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The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness
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The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  3,223 ratings  ·  159 reviews
An illuminating perspective on the science of meditation—and a handbook for transforming our minds, bodies, and lives

In The Joy of Living, world-renowned Buddhist teacher Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche—the “happiest man in the world”—invites us to join him in unlocking the secrets to finding joy and contentment in the everyday. Using the basic meditation practices he provides, we
Paperback, 252 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Harmony (first published 2007)
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Ariz Guzman
Buddhism is not a religion. To a trained Buddhist, "it is a type of science, a method of exploring your own experience through techniques that enable you to examine your actions and reactions in a nonjudgmental way" (11). This book was a good intro in training to achieve a "natural mind" or Enlightenment, a mind in its natural state, free from conceptual limitations. Supposedly, "the experience of natural peace is so far beyond what we normally consider relaxation that it defies ...more
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I thought this book was very insightful and so helpful to open my eyes to the power of meditation. It is not a book about becoming a Buddhist, but more a book of how the human brain responds to meditation. If you're interested in how Buddhism and Western Neurobiology mirror each other, this is a great reference. I loved that it wasn't just about Buddhism and meditation, but he included his experiences working with the Univ of Wisconsin in the brain imaging department and how they were able to ob ...more
This book does several nifty things. First, it shows how concepts from Buddhism and contemporary scientific studies agree with each other. Then, it discusses some studies on people in meditation. It turns out that meditation, when done by people who have done it for a long time and are good at it, makes people incredibly happy and peaceful. (This isn't big news, but it's cool to hear how science has proven this.)

Then, the book discusses meditation techniques with a level of detail and clarity th
Mar 27, 2013 Jess rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Megan
I was surprised by how much this book floored me. I hadn't thought of the intersections between Buddhism and scientific discoveries, but he made me see it. And he demystified a lot of what I find hard about meditating. The idea of meditating in shorter bursts; the notion of just relaxing your mind (instead of straining for focus); the making contemporary of ancient teachings - all of it made Buddhist teachings and meditation practice more vivid for me. And I needed to read it. I think this is on ...more
Tina Carstensen Lopez
This has been the most meaningful book I've read so far on Buddhism. There were a few times when tries at humor didn't work of rme, but they were so sweet in their intention I almost blushed. Other than that it was just what I needed. Just enough over my head to make me want to read it again in a year or so and I'll read more by this author.
The Joy of Living is a book on meditation that explains how it can help you achieve happiness and also why it works, according to modern science. The combination of Buddhist wisdom and science is very interesting, and Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche does a great job explaining both aspects in simple terms for laypersons.

While the first part of the book is more concerned with the whys and wherefores, the second part contains lots of different examples of meditation practices, some of which build on othe
Chris Etheridge
For anyone wishing to better their life both mentally and physically, this is a must-read book. For anyone who wants to learn meditation and understand more about it, this is a must-read book. As someone who has recently discovered meditation and has been meditating for a few months I can confirm that it indeed does work. This book covers the very basics from the origination of Buddhism, what meditation is (how it works and how to meditate) to even scientific proof of its benefits to the mind an ...more
I spent 2008 studying joyfulness as a practice and a discipline (like practicing the violin, only quieter). This was one of the most instructive, useful, practical, and successful books I found. Yongey Mingyur grew up in an environment that intersected Tibetan Buddhist meditation training and research into how the brain works, so he presents information about the theory and practice of joyfulness from a universal perspective.

The key to joyfulness, like anything else, is practice. This is a grea
There are parts of this book that are a bit complex, but overall it reads like mentoring from a friend. The author puts a lot of importance into being mindful, "living in the now", and compassion toward all living things.
Kevin Quirk
Very interesting and spiritually uplifting book. Does a great job uniting Eastern philosophy with principles of psychology and mental health. Can get a bit repetitive towards the end but great ideas.
Larry James
Read this book casually, quietly and you will walk away with the clearest ideas about what makes you happy and how to practice happiness. It's really that simple.
I found the insights into the relationship between a centuries old philosophy and quantum physics quite fascinating. Buddhism is presented not as a religion but really a philosophical outlook on life and reflecting on the inner workings of the mind. This book is very quotable; and you can easily take it as an amateur attempt and compiling self-motivational snippets or you can dig deeper and really reflect on the purpose of the book. Rating this book is entirely in the eye of the reader and the r ...more
This was highly recommended to me as a good description of why meditation is such a powerful practise, and not just how to do it. Indeed the book covers both of those, plus examines some of the parallels between modern science (particularly neurology and physics) and ancient Buddhist tradition - pretty neat! The most refreshing and encouraging aspect of the practical instruction is the notion of acceptance, ie that we should not beat ourselves up if we can't clear our minds of chatter and distra ...more
"Why meditate?", one might ask themselves. "Isn't that just some mystical Eastern ritual that basically amounts to sitting down and thinking or going to a happy place?"

As modern science marches on, evidence seems to be mounting that practicing mindfulness meditation for even 10 minutes a day for 8 weeks can result in a noticeable change in the reduction of mental stress, anxiety, and depression.

