What is the difference between bliss and pleasure?
Pleasure is physical, physiological.
Pleasure is the most superficial thing in life; it is titillation. It can be of the senses, it can become an obsession with food, but it is rooted in the body. The body is your periphery, your circumference; it is not your center. And to live on the circumference is to live on the mercy of all kinds of things that go on happening around you.
The man who seeks pleasure remains at the mercy of accidents. It is like the waves in the ocean; they are at the mercy of the winds. When strong winds come, they are there; when winds disappear, they disappear. They don't have an independent existence; they are dependent, and anything that is dependent on the other brings bondage. Pleasure is dependent on the other. Then you have created a bondage for yourself. You have created a prison, you are no more in freedom.
The more you demand, desire, the more you feel yourself lacking something, the more hollow, empty, you appear to yourself. It makes you a slave.
Pleasure is peripheral; hence it is bound to depend on the outer circumstances. And it is only titillation.
The mind is always hankering for something new. That's how mind keeps you always tethered somewhere in the future. It keeps you hoping, but it never delivers the goods -- it cannot. It can only create new hopes, new desires. Just as leaves grow on the trees, desires and hopes grow in the mind. Once you have achieved your goal, your mind is no longer interested in it; it has already started spinning new webs of desire.
Pleasure keeps you in a neurotic state, restless, always in turmoil. So many desires, and every desire unquenchable, clamoring for attention. You remain a victim of a crowd of insane desires -- insane because they are unfulfillable -- and they go on dragging you into different directions. You become a contradiction. You feel a split, divided, torn apart, falling into pieces. Nobody is responsible. It is the whole stupidity of desiring pleasure that creates this. A life which might have been a celebration becomes a long, drawn out, unnecessary struggle.
Happiness is psychological and pleasure is physiological. Happiness is little more refined. You can say that pleasure is a lower kind of happiness and happiness is a little higher kind of pleasure -- two sides of the same coin. Pleasure is a little primitive, animal; happiness is a little more cultured, a little more human -- but it is the same game played in the world of the mind. You are not so much concerned with physiological sensations; you are much more concerned with psychological sensations.
The third is joy and joy is spiritual. It is different, totally different from pleasure and happiness. It has nothing to do with the other; it is inner. It is not dependent on circumstances; it is your own. It is not a titillation produced by things; it is a state of peace, of silence, a meditative state. It is spiritual.
There is still one thing that goes beyond joy, it is called bliss.
Bliss is total. It is neither physiological, nor psychological, nor spiritual. It knows no division, it is indivisible. It is total in one sense and transcendental in another sense. Bliss means you have reached to the very innermost core of your being.
It belongs to the ultimate depth of your being where even the ego is no more, where only silence prevails; you have disappeared. In joy you are a little bit, but in bliss you are not. The ego has dissolved; it is a state of nonbeing. Buddha calls it nirvana. Nirvana means you are just an infinite emptiness like the sky. And the moment you are that infinity, you are reborn.
Pleasure is momentary, of time, for the time being; bliss is non-temporal, timeless. Pleasure begins and ends; bliss abides forever. Pleasure comes and goes; bliss never comes, never goes -- it is already there in the innermost core of your being. Pleasure has to be snatched away from the other; you become either a beggar or a thief. Bliss makes you a master.
This is the only misery of man: that he goes on looking outwards, seeking and searching. And you cannot find it in the outside because it is not there.
..... By Osho - Excerpted from Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
Courtesy: Mrs. Sangeeta Hegde