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The Art of Happiness

“The Art of Happiness” is a book authored by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, a psychologist. It was published by Riverhead in 1998. The book is based upon the answers given by the Dalai Lama to the questions asked by Howard Cutler and the author’s own comments and reflections on the issues raised during the interviews. Cutler quotes the Dalai Lama at length and provides the context and settings in which the interview took place.

It states that happiness is our birthright. It is the purpose of our life. Happiness is basically a state of mind which is not determined by the temporal circumstances, conditions, environment and events with the proviso that the basic survival needs should be met.
Some people love to wallow in sadness and sorrow. This attitude may prove prejudicial to their health and wellbeing. According to the author this attitude can be changed through systematic training and persuasion of our hearts and minds. We need to reshape our attitude and outlook.

According to Cutler, a clinical psychiatrist, there is absolutely no doubt that the Dalai Lama remains definitely happy. This is despite the fact that he faces gigantic and formidable problems which can easily overwhelm anyone with despair, extreme hatred and revengefulness. He is fully aware how he has to strike his head against the stone wall of international resistance to setting the things in order.

Speaking to a large audience in Arizona, his Holiness said, “"I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness....the very motion of our life is towards happiness." When asked by the author if it is really possible to be happy, the Dalai Lama replied, “"Yes, I believe that happiness can be achieved through training the mind."

"By bringing about a certain inner discipline," the Dalai Lama continues, "we can undergo a transformation of our attitude, our entire outlook and approach to living."

One of the basic prescriptions for achieving happiness boils down to just one essential principle: the will to do good to others.

 

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