The Art of Happiness

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit down with the Dalai Lama and really press him about life's persistent questions? Why are so many people unhappy? How can I abjure loneliness? How can we reduce conflict? Is romantic love true love? Why do we suffer? How should we deal with unfairness and anger? How do you handle the death of a loved one? These are the conundrums that psychiatrist Howard Cutler poses to the Dalai Lama during an extended period of interviews in The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living.

At first, the Dalai Lama's answers seem simplistic, like a surface reading of Robert Fulghum: Ask yourself if you really need something; our enemies can be our teachers; compassion brings peace of mind. Cutler pushes: But some people do seem happy with lots of possessions; but "suffering is life" is so pessimistic; but going to extremes provides the zest in life; but what if I don't believe in karma? As the Dalai Lama's responses become more involved, a coherent philosophy takes shape. Cutler then develops the Dalai Lama's answers in the context of scientific studies and cases from his own practice, substantiating and elaborating on what he finds to be a revolutionary psychology. Like any art, the art of happiness requires study and practice--and the talent for it, the Dalai Lama assures us, is in our nature. --Brian Bruya

Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, the very purpose of our life is happiness, the very motion of our life is towards happiness. ?H.H. the Dalai Lama, from The Art of Happiness So popular and so rarely understood, this Nobel Peace Prize winner and man of great inner peace brings to a general audience the key to a happy life. In collaboration with a Western psychiatrist, The Art of Happiness is the first inspirational book for a general audience by the Dalai Lama. Through meditations, stories, and the meeting of Buddhism and psychology, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day depression, anxiety, anger, jealousy, or just an ordinary bad mood. He discusses relationships, health, family, and work to show us how to ride through life's obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace. Based on 2,500 years of Buddhist meditations mixed with a healthy dose of common sense, The Art of Happiness crosses the boundaries of all traditions to help readers with the difficulties common to all human beings.

Customer Reviews:

  • The Dalai Lama's Best Book To Date!
    This latest book by the Dalai Lama along with co-author Howard Cuter, comes off as his most practical and simplest book - yet, it is so full of real deep wisdom. It is hard to not get something that is life changing from his thoughts and comments about the source of happiness - understanding about suffering and compassion. What makes this book work so well with non-buddhists is the input and comments from western co-author Cuter.

    This book is IMPORTANT! I would hope that everyone would give it a read regardless of their religious belief sytems. It is well written, easy to read and more importantly, it is easy to understand! Unlike a lot of books on eastern philosophy it bridges the East and West with great examples and comments.

    I highly recomend this book for ALL readers - actually - ALL Human Beings! ...more info
  • Inspirational
    I bought this book on audio so I can listen on the way to work. The ideas in this book make you step back and reflect on our Western culture. The Dali Lama teaches us that all human beings are the same despite cultural and political differences. This book has impacted my life and I recommend it to anyone. ...more info
  • Good ideas but...
    I got this book because I really wanted to read the advice on relationships and happiness from the Dalai Lama. It does have a lot of good ideas on how to live happily and treat others with respect. It's my first time reading a book "by" the Dalai Lama, and I'm impressed with the way he is portrayed as respectful of all people and all religions. The quotations by the Dalai Lama are definitely inspiring and refreshing. Unfortunately, the "extra" commentary by Mr. Cutler is very annoying. Perhaps there are some who would be interested in all of the doubts and distractions Mr. Cutler describes (he is a psychiatrist, and regularly provides "case studies" throughout the book), but I was more interested in what the Dalai Lama had to say about the questions Cutler raises. For my part, I would recommend this book as "(diet) self-improvement," but it's not for someone who really wants to learn about Buddhist philosophy....more info
  • Compassion and love
    Is there any other person out there who feels that HH the Dalai Lama has written too many books? Buddhism may be the most difficult of all religions, but in its essence, Buddhism is the simplest. None of these books is necessary to achieve what is already in everyone. So in my humble opinion, I think it would be better to pick anyone one of his books as they are all generally the same: compassion. lose your ego. etc.

    [...]...more info
  • A Light Discussion On Happiness

    This book is a dialogue between psychiatry (Cutler) and Tibetan Buddhism (Dalai Lama). Despite claiming to be a "handbook" it is not full of 'how-to-do-it' gems. It is more a philosophic exchange on the subject of happiness. As it is written for a western audience some of the metaphysical elements of Buddhism, such as karma and reincarnation, receive only a brief mention. Compassion, however, receives a lengthy treatment, as does living in the moment and dealing with anger. There are a few meditation exercises included.

