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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

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  7,544 ratings  ·  292 reviews
For millennia, Buddhists have enjoyed the limitless benefits of meditation. But how does it work? And why? The principles behind this ancient practice have long eluded some of the best minds in modern science. Until now.

In this groundbreaking work, world-renowned Buddhist teacher Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche invites us to join him in unlocking the secrets behind the practice of
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Harmony (first published 2007)
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Ariz Guzman
Mar 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Jun 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Very insightful and helpful - it opened my eyes to the power of meditation. It is not a book about becoming a Buddhist, but more about 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. The author describes his own experiences with significant anxiety growing up in Nepal, and shares how meditation helped him. The book also details his experience at the University of Wisconsin in the brain imaging ...more
Sarah Anne Grossman
Dec 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jan 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Some interesting parables here and good meditation techniques. I also enjoyed the author's references to Western science and research on meditation. Overall, though, not a lot of new material for me. Well written and engaging. ...more
Larry James
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy, 2000s
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
Apr 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Sep 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiritual
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. ...more
Alejandra Cardenas
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book opened my mind to the possibility of living in happiness. It is the perfect starter book for beginners who are exploring buddhism and mindfulness, explained in a way that we occidentals can understand and relate to.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Took me forever to finish this book...almost a year. I just couldn't get into it, and his voice was very difficult for me to pay attention to. My mind would wander while reading this. Guess I missed the point of the book. :( ...more
Adrien Treuille
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Looking for detailed meditation instructions? This book provides the best I've seen. Confused about the multitude techniques? This book provides an enlightening taxonomy.

I just wish the author didn't into magical claims -- flying, telepathy -- at the end of the book!
Kevin Quirk
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I wrote this before, where did it go? This book is a keeper. I'm either going to re-read it right away for purchase a copy. (I borrow ebooks from the library). ...more
Eric Dennis
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
laughing at yourself is essential

p1-the ground
all sentient beings, possess the primary cause for enlightment
c1-the journey begins
after start, begin recognize something didn't notice before,

bacome more "distracted"
4 schools of tibet buda
see the author of your thought
c2-the inner symphony
3 parts of brain work together, though no conductor found
observing thought stream frame by frame, self appears
confusion is the beginning of understanding
c3-beyond the mind
Gopi Krishnan
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It could be one of the most important books that I read in the last few years, but that said, is it for everyone? Probably not. While towards the end, the pace flagged due to constant reiteration of more or less the same points around meditation practices, Rinpoche has done a great job in simplifying the essence of Buddhism for a larger set of people. He has also shown curiosity to blend and fold in scientific discoveries into the realm of Buddhist thought. Like every self-help book, the challen ...more
Jade Wright
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
While this book is filled with insightful messages and spiritual quotes, it wasn't what I expected it to be. I was ready to to learn a deep understanding for meditation and half way through I didn't feel like I'd gained a whole lot besides a few spiritual quotes. The stories accompanied to serious life lessons were silly - such as a guy growing horns from meditating and then making the horns disappear by meditating further... or the guy who was so convinced he could fly from meditation that he f ...more
Mohammad Ali Abedi
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“May all sentient beings have happiness and the causes of happiness. May all sentient beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. May all sentient beings have joy and the causes of joy. May all sentient beings remain in great equanimity, free from attachment and aversion.”

This is the best meditation book I have read. Maybe it’s because it’s by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, who seems like a pretty neat guy. Usually, we are exposed to books about meditation either by western authors who
May 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Marc  Mannheimer
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
The lama tries to combine science of the brain with instructions for meditation, and the result is so-so. It was good to read something of this nature by someone with a strong knowledge of meditation skills -- enough writers have attempted who were more schooled in science. The background in neuroscience was necessary for what he was trying to do, but somehow it felt like the two portions of the book did not link up. While the portion about physics was also interesting, it was pretty superfluous ...more
Linda Kenny
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I met Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche at a day long workshop that was held at the University of Minnesota. This was a while ago now. I was impressed by his teachings, bought this book, but never picked it up until now. The “Joy of Living” is not just a how-to-meditate book but a primer on the mind through the eyes of a Buddhist teacher but also through science. It isn’t until Chapter 10 that he describes the first steps of meditation. The goal is to unlock the secret of happiness and compassion. Who wou ...more
Liz Nies
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
An inspiring, uplifting, and exceptionally hopeful book. By combining the practical knowledge of Buddhism with the objective reasoning offered by contemporary science, The Joy of Living provides a clear and powerfully persuasive argument for how meditation can completely transform our lives. The instructions offered by Yongey Mingyur are easy to understand and the benefits touted have left me convinced that meditation can be a path to enduring peace and happiness.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a book about mindfulness, and how it can improve your outlook towards everyday experiences. It takes practice and commitment which I haven't dedicated myself to yet, but the book provides inspiring stories combined with specific methods to make it accessible to everyone. It is my first exposure to these concepts and I definitely recommend it. I plan to order the book for handy reference rather than just the Kindle version. ...more
Michael Idris Merchant
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mindfulness
Pretty good, but long. I really appreciated hearing the Rinpoche's story. Some wonderful nuggets on mindfulness & how to approach one's own experiences with life & meditation.

A favorite thought: be comfortable letting go of the positive feelings just as we seek to gain the ability to let go of negative feelings. Attachment to & grasping for things leads to desperate desires that cause us suffering. Life is already wonderful. By just being present in it, we'll continue to enjoy that wonder.
Carla Remy
There's some really interesting stuff here, about Buddhism and neuroscience and the brain's functioning etc. But I just found the "self help" aspects boring. Not intellectually interesting. Insipid. More's the pity, I know I could use it. Sorry. Maybe some time I'll want to meditate instead of drink tea and read books. Maybe. ...more
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great intro to tibetan mindfulness meditation!

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche does a great job not only on introducing tibetan meditation practice to the audience but also provide explanations about why meditation works from a scientific perspective. The writing is very pleasant and articulate. A good read indeed!
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ENOUGH IS ENOUGH 1 17 Oct 08, 2015 03:48AM  
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Buddhism 1 4 Aug 26, 2008 02:50PM  

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Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche is a lama and monk of the Nyingma and Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and the youngest son of Tulku Urgyen—his elder brothers are Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche, and Tsoknyi Rinpoche. Mingyur Rinpoche serves as abbot of both Tergar Osel Ling Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal, and Tergar Rigzin Khachö Targyé Ling Monastery in Bodhgaya, India, in addition to t ...more

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