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The Art of Happiness

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Nearly every time you see him, he's laughing, or at least smiling. And he makes everyone else around him feel like smiling. He's the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, a Nobel Prize winner, and an increasingly popular speaker and statesman. What's more, he'll tell you that happiness is the purpose of life, and that "the very motion of our life is towar Nearly every time you see him, he's laughing, or at least smiling. And he makes everyone else around him feel like smiling. He's the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, a Nobel Prize winner, and an increasingly popular speaker and statesman. What's more, he'll tell you that happiness is the purpose of life, and that "the very motion of our life is towards happiness." How to get there has always been the question. He's tried to answer it before, but he's never had the help of a psychiatrist to get the message across in a context we can easily understand. Through conversations, stories, and meditations, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day anxiety, insecurity, anger, and discouragement. Together with Dr. Cutler, he explores many facets of everyday life, including relationships, loss, and the pursuit of wealth, to illustrate how to ride through life's obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace.


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Nearly every time you see him, he's laughing, or at least smiling. And he makes everyone else around him feel like smiling. He's the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, a Nobel Prize winner, and an increasingly popular speaker and statesman. What's more, he'll tell you that happiness is the purpose of life, and that "the very motion of our life is towar Nearly every time you see him, he's laughing, or at least smiling. And he makes everyone else around him feel like smiling. He's the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, a Nobel Prize winner, and an increasingly popular speaker and statesman. What's more, he'll tell you that happiness is the purpose of life, and that "the very motion of our life is towards happiness." How to get there has always been the question. He's tried to answer it before, but he's never had the help of a psychiatrist to get the message across in a context we can easily understand. Through conversations, stories, and meditations, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day anxiety, insecurity, anger, and discouragement. Together with Dr. Cutler, he explores many facets of everyday life, including relationships, loss, and the pursuit of wealth, to illustrate how to ride through life's obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace.

30 review for The Art of Happiness

  1. 5 out of 5

    Yascha

    Despite the 'author' being the Dalia Lama, this book was actually written by a Western Psychologist named Howard Cutler. It is mostly presented as interviews or meetings between himself and the Dalai Lama. I really enjoyed the segments that were pure quotes from the Dalai Lama, but found myself constantly frustrated by Cutler's questions and (obviously inserted after-the-fact) 'summaries' of the responses. I would paraphrase the entire book like this: Cutler -- "So what can every person do to be Despite the 'author' being the Dalia Lama, this book was actually written by a Western Psychologist named Howard Cutler. It is mostly presented as interviews or meetings between himself and the Dalai Lama. I really enjoyed the segments that were pure quotes from the Dalai Lama, but found myself constantly frustrated by Cutler's questions and (obviously inserted after-the-fact) 'summaries' of the responses. I would paraphrase the entire book like this: Cutler -- "So what can every person do to be happy?" Dalai Lama -- "Well this is a really complicated question and we need to look at specific cases in order to answer it fully. Here are a few basic guidelines ..." Cutler -- "Yeah OK, so can you give me 3 steps that everyone can do to be happy?" Dalai Lama -- (I can hear him sighing through the pages) "Yes, well I've given you some basic guidelines, but it's not a simple 3-step process. Here are some things to consider in these situations... etc. Cutler just seemed so stuck in his Western "we can make an algorithm for happiness and box it up neatly and put it on the shelf" ways and it's just not that simple.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Steven Stark