    The book is very readable and maintained my interest all the way through. If I have a criticism it is that the book does not contain enough psychiatry or enough Buddhism. Some how it seems to fall between the two disciplines. It reads like a first contact encounter between East and West, rather than a well developed, deeply contemplated thesis.
    ...more info
  • A fantastic book for those with an open mind...
    I enjoyed this book immensely, and - although it is something of a clich®¶ - it has changed my life.

    I like the way that Howard Cutler has been honest by sharing his own doubts and hesitation to accept the Tibetan teachings that the Dalai Lama shared with him.

    Learning how his thinking progressed in his interactions with the the Dalai Lama reflected my own experiences of reading this book.

    It is NOT an instructional book and I think that the subtitle's reference to it being an handbook may be misleading.

    It IS an inspirational text that will provoke thought and cause you to challenge your thinking, and I certainly have benefited from this book more than any other I have read!

    I thoroughly recommend it - it would make a great gift for anyone going through a difficult time....more info
  • Interesting
    This is a book with simple but hard concepts
    and i enjoyed it, tho it was a little hard to understand im only 14 so
    thats prob why ...more info
  • somewhat useful
    This book and "Healing Anger" have pretty much the same content, so don't buy both. "Healing Anger" is organized in the form of eight talks and question-and-answer sessions over a four day period, whereas "The Art of Happiness" is organized topically. For this reason "The Art of Happiness" may be easier to use if you are interested in exploring particular topics. The downside of "The Art of Happiness" for me was Howard Cutler. I found his additions to what the Dalai Lama has to say didn't bring much value. What I was looking for in both books was mental exercises, and these are found in "Healing Anger" in each of the eight sessions in between the talk and the Q&A, so these are easier to find in "Healing Anger". I was a bit disappointed that neither book contained detailed treatments of some of the exercises referred to, such as the "seven-point cause and effect" and "equalization and exchange". These can be found on the internet by googling "Developing the Mind of Great Capacity"....more info
    I normally don't write reviews but this book inspired me that much. I thought this was an exceptional book and challenges your way of thinking. There were many useful concepts that I applied and literally, in a week, I did feel happier and more at peace--for awhile, I felt very stressed at work (I am a manager)--but this book helped me to think in other ways. It is not an over night change, mind you, for this to work, you almost have to be religious to training your mind to think differently.
    I loved this book and it's number one on my list now! Anything that helps us to be better, happier, more compassionate people is a good thing!!...more info
  • Powerful and elegant
    A very simple, yet enjoyable, read, but I especially enjoyed hearing his voice on the audiobook....more info
  • The Art of Happiness Changed My Life
    Like so many other people who have come across this book, The Art of Happiness changed my life. Reading this book taught me how to change my perspective in order to change my world. I re-read this book everytime I feel as if I am forgetting the valuable lessons contained in this powerful book. You don't need to be Buddhist or unhappy to appreciate The Art of Happiness. This is not like the typical self-help books that preach "at" you or tell you how you should behave or live. This book is inspiring....more info
  • misleading
    I am about half way through this book and am a bit dissappointed. I wanted to see what others thought of the book and BlueJack's review, unfortunately hits the nail on the head. This is Cutler's book. This book is not by the Dalai Lama. While I do think the concepts of a right to happiness, compassion, non-reaction, etc., are great for personal spiritual growth, I feel that the Dalai Lama's true message has been filtered through a much less able interpreter. I find Eckhart Tolle much more transformative. If you are interested in how Buddhism can help a non-Buddhist read "The Naked Buddha." ...more info
  • The Art of Happiness
    The Dalai Lama takes the reader through various exercises to promote happiness in one's life. Some of the exercises help with overcoming anger, others help in learning to develop compassion for others. The part that I found most helpful was learning how NOT to react to others negative comments, especially because this causes unnecessary suffering. Overall, the book was helpful for someone who is going through a difficult time such as a loss of a child. I have applied some of the comforting principles after going through the devastating loss of hurricane Katrina and Rita since I live in the New Orleans area....more info
  • Not Afraid to Play the Fool
    You just have the like a book of interviews and reflections with the Dalai Lama where the interviewer/author acknowledges falling asleep during one of the Dalai Lama's talks, thinks some of the Dalai Lama's answers to his questions are off track, argues with cab drivers in India, and passes summary judgment on people he meets at dinner parties.

