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The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness Paperback – May 27, 2008

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Frequently Bought Together

The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness + Joyful Wisdom: Embracing Change and Finding Freedom + Turning Confusion into Clarity: A Guide to the Foundation Practices of Tibetan Buddhism
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; Reprint edition (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307347311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307347312
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This refreshing book is yet another sign that the next generation of Buddhism is creative, cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary. Born in 1975 in Nepal, the author is among the generation of Tibetan lamas trained outside of Tibet, and he's also a gifted meditator. His brain activity has been measured during meditation, earning him the enviable sobriquet of "happiest man on earth." He fuses scientific and spiritual considerations, explaining meditation as a physical as well as a spiritual process. Mingyur Rinpoche knows from experience that meditation can change the brain. He experienced panic attacks as a child that he was able to overcome through intensive meditation. If diligently practiced, meditation can affect the "neuronal gossip"—his imaginative rendering of brain cell communication—that keeps us stuck in unhappy behaviors. The meditation master offers a wide variety of techniques, counseling ease in practice to avoid boredom or aversion. Less is more; practice shorter periods more often, he says. His approach will be especially welcome for anyone frustrated by meditation or convinced they're "not doing it right." This book is a fresh breath from the meditation room, written with kindness, energy and wit. Three cheers for a cheerful contemplative. (Mar. 6)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


The New York Times Bestseller!

“Compelling, readable, and informed.”

“Rinpoche’s investigations into the science of happiness are woven into an accessible introduction to Buddhism”

“There is real wisdom here. Fresh and clear. Mingyur Rinpoche has offered us what may well be an essential link between the Buddha and contemporary neuroscience and physics. He effortlessly makes connections between seemingly disparate and complex disciplines, and makes the journey sparkle. His voice is generous, intimate, and refreshingly personal. As he repeatedly reminds us, our experience of ourselves and our world is none other than an interactive projection of our mind; and most important, our minds can change. Our neurons can change structure and function, merely by observing the flow of our mental activity. Through repeated familiarity with positive mind states, such as love and compassion, and by transforming our limiting mental conceptualizing into vast freedom, we can achieve the already present basic mind of clarity and knowing—true happiness. Read this book.”
—Richard Gere

“An extraordinarily clear book on the whys and the hows of cultivating mindfulness effectively in our lives. It makes use of the idiom and exciting discoveries of modern science in ways that are easy to understand and entirely relevant to the meditation practices themselves.”
—Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Coming to Our Senses and vice-chair of the Mind and Life Institute

“The first of its kind . . . a truly compelling and infinitely practical fusion of Tibetan Buddhism and scientific ideas. Mingyur Rinpoche is a teacher for our time, uniquely gifted to bridge these two worlds.”
—Sogyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

“It is extraordinary to see the words lineage, compassion, spacetime foam, and limbic resonance all in the same book. . . . The Joy of Living is a personal, readable, and wonderfully warm and clear guide to changing the way we see ourselves and the world.”
—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

“Mingyur Rinpoche is a charismatic teacher with a heart and smile of gold. The clarity, humor, and wisdom of his stories and teachings are collected in this book, and it will always be with me as a most valued companion. This is one of those rare books where you meet the author and learn from his radiance.”
—Lou Reed

“A beautiful tapestry of Buddhist insight woven together with modern science, this book is a landmark in the development of a contemplative neuroscience . . . a must-read for anyone interested in the causes and consequences of happiness.”
—Richard J. Davidson, professor of psychology and psychiatry and Director, Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior at the University of Wisconsin–Madison

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 134 customer reviews
It is very simple and easy to understand.
D. McCarthy
Rinpoche's love for us pours out of this book as his compassion blesses our meditation.
Deidre Rudiger
This book really will make a difference in your life.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

130 of 130 people found the following review helpful By John Chancellor TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We often hear and talk about the different way of thinking - Eastern or Western and left brain vs right brain. But rarely do we see a work that brings it all together in easy to understand language. The Joy of Living really does a great job of explaining how the mind works and how to make the mind work for you and what you want.

"The mind is the source of all expereince, and by changing the direction of the mind, we can change the quality of everything we experience. When you transform your mind, everything you experience is transformed."

