Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living Hardcover – October 1, 2009
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
About the Author
Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. His tireless efforts on behalf of human rights and world peace have brought him international recognition. He is a recipient of the Wallenberg Award (conferred by the U.S. Congressional Human Rights Foundation), the Albert Schweitzer Award, and the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, and the Nobel Peace Prize.
Howard C. Cutler, M.D., is a psychiatrist, best-selling author, and speaker. A leading expert on the science of human happiness, Dr. Cutler is coauthor, with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, of the acclaimed Art of Happiness series of books, international bestsellers that have been translated into fifty languages. The groundbreaking first volume, The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living, appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for ninety-seven weeks. Dr. Cutler lives in Phoenix.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living was co-authored by psychiatrist Howard Cutler, who posed questions to the Dalai Lama over the series of many interviews. Cutler provides the setting and context for their meetings and also incorporates his own reflections on the issues raised in their discussions. In addition, transcriptions from several of the Dalai Lama's teachings are scattered throughout the book. It was first published in 1998, and I read the ten-year anniversary edition that was published in 2008 which includes a new preface and introduction.
The book delves into the concept of using various techniques to train the mind in order to achieve true happiness. In the preface, His Holiness the Dalai Lama states, "If you want others to be happy practice compassion; and if you want yourself to be happy practice compassion." This focus on developing compassion is consistent throughout the book and is a main focus in many of the answers that the Dalai Lama gives to Cutler's questions. It seems that this is a sort of prerequisite for cultivating happiness, a foundation upon which all of the other advice is based upon.
Another point that is made time and time again is that happiness comes down to one's state of mind more than by external events. There are a plethora of examples provided in the book, such as how lottery winners do not sustain their initial delight over a longterm period and instead return to the level of moment-to-moment happiness they were accustomed to prior to winning the lottery. Or how studies have shown that people who are struck by tragic events like cancer and blindness typically recover to their normal level of happiness after a reasonable adjustment period. Psychologists label this process "adaptation", which simply refers to the tendency of one's overall level of happiness to migrate back to a certain baseline.
From a Buddhist perspective, the root causes of all suffering are ignorance, craving, and hatred. The book fleshes out this idea and suggests methods for one to overcome them. For example, the Dalai Lama advises, "We cannot overcome anger and hatred simply by suppressing them. We need to actively cultivate the antidotes to hatred: patience and tolerance."
Overall, I was very impressed by this book. When I first started reading it I wished that the Dalai Lama had been the sole author, however I eventually grew to appreciate Cutler's additions. That's mainly because I did not realize that the book was co-authored until after I started reading it, so I had unknowingly and unintentionally set an improper expectation for myself. However, by the end of the book I had overlooked the co-authoring aspect entirely and focused more on the book's content, which is excellent. I would advise this book to anyone who is interested in the Dalai Lama, Buddhism, mindfulness, or becoming truly happy.
But, I digress. Unlike many of the Dalai Lama's earlier books this one is geared specifically toward and for the general public. Just as you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy Levy's Rye, you don't have to be a Buddhist to appreciate this book. As a matter of fact, although every idea in this book is quintessentally Buddhist, every idea in this book is, more importantly, quintessentially human. The Dalai Lama's basic thesis is that we are all born to be happy. Reading this, I kept being reminded of Jefferson's words, "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." It's too bad that our modern culture conflates "Happiness" with "Pleasure" (which is far more fleeting) and that "Pleasure's" main attribute is "Money" and lots of it, or the things that "Money" can buy. Not that "Money" is unimportant, but the idea that "Money can't buy Happiness" is a core idea here, and is proven over and over again.
This book and its sequels grew out of a series of personal interviews between the Dalai Lama and noted Psychologist Howard C. Cutler, who has become an important exponent of the Positive Psychology Movement of the last decade. Positive Psychology focuses not on what's wrong with an individual but on what's right and how to reinforce what's right through positive practices---essentially, Cutler's approach amounts to a primer on classical Buddhist Psychology. The Dalai Lama speaks here, but it is Cutler who amplifies and expounds on the Dalai Lama's core ideas in a Western idiom. His Holiness does detail certain meditative practices as well.
According to the Dalai Lama (and most Positive Psychologists), Happiness is not the end result of a thought process but is the process itself. Acting kindly, compassionately, mindfully and with awareness result in a person being, in effect, happy, even in the face of the day-to-day toxicity of much of our culture. His Holiness also believes that Happiness is highly contagious, and that it will spread virally if only we maintain our positive practices.
Yes, it is hard to remain "happy" in the face of dealing with obnoxious bill collectors or dishonest repairmen, but that is where compassion comes in. Compassion is not a form of blind forgiveness---I don't have to say, "It's okay" to the mugger who's just stolen my wallet---but, rather, it is a form of understanding that bad things do occur, that although they may occur to me, the universe is not personally out to get me, and that the mugger who mugged me, the bill collector who cursed me or the repairman who overcharged me, is acting out of their own unhappiness. I don't have to turn any cheeks or allow it to happen ever again. I don't have to embrace them as misguided souls. I don't have to let it fester and make me sick and angry either. I just have to grasp the idea that the mugger, the bill collector and the repairman are all human, like me, and all subject to the same faults and foibles that I am. Sound tough? It sure is. That's why it's a lifelong practice.
Anybody coming here for a bullet-point approach to solving all of life's problems or to be reassured by pop-psychology tripe will be disappointed in this book. This is a substantive popular work that gives back to the reader exactly what the reader puts in.
Most recent customer reviews
The book arrived fast.