    Dr. Cutler is deeply respectful of the Dalai Lama and at the same time very honest about his own actions and reactions, warts and all. Even though the DL is on the cover this is very much Dr Cutler's book. What you get is an enjoyable and accessible internal and external conversation about living a life with more happiness.

    Dr. Culter weaves current physiology research, mostly in the field of positive psychology, and clinical practice together with the Dalai Lama's intro teaching on happiness. Intentionally missing are complex structural Buddhist principles that are the underpinning of the teaching.

    If the easy to digest descriptions of how to increase happiness in your life are appealing then this book might point you to more in-depth Buddhist readings, or it could equally point you to more readings in the field of positive psychology. ...more info
  • Such a terrific book
    It truly makes you look at like in a completely different life. Ever since I have lived keeping in mind what I learned, my closed ones say "I don't think I've ever seen you her unhappy"...more info
  • The Art of Happiness: Dalai Lama
    A good read, but slow at times. Interesting Eastern culture perspective, but could go into more depth of the Dalai Lama's philosphy instead of the author's interviews (viewpoints)....more info
  • Happiness East And West
    This book is the result of a series of talks between Dr. Howard Cutler, a psychiatrist, and the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama states that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. The conversations essentially tell us what is necessary to bring that about.Being a kind, compassionate, and loving human being helps. What was a bit of a surprise to me was how much of what the Dalai Lama said sounded like cognitive behavioral therapy. Evidently, when it comes to happiness, the gap between East and West isn't that wide. There seems to be general agreement that happiness is an inside job and is very related to the inner dialogue we have going with ourselves all day long. If we want to be happy, the Dalai Lama gives us a pretty good road map to follow.This is a worthwhile book....more info
  • Beginning
    By sheer coincidence, this is the second book in a row I have read (following "People of the Lie" by M. Scott Peck) where psychiatry and spirituality come together to bring practical insight into the human condition. In "The Art of Happiness" Howard C. Cutler, psychiatrist, conducts a series of interviews over time with the Dalai Lama in order to discuss the most universal of human interests ... how to achieve happiness.