    This book is actually written by a psychiatrist and includes extensive interviews with the Dalai Lama about how to be a generally happier person. Parts of the book are really great, and a couple of sections are a little bland, mostly depending on what questions the author is asking. The Dalai Lama's amazing traits come across throughout, however. His pragmatic, logical, and yet also spiritual approach to everything.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    I first read this book as a freshman in high school but I've read it again at least twice. I'm not sure how it initially started but I've always been fascinated by the Dalai Lama of Tibet. The more I read about him, the more I'm in awe of him. While I recommend reading his biography first, this specific book is about the concept of happiness and how we attain it. It's not a self-help book but rather a book about how the Dalai Lama believes that people inheritantly have the ability to find happin I first read this book as a freshman in high school but I've read it again at least twice. I'm not sure how it initially started but I've always been fascinated by the Dalai Lama of Tibet. The more I read about him, the more I'm in awe of him. While I recommend reading his biography first, this specific book is about the concept of happiness and how we attain it. It's not a self-help book but rather a book about how the Dalai Lama believes that people inheritantly have the ability to find happiness but we obstruct it with our immaterial and superficial beliefs. It made me realize how much society corrupts people's values. On a personal level, it made me re-evaluate my life and my values. I was also amazed at how much his beliefs correlate with Native American traditional beliefs. This is one of those few books that I find myself re-opening from time to time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Dalai Lama believes in fundamental goodness in all human beings, in the value of compassion and kindness, and a sense of commonality among all living creatures. Happiness is determined more by one's state of mind than by external events. Excessive desire leads to greed, which leads to frustration, disappointment, problems and unhappiness. True antidote of greee is contentment - to appreciate what we already have. Relationships are not about just knowing people and superficial exchange, but to really Dalai Lama believes in fundamental goodness in all human beings, in the value of compassion and kindness, and a sense of commonality among all living creatures. Happiness is determined more by one's state of mind than by external events. Excessive desire leads to greed, which leads to frustration, disappointment, problems and unhappiness. True antidote of greee is contentment - to appreciate what we already have. Relationships are not about just knowing people and superficial exchange, but to really share deepest problems and concerns in forming intimate friendships. Dalai Lama recommends maintaining closeness with as many people as possible, aim to connect with everyone in some way. Concepts of intimacy vary among cultures. Western.... too caught up in finding "one special person" or romantic partner who we hope will heal our loneliness, yet prop up our illusion that we are still independent. If we think of suffering as something unnatural, something that we shouldn't be experiencing, then it's not much of a leap to begin to look for someone to blame for our suffering. If I'm unhappy, then I must be the "victim" of someone or something. As long as we view suffering as an unnatural state, an abnormal condition that we fear, avoid and reject, we will never uproot the causes of suffering and begin to live a happier life. It is entirely appropriate to seek out causes of our problems, searching for solutions on all levels - global, societal, familial, and individual. Shifting to wider perspective - realizing there are many people who have gone through similar & worse experiences - can be very helpful. If you learn to develp patience and tolerance toward your enemies, then everything else bcomes easier - your compassion towards all others begins to flow naturally. Compassion is the essence of a spiritual life. The enemy is the necessary condition for practicing patience. Friends don't often test us, so our enemy is a great teacher. Flexibility of the mind, those most adaptable to change will survive best.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dad

    The Moms was watching a movie that was so filled with awkward and embarrassing social interaction that I cast desperately about me for something else to do. Near at hand was "The Art of Happiness" by Dolly and some doctor guy. I picked it up and began to read. I'm about half-way through (guess I'm 50% enlightened) and it's really quite good. Except for the parts that are stupid or wrong. The problem is not so much what the Big D has to say, but the doctor guy's interpretation or amplification. T The Moms was watching a movie that was so filled with awkward and embarrassing social interaction that I cast desperately about me for something else to do. Near at hand was "The Art of Happiness" by Dolly and some doctor guy. I picked it up and began to read. I'm about half-way through (guess I'm 50% enlightened) and it's really quite good. Except for the parts that are stupid or wrong. The problem is not so much what the Big D has to say, but the doctor guy's interpretation or amplification. That's the problem with amplification, there can be a lot of distortion (which can sound really cool if your Jimi Hendrix, otherwise not so much). He makes what I feel are some pretty feeble attempts to support the assertions with "scientific" studies in pseudo-sciences like psychology, sociology, and neurology. Isn't it enough that it's true? Do you have to have "proof" as well? The proof is in the pudding and the world would be a pretty tasty place if everyone implemented the best parts of the ideas expressed in this book. (How was that for a strained analogy?) You don't have to be a Buddhist to get some really good stuff out of this book. (Which is good, because I HATE cows.)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I love the Dalai Lama and everything he says in this book. However, Cutler's input mostly detracts from the teachings of the Dalai Lama. At best, he makes small, often insignificant links between the Dalai Lama's point and western science. Like how he made the connection between Buddhism's idea of training the mind to the scientific idea of "plasticity" which proves that, indeed, you can train the mind. Was that ever really a question though? I didn't need to be convinced of that... At worst, he I love the Dalai Lama and everything he says in this book. However, Cutler's input mostly detracts from the teachings of the Dalai Lama. At best, he makes small, often insignificant links between the Dalai Lama's point and western science. Like how he made the connection between Buddhism's idea of training the mind to the scientific idea of "plasticity" which proves that, indeed, you can train the mind. Was that ever really a question though? I didn't need to be convinced of that... At worst, he purposefully makes himself a sitting duck for "how not to be" and then contrasts his own folly with the wise teachings of the Dalai Lama. While real-life examples do make the sometimes abstract points of the Dalai Lama seem more accessible, it goes overboard. Also, his questions often take the conversation with the Dalai Lama in a completely different, often more obvious and tiresome, direction than I was hoping. With the conversation format, there were great opportunities to enter into intellectual debate and come to a complex understanding between two viewpoints. Instead, Cutler asked childish, simple questions that barely skimmed the surface of the Dalai Lama's well thought-out discourse, and no deeper understanding was gained by Cutler's interruptions. Overall, would have loved this book more as solo meditations by the Dalai Lama, or maybe with an interviewer who had better questions and comments.

