The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World


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2017 Books for a Better Life Award Winner—Spiritual Category

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 the Nobel Prize, both great spiritual masters and moral leaders of our time, they are also known for being among the most infectiously happy people on the planet.

From the beginning the book was envisioned as a three-layer birthday cake: their own stories and teachings about joy, the most recent findings in the science of deep happiness, and the daily practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives. Both the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu have been tested by great personal and national adversity, and here they share their personal stories of struggle and renewal. Now that they are both in their eighties, they especially want to spread the core message that to have joy yourself, you must bring joy to others.

Most of all, during that landmark week in Dharamsala, they demonstrated by their own exuberance, compassion, and humor how joy can be transformed from a fleeting emotion into an enduring way of life.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399185045
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/20/2016
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 2,867
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. He is the spiritual leader of Tibet.  He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.  He lives in exile in Dharamsala, India. He was born in 1935 to a poor farming family in northeastern Tibet and was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama.  He travels extensively, speaking in favor of ecumenical understanding, kindness and compassion, respect for the environment, and, above all, world peace.  For more information, please visit
Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Southern Africa, became a prominent leader in the crusade for justice and racial conciliation in South Africa.  He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.  In 1994, Tutu was appointed as Chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where he pioneered a new way for countries to move forward after experiencing civil conflict and oppression.  Archbishop Tutu is regarded as an elder world statesman, a leading moral voice, and an icon of hope.  Throughout his life, he has cared deeply about the needs of people around the world, teaching love and compassion for all. For more information please visit
Douglas Abrams is an author, editor, and literary agent.  He is the Founder and President of Idea Architects, a creative book and media agency helping visionaries to create a wiser, healthier, and more just world.  Doug has worked with Desmond Tutu as his co-writer and editor for over a decade, and before founding his own literary agency, he was a Senior Editor at HarperCollins and also served for nine years as the Religion Editor at the University of California Press.  He believes strongly in the power of books and media to catalyze the next stage of global evolutionary culture.  For more information please visit

Read an Excerpt

“Is joy a feeling that comes and surprises us, or is it a more dependable way of being?” I asked. “For the two of you, joy seems to be something much more enduring. Your spiritual practice hasn’t made you somber and serious. It’s made you more joyful. So how can people cultivate that sense of joy as a way of being, and not just a temporary feeling?”

Excerpted from "The Book of Joy"
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Copyright © 2016 Dalai Lama.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

The Invitation to Joy ix

Introduction 1

Arrival: We Are Fragile Creatures 11

Day 1 The Nature of True Joy 27

Why Are You Not Morose? 29

Nothing Beautiful Comes Without Some Suffering 43

Have You Renounced Pleasure? 51

Our Greatest Joy 59

Lunch: The Meeting of Two Mischievous People Is Wonderful 67

Days 2&3 The Obstacles to Joy 81

You Are a Masterpiece in the Making 83

Fear, Stress, and Anxiety: I Would Be Very Nervous 93

Frustration and Anger: I Would Shout 101

Sadness and Grief: The Hard Times Knit Us More Closely Together 109

Despair: The World Is in Such Turmoil 115

Loneliness: No Need for Introduction 125

Envy: That Guy Goes Past Yet Again in His Mercedes-Benz 135

Suffering and Adversity: Passing through Difficulties 145

Illness and Fear of Death: I Prefer to Go to Hell 159

Meditation: Now I'll Tell You a Secret Thing 171

Days 4&5 The Eight Pillars of Joy 191

1 Perspective: There Are Many Different Angles 193

2 Humility: I Tried to Look Humble and Modest 203

3 Humor: Laughter, Joking Is Much Better 215

4 Acceptance: The Only Place Where Change Can Begin 223

5 Forgiveness: Freeing Ourselves from the Past 229

6 Gratitude: I Am Fortunate to Be Alive 241

7 Compassion: Something We Want to Become 251

8 Generosity: We Are Filled with Joy 263

Celebration: Dancing in the Streets of Tibet 277

Departure: A Final Goodbye 291

Joy Practices 307

Acknowledgments 349

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