This summer, I have read the book Happiness of Matthieu Ricard.
The book starts with examining the nature of happiness. What is the definition?
By hapiness I mean here a deep sense of flourishing that arises from an exceptionally healthy mind. This is not a mere pleasurable feeling, a fleeting emotion, or a mood, but an optimal state of being.
Ricard has studied a lot of material about happiness which he quotes and comments on throughout the book. One central theme is that achieving happiness is a skill that can be learned; happiness does not come to us automatically.
Ricard elaborates on the subject of happiness by analyzing what makes us happy and what not. His reasoning is very logical and almost scientific. It is in no way esoteric or religiously biased. He states that scientific research has shown that rich people are not more happy, although people need a basic level of material well-being. The author also makes clear that our happiness does not depend on outer circumstances at all.
Being a Tibetan monk, Ricard uses sources from the buddhist tradition, like non-self, the roots of suffering, the difference between emotions and feelings. He also analyses disturbing emotions like desire, hatred and envy. These chapters reminded me of the book Destructive Emotions, a report about a dialogue between The Dalai Lama and Western scientists, whereby Matthieu Ricard was the translator for His Holiness.
I have enjoyed reading this book very much, while I was staying with my family in Hungary in August. It is eloquently written, well grounded in science and philosophy and can resist criticism from the more rational readers.
Eliminate its source,
By practicing the path