    I won't begin to try to sum up the various techniques and concepts that are discussed in this book. I will say that I found reading the book to be uplifting, enjoyable and fascinating. The Dalai Lama is not a religious figure who commands respect from either intimidation or pomp and circumstance. He comes across as warm, friendly, nurturing and flexible enough to look at complex issues from various points of view, without ever resorting to defensiveness or dogma. And although Cutler's commentary is never as interesting as the Dalai Lama's own words, this book provides an excellent opportunity for the beginning of a dialogue between western psychology and eastern spirituality. Although I had read another book by the Dalai Lama a decade ago, I really consider this book to be my first real introduction to him, and I'm inspired and curious to learn more about the man and his teachings.
    ...more info
  • Read and believe.
    Inspirational book, I could not put it down, had to keep reading. The coauthor Howard Cutler has a wonderful style that keeps you connected to the Dalai's words from a western perspective. Mr. Cutler obviously had a profound experience writing this book with the Dalai Lama. I hope the book will mean as much to you as it does to me. I highly recommend it....more info
  • A critique of the Art of Happiness
    Happiness is not a goal that can be achieved through seeking. No search has ever realized happiness because the very activity of seeking confirms unhappiness.
    Therefore, whatever your state in the moment, it must be transcended in present happiness. If you find yourself seeking then you are not presently happy are you?
    This whole notion about the pursuit of happiness is completely false. You must give up the search and then you realize that you are already happy.
    So the Dalai Lama is recommending the traditional error of seeking and whatever else he recommends as useful practical advice is tainted by this initial premise. Funnily enough, when asked if he is happy, he says yes, so if he is happy, what need is there to seek?
    A better teaching would be to point out that everyone is already seeking; for money, power, sex, good food, whatever, and finding that the search is never satisfied. The point is not to channel that activity and search for spiritual satisfaction. The point is to understand that seeking is suffering.
    I say, "You cannot become happy. You can only be happy!" ...more info
  • Well worth the Listen.
    Insightful look at western culture through eyes of the Dalai Lama. It provides insight into recognizing and handling internal stressors, but a different perspective on compassion as a way to happiness....more info
  • Reminders of what we should know but often forget
    This was a Christmas present from my daughter and son in law. It's not something that I would have bought for myself, but I am glad they got it for me and I am glad that I have read it.
    This is not a book that one reading will suffice, there is a lot here and it's interesting. While there is a lot of ground covered, there isn't a lot of "new" stuff here, however most of it is presented in a fresh way, and as I am oft to quote, "we don't always need to be told, but we often need to be reminded...".
    One of the most important messages I got was that it's important to ask ourselves if what we are contemplating will make us happy, and to keep the difference between happiness and pleasure in mind, they get mixed up a lot and aren't at all the same thing.
    I gave this book only 3 stars, but I had to think about it a lot. If the psychologist writer had gotten out of the way more and not been as long winded on occasion, I probably wouldn't have hesitated to give it four instead. ...more info
  • Very enlightening!!
    I am not a big one for inspirational books but this one struck a chord! Not only is there insight from the Dali Lahma but the Dr. who interviews him asks all the questions I would ask and plays an excellent Devils' Advocate. Anyone who reads this will surely come out being a better person. It gives you a lot to think about. Although I think the DL is naive in some ways, you must take from the book what works for you and keep it all in perspective....more info
  • Excellent book with combined Eastern & Western perspective
    I'm an Indian guy living in USA for almost 10 years now, so I was able to see this book from both Eastern and Western perspectives. The book has a very balanced way of explaining various Buddhist concepts, with practical implications/application. Western psychiatric point of views are also interwoven nicely. I would highly recommend to experience this book.
    ...more info
  • For those interested in Inner Peace
    This book really hit home. I must have an inner Buddha cause I believe I think like they do, aside from the eternal life stuff. It's the way they deal with suffering that I can identify with. Letting go of what ails you can definitely help you achieve peace of mind. I thought the book was well conceived as well. A western psychologist travels with and conducts a series of interviews with the Dalai Lama. Then interprets the answers from his perspective, but also in an objective way. Looking for the eastern wisdom that can be understood by our western culture. Loved it!...more info
  • Book
    What a book. I have always heard of the Dalai Lama but never knew what it meant. It is actually a fascinating book to read. Thanks to the salesmanship and quick delivery I have been able to enjoy it longer. AAAA++++++++++++++++...more info
  • Common Sense Way to Hapiness and Compassion
    At first when I started to listen to this audio book CD. The reader put me off a bit, but I got used to his style.
    I really enjoyed the content of these CDs.
    Dalai Lama has a unique but a very straight forward way of explaining the simple things that matters in life. He recognizes everyone's desire, and need for happiness from an open perspective. I think this can benefit from people of all sort of beliefs, and walks of life.

    I've been recommending this to all of my friends....more info
  • Simple yet profound
    A very easy book to read and a great antidote to the excesses of our western life style of consumption and greed.

    It provides an easily digestible look at practical ways to live simply and happily.

    It can seem patronising and too simple in places, it discusses things that are pretty obvious to most but that is because there is much truth in what the Dalai Lama says and his philosophy is pretty simple.

    Live Happily!...more info
  • Content with it
    Excellent book. Gave it to my son and wife with great results. WOrked on me too. I am content....more info
  • Excellent!
    This is a fabulous book. I almost didn't buy it because of some of the negative reviews. I read it pieces at a time because there is a lot to mull over. Yes, a lot of the concepts are simple, but they are useful.
    I've found a lot of food for thought in this book, and being a westerner, I really appreciated the compare/contrast of many of the Dalai Lama's ideas with the western concepts I was brought up with.
    I highly recommend this book....more info
  • Beautiful
    Its amazing how such simple concepts can be so moving. Happiness is right around the corner for those who still haven't found it. I loved the audio form of this book, it was easy to pop in my CD player and listen too any time. I've shared this CD with friends and family and I've seen the transformation that the CD has helped bring to their lives. Don't think twice get this, its worth every cent!...more info
  • The art of happiness : a handbook for living
    This is a must for all people, clear and concise, this will take days to read and a lifetime(s) to aspire to, a valuable friend....more info
  • Book
    This was on my daughter's wish list. I sent this to her for a little surprise. She loved it....and suggests that I should read it. How about you???...more info
  • Simple yet profound
    A very easy book to read and a great antidote to the excesses of our western life style of consumption and greed.