  7. 5 out of 5

    BrokenTune

    DNF @ 15% I mistakenly thought this was a book by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is listed as one of the authors - or the only authors in some book databases - but it is not. This book was written by Howard C. Cutler, a psychiatrist, who spent one week with the Dalai Lama, and then used his interviews with the Dalai Lama as a basis for this book. Now, once I found out that I was mislead by the book, I still wanted to read on and see what the author had to say. Unfortunately, I was quickly put of DNF @ 15% I mistakenly thought this was a book by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is listed as one of the authors - or the only authors in some book databases - but it is not. This book was written by Howard C. Cutler, a psychiatrist, who spent one week with the Dalai Lama, and then used his interviews with the Dalai Lama as a basis for this book. Now, once I found out that I was mislead by the book, I still wanted to read on and see what the author had to say. Unfortunately, I was quickly put off by two - in my opinion major - logical flaws in the construction of the book's premise: 1. The author provides the following motivation behind writing the book: "When I initially conceived of this book, I envisioned a conventional self-help format in which the Dalai Lama would present clear and simple solutions to all life’s problems. I felt that, using my background in psychiatry, I could codify his views in a set of easy instructions on how to conduct one’s daily life. By the end of our series of meetings I had given up on that idea. I found that his approach encompassed a much broader and more complex paradigm, incorporating all the nuance, richness, and complexity that life has to offer." You see, my problem is that the Dalai Lama's books, speeches and other communications are pretty easy to understand. He has a particular skill to explain complex issues in simple terms, but then simplicity is one of the essential elements in his way of life. The other issue I had with the author's statement is that I find the approach of trying to create a dogma from a Buddhist point of view a rather ridiculous idea. If there ever was a spritual teaching whose essence is that it is wholly un-dogmatic and un-codified, it would be Buddhism, but then maybe I am just getting the wrong end of the stick. 2. The author's approach in this book is to try and combine Western science with the Dalai Lama's interpretations/teachings. Again, this is a flawed approach when early on in the book, the author includes the following quotation: "In trying to determine the source of one’s problems, it seems that the Western approach differs in some respects from the Buddhist approach. Underlying all Western modes of analysis is a very strong rationalistic tendency – an assumption that everything can be accounted for. And on top of that, there are constraints created by certain premises that are taken for granted." Basically, the Dalai Lama tried to explain that a Western approach which is mostly based on science is restricted in its understanding of the human condition. So, why the author tries to combine, or back up, the topics discussed from a Buddhist perspective in this book with references to Western scientific research (for which he often does not cite sources!!!) is totally beyond me. Can't recommend this at all.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Heather Kidder

    This book always brings me a lot of peace when I read it. It calms me down and puts me at ease. I actually bought this book for josh but spent a lot of time reading it myself and its very enjoyable remind you about all the little good things in life and about what really matters.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This is a book that has to be read slowly and with determination, with many pauses for looking-off-into-the-distance-deep-in-thought. It is not BY the Dalai Lama so much as it is about the Dalai Lama, interviews with him, thoughts on his beliefs and practices. It took me a long time to get through, but I really enjoyed it. I think that if everyone tried to fit a little Buddhism into their lives (not a little Buddhist, but a little BuddhISM), we would all be much calmer and happier, more patient This is a book that has to be read slowly and with determination, with many pauses for looking-off-into-the-distance-deep-in-thought. It is not BY the Dalai Lama so much as it is about the Dalai Lama, interviews with him, thoughts on his beliefs and practices. It took me a long time to get through, but I really enjoyed it. I think that if everyone tried to fit a little Buddhism into their lives (not a little Buddhist, but a little BuddhISM), we would all be much calmer and happier, more patient and more understanding.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    I really liked this book. It has enough information to open your eyes, but not too much to scare you away. The Author, being a psychologist, was able to take the Eastern ideas from the Dalai Lama and compare them to a more Western way of thinking. Although I've seen many of the ideas and thoughts in other books, the Dalai Lama had a way with words that seemed to just -click- with me, and in the sections that I didn't really understand, Howard Cutler, the author, was able to clarify. This book is I really liked this book. It has enough information to open your eyes, but not too much to scare you away. The Author, being a psychologist, was able to take the Eastern ideas from the Dalai Lama and compare them to a more Western way of thinking. Although I've seen many of the ideas and thoughts in other books, the Dalai Lama had a way with words that seemed to just -click- with me, and in the sections that I didn't really understand, Howard Cutler, the author, was able to clarify. This book is good for anyone who may be stuck in the same way of thinking...its a good starter for those who are just getting into 'eastern views'.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sara Alaee

    “Happiness is determined more by one's state of mind than by external events… Although you may not always be able to avoid difficult situations, you can modify the extent to which you can suffer by how you choose to respond to the situation...”

