open field, however briefly, and nothing will be the same after that.