11 March 2009

The Art of Happiness

I recently read The Art of Happiness and found much within it to recommend it. The book is a dialogue between psychiatrist Howard Cutler and the 14th Dalai Lama, but much of it consists of the psychiatrist asking the Dalai Lama questions and then commenting on his answers. Although the Dalai Lama is a religious figure, there is very little dogma in the book: spirituality, for the Dalai Lama, seems to consist of practicing a compassionate, tolerant, patient, humble, and mentally disciplined life. He is very much aware of the importance of reason and empathy in living our lives, and I dare say he's a humanist at heart.
"I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we are all seeking something better in life." - the Dalai Lama

"Happiness is determined more by one's state of mind than by external events." - Howard Cutler

"You can relate to [people] because you are still a human being, within the human community. You share that bond. And that bond is strong enough to give rise to a sense of worth and dignity. That bond can even become a source of consolation in the event that you lose everything else." - the Dalai Lama

"We [...] often add to our pain and suffering by being overly sensitive, overreacting to minor things, and sometimes taking things too personally."

"Honesty and self-confidence are often mixed."

"I believe it is essential to appreciate our potential as human beings and to recognize the importance of inner transformation."*

*By which he means using the practices of compassion, tolerance, and so on to better ourselves.


The Reader said...

I have almost picked up this book many times. I am in constant awe of the insightful teachings of the Dali Lama. He is a true inspiration.

smellincoffee said...

My comments on the book itself are scheduled to appear sometime tomorrow morning. I really recommend it.

smellincoffee said...

(The book, not my comments. :-D)