The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

Two great spiritual masters share their own hard-won wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity.  The occasion was a big birthday. And it inspired two close friends to get together in Dharamsala for a talk about something very important to them. The friends were His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The subject was joy. Both winners of th...

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Title:The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
Author:Dalai Lama XIV
Rating:
ISBN:0399185046
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:354 pages

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World Reviews

  • Michelle
    Jul 11, 2016

    started out in an ordinary enough manner. It was well-written, interesting, at times humorous, and full of truth. But then . . . right book, right time, it guided me to closure on something I'd been struggling with for a decade. This is literally a life changing book for me.

    Even if you don't experience an epiphany like me, this book still has the potential to make your life better. You can already be happy and take something from this. You don't have to be Christian or Buddhist f

    started out in an ordinary enough manner. It was well-written, interesting, at times humorous, and full of truth. But then . . . right book, right time, it guided me to closure on something I'd been struggling with for a decade. This is literally a life changing book for me.

    Even if you don't experience an epiphany like me, this book still has the potential to make your life better. You can already be happy and take something from this. You don't have to be Christian or Buddhist for it to be effective either. The guidance within applies perfectly well to the secular life.

  • Joy Matteson
    Nov 11, 2016

    The Book of Joy is an uplifting account of a conversation between two of the most honored contemporary spiritual leaders living today. Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama met together in Dharamsala to have an intimate conversation about the meaning of joy. Literary agent and narrator Douglas Abrams met with the two men to record their observations and gain wisdom on this often misunderstood topic. Peter Francis James and the Francois Chau lent their voices to the audio versio

    The Book of Joy is an uplifting account of a conversation between two of the most honored contemporary spiritual leaders living today. Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama met together in Dharamsala to have an intimate conversation about the meaning of joy. Literary agent and narrator Douglas Abrams met with the two men to record their observations and gain wisdom on this often misunderstood topic. Peter Francis James and the Francois Chau lent their voices to the audio version, and their warmth and camaraderie is evident in every word they spoke. As the facilitator and primary narrator, Douglas Abrams uses a calm, even tone to help the listeners focus on the words spoken by the great spiritual masters. You can often hear a smile in the voice of Archbishop Tutu that becomes contagious. The Dalai Lama speaks with such a kind, slow voice, the listener feels compelled to bend their ears to catch every word. The joy that the archbishop and His Holiness expounds upon is truly evident in their voices. This is a beautiful listening experience for every listener who looks for joy in their lives.

  • Antigone
    Nov 02, 2016

    Oh, they are

    ! Impish spirits, the both of them, who giggle and joust and tease their way through this late-in-life meeting; evincing in almost every moment the very joy they've gathered to discuss.

    The friendship of these illustrious men, who've met a mere half dozen times and then only briefly, calls to mind that deep and instantaneous bond so frequently formed by children - back when our hearts were filled with trust and our world with potential companions in adventure. Clearly kindred

    Oh, they are

    ! Impish spirits, the both of them, who giggle and joust and tease their way through this late-in-life meeting; evincing in almost every moment the very joy they've gathered to discuss.

    The friendship of these illustrious men, who've met a mere half dozen times and then only briefly, calls to mind that deep and instantaneous bond so frequently formed by children - back when our hearts were filled with trust and our world with potential companions in adventure. Clearly kindred spirits, the Dalai Lama has been known to swipe the Archbishop's signature sailing cap right off his head, and Desmond Tutu, in turn, to demand recompense for every compliment he tenders.

    , he says, extending his arm and rubbing his fingers together. The best way to measure a love is to gauge its flexibility to antics of this nature, and you can tell this is, indeed, a magnificent affection. It's a pleasure to witness. Even on the page it has power enough to produce a string of smiles...and resurrect a dream or two.

    Which is not to say their wisdom is in any way overshadowed, or their keenness underplayed.

