The Art of Happiness- A Handbook for Living Summary by Dalai Lama

The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living Summary by Dalai Lama

Blog Title: The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living Summary by Dalai Lama
Name: The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living
Author: Dalai Lama, Howard C. Cutler
Download The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living For Free at: Audible
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Book size: 288 pages


The Art of Happiness A Handbook for Living
The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living

Before talking about the book let’s talk about the person behind writing this wonderful book, Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler. This book is written by a psychologist/psychotherapist known as Howard cutler who spent few days interviewing Dalai Lama, Cutler has asked questions to Dalai Lama and also added his own reflections on issues raised. This book is based on How Dalai Llama personally able to achieve inner peace, calmness and happiness. This book focuses on the foundational concepts of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy towards life, the main focus of this book was on the idea of happiness as a state of mind, in this book Tibetan Buddhist teaches readers how they can surrender their feelings of attachment towards ideas and objects. This attachment allows external objects or situation to dictate our internal emotional state.

This book contains various parts and each part contains various chapters, so let’s discuss each point in detail

The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living Summary Part 1: The Purpose of Life

Chapter 1: The Right to happiness

Here author says that the main purpose of every individual is to seek happiness, whether person believes in religion or no matter what religion people follow everyone wants good and better life for themselves, everyone is seeking something better in life,  so Dalai Lama says that the very motion of our life is towards happiness, IN this chapter Dalai Lama spoke about what actually the art of happiness book is all about

Howard and many of his patients believed that happiness was ill-defined, and it was something difficult to find or achieve and ungraspable, Howard also noticed that word happy was derived from the term luck and chance.

Here Cutler says that when he talks about training the mind, here he doesn’t mean mind as one’s cognitive ability or intellect but actually he is using that term in the sense of Tibetan word Sem, which included intellect and feeling and also heart and mind. Here author says that by bringing some amount of discipline in us we can undergo a transformation in our attitude and in our entire outlook and approach to living.

Dalai Lama see happiness as objective, meaning people who set goals objective and work for it and achieve them they are creating happiness in oneself, Author says usually happy people tend to be more sociable, flexible and creative  and they are more capable of handling life’s problems and frustrations daily more easily compare to unhappy people.

Read More: Life Without Oxygen

Chapter 2: The source of happiness

This chapter talks about that we can figure out the sources which can make us happy and unhappy, this chapter starts with stories one story says that one man came to know about his Hiv positive, this news brings him to lower level of happiness but he soon began to appreciate each day of his life compare to earlier, this example shows how that happiness depends more on one’s internal state of mind than compare to external events of situation means your happiness depends on you, not on outer surrounding or external forces. This book says even if you are getting life highest level of happiness such as winning a lottery or getting what you want or whether of you are getting life low moments such as diagnosed with cancer or any difficulty, at some moment you will return to normal baseline again.

And here normal baseline is how you react to life changing situations events news, author says relating to baseline theory we people have a very comparing mind, we compare ourselves with one another and within ourselves, we people compare our life with others life success and happiness and this does nothing but bring us to unhappiness. But author says here we must flip our mind instead of comparing ourselves with superiors we should compare our lives with inferiors,

As per Dalai Lama, if you put or grow hateful thoughts and anger deep inside you, then this thing will for sure destroy your health and also destroy your 1 part happiness,  author says that we are born into a certain state of mind about happiness but we have the capability to change our entire outlook by being happy at every  moment such as per Dalai Lama we can find happiness through ourselves by self-worth here self- worth means compassion, affection and sense of dignity.

Read More: Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail?

Chapter 3: Training the Mind for Happiness

Here author says that first step is to learn to analyze thoughts and emotions so that can understand is that thought beneficial or hurtful, author says try to avoid want in your life, if you are aware that something can tempt you and which is not at all good avoid it, positive desire is good avoid negative desire.

This part contains more chapters to understand each chapter in detail then do buy this book from the given link

Download The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living For Free at: Audible
Buy The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living at: Amazon

The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living Summary Part 2: Human Warmth And Compassion

Chapter 1: A New Model for Intimacy

Here it says that compassionate and intimacy is two of the strongest emotions a person can achieve, and its impossible for a person to find these emotions individually within ourselves we need someone for this, hence we keep on trying to search someone to be compassionate about, or intimate with, hence person needs to have a friendly and positive approach and should create friendly environment, here author says that we need to maintain an attitude of friendship and warmth in order to lead a way of life in which there are enough interactions with others so that can enjoy a happy life- Dalai lama

Further it says, That Intimacy is central core of our existence, it creates openness witn others,  which is really important and necessary for a happy life,  As per Dalai lama,  Intimacy means having one close person with whom you can share your fear, sorrow and all the deepest feeling, and to support Dalai lama opinion Cutler added , that as per research it shows that person who has that one close person with whom they able to share their all problems and happiness are more likely to survive health challenges such as heart attack major surgeries and are less likely to develop diseases compare to people who doesn’t have that close friend.

This part contains many more chapters such as deepening our connections to others, the value and benefits of compassion and much more to have detail understanding of each chapter do buy this book at the given link.

