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The Art of Happiness

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  46,283 ratings  ·  1,373 reviews
Nearly every time you see him, he's laughing, or at least smiling. And he makes everyone else around him feel like smiling. He's the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, a Nobel Prize winner, and an increasingly popular speaker and statesman. What's more, he'll tell you that happiness is the purpose of life, and that "the very motion of our life is towar ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 26th 1998 by Riverhead Hardcover (first published January 1st 1998)
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John Marsh The true Happiness described here comes from within and is intrinsic to oneself. It is not external or gained at the expense of others and is not…moreThe true Happiness described here comes from within and is intrinsic to oneself. It is not external or gained at the expense of others and is not win-lose. It does not come out of a bottle, from physical goods or at anyones's expense. It is subltle, light, simple, unique and its footprint is nil. Good question.(less)
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Yascha
Despite the 'author' being the Dalia Lama, this book was actually written by a Western Psychologist named Howard Cutler. It is mostly presented as interviews or meetings between himself and the Dalai Lama. I really enjoyed the segments that were pure quotes from the Dalai Lama, but found myself constantly frustrated by Cutler's questions and (obviously inserted after-the-fact) 'summaries' of the responses.

I would paraphrase the entire book like this:
Cutler -- "So what can every person do to be
...more
Steven Stark
This book is actually written by a psychiatrist and includes extensive interviews with the Dalai Lama about how to be a generally happier person. Parts of the book are really great, and a couple of sections are a little bland, mostly depending on what questions the author is asking. The Dalai Lama's amazing traits come across throughout, however. His pragmatic, logical, and yet also spiritual approach to everything.
Dad
May 15, 2008 Dad added it
The Moms was watching a movie that was so filled with awkward and embarrassing social interaction that I cast desperately about me for something else to do. Near at hand was "The Art of Happiness" by Dolly and some doctor guy. I picked it up and began to read. I'm about half-way through (guess I'm 50% enlightened) and it's really quite good. Except for the parts that are stupid or wrong. The problem is not so much what the Big D has to say, but the doctor guy's interpretation or amplification. T ...more
Jenny
I first read this book as a freshman in high school but I've read it again at least twice. I'm not sure how it initially started but I've always been fascinated by the Dalai Lama of Tibet. The more I read about him, the more I'm in awe of him. While I recommend reading his biography first, this specific book is about the concept of happiness and how we attain it. It's not a self-help book but rather a book about how the Dalai Lama believes that people inheritantly have the ability to find happin ...more
Kimberly
Dalai Lama believes in fundamental goodness in all human beings, in the value of compassion and kindness, and a sense of commonality among all living creatures.

Happiness is determined more by one's state of mind than by external events.

Excessive desire leads to greed, which leads to frustration, disappointment, problems and unhappiness.
True antidote of greee is contentment - to appreciate what we already have.