  12. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Zapata

    We all know that some books that felt important and special during a first reading can sometimes make us wonder WHY the second time around. This turned out to be one such book for me, I'm afraid. I first read it many years ago during a physically and emotionally painful period of my life. The book helped me then, and I will always cherish that fact. But this time around I was too distracted by Cutler's questions, statements, and ramblings to be able to focus on the Dalai Lama's words. I had to g We all know that some books that felt important and special during a first reading can sometimes make us wonder WHY the second time around. This turned out to be one such book for me, I'm afraid. I first read it many years ago during a physically and emotionally painful period of my life. The book helped me then, and I will always cherish that fact. But this time around I was too distracted by Cutler's questions, statements, and ramblings to be able to focus on the Dalai Lama's words. I had to give up around page 95 or so when Cutler related some incidents in India and the way he had reacted to them. All I could think at that point was 'here is this man with the incredible opportunity to talk face to face nearly every day with the Dalai Lama and he is not learning a single thing!' I'm putting this one aside for now. No book about happiness should make a reader unhappy. My star rating is more for the old days than for these, by the way.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Romanas af Wolfsborg

    Dr. Howard C. Cutler, psychiatrist and one of the leading experts on the science of human happiness has spent some valuable time with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and in this book brought a western perspective of Tibetan Buddhism and its take on human quest for happiness. Happiness is a tricky subject. Some people spend their whole lives trying to chase happiness, while others are just simply happy, seemingly, without searching for any particular ways to achieve it. Is happiness the ultimate Dr. Howard C. Cutler, psychiatrist and one of the leading experts on the science of human happiness has spent some valuable time with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and in this book brought a western perspective of Tibetan Buddhism and its take on human quest for happiness. Happiness is a tricky subject. Some people spend their whole lives trying to chase happiness, while others are just simply happy, seemingly, without searching for any particular ways to achieve it. Is happiness the ultimate purpose of life, or is there something else that matters in our lives? Dalai Lama says – everybody should aim for happiness, and everybody can achieve it. But what to put into it, what are the sources and kinds of happiness? In America, people are granted the pursuit of happiness, it´s a fundamental right of the citizens. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines happiness as “a state of well-being and contentment”. While it sounds quite simple, a true meaning of happiness is one of the most enigmatic feelings people daily try to understand and pursue. There are many obstacles on the way to that simple state of lasting happiness. Dalai Lama’s wisdom comes very handy for everybody interested how to deal with and eventually overcome those barriers and live a happier life. The book starts by exploring the meaning of life, where the stage is set for the following discussions on how to develop capabilities of human compassion, how to treat others, how to deal with suffering, and very importantly, how to overcome all those bad feelings and manners, like anger and hatred – the huge obstacles of happiness. Happiness can’t be just thrown into us, it is a complex mental process. Our mind is meant to be trained for happiness by using right tools and right attitudes. It’s in our mind, and the book has many keys to it. I like particularly the way that that Dalai Lama doesn’t push hard on the religion aspect in the pursuit of happiness, but stresses on the need for a spiritual dimension in everybody’s life. That’s what makes this philosophy and the book so appreciated. There’s much common sense in Dalai Lama’s teachings, as it is in, generally, all kinds of Buddhism. This is an important book to get that confirmed. “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” ― Dalai Lama

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sherilynn Macale

    This book has completely changed my perspective on how I deal with anger, hatred, and other negative mind states and emotions. In simply becoming aware of the Buddhist perspective, I feel I've learned how to feel more in control of my own life, of how I carry myself, and how I treat the people around me. I feel more compassionate. I feel more kind. I feel more understanding. I find it incredible how my Western upbringing contrasts to Eastern beliefs and traditions. Things that I thought were intrins This book has completely changed my perspective on how I deal with anger, hatred, and other negative mind states and emotions. In simply becoming aware of the Buddhist perspective, I feel I've learned how to feel more in control of my own life, of how I carry myself, and how I treat the people around me. I feel more compassionate. I feel more kind. I feel more understanding. I find it incredible how my Western upbringing contrasts to Eastern beliefs and traditions. Things that I thought were intrinsic and natural have turned out not to be instinctual, but rather *taught* through conditioning. It makes me happy to know that my sometimes negative mindset can be trained out of pessimism, and to be aware that there are those out there who have already accomplished this through the help of Buddhist teaching. I think what surprised me the most when reading The Art of Happiness is just how human the Dalai Lama really is, and how for someone who is seen as a spiritual deity of sorts by millions around the world, he is every bit as equal as the "common man", and sincerely goes out of his way to make this idea clear to his audiences. While I may not be converting to Buddhism any time soon, I'd still recommend this book to those suffering from anxiety, filled with a feeling of loneliness, or dealing with any other difficult time in their life. I'm grateful for the perspective I've been given after completing The Art of Happiness, and I definitely feel this book can help those who need a little boost in their lives.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I really felt at peace while reading this book. I have read many religious texts from varying schools of thought and sometimes (often in fact) they get quite philosphical and over the head of the average person. This however really hit the right note with me. By expounding upon some of the basic tenements of Buddhism, the authors show how practicing kindness, peace of mind and simplicity lead to happiness.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I'm not sure why exactly I picked this one up from the shelf of our local thrift. Certainly the Dalai Lama is an interesting public figure and the cover is bright with his red monk’s toga and eager countenance. I am familiar with Tibetan monks via my literary mountain climbing adventures from a time before Goodreads. This book is written by an MD and claims to be a “handbook for living.” What sort of living, I ponder? Right from the first pages we reach a philosophical impasse. The author is a h I'm not sure why exactly I picked this one up from the shelf of our local thrift. Certainly the Dalai Lama is an interesting public figure and the cover is bright with his red monk’s toga and eager countenance. I am familiar with Tibetan monks via my literary mountain climbing adventures from a time before Goodreads. This book is written by an MD and claims to be a “handbook for living.” What sort of living, I ponder? Right from the first pages we reach a philosophical impasse. The author is a headshrinker hoping to, well, shrink his discussions with the Lama into a practical program (think dollars and sense) for achieving the nebulous state of “happiness.” “The concept of achieving true happiness has, in the West, always seemed ill-defined, elusive, ungraspable. Even the word “happy” is derived from the Icelandic word happ, meaning luck or chance. Most of us, it seems, share this view of the mysterious nature of happiness. In those moments of joy that life brings, happiness feels like something that comes out of the blue.” Most of us? I don’t know what public and private circles our author has been navigating but he has set sail without even the most fundamental anchors of life. Lasting happiness cannot be achieved by mind control or following a 12-step prescribed and paid for program. There is more to happiness than the mind just as there is more to the human being than the body. At the heart of the matter of happiness is the soul.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chitra Divakaruni