The book is divided into three parts. Part one is "The Ground". To trully understand the benefits of meditation, you need to understand how the mind works and what we need to do to make it work for us. Here Yongey goes into great detail to explain the different parts of the brain and their function. He also enlightens the reader with the movement of scientific research concerning the mind and how the Eastern and Western thoughs are moving toward the same goal.

Part two is The Path. Here Yongey gives detailed instructions on the various methods of meditating. His explanations are very easy to understand and follow. Unlike many books I have read on meditation, he tries to make it simple and workable. He is not so much concerned with technique as he is with results.

Part three is The Fruits. This is simply a recap of the benefits to be gained from meditation.

Even if you never plan to do any formal meditation, there is a lot to be learned from this book. Basically we grow up thinking in dualistic terms - that is self vs others, mine vs theirs, having or not having. When we think this way, we are bound by limitations. This way of thinking is a habit and habits can be changed.
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85 of 86 people found the following review helpful By David Humes on May 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have been a meditator since 1980. Many people ask me how to meditate or they tell me of their problems when they have "tried" to meditate (too many thoughts, too fidgety, couldn't concentrate, etc.). Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche has clarified it so well that from now on I'm simply going to recommend this book, The Joy of Living, to anyone wishing to learn how to meditate. I facilitate TheHappinessWorkshop (dot com) and teach Meditation 101 for beginners. I learned many new practical things from him in this excellent, clearly articulate and easy to understand book. I HIGHLY recommend it.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Melba K. Hannesson on March 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a teacher of Buddhism in America, I cannot thank Rinpoche and the brilliant Eric Swanson enough for this teaching. Finally there is something students can turn to when they find it difficult to have the faith that their practice of this path can result in the happiness the Buddhia taught could be found in one's own mind. It is also wonderfully helpful for non-Buddhists who simply want some benefits from meditation.

Many many thanks for all the work that went into the writing of this book and for all the wisdom it contains.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Potter Bosky on April 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Having come from much personal trauma, anxiety, panic, depression, and physical ailments, but also being of a skeptical scientific mind, I began searching philosophy for something that would answer pressing issues in my life. Being depressed about the state of my health, my past and my life in general, I picked up the book without much expectation, almost sure that I would be disappointed. I was very wrong. Instead, this book, in a brilliantly simple way, changed my life profoundly, by giving me the root answers to my problems and the tools to manage these issues. Learning about the author's own anxiety was uplifting to me as I identified. I'm not fully recovered, but I am much more advanced than I have ever been. This book put me on that path.

Update 08/08: I actually read the book in autumn 2007, writing my review in 04/08. I plan on reading the book again sometime soon to "redigest" all the information and teachings, and then posting an additional appended review. I do want to say that this is still my #1 book I recommend to others who are struggling with some kind of issue that results in a lack of happiness. In the past, I've gotten nothing from the fluffy feel-good new-agey self-help books as I am very scientific-oriented. Yongey Mingyur's text is definitely not fluffy. It's concise and mature, speaking to you as an intelligent person. I look forward to reading again and sharing more detailed thoughts.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By G. M. Flach on September 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
These pages sing with wisdom from the voice of the Happy Monk as Yongey is fondly called; his humorous compassionate vignettes will also have you smiling. He is a wonderful youthful story teller for modern day using his experience about Tibetan Buddhism, science and the human condition, woven like the humble master he his with the ability to help and heal others. This book is for the practitioner and non-practitioner alike but after reading it you must practice! He busts the myths surrounding meditation from a life of having done so with a host of stops and starts and having guided others in the process He reminds one that "The expectations you bring to meditation are often the greatest obstacles you encounter"

His description of emptiness as infinite possibilities, neuronal plasticity, a process to unlearn the habit of fear and affirmation of the biological basis for kindness are just some of the realizations herein to help us live in active hopefulness. His conviction of these and many life enhancing ways are spelled out for us in almost Hemmingway simplicity such that you too will find many jewels and joy herein.

Let me end this with an ancient prayer that Yongey shares with us:

May all sentient beings have happiness
And the cause of happiness.
May all sentient beings be free
From suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all sentient being have joy and the causes of joy.
May all sentient beings remain in great equanimity,
Free from attachment and aversion.
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