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The Art of Happiness

The Art of Happiness

The Dalai Lama believes that the purpose of life is to seek happiness. To achieve this you need to do only one thing: train your mind. Because that’s what happiness is, a mental state.

The book is not directly written by him, but instead by a Western psychologist who asks him questions about life. The Dalai Lama’s answers show that his mind is open, flexible and gentle, his humanity is real, his wisdom is deep and his teachings are powerful and effective.

Funnily enough, he sometimes also answers with “I don’t know” and this gave me an interesting insight, which was: if one of the most spiritual men on earth doesn’t know, then not having all the answers is part of our existence and what remains for us is to just accept things as they are.

I particularly admired him when he specified that he was speaking about his point of view as a “Buddhist” and that for a non-Buddhist it could be different.

The reason I’m giving it 4 stars instead of 5 stars is that on the cover it says “a handbook for living”, so I was expecting more practical advice. For this, I don’t consider it a self-help book in the traditional sense.

All in all, an inspiring must-read book. 

From Goodreads:

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.