    This is one of the best books I've read on leading a spiritual life. The Dalai Lama's statements on habits that can make us deeply happy (and thus peaceful, compassionate and ultimately better human beings) are simple, clear and true, and nousrishing as a drink of pure, clean water in the desert. A book that can change our lives, if we allow its message into our hearts.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Margo Kelly

    Well ... I almost gave it three stars instead of four ... simply because Cutler's narratives drove me nuts. I loved the messages of Dalai Lama, but I found Cutler's words irritating! (Cutler is the Western psychiatrist who interviewed the Dalai Lama and put the book together). I know ... if I would put into practice the art of compassion as taught by the Dalai Lama, Cutler's opinions wouldn't have bothered me. However, I'm not that enlightened. It seemed as though Cutler belittled some of the Bud Well ... I almost gave it three stars instead of four ... simply because Cutler's narratives drove me nuts. I loved the messages of Dalai Lama, but I found Cutler's words irritating! (Cutler is the Western psychiatrist who interviewed the Dalai Lama and put the book together). I know ... if I would put into practice the art of compassion as taught by the Dalai Lama, Cutler's opinions wouldn't have bothered me. However, I'm not that enlightened. It seemed as though Cutler belittled some of the Buddhist philosophies, calling them "too simple." Then, he would reference situations and examples where either he was playing the "devil's advocate" to make a more profound point of the Dalai Lama's messages, OR Cutler was very insensitive. I just thought, here is a man with a personal audience with the Dalai Lama - - - why is he not learning and putting into practice the things he is hearing? I began to skim Cutler's sections and read the Dalai Lama's sections more slowly. I found the Dalai Lama's messages inspiring. To understand the difference between pleasure and happiness ... a new window was opened for me. After reading that section, I was able to make decisions more easily based on whether the choice would provide me long term happiness or short term pleasure. A great way to look at things. Many other great messages opened my eyes and also reaffirmed personal beliefs regarding charity, tolerance, forgiveness, and other important ideas. A great book regardless of your religious affinities. It is one I will read again.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Farah Cook

    Beautiful book that doesn't focus on the concept of happiness as such but rather the measures to get there. Happiness is not a place you arrive to, and it stays for life. It's something we must actively seek all the time as we go through changes. This book is very philosophical so don't buy it if you think it gives you a formula for happiness.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amir The Fat Bookworm

    It was a book of pleasures. It helped a lot with my process of mind and satisfied my extremely powerful sense of skepticism. Dalai Lama XIV earned my respect, even though I hardly gave it to anyone to this day. It is highly compatible with modern findings of psychology, specially in the realm of CBT. I highly recommend it to anyone... ever!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mobina J

    عالی بود ، کافی بود چند صفحه ازش رو فقط بخونم که پر از حس خوب بشم و بهم یکم نگاه جدید بده. به نظرم کتابیه که باید به آرومی و منظم خونده بشه. خیلی به ذهنم تونست کمک کنه

