The Art of Happiness

The Art of Happiness

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...

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Title:The Art of Happiness
Author:Dalai Lama XIV
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Edition Language:English

The Art of Happiness Reviews

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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:

    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:

    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.

  • 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.)

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