Relationships are not about just knowing people and superficial exchange, but to really
...more
Sarah
I love the Dalai Lama and everything he says in this book. However, Cutler's input mostly detracts from the teachings of the Dalai Lama. At best, he makes small, often insignificant links between the Dalai Lama's point and western science. Like how he made the connection between Buddhism's idea of training the mind to the scientific idea of "plasticity" which proves that, indeed, you can train the mind. Was that ever really a question though? I didn't need to be convinced of that... At worst, he ...more
Heather Kidder
This book always brings me a lot of peace when I read it. It calms me down and puts me at ease. I actually bought this book for josh but spent a lot of time reading it myself and its very enjoyable remind you about all the little good things in life and about what really matters.
Lauren
This is a book that has to be read slowly and with determination, with many pauses for looking-off-into-the-distance-deep-in-thought. It is not BY the Dalai Lama so much as it is about the Dalai Lama, interviews with him, thoughts on his beliefs and practices. It took me a long time to get through, but I really enjoyed it. I think that if everyone tried to fit a little Buddhism into their lives (not a little Buddhist, but a little BuddhISM), we would all be much calmer and happier, more patient ...more
Whitney
I really liked this book. It has enough information to open your eyes, but not too much to scare you away. The Author, being a psychologist, was able to take the Eastern ideas from the Dalai Lama and compare them to a more Western way of thinking. Although I've seen many of the ideas and thoughts in other books, the Dalai Lama had a way with words that seemed to just -click- with me, and in the sections that I didn't really understand, Howard Cutler, the author, was able to clarify. This book is ...more
Gina
"Human emotions are very powerful and sometimes overwhelm us. This can lead to disasters. Another important practice in training our minds involves distancing ourselves from strong emotions before they arise in us. For example, when we feel anger or hatred, we may think, “Yes, now anger is bringing me more energy, more decisiveness, swifter reactions.” However, when you look closely, you can see the energy brought about by negative emotions is essentially blind. We find that instead of bringing ...more
Jaclyn
Nov 10, 2007 Jaclyn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people interested in incorporating Buddhist philosophies into Western life
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I definitely learned a lot from it. The Dalai Lama's words are so powerful, his experiences so inspiring and his mixture of spiritual and philosophical wisdom with uncommon common sense completely unique. The only reason that I gave it four, rather than five, stars is that the psychiatrist "co-author" injected way too much of his own personality and experiences into the book. This is a book that will attract people that are interested in the Dalai Lama's a ...more
Janet
I'm not sure why exactly I picked this one up from the shelf of our local thrift. Certainly the Dalai Lama is an interesting public figure and the cover is bright with his red monk’s toga and eager countenance. I am familiar with Tibetan monks via my literary mountain climbing adventures from a time before Goodreads. This book is written by an MD and claims to be a “handbook for living.” What sort of living, I ponder? Right from the first pages we reach a philosophical impasse. The author is a h ...more
Rachel
I really felt at peace while reading this book. I have read many religious texts from varying schools of thought and sometimes (often in fact) they get quite philosphical and over the head of the average person. This however really hit the right note with me. By expounding upon some of the basic tenements of Buddhism, the authors show how practicing kindness, peace of mind and simplicity lead to happiness.
Margo Kelly
Well ... I almost gave it three stars instead of four ... simply because Cutler's narratives drove me nuts. I loved the messages of Dalai Lama, but I found Cutler's words irritating! (Cutler is the Western psychiatrist who interviewed the Dalai Lama and put the book together).

I know ... if I would put into practice the art of compassion as taught by the Dalai Lama, Cutler's opinions wouldn't have bothered me. However, I'm not that enlightened.

It seemed as though Cutler belittled some of the Bud
...more
Sherilynn Macale
This book has completely changed my perspective on how I deal with anger, hatred, and other negative mind states and emotions. In simply becoming aware of the Buddhist perspective, I feel I've learned how to feel more in control of my own life, of how I carry myself, and how I treat the people around me.

I feel more compassionate.
I feel more kind.
I feel more understanding.

I find it incredible how my Western upbringing contrasts to Eastern beliefs and traditions. Things that I thought were intrins
...more
Linda
I wish I could give this one 10 stars! If reading is a way to spend time with the writer, the Dalai Lama is great company to keep! The book is comprised of excerpts from the Dalai Lama's public teaching and private conversations (in the interview form) with Howard Cutler. It was -thankfully - not written for the Self Help shelf. Here is an excerpt from the introduction: "When I initially conceived if this book, I envisioned a conventional self-help format in which the Dalai Lama would present cl ...more
Justin
I liked the interplay between Buddhist practice and the connections to cognitive and other psychological studies.

The main thing I learned from this book is that happiness can and should be a goal in your life. You can pursue happiness by training your mind over a period of many years.

Many concrete exercises were offered to help this pursuit:

1. Replace your negative thoughts not only with realistic thoughts (as in Western cognitive thought) but actively insert positive thoughts in their place.
...more
Mo
I'd been meaning to read something written by the Dalai Lama for quite a while, and this one was cheap so I picked it up. Also, I was interested in the comparison of views between a western psychiatrist and a religious figure. Personally, I didn't think this really worked out. Mostly, Cutler repeats the Dalai Lama's message and links it to psychiatric practice without looking at it from a critical perspective. On the one hand, this is good because it means he gives plenty of space to the views o ...more
V.V.
As many other reviews have noted, despite the picture of His Holiness on the cover, this book was actually written by psychiatrist Dr. Howard C. Cutler. The only redeeming qualities of the book were the quoted sections in which Cutler quotes or perhaps paraphrases His Holiness. Unfortunately, such instances do not comprise the majority of the book. Instead, Cutler openly assesses Buddhist concepts in the framework of Western thought, which I found incredibly arrogant. He never fails to "justify" ...more
TJ Shelby
What a refreshing compilation of thoughts from an amazing individual. I finished it and almost wanted to start it again so I could remember and implement many of the things he stated. And not to put down the psychiatrist/co-author but I could have done without his commentary.

I actually pictured myself sitting at the feet of the Dalai Lama and listening as an eager student. I want to study the meditative practices of Buddhism.