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    "Human emotions are very powerful and sometimes overwhelm us. This can lead to disasters. Another important practice in training our minds involves distancing ourselves from strong emotions before they arise in us. For example, when we feel anger or hatred, we may think, “Yes, now anger is bringing me more energy, more decisiveness, swifter reactions.” However, when you look closely, you can see the energy brought about by negative emotions is essentially blind. We find that instead of bringing "Human emotions are very powerful and sometimes overwhelm us. This can lead to disasters. Another important practice in training our minds involves distancing ourselves from strong emotions before they arise in us. For example, when we feel anger or hatred, we may think, “Yes, now anger is bringing me more energy, more decisiveness, swifter reactions.” However, when you look closely, you can see the energy brought about by negative emotions is essentially blind. We find that instead of bringing thoughtful progress, there are many unfortunate repercussions. I doubt whether the energy brought about by negative emotions is really useful. Instead, we should analyze the situation very carefully, and then, with clarity and objectivity, determine that countermeasures are called for. The conviction “I must do something” can give you a powerful sense of purpose. This, I believe, is the basis of a healthier, more useful, and productive energy. [image error] If someone treats us unjustly, we must first analyze the situation. If we feel we can bear the injustice, if the negative consequences of doing so are not too great, then I think it best to accept it. However, if in our judgment, reached with clarity and awareness, we are led to the conclusion that acceptance would bring greater negative consequences, the we must take the appropriate countermeasures. This conclusion should be reached on the basis of clear awareness of the situation and not as a result of anger. I think that anger and hatred actually cause more harm to us than to the person responsible for our problem."

  23. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I wish I could give this one 10 stars! If reading is a way to spend time with the writer, the Dalai Lama is great company to keep! The book is comprised of excerpts from the Dalai Lama's public teaching and private conversations (in the interview form) with Howard Cutler. It was -thankfully - not written for the Self Help shelf. Here is an excerpt from the introduction: "When I initially conceived if this book, I envisioned a conventional self-help format in which the Dalai Lama would present cl I wish I could give this one 10 stars! If reading is a way to spend time with the writer, the Dalai Lama is great company to keep! The book is comprised of excerpts from the Dalai Lama's public teaching and private conversations (in the interview form) with Howard Cutler. It was -thankfully - not written for the Self Help shelf. Here is an excerpt from the introduction: "When I initially conceived if this book, I envisioned a conventional self-help format in which the Dalai Lama would present clear and simple solutions to all of life's problems. I felt that, using my background in psychiatry, I could codify his views in a set of easy instructions on how to conduct one's daily life. By the end of our series of meetingd I had given up on that idea. I found that his approach encompassed a much broader and more complex paradigm, incorporating all the nuance, richness, and complexity that life has to offer." This does not mean it is a scholarly text, it's an easy read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nora|KnyguDama

