The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living

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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.

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May 12, 2018

Sources Of Wisdom And Happiness

I came to this book not expecting much. I knew the book was the product of an American psychiatrist, Dr. Cutler, rather than an actual text written by the Dalai Lama. In fact, the book is based upon a series of interviews between Dr. Cutler and the Dalai Lama over several years in the United States and In Dharmasala, India, the home of the Tibetan Govenment in exile.

In addition to my doubts about the authenticity of the book, I also feared the book would be a self-help book, sometimes referred to under the rubric a "feel good" book.

I was pleasantly surprised. The book speaks in simple terms but it is far from superficial. The character and the teaching of the Dalai Lama, I think, come through its pages even though it is the author who is recounting the Dalai Lama's teachings from his notes and even though the Dalai Lama's interpreter, not the Dalai Lama himself, reviewed the final product. The Dalai Lama comes through as a wise, thoughtful but simple monk with a sense of humor, modesty, and self-effacement. His simplicity, and his ability to relate to people of different backgrounds and religious traditions, are the mark of wisdom, coming from a spiritual leader who is all to often in the glare of the public limelight and who of necessity functions as a political leader as well.

The Dalai Lama presents teachings on the nature of the human heart -- it is essentially pure and good -- the desires and angers and ignorance which present us from realizing goodness and happiness- and teachings and methods to ease the path to happiness. Although the teachings are presented simply, no claim is made that the realization is simple. There are teachings on romantic love which may not appeal to Westerners (the Dalai Lama finds it essentially selfish), but much good material on the psychology of the mind and emotions, controlling negative tendencies, the universal nature of the human heart, and most importantly, trying to conduct oneself to DO NO HARM to anyone else.

The tone of the book is mostly psychological with very little of the specific teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.

I thought the final chapter on spiritual development was the most valuable and eloquent portion of the book. The Dalai Lama talks about the different creeds, Eastern and Western, that he had come to know with his exile from Tibet. He finds that believers in these religions, regardless of how different they may appear on the surface, can find peace and happiness by following their teachings. For those unable to believe, a secular philosophy can likewise lead to peace and happiness through learning to control the mind.

Very simple and profound teachings from a person who is indeed a wise teacher for our times.

Robin Friedman


Dec 25, 2008

Wonderful book

A readable, insightful work worth spending your money and time on. We need more happy people in the world to create a happier planet.


Jun 26, 2007

The Art of Happiness

The Art of Happiness, first of all, is not authored by the Dalai Lama, but is written by a Western psychotherapist, Howard C. Cutler. Cutler does a good job of presenting some very basic ideas of the Dalai Lama?s for Western reader through transcriptions of conversations and public talks given by His Holiness. It is all very reassuring. It is good to be happy and to strive to be happy, because happiness comes from practicing the good qualities of being human - kindness, compassion, and tolerance. To be happy, to be a better person, you can practice, with commitment and with discipline, the good states of mind, and combat bad ones - anger, hatred, and greed. The Dalai Lama explains how to develop kindness and compassion, how to face suffering, and how to deal with anger and self-doubt from his Buddhist perspective, and Cutler puts his ideas into Western terms. In the end, the Dalai Lama describes the spiritual life as a disciplined, calm state of mind that translates into one?s daily actions.
American readers who want to glimpse into the inspiring spiritual practice of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism, who want simple affirmation of their right to happiness, and some comforting advice about pursuing happiness will like this book.


Jun 5, 2007

Life Changing

An excellent account of Budhism and of an approach to life that offers more meaning and truer happiness. A beautiful book.

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