What are the causes of happiness? I think that since this body element goes well with a calm mind, not with a disturbed mind, therefore a calm mind is very important. It doesn’t matter our physical situation, mental calmness is most important. So, how can we bring about a calm mind?
Now, to get rid of all problems, that would be impractical; and to make the mind dull and forget about our problems, that doesn’t work either. We have to look clearly at our problems and deal with them, but at the same time keep a calm mind so that we have a realistic attitude and we are able to treat them well, deal with them well.
As for those who take tranquillisers—well, I have no experience. I don’t know if, at the time when people take tranquillisers, their intelligence is sharp or dull; I have to ask. For example, in 1959, when I was in Mussoorie, my mother or maybe it was somebody else who was disturbed and had a lot of anxiety: the sleep was disturbed. The doctor explained that there were some drugs that they could take, but this would make the mind a little dull. I thought at that time that that’s not good. On one side, you have a little calmness of mind, but on the other side, if the effect is dullness, this is no good. I prefer another way. I prefer having the intelligence fully functional and attentive and alert, but not disturbed. Undisturbed mental calmness is best.
For this, compassionate human affection is really important: the more compassionate our mind is, the better our brain functions. If our mind develops fear and anger, then when that happens, our brain functions more poorly. On one occasion I met a scientist who was over eighty years old. He gave me one of his books. I think it was called We Are Prisoners of Anger, something like that. While discussing his experience, he said that when we develop anger toward an object, the object appears very negatively. But ninety percent of that negativity is in our mental projection. This was from his own experience.
Buddhism says the same. When negative emotion develops, we can’t see reality. When we need to make a decision and the mind is dominated by anger; then chances are, we will make the wrong decision. No one wants to make a wrong decision, but at that moment, the part of our intelligence and brain that functions to differentiate right from wrong and make the best decision, that works very poorly. Even great leaders experience it like that.