    Visą budistinės literatūros džiaugsmą, gėrį, šviesą atradau dar visai neseniai, bet nėriau stačia galva. Pradėjau gilintis, domėtis, ieškoti daugiau knygų - daugiau įkvėpimo. Tikrai taip, šios knygos mane labai įkvepia ir moko. Moko kitokio požiūrio į gyvenimą, pasaulį, kasdienines situacijas ir net save. Nors ant viršelio matome Dalai Lamą ir jis prirašytas kaip knygos autorius - tai nėra visiška tiesa. Tai labiau amerikiečių psichologo Hovard C. Cutler parašyta knyga remiantis praleista savait Visą budistinės literatūros džiaugsmą, gėrį, šviesą atradau dar visai neseniai, bet nėriau stačia galva. Pradėjau gilintis, domėtis, ieškoti daugiau knygų - daugiau įkvėpimo. Tikrai taip, šios knygos mane labai įkvepia ir moko. Moko kitokio požiūrio į gyvenimą, pasaulį, kasdienines situacijas ir net save. Nors ant viršelio matome Dalai Lamą ir jis prirašytas kaip knygos autorius - tai nėra visiška tiesa. Tai labiau amerikiečių psichologo Hovard C. Cutler parašyta knyga remiantis praleista savaite kartu su Jo Šventenybe. Pagrindinis knygos ir autoriaus keliamas klausimas - kas yra laimė ir kaip būti laimingam. Dalai Lama atsako į psichologo klausimus remdamasis budistinėmis tiesomis, asmeninėmis patirtimis, meditacijų praktikomis. Dalai Lama teigia, jog be nuoširdžios atjautos kitiems - pats laimingas nebūsi. Ir man labai patiko jo žodžiai: "Jei gali, tarnauk žmonėms, kitoms jaučiančioms būtybėms. Jei negali, stenkis susivaldyti ir joms nekenkti." Argi nebūtų pasaulis nuostabus jei visi vadovautumėmės šia logika? Argi nebūtų pasaulis tobulas jei kiekvienas į savo gyvenimą įsileistume šiek tiek budizmo? Esu garantuota, kad būtų. Dalai Lama teigia, jog laimė yra įgimta kiekvienam žmogui, jog kiekvienas iš mūsų nusipelnė jos. Tačiau mes patys to nesuvokiame ir savo laimę griauname patys sureikšmindami menkaverčius dalykus, nemokėdami užmiršti, paleisti, laikydami nuoskaudas. Visa tai psichologas ir Jo Šventenybė įpina į labai įdomią diskusiją. Atrodo Tibeto budizmo dvasinio vadovo pažiūros turėtų kardinaliai skirtis nuo vakariečio psichologo minčių. Vienas rekomenduoja skausmą įveikti medituojant, kitam atrodo, kad ir tabletės neblogas variantas ir pan. Tačiau diskusijoje jaučiama tikra pagarba vienas kitam, ko taip pat dažnam iš mūsų vertėtų pasimokyti. Knygą skaičiau ir nuolat vis rašiau kilusias mintis, patikusias citatas į savo užrašų knygą. Ir tų įsidėmėtinų dalykų tikrai daug prisirašiau. Mano galva, "Menas būti laimingam" yra knyga, kurią skaityti verta bent kelis kartus per gyvenimą. Dabar aš ją supratau vienaip, vienokios mintys labiau įstrigo. Tikiu, jog po dešimt metų vėl paėmusi ją į rankas visai kitokį gėrį atrasiu. Bet kokiu atveju tai vertinga knyga, kurią savo namų bibliotekoje turėti pravartu. P.S. gal kas nors dalyvausite Jo Šventenybės paskaitoje birželio 14 dieną Vilniuje? Jei taip - susitiksim!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    I liked the interplay between Buddhist practice and the connections to cognitive and other psychological studies. The main thing I learned from this book is that happiness can and should be a goal in your life. You can pursue happiness by training your mind over a period of many years. Many concrete exercises were offered to help this pursuit: 1. Replace your negative thoughts not only with realistic thoughts (as in Western cognitive thought) but actively insert positive thoughts in their place. I liked the interplay between Buddhist practice and the connections to cognitive and other psychological studies. The main thing I learned from this book is that happiness can and should be a goal in your life. You can pursue happiness by training your mind over a period of many years. Many concrete exercises were offered to help this pursuit: 1. Replace your negative thoughts not only with realistic thoughts (as in Western cognitive thought) but actively insert positive thoughts in their place. This can be done on an ongoing basis throughout the day. 2. Meditate on others' sufferings, including your enemies. Gaining a deeper understanding into suffering helps build your compassion, which is a key driver in the art of happiness. 3. Meditate to understand the true nature of your mind. Practice making your mind into a still pool, and notice all the interruptions that come into your mind. The biggest key however is the idea that you need to actively practice patience and tolerance. Every day, multiple times of day there are opportunities for one to do this. Standing in long lines, sitting in traffic, being put on hold all present opportunities to train your mind in building the antidotes to overcome negative states of mind. Now, instead of pulling out my phone to distract myself at the first sign of boredom, I actually lean in to the situation and practice patience. This was a huge learning for me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I definitely learned a lot from it. The Dalai Lama's words are so powerful, his experiences so inspiring and his mixture of spiritual and philosophical wisdom with uncommon common sense completely unique. The only reason that I gave it four, rather than five, stars is that the psychiatrist "co-author" injected way too much of his own personality and experiences into the book. This is a book that will attract people that are interested in the Dalai Lama's a Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I definitely learned a lot from it. The Dalai Lama's words are so powerful, his experiences so inspiring and his mixture of spiritual and philosophical wisdom with uncommon common sense completely unique. The only reason that I gave it four, rather than five, stars is that the psychiatrist "co-author" injected way too much of his own personality and experiences into the book. This is a book that will attract people that are interested in the Dalai Lama's advice, and Dr. Cutler, the "co-author," seems to be hijacking the book occasionally. It was certainly helpful to have a Western personality and native English speaker to edit the conversations so they were easy to follow in book form, but I really think that Dr. Cutler should have restricted his role to that. Writing it as if it was a "team effort" between him and the Dalai Lama was off-putting to me, because that's just not what I was looking for out of this book. But all in all, it was a well-written, well-edited and well-organized introduction to the Dalai Lama's philosophy on daily living, happiness and spirituality, which is what I wanted. So I'm happy with the book!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Traci

    This is a book that I will always have on my bookshelf. For me it is a reference book on living a more peaceful life. This book changed my life in so many ways. I truly believe Americans are hard wired for aggression and fighting. Not in a physical way, but in a spiritually and emotionally. We are taught to "fight" for everything and to always do what we can to get ahead. In the religion I was exposed to we are taught our beliefs are "the only truth". This book challenged some of my deepest thou This is a book that I will always have on my bookshelf. For me it is a reference book on living a more peaceful life. This book changed my life in so many ways. I truly believe Americans are hard wired for aggression and fighting. Not in a physical way, but in a spiritually and emotionally. We are taught to "fight" for everything and to always do what we can to get ahead. In the religion I was exposed to we are taught our beliefs are "the only truth". This book challenged some of my deepest thoughts about living, spirituality, and life. It forced me to rethink how I behave and think towards others. Especially those who are a challenge to me or are different than me. One of the best parts of this book is how the Dalai Lama explains that our religion doesn't have to be enclusive of only our religion. We really can benefit from learning about other religions. I highly recommend this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alice Mccain