It also helped me recognize a few internal stumbling-blocks I've been
...more
Michael Armijo
In essence, this book tells you how to Be Happy using protective techniques of love & compassion.

This book was useful for me. I was happy to read that I already practice a lot of the advice in the book. The last thing I want to do is get angry and harm my inner self (and/or my internal organs). The book reminded me of the importance of spirtuality. It is a great handbook for living. I strongly recommend this book for anyone trying to move on from any sort of suffering (death, divorce, argume
...more
Ruby
I chose to read this book as a change from the more monotone self help, psychology, and philosophy. The book turned out to be exactly what I needed.
All I really knew about the Dalai Lama was that he was wise, a sort of perfect human that you can only admire and try to learn from. I was very happy to realize how foolish such an assumption was. I found his philosophy simple, logical, and very insightful.
The psychiatrist coauthor made the transition to more spiritual approaches to happiness a lot e
...more
Eva
I was going through Amazon's recommendations on buddhism, desperately looking for a Pema Chodron inspiring book when I stumbled on the catchy title "The Art of Happiness" by the Dalai Lama or should I say Howard C. Cutler. Cutler is a psychiatrist interviewing the Dalai Lama, he's actually the author of the book. That being said (sorry if I felt it was really necessary to mention it), Cutler compiled his many interviews with the Dalai Lama with his own perception as a western psychiatrist. How t ...more
Danna
We had the most interesting cab driver on the way to the airport when we left Las Vegas. He discussed in length his philosophies of spirituality, including the concepts of ghosts in his native Vietnam; how Buddha, Jesus, and other leaders are but different manifestations of The Enlightened One; how eating meat contributes to human suffering and remaining trapped on this earth; and so much more...what an interesting man. Thus I was inspired to once again read The Art of Happiness to kick off the ...more
heather van de  mark
I'm curious how this book would impact someone with no knowledge of Buddhism/meditation or with a different religious upbringing.

I loved the book, but I'm part of the flock so to speak.

There's a lot of talk about training the mind, and how we cause our own suffering, and the work it takes to end that suffering and have happiness and I think it's all spot on. Does this book hold the answer to how to be happy? I think so. Does that mean you'll instantly be happy after finishing the book? Not at
...more
Arachne8x
This is a great book to listen to (I got the audiobook).

The coauthor, Howard C. Cutler, decided to see if he could present the Dalai Lama's teachings in a way accessible to a non-Buddhist audience. The result, a series of conversations he had with His Holiness, organized by theme, is tremendous.

The Dalai Lama is known for being a religious leader who doesn't care what your religion is, or even if you have one, just that you treat your fellow human beings with kindness and compassion and try to k
...more
Traci
This is a book that I will always have on my bookshelf. For me it is a reference book on living a more peaceful life. This book changed my life in so many ways. I truly believe Americans are hard wired for aggression and fighting. Not in a physical way, but in a spiritually and emotionally. We are taught to "fight" for everything and to always do what we can to get ahead. In the religion I was exposed to we are taught our beliefs are "the only truth". This book challenged some of my deepest thou ...more
Alice Mccain
Would it be an exaggeration to say this book saved my life? Not really. When I was at my lowest, it was this book that I kept by my side, in my bag, and next to my bed, near me at all times. My copy is dog-eared, marked up and flagged in more places that I can count. In this treasure, we learn how to reshape our mental outlook so that we can live easier in this world.

We learn how to find meaning in our suffering, so that things don't seem so dark. We also learn about the difference between pain
...more
Darkwalker
A wonderful guide for anyone exploring Tibetan Buddhism. The 14th Dalai Lama seems like such a generous, kind individual that I couldn't help but be drawn to his vision of peace. The stories of monks feeling compassion for their Chinese torturers was very inspiring. This is a great book for anyone who suffers with depression, anger and/or anxiety.
Also, Cutler does a magnificent job of showing his own, real-world examples of implementing Buddhist practice. We all get angry, it's how we deal with
...more
Chitra Divakaruni
This is one of the best books I've read on leading a spiritual life. The Dalai Lama's statements on habits that can make us deeply happy (and thus peaceful, compassionate and ultimately better human beings) are simple, clear and true, and nousrishing as a drink of pure, clean water in the desert. A book that can change our lives, if we allow its message into our hearts.
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Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (born Lhamo Döndrub), the 14th Dalai Lama, is a practicing member of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism and is influential as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the world's most famous Buddhist monk, and the leader of the exiled Tibetan government in India.

Tenzin Gyatso was the fifth of sixteen children born to a farming family. He was proclaimed the
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“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” 1012 likes
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” 503 likes
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