    The occasion is the Dalai Lama's eightieth birthday. Archbishop Tutu has flown to India for a visit of several days during which these scamps will settle in as best they can and address, between them, how to introduce joy into life. You might imagine this would be a lofty enterprise but it is very much like the friendship; sincere and down-to-earth. Though they agree on a lot, their approaches have individual distinctions. In the arena of emotion, for example, the Dalai Lama promotes learning how to objectively examine our feelings while the Archbishop is more concerned with putting an end to the shame we have over what we feel. (One is a course of mindfulness, the other of self-compassion.) Their interlocutor, Douglas Abrams, has some difficulty with this development as he places the positions in opposition. I did not have that difficulty, finding them complimentary strategies.

    But I'm doing the material a disservice to elevate it in this manner. It's not an esoteric exchange. These are solid conclusions about grief, compassion, humility, loneliness and despair, extended simply as the product of a lifetime's careful and conscientious thought. In fact, one of the principal benefits I drew from my first reading had to do with the news media. I've been having a tough time with the news lately. It's not so much the content as it is the way it's presented to me. Everything seems tailored to make me anxious; to scare me enough to keep me tuning in. The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu spent a moment discussing this.

    The Archbishop introduces the subject:

    And they're right. The kind acts and fruitful accomplishments that happen every day? They're not news because they are the common experience. Goodness and productivity are the norm. Cruelty and catastrophe are what is deemed exceptional enough to merit airtime. This broadened my perspective, and helped me out.

    The work is filled with insight and numerous, moving personal experiences culled from the lives of both men. Rascals they may be, it is still quite easy to see how they've become two of the most esteemed spiritual figures of our generation.

    For me, this was less a book than a privilege. Highly recommended.

  • Diane
    Dec 16, 2016

    I simply loved this book.

    is a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu about finding joy and happiness in the face of suffering and grief. The two old friends met in India for the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday, and they had long discussions over several days.

    Writer Douglas Abrams helped facilitate the dialogue, asking questions and taking detailed notes. The reader gets the benefit of both the wisdom of the spiritual leaders and an outside perspective on how

    I simply loved this book.

    is a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu about finding joy and happiness in the face of suffering and grief. The two old friends met in India for the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday, and they had long discussions over several days.

    Writer Douglas Abrams helped facilitate the dialogue, asking questions and taking detailed notes. The reader gets the benefit of both the wisdom of the spiritual leaders and an outside perspective on how the two friends interacted and behaved. It was joyous to read about how the men would tease each other, and then drop some fantastic bit of knowledge. Abrams commented that it's a sign of how much the two love each other that they can be mischievous together. Because the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop are getting older and have more difficulty traveling, this was likely their last meeting, and their goodbye was a tearful moment for this reader.

    I am not a practicing Buddhist or Christian, but I found great comfort and inspiration in this book. There are several helpful meditation practices included at the end. I would highly recommend

    to anyone seeking more happiness and peace in a troubled world.

    "People would like to be able to take a pill that makes their fear and anxiety go away and makes them immediately feel peaceful. This is impossible. One must develop the mind over time and cultivate mental immunity. Often people ask me for the quickest and best solution to a problem. Again, this is impossible. You can have quickest or you can have best solution, but not both. The best solution to our suffering is mental immunity, but it takes time to develop." -- Dalai Lama

    "We suffer from a perspectival myopia. As a result, we are left nearsighted, unable to see our experience in a larger way. When we confront a challenge, we often react to the situation with fear and anger. The stress can make it hard for us to step back and see other perspectives and solutions ... But if we try, we can become less fixated, or attached, to use the Buddhist term, to one outcome and can use more skillful means to handle the situation. We can see that in the most seemingly limiting circumstance we have choice and freedom."

    "We are social animals. Even for kings or queens or spiritual leaders, their survival depends on the rest of the community. So therefore, if you want a happy life and fewer problems, you have to develop a serious concern for the well-being of others. So then when someone is passing through a difficult period or difficult circumstances, then automatically will become a sense of concern for their well-being. And if there is the possibility to help, then you can help. If there is no possibility to help, you can just pray or wish them well ... This concern for others is something very precious. We humans have a very special brain, but this brain causes a lot of suffering because it is always thinking me, me, me, me. The more time you spend thinking about yourself, the more suffering you will experience. The incredible thing is that when we think of alleviating other people's suffering, our own suffering is reduced. This is the true secret to happiness." -- Dalai Lama

  • Elsa
    Feb 11, 2017

    Five Stars because there are just 5.