This very lucid book introducing the subject and methods of meditation, written specifically for the
Jan 20, 2014 Elizabeth rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all helping professionals and everyone who is alive
Shelves: ralph
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I've been on a bit of a Buddhist philosophy kick. I didn't exactly start out that way, but from Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence I segued to other books he was involved with, and many of them seem to involve a great deal of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Joy of Living has much to recommend it. It is a very, very good introduction to meditation and Buddhist tradition, with regards to meditation and the discipline of living moment by moment. It is simple easy read with some very good ideas and insi
Back to basics and the heart of practice. This largely autobiographical book provides a little of science and some Buddhist theory/philosophy and parable to provide ground to the art and heart of meditation practice. The meditation instruction in this book is one of the best I've come across - for a beginner it's non-threatening and manageable, for the experienced Rinpoche can bring one back to the simplicity of practice - our intention, our action, our effort (of relaxation). What he says is en ...more
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche's The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret & Science of Happiness is an excellent and informative book and a good practical manual for meditation. A wide variety of meditation techniques are discussed, in language that makes them accessible to even the most un-Buddhist of readers. Mingyur (Rinpoche is an honorific given to respected teachers) is a kind and encouraging teacher; his writing style is very natural and conversational, helping you feel as if he's right there ...more
Aug 08, 2007 Colleen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Literate living creatures.
I wish every foray into religion was this enjoyable. Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche is a powerful writer with a gentle sense of humor, most noticably about himself.

To any westerner looking to explore Buddhism, READ THIS BOOK. To any person who is feeling less than enthusiastic about getting up in the morning, ditto. To those who know they're missing something, but they can't quite... well, you get the point. Read the book.

Mingyur makes Buddhism conceptually accessible to Western readers. After being d
Monica Casanova
Such an insightful book. It has nice touches of conversational writing which make it intriguing to continue reading as the book snowballs into each subject the author touches on. The most prominent thing I was able to take from this book was that as humans in this modern day society, we often fail to see all of our capabilities. Clouded by barriers we've placed on ourselves throughout life, we hold our own selves back from being able to progress and move towards a state where we are secure withi ...more
I think I would have had a different experience with this if I'd read the book instead of listening to it. Listening in 3 hour chunks on a roadtrip didn't give me a chance to digest the content. And I really really would have liked a table of contents. I'm sure there must have been some structure, but without defined breaks and chapter/section headings I often felt confused about what the topic was.

While I feel like it was only 2 stars the way I heard it, I still want to get the actual book and
From this book I gleaned a look into the principles of Buddhist meditation and mindfulness. Just reading it though doesn't make me feel like I'm prepared to start meditating full time. The instructions he gives are pretty cursory and not especially instructive to someone who has pretty no concept of what he's talking about to begin with. I left feeling like I'd have to have a Buddhist monk on hand teaching me one-on-one over a long period of time. He talks a lot about how these principles have b ...more
Sarah Anne Grossman
This book was too many feel-good things at once. Pseudo-science meets religion justified by populist self-improving individualist crap equates to boring-ass writing. It took too long to read simply because it was so detestably practical I couldn't get myself to move through it. I don't care if he's a Rinpoche - he's catering to the all-consuming self-absorbed yuppy who would freak if you put milk in his/her latte but probably run you over with his/her Prius if you were jay-walking. He cited lite ...more
Very thought-provoking. The second section, with suggestions for different types and techniques of meditation, has been very helpful to me in my own practice. I especially liked the description of the concept of "dedicating the merit" - the aspiration that whatever psychological or emotional strength one has gathered through practice might be passed on to others.
Steven Lurie
Interesting, well-written guide for understanding and practicing meditation. Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche is a revered but still very young Tibetan Monk with long lineage. His bonafides in meditation are without peer having completed two three-year retreats by the time he was 20 - the second one as leader. He suffered from panic disorder which was cured through his practice giving him credibility in that arena. A serious student, teacher and investigator in the science of meditation, he has collabora ...more
Before I purchased this book I was reading the back cover and found that this is what Lou Reed had to say about it:
"Mingyur Rinpoche is a charismatic teacher with a heart and smile of gold....this is one of those rare books where you meet the author and learn from his radiance."

As I was reading this book it did seem like I was carrying on a dialogue with the author;as if he were right there in front of me to answer all of my questions about meditation. It covers both the phenomenological and phy
George Ramos
Beautiful and powerful book. Talks about the author's participation in neuroscience experiments that indicate meditation can change how the brain functions. It then goes on to describe the different meditation techniques used by the author and his fellow practicioners. This is done in a completely honest, almost anecdotal way: the author describes what he felt like before learning to meditate effectively, what it was like during each stage on the path, and how each tiny realiziation was brought ...more
Great book on meditation and the science behind it. I listened to this book on audible and will happily listen to this again. I found it very informative and I am sure that each time I listen to it I will learn something new.
Joseph Christopher
anyone who would like to experience clarity of mind would enjoy this book. Rinpoche guides you through beginning steps of meditation and tells a tale of his journey of discovering the relationship of Buddhism with science.
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Buddhism 1 4 Aug 26, 2008 02:50PM  
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Share This Book

“Ultimately, happiness comes down to choosing between the discomfort of becoming aware of your mental afflictions and the discomfort of being ruled by them.” 7 likes
“We choose ignorance because we can. We choose awareness because we can. Samsara and nirvana are simply different points of view based on the choices we make in how to examine and understand our experience. There’s nothing magical about nirvana and nothing bad or wrong about samsara. If you’re determined to think of yourself as limited, fearful, vulnerable, or scarred by past experience, know only that you have chosen to do so, and that the opportunity to experience yourself differently is always available.” 5 likes
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