Recommended Reading

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

By the Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu

2016, 321 pages

20 thoughts from The Book of Joy:

The purpose of life must be to find happiness (joy) because every human being seeks that.

  1. The purpose of life must be to find happiness (joy) because every human being seeks that.
  2. Joy is somehow bigger than pleasure or fun or even happiness.
  3. Why worry about problems? If they are solvable, there is no need to worry. Get to work on solving them. If they are not solvable, why worry?
  4. An old Tibetan saying: Wherever you have friends is your country. Wherever people love you is your home.
  5. Nothing beautiful in the end comes without a measure of pain and suffering. That is the nature of things.
  6. A disagreement: How much control do we have over our emotions? The Dalai Lama says much. Desmond Tutu says not much.
  7. All dharma teachings agree on one point: We must strive to lesson our self-absorption. (Dharma is a key concept in Hinduism and Buddhism that deals with the basic principles of existence.)
  8. According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychologist, our happiness depends upon our ability to reframe situations we are in more positively, our ability to feel gratitude, and our choice to be kind and generous.
  9. We can’t give up pleasure. We have to learn to enjoy it without attachment.
  10. Pay more attention to the mental aspects of pleasure than the physical and your joy will be deeper and last longer.
  11. Everyone knows that physical pain is bad and tries to avoid it. We should recognize that spiritual pain, too, is bad and do what we can to avoid it.
  12. To become a better/happier/more joyful person you must first accept yourself as you are and thus avoid the guilt and shame that makes improvement harder.
  13. The Buddha once said that he teaches only one thing: suffering (dukkha) and the cessation of suffering (sukha).
  14. Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it.
  15. Hiding your fear behind a mask of boldness is one way to triumph over it.
  16. But sometimes it is better (more helpful) to show your fear and pain unashamedly.
  17. Stress and anxiety (dukkha) often come from too much expectation and too much ambition.
  18. Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn found that constant stress wears down our telomeres, the caps on our DNA that protect our cells from illness and aging.
  19. The path of joy is through connection. The path of sorrow is from separation.
  20. When you are angry or fearful of someone, remind yourself that they are made in the image of god, which is to say in your image.