Download The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living For Free at: Audible
Buy The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living at: Amazon

The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living Summary Part 3: Transforming Suffering

Chapter 1: Is Facing Suffering

Throughout this chapter Dalai Lama talks about the suffering people face at some part of their lives, hence Dalai Lama says its better if you prepare yourself before that something traumatic can happen to your life at some moment such as Death or anything, Dalai Lama says that if you prepare yourself then you will know what to expect, Dalai Lama says at some point everyone has to face such traumatic situations hence if you view that situation as natural then you able to live happy life,  It says if you accept the fact and realize your suffering you’ll overcome those bad times faster rather then denying that everything is alright.

Read More: The Road Less Traveled Summary By M. Scott Peck

My thought:

This point doesn’t mean to make you feel negative, but to make you understand that life is unpredictable and there are things which will happen for sure that’s how life works hence instead of running from it we people should prepare ourselves and this thing will help us to move forward that too with lot of courage and strength.

This part contains many more chapters for more detail understanding do buy this book from the given link:

Download The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living For Free at: Audible
Buy The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living at: Amazon

Chapter 2: Self-Created Suffering

In the last chapter we have discussed the importance of accepting suffering as a natural fact of human existence, Dalai Lama says that some kind of Sufferings are natural while some sufferings are self-made, For instance, how the refusal to accept suffering as a natural part of life can lead to viewing oneself as a perpetual victim and blaming others for our problems—a surefire recipe for a miserable life.

We add suffering to our lives in many other ways, for instance, often we perpetuate our pain, keep it alive, by replaying our hurts over and over

again in our minds, magnifying our injustices in the process. We repeat our painful memories with the unconscious wish perhaps that somehow it

will change the situation—but it never does. Of course, sometimes this endless recounting of our woes can serve a limited purpose;

it can add drama and a certain excitement to our lives or elicit attention and sympathy from others. But this seems like a poor trade-off for the unhappiness we continue to endure.

When the author was Speaking To Dalai Lama, Related to How we add suffering to our lives, To this Question Dalai Lama Explained :

We can see that there are many ways in which we actively contribute to our own experience of mental unrest and suffering. Although, in general, mental and emotional afflictions themselves can come naturally, often it is our own reinforcement of those negative emotions that make them so much worse.

Chapter 3: Guilt

We all live in the Imperfect world, every individual, everyone is imperfect, there’s  nothing like perfection, we all have done something for which we regret like we should have done it or did it etc, Author says that Acknowledging our wrongdoings with genuine heart and with a genuine sense of remorse can help us to keep on the right path, and help us to recognize and correct our mistakes, and help us to take positive right actions in future, But if we allow our regret to degenerate into excessive guilt, holding on to the memory of our past transgressions with continued self-blame and self-hatred, this serves no purpose other than to be a relentless source of self-punishment and self-induced suffering.

Chapter 4: Resisting Change

The author says, That the Guilt arises when we convince ourselves that we  have made a mistake which is irreplaceable, the torture of guilt is believing and thinking that any problem which comes is permanent, But author says since there’s nothing in this world which can’t change, the same thing goes with pain and problems too, problems will not persist for long and this is the positive side of change. The negative side is that we resist change in nearly every arena of life. The beginning of being released from suffering is to investigate one of the primary causes: resistance to change.

Dalai Lama Words:

In describing the ever-changing nature of life, the Dalai Lama explained, “It’s extremely important to investigate the causes or origins of suffering, how it arises. One must begin that process by appreciating the impermanent, transient nature of our existence. All things,

events, and phenomena are dynamic, changing every moment; nothing remains static. Meditating on one’s blood circulation could serve to

reinforce this idea: the blood is constantly flowing, moving; it never moment, no matter how pleasant or pleasurable your experience may be, it will not last. This becomes the basis of a category of suffering known in Buddhism the ‘suffering of change.’

Download The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living For Free at: Audible
Buy The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living at: Amazon

The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living Summary Part 4: Overcoming Obstacle

Chapter 1: Bringing About Change

When asked to Dalai Lama, What are the approaches one should take in order to shift their negative mindset to a positive mindset, for this Dalai Lama replied, to bring positive changes within oneself, learning is only the first step? There are other factors as well: conviction, determination, action, and effort. So the next step is developing conviction. Learning and education are important because they help one develop conviction of the need to change and help increase one’s commitment. This conviction to change then develops into determination. Next, one transforms determination into action—the strong determination to change enables one to make a sustained effort to implement the actual changes. This final factor of effort is critical.

For example: if you are trying to quit smoking, then the very first thing you need to be aware of the bad and harmful effects of smoking on your body, You have to be educated. I think, for instance, that information and public

education about the harmful effects of smoking, You have to increase that awareness until it leads to a firm conviction about the harmful effects of smoking. This strengthens your determination to change. Finally, you must exert the effort to establish new habit patterns. This is the way that inner change and transformation take place in all things, no matter what you are trying to accomplish.

The Author says: “Now, no matter what behavior you are seeking to change, no matter what particular goal or action you are directing your efforts towards, you need to start by developing a strong will or wish to do it. You need to generate great enthusiasm. And, here, a sense of urgency is a key factor. This sense of urgency is a powerful factor in helping you overcome problems.

This is the end of The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living Summary.

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