    I said it before but I mention it again: this was THE most beautiful book I have read the last years. So touching, sometimes so funny, and so deeply true.

    It took me a while to finish it because every time I would read some pages I just wanted to stop and think about it or it would take me to think about situations that I lived.

    I have this urge now to talk about it to everyone I know and I care, kind of trying to make them read it and take it serious. It would

    Five Stars because there are just 5.

    I said it before but I mention it again: this was THE most beautiful book I have read the last years. So touching, sometimes so funny, and so deeply true.

    It took me a while to finish it because every time I would read some pages I just wanted to stop and think about it or it would take me to think about situations that I lived.

    I have this urge now to talk about it to everyone I know and I care, kind of trying to make them read it and take it serious. It would be so good if people would read this book and believe that we, each one of us, can really make the difference. That we can really forgive one another, that one can spread love just by giving a smile to a stranger on the streets.

    Compassion... isn't it a beautiful word?

    Joy

    Love

    Forgiveness

    All wonderful feelings.

    If you want to read this book, take time and grab a pencil because I am sure you will stop thousands of times to write something on the side... or to underline some sentences.

    Thank you so much Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams

  • Kacey Kells
    Feb 02, 2017

    Everyone (well, almost!) agrees that we should do our best to make this world a safer and better world… i.e.: “a happier, kinder, more compassionate world”. Sadly however, most people think it’s a beautiful but unattainable dream. In this book however, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu stated that it is in our Human Nature to seek happiness and joy; hence, since we are social animals, the only way to be happy and joyful is to look at others, to be compassionate. Indeed, if

    Everyone (well, almost!) agrees that we should do our best to make this world a safer and better world… i.e.: “a happier, kinder, more compassionate world”. Sadly however, most people think it’s a beautiful but unattainable dream. In this book however, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu stated that it is in our Human Nature to seek happiness and joy; hence, since we are social animals, the only way to be happy and joyful is to look at others, to be compassionate. Indeed, if you focus on yourself, you will feel lonely and sad: “Everybody wants a happy life, and our individual happy life depends on a happy humanity. So we have to think about humanity” said the Dalai Lama. Hence, joy depends on our ability to go beyond ‘self-centeredness’.

    Archbishop Desmond Tutu added: “We are most joyful when we focus on others, not on ourselves. In short, bringing joy to others is the fastest way to experience joy oneself”. “The people we admire are those who have been other-regarding”… And, citing Martin Luther King: “We must learn to live together as sisters and brothers, or we will perish together as fools”. “A person is a person through other persons”.

    However, if “we are meant to live in Joy, this doesn’t mean that life will be easy or painless. It means that we can turn our faces to the wind and accept that this is the storm we must pass through. We cannot succeed by denying what exists. The acceptance of reality is the only place from which change can begin” (Desmond Tutu). Later, His Holiness stated: “Religion is not sufficient. I think the only way really is, as we have said, through education. Education is universal. We must teach people, especially our youth, the source of happiness and satisfaction”.

    After several days of discussion, the two Nobel laureates concluded that there are eight pillars of Joy: a wider perspective (rejecting self-centeredness), humility, sense of humor and ability to laugh at ourselves, acceptance of life, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity: in other words, sense of otherness and acceptation of reality. "Why be unhappy about something if it can be remedied? And what is the use of being unhappy if it can't be remedied?" asked the Dalai Lama.

    Yes, ‘The book of Joy’ is enthralling. Written with a dash of humor, it radiates happiness. More importantly, it enabled me to share a fabulous, a beautiful and enriching experience; it brings hope and lightens the path. I really loved it! Kacey Kells.

