jadelin, June 8, 2012 (view all comments by jadelin)
A crucial book for anyone wiling to experience true happiness. This book transcends time and circumstance to guide, support, provide insight into the happiness we already have inside.
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Rin, November 4, 2010 (view all comments by Rin)
The Art of Happiness is a beautifully written book. I found it helpful that Cutler (a Westerner) also wrote the book because he would ask the Dalai Lama to expand on the same points that I had questions about. This made it very applicable in using the concepts in my daily life.
The Art of Happiness is very inspirational and down-to-earth. It's helpful to read when you are going through hard points in your life, or just dealing with life in general. It really is a "handbook for living". This is the sort of book that makes you want to be a better person. I think everyone would benefit from reading The Art of Happiness.
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This book is suppose to represent the Dalai Lama's views on happiness. Readers should know right off the bat that the Dalai Lama didn't actually write this book. Rather, the book is written by a Western psychiatrist who has had extensive converations with His Holiness. To insure that there were no "inadvertant distortions" of the Dalai Lama's ideas as a result of the editorial process, the Dalai Lama's interpreter reviewed the final manuscript. You be the judge as to whether that means this there was nothing "lost in translation".
So who is this Dalai Lama, aka "His Holiness" anyway? And, why should we read a book about happiness by him? Well, the Dalai Lama is the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people according to Tibetan Buddhism- which in my book makes him a person I'd want to listen to when he talks, especially when it's on one of my favorite subjects, happiness. And if this all sounds like an interesting topic for a book, you should read it- you won't be disappointed.
Now this is the kind of book I could write a long review of- simply because there's just so much wisdom packed into it. But, I think I'll take a short-cut with this one and just hit the highlights.
The Dalai Lama believes that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. Other happiness books have also taken this same position. For example, the book "Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World" refers to happiness as "the ultimate pursuit". On this most will agree, but what exactly does the Dalai Lama tell us about finding it?
As with most of his ideas on things, the concept is clear and simple: happiness can be achieved through training the mind. According to the Dalai Lama, one begins by identifying those factors which lead to happiness, and those factors which lead to suffering.
Having done this, one then sets about gradually eliminating those factors which lead to suffering and cultivating those which lead to happiness. That is the way.
To that end, that's exactly what makes up the majority of this book's pages- ways to eliminate factors in your life that lead to suffering, and learning to foster those factors that lead to happiness. Some specific topics include:
-dealing with anger, hatred, and anxiety
-deepening your connection to others
When all is said and done, I'd have to say that the time you spend mulling over the book's 300-plus pages is going to be well worth it. For most readers, the Dalai Lama's wisdom and views will probably be very beneficial, if not transforming. Happy trails!
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by Donna Seaman, Booklist,
"Over and over again, Cutler poses complicated psychological inquiries only to have the Dalai Lama offer responses that reach far beyond the parameters of the self. There really is such a thing as an art of happiness, and this is one of the best how-to books a reader will ever find."
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.
One of the world's greatest spiritual leaders teams up with a psychiatrist to share, for the first time, how he achieved his hard-won serenity and how readers can attain the same inner peace.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.