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Book Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition
A Handbook for Living
His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Howard C. Cutler
Riverhead 09/09 Hardcover $25.95
ISBN: 9781594488894


Howard C. Cutler, a Western psychiatrist, first met His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, in 1981. This book contains excerpts from their private conversations along with material from the Dalai Lama's public teachings. Cutler was deeply impressed with this religious leader's sense of fulfillment and serenity. He wanted to find out what practices could help the rest of us "to become happier, stronger, perhaps less afraid." This anniversary edition has been updated with new material that gives the text even more relevance to the continuing quest for happiness by millions of people around the world.

Buddhism has always been concerned with the cultivation of those factors that can lead to happiness and the elimination of those leading to suffering. The Dalai Lama believes that detachment, contentment, and a sense of inner worth are basic sources of happiness. This inner peace can be enhanced by intimacy, deepening our connection with others, and practicing compassion.

Constantly comparing ourselves to others or always carping about life's unfairness are two examples of self-created suffering. Instead, the Dalai Lama stresses that we can find meaning and fulfillment in life through avoiding extremes and adopting a supple, flexible mind. He demonstrates how negative states of mind, such as hatred, can be overcome by practicing positive states of mind, such as patience and tolerance. Throughout these talks the Dalai Lama makes it clear that regular spiritual practice is the key to creating the right milieu for happiness.

 

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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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