  • Ita
    Jan 20, 2017

    I was reading this book at the hairdressers and when I was paying, one of the hairdressers came to me to tell me she enjoyed watching me read as she saw me chuckling while reading it. Then I showed her the title and said that it must be working already! I like this quote "Wherever you have friends that's your country, and wherever you receive love, that's your home". And I like the concept of "mudita" which means "the practice of rejoicing in others' good fortune". I got a lot out of this book a

    I was reading this book at the hairdressers and when I was paying, one of the hairdressers came to me to tell me she enjoyed watching me read as she saw me chuckling while reading it. Then I showed her the title and said that it must be working already! I like this quote "Wherever you have friends that's your country, and wherever you receive love, that's your home". And I like the concept of "mudita" which means "the practice of rejoicing in others' good fortune". I got a lot out of this book and I liked that this book is a week-long conversation between two good friends who happen to be spiritual leaders in Buddhism and Christianity. I didn't always agree with what they were saying, but that is probably because I am not a holy man! It certainly made me think and reflect, definitely worth the time to read this gem of a book.

  • madamereadsalot
    Jan 31, 2017

    4.5

    I have listened to this book on audible, but as I found so many important messages and useful practices in it, I wanted to have a physical copy as well to reread and mark my favourite passages in! It's that kind of book! <3

    Especially regarding the current situation in the world, but also for years in everyday life, I found myself agreeing: we are all in it together. We are all human beings looking for happiness and trying to free ourselves from suffering. So we should be more kind to othe

    4.5

    I have listened to this book on audible, but as I found so many important messages and useful practices in it, I wanted to have a physical copy as well to reread and mark my favourite passages in! It's that kind of book! <3

    Especially regarding the current situation in the world, but also for years in everyday life, I found myself agreeing: we are all in it together. We are all human beings looking for happiness and trying to free ourselves from suffering. So we should be more kind to others and to ourselves.

    The only thing I found to be a liiittle downer, is that there is often talk of the importance of relationships. But only a very little part actually goes deeper into how shy or lonely people can overcome their struggles. (In a wider sense, they can, of course, by applying the practices of kindness and mindfulness on their everyday life.) But the fact, that a lot of us still struggle remains the same. Then again, that's life, huh?

  • Mizanur Rahman
    Feb 10, 2017

    Buddhism always fascinates me. Not as a religion but as philosophy. Perhaps, of all religions (philosophical view) collectively, Buddhism effectively reaches the core of human nature, and thus promote its fellow believer to nurture their soul. This book is not about Buddhism or Christianity, though it features two topmost representatives of those religions/views. It talks about human nature, about joy, and obviously, it’s worth reading.

  • Alli Lubin
    Feb 21, 2017

    I am savoring this book. "The Dalai Lama and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu are two of the great spiritual masters of our time, but they are also moral leaders who transcend their own traditions and speak always from a concern for humanity as a whole..."JOY is much bigger than happiness. While happiness is often seen as being dependent on external circumstances, joy is not." This book is the result of a week they spent together talking about the "purpose of life -- the goal of avoiding suffering an

    I am savoring this book. "The Dalai Lama and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu are two of the great spiritual masters of our time, but they are also moral leaders who transcend their own traditions and speak always from a concern for humanity as a whole..."JOY is much bigger than happiness. While happiness is often seen as being dependent on external circumstances, joy is not." This book is the result of a week they spent together talking about the "purpose of life -- the goal of avoiding suffering and discovering happiness."

    The Archbishop expressed concerns "about crossing wits with the Dalai Lama. "He is much more cerebral," referring to the Dalai Lama's great love of debate, intellectual inquiry, and scientific exploration. "I am more instinctual," as deep visceral knowing and prayerful surrender had guided all of the major turning points in his life and his mission in the struggle to end apartheid. Thus begins the dialogue on the nature of true joy.

    The question most asked of them when they began the project was not about how we could discover our own joy but how we could possibly live with joy in a world filled with so much suffering.