    It provides an easily digestible look at practical ways to live simply and happily.

    It can seem patronising and too simple in places, it discusses things that are pretty obvious to most but that is because there is much truth in what the Dalai Lama says and his philosophy is pretty simple.

    Live Happily!...more info
  • to understand the power of calm and abiding mind
    must-read book for taming, shaping and calming your mind, so as to make it more powerful and help you gain 'insight' about the impermanent, suffering, self-less nature of our existence - our mind and body. ...more info
  • Best Buddhism book for westerners and beginners
    If you are unfamiliar with Buddhism, then this book is a good place to start. Also, if you believe fully in the scientific method, as I do, but are interested in Buddhism, then again, this is probably the best place to start.

    Instead of overwhelming you with a bunch of Buddhist lingo and ideas as some books do, this book is very gentle in introducing Buddhist ideas and philosophy. Written by a western psychiatrist, it is very good at bridging the gap between western thought and the Dalai Lama's Buddhist wisdom. Cutler asks all the typical questions that westerners have when first exploring Buddhism, so you're not left thinking "Well what about this?". He also adds anecdotal evidence from his private practice to further explain the Dalai Lama's points, which is very helpful.

    One of the best things about this book is it's PRACTICAL advice, just little things you can do every day to be a happier person. I think it would be impossible for anyone to read this book and not get something out of it, not be able to make meaningful changes in their life to be a happier person.

    If you want to delve a little deeper after this book, I would recommend getting "Healing Anger: The power of patience from a Buddhist's perspective" by His Holiness, which is a translated version of the actual talks that the Dalai Lama gave in Arizona- which Cutler attended and discusses in the Art of Happiness. If you're new to Buddhism like I am, then you'll be glad you read the Art of Happiness first and Healing Anger will make much more sense thanks to Cutler's practical introduction to these ideas. ...more info
  • Happiness - Combining East -West Perspectives
    Happiness is a core state we all seek to achieve. Thanks, in part, to the Positive Psychology movement, happiness has taken center stage and is now the focus of a significant amount of attention. On a recent visit to a large, chain bookstore, I noticed one whole table devoted to books related to happiness. It appears that a happiness movement is underway.

    It is said that happiness can be achieved through external and internal means. Happiness achieved through external means is, unfortunately, short-lived. Life long happiness is derived from internal sources - positive states such as kindness, compassion and tolerance.

    The value of this book lies in its presentation of a framework the reader can use to attain these positive states - a framework based on the integration of scientific psychological research and Buddhist philosophical principles. In addition to the framework, each of the chapters contains exercises the reader can use to reinforce the learnings presented in the chapter.

    Due to our survival instinct, negative states of mind often predominate our thinking. Negative states impede or dilute our happiness. To increase your level of happiness, the authors argue that these negative states need to be combated through the greater cultivation of positive mental states. The content of this book will help guide you towards developing these positive mental states.

    Seeking greater happiness? This book represents a good starting point from which to start your journey.

    ...more info
  • a happier way to life regardless of who is writing the book
    what i really find that this book really help me to be more positive, happier and easier to deal with anger, frustration, and resentfulness.. it is actually written by this doctor cutler with interview of dalai lama.
    i dont really care who the writer is but it helps me..
    but i feel that it is speaking to me and really help when times i remember those hurtful from the past. we know what to do but sometimes we just forget about it, this book is a good reminder....more info
  • First on compassion
    Howard C Cutler asks some good questions for each of Dalai Lama's assertions. When Dalai Lama says that the goal of life is happiness HCC asks then why are we not naturally inclined towards it. Expanding on Compassion when DL says it involves opening yourself to other's suffering, HCC is quick to ask as to why would we take on another's burden, while we are trying to get rid of ours. Instead of one way info flow, HCC's persuant questions, make the reader linger on thoughts and know better....more info
  • Courage to Say "I Don't Know"
    I salute the Dalai Lama to have the courage to say "I don't know" on confronting with common human problems, such as a self-destructive woman mentioned by Dr. Howard Cutler. But His Holiness did answer the question, in a more unhurried way, which he called The Art of Happiness. In the book he raised more questions than a psychiatrist could raise and answered some of them which not even a neuroscientist would like to try. Life is not mysterious, but to be happy is. We need medical sciences definitely, but a humanly love or concern, no matter how faint, should not be slighted. ...more info


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