    Would it be an exaggeration to say this book saved my life? Not really. When I was at my lowest, it was this book that I kept by my side, in my bag, and next to my bed, near me at all times. My copy is dog-eared, marked up and flagged in more places that I can count. In this treasure, we learn how to reshape our mental outlook so that we can live easier in this world. We learn how to find meaning in our suffering, so that things don't seem so dark. We also learn about the difference between pain Would it be an exaggeration to say this book saved my life? Not really. When I was at my lowest, it was this book that I kept by my side, in my bag, and next to my bed, near me at all times. My copy is dog-eared, marked up and flagged in more places that I can count. In this treasure, we learn how to reshape our mental outlook so that we can live easier in this world. We learn how to find meaning in our suffering, so that things don't seem so dark. We also learn about the difference between pain and suffering and how the brain interprets each, yet it is all the while readable. Examples from all of life's situations keep it engaging, from relationships and how to deepen them and enrich our human experience, to compassion and how to develop and maintain it in the face of annoyance. To say that it is worthwhile would be a huge understatement.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris Gordon

    The Art of Happiness is not just a mere checklist of some suggested methods to which one should adhere in order to attain happiness. Rather, it is through a spiritual journey with the Dalai Lama that we learn how to live a fulfilling life by seeing his Buddhist and humanistic principles being applied to everyday problems and challenges. Done in an enjoyable format of back-and-forth conversations between Dr. Cutler and the the Dalai Lama, I was able to fully immerse myself into the heart of their The Art of Happiness is not just a mere checklist of some suggested methods to which one should adhere in order to attain happiness. Rather, it is through a spiritual journey with the Dalai Lama that we learn how to live a fulfilling life by seeing his Buddhist and humanistic principles being applied to everyday problems and challenges. Done in an enjoyable format of back-and-forth conversations between Dr. Cutler and the the Dalai Lama, I was able to fully immerse myself into the heart of their talks, feeling as though I were right there listening the whole time. Right from the start, I was able to determine that the Dalai Lama was a special kind of person whose wisdom came from a place of sincerity – an admirable trait seldom found in people nowadays. Through years of practice and discipline, he has become the embodiment of happiness. His ideas on spirituality, suffering, altruism, compassion, self-hate, and a variety of other topics seems to cover nearly the entire spectrum of human life and behavior, both directly and indirectly. By applying the Dalai Lama's advice to our own lives, he claims that we can all attain a state of happiness to which we, as human beings, are naturally entitled. This book made me believe that it may be possible to do that if the proper time, energy, and attention is allotted to such a monumental endeavor. Though I don't expect everyone to overhaul their entire life after reading The Art of Happiness, I think that just about anybody – content with their current life or in dire need of some positive change – can take lessons from this book and make even a small adjustment to their behavior or outlook on the world for the betterment of themselves and the world as a united entity. I think those with a cynical outlook on life may find it laughable that the Dalai Lama fights so fervently for peace and happiness, for such optimistic concepts seem quite impossible to attain considering today's multitude of social, military, economic, political, societal, and religious quandaries. But I think it is for that very reason that this book should be read by those who say that these problems do not have any viable solutions. It may be difficult to come by, but real change can emerge from these positive teachings if enough time and effort is placed into doing so. Sure, living a happy life may not prevent the next World War, but it sure can improve a lot of other facets of our lives if we give it a chance, and I think that is just as important to consider.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Monique

    I'd been meaning to read something written by the Dalai Lama for quite a while, and this one was cheap so I picked it up. Also, I was interested in the comparison of views between a western psychiatrist and a religious figure. Personally, I didn't think this really worked out. Mostly, Cutler repeats the Dalai Lama's message and links it to psychiatric practice without looking at it from a critical perspective. On the one hand, this is good because it means he gives plenty of space to the views o I'd been meaning to read something written by the Dalai Lama for quite a while, and this one was cheap so I picked it up. Also, I was interested in the comparison of views between a western psychiatrist and a religious figure. Personally, I didn't think this really worked out. Mostly, Cutler repeats the Dalai Lama's message and links it to psychiatric practice without looking at it from a critical perspective. On the one hand, this is good because it means he gives plenty of space to the views of the Dalai Lama. On the other hand, it makes you wonder about the added value of having him as a writer. However, this book is still full of nice, thoughtful passages. It's interesting to read about the Dalai Lama's views on happiness, and while I do recognise some of these ideas from cognitive therapy and western self-help book, it's still nice to see them against a different background. Also, it's an easy read and even if you don't agree with all of it, you can still find plenty useful ideas in it.

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