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Excerpted from The Art of Happiness by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, M.D. Copyright © 1998 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, M.D. Excerpted by permission of Riverhead Books, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 


"Over time I became convinced that the Dalai Lama had learned how to live with a sense of fulfillment and a degree of serenity that I had never seen in other people."

Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness, Part 2

For almost forty years, this has been the home of the Tibetan government-in-exile, ever since the Dalai Lama, along with one hundred thousand other Tibetans, fled Tibet after the brutal invasion by Chinese forces. During my stay in Dharamsala I had gotten to know several members of the Dalai Lama’s family, and it was through them that my first meeting with him was arranged.

In his 1993 public address, the Dalai Lama spoke of the importance of relating as one human being to another, and it was this very same quality that had been the most striking feature of our first conversation at his home in 1982. He seemed to have an uncommon ability to put one completely at ease, to quickly create a simple and direct connection with a fellow human being. Our first meeting had lasted around forty-five minutes, and like so many other people, I came away from that meeting in great spirits, with the impression that I had just met a truly exceptional man.

As my contact with the Dalai Lama grew over the next several years, I gradually came to appreciate his many unique qualities. He has a penetrating intelligence, but without artifice; a kindness, but without excessive sentimentality; great humor, but without frivolousness; and, as many have discovered, the ability to inspire rather than awe.

Over time I became convinced that the Dalai Lama had learned how to live with a sense of fulfillment and a degree of serenity that I had never seen in other people. I was determined to identify the principles that enabled him to achieve this. Although he is a Buddhist monk with a lifetime of Buddhist training and study, I began to wonder if one could identify a set of his beliefs or practices that could be utilized by non-Buddhists as well – practices that could be directly applied to our lives to simply help us become happier, stronger, perhaps less afraid.

Eventually, I had an opportunity to explore his views in greater depth, meeting with him daily during his stay in Arizona and following up these discussions with more extensive conversations at his home in India.

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