The Art of Happiness Book Cover

The Art of Happiness

A Handbook for Living
Authors: Dalai Lama
Publishing Year: 1998
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What’s inside

The Art of Happiness is a book by the 14th Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler. Howard Cutler is a psychiatrist who interviewed the Dalai Lama for his mindful insights to the people seeking happiness. To describe the context of the book, he quoted the Dalai Lama at length and also added his observations. The book was published in the year 1998 and was an international bestseller. In the book, numerous case histories and personal anecdotes have been recorded to illustrate the ideas under discussion. The book is divided into 5 parts, exploring the purpose of life and overcoming the sufferings.

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Lesson 1. Happiness and Beyond.

The first part of the 5 parts is about the purpose of life. The sole purpose of our life is to seek happiness. Every action in our life is to achieve happiness. This claim by the Dalai Lama raised a question in Cutler’s mind and he quickly asked whether the Dalai Lama himself was happy. To which the Dalai Lama replied assertively with sincerity in his eyes: he believes that training can help one in attaining happiness.  

The concept of achieving happiness in its truest form, in the West, always seemed ill-defined, elusive, and ungraspable. For most of us, the nature of happiness seems to be very mysterious. Happiness feels like something that comes out of the blue. But to Cutler’s mind, it came as a surprise that how could someone sustain, and develop happiness, simply by ‘training the mind.’

When the Dalai Lama said, “training the mind,” he simply didn’t just refer to the “mind” merely as ones’ cognitive aptitude or intellect. Rather, he used the expression in the sense of the Tibetan word Sem which has a much broader significance, closer to “psyche” or “spirit”. We can go through a transformation in our approach to living by bringing more inner discipline into our lives. 

Our life is transient. Life is tragic. Millions of infants are being born at this very moment. Even the infants get subjected to several misfortunes. Some survive where others do not. Those who survive might cross the century mark and perhaps go even further. They would savour every taste life has to offer: triumph, joy, hatred, despair, and love. We never know.

The prime question which remains unanswered by most of us, irrespective of the number of days we lived, is, what is the purpose of our lives?

Lesson 2. The Purpose of Our Existence.

The purpose of our existence can be put into a sentence. It is to seek happiness. Several Western thinkers including Aristotle have agreed to this notion. And seeking happiness for one’s well-being is not self-centered at all. Numerous surveys have revealed that unhappy people were seen to be more self-centered and even showing the traits of being antagonistic. On the contrary, happy people showed traits of being more sociable and optimistic. 

The source of happiness is you, yourself. Happiness comes from within. Your source of happiness is your state of mind. There are no external events that have the power to change your state of mind. Certain things make us happy, and certain things make us sad. Keep

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Chapter List
  • Lesson 1. Happiness and Beyond.
  • Lesson 2. The Purpose of Our Existence.
  • Lesson 3.  Human Warmth and Compassion.
  • Lesson 4. Pain and Suffering. 
  • Lesson 5. Overcoming. 
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In the summary of The Art of Happiness book, there are 5 key lessons. These lessons include:

  1. Lesson 1. Happiness and Beyond.
  2. Lesson 2. The Purpose of Our Existence.
  3. Lesson 3.  Human Warmth and Compassion.
  4. Lesson 4. Pain and Suffering. 
  5. Lesson 5. Overcoming. 

The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama was published in 1998.

Once you've completed The Art of Happiness book, We suggest reading out Maybe You Should Talk to Someone as a great follow-up read.

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In the printed version of The Art of Happiness book have over 300 pages and usually takes 8-10 days to finish. However, with the Wizdom app, including its summary and audiobook, it can be completed in just 15 minutes.

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