Dhamma Letter No. 23

Three Types of Happiness


Three Kinds of Happiness

The Buddha defined three realms:

  1. Desired realm

  2. Fine material realm

  3. Immaterial realm

He taught that each of these three realms correspond to a particular type of happiness: 

  1. Happiness achieved from one’s desire (desired realm)

  2. Happiness experienced within the tranquility of jhana (meditative absorption), during which desire dissipates (fine material and immaterial realms)

  3. The ultimate happiness, nibbana (nirvana), which arises from the cessation of dukkha (beyond the three realms)

It is not always possible to simply will oneself to nibbana in this very life. If one maintains enlightenment as their goal, it will require significant time and practice to achieve. Additionally, if one’s kamma is yet perfected (parami), attainment of the ultimate happiness is impossible regardless of their desires. 

It is important to understand the existence of the multi-realm world and in which world you currently abide. The goals of most religions are confined to the desired realm. That is to say they instruct courses of action supposing a desire to be born or given entrée into heaven in the afterlife. 

The Buddha taught the progression from the desired to the immaterial world through nibbana must be cultivated step-by-step via sila (virtue, 戒), samadhi (tranquility, 定), and panna (wisdom, 慧). The first step, sila, begins with dana (generosity; see Dhamma Letter No. 2). We have to study and practice over many lifetimes - this is called samsara

May all be in peace and happy!

May you all accomplish your wishes!

With Metta,

Ayyā Kosallā & Mahāpajāpatī Bhikkhunī Sangha
Edited by Max Montgomery 


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If you have any questions related to dhamma, please feel free to ask. You can reach Ayya Kosalla directly at bhikkhuni.kosalla@gmail.com. We will answer your questions and include them in future Dhamma Letters.


Bhikkuni Kosalla Vipassini is the Abbess of Mahapajapati Monastery in Pioneertown, California. For monastery updates, please see Mahapajapati’s Facebook. Donations are gratefully accepted, whether you volunteer your time, offer funds, or provide needed requisites for the monastics. If you are inspired to donate, you may do so here.


Buddha Sāsanaṁ Ciraṁ Tiṭṭhatu! 
May the Buddha’s teachings last a long time!

​Bhavatu Sabba Sotiṁ ca Maṅgalaṁ ca!!  
May everyone be led on the path of peace and blessing!!

Sādhu Sādhu Sādhu !


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