It’s hard to deny that His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet and the world’s most famous Buddhist, is the also world’s foremost expert on happiness. He clearly states in writings that seeking happiness is the very purpose of life, and he’s dedicated his life to learning how to be happy and sharing this knowledge with others.
But what about other major religious traditions? Is happiness a good thing, or bad? To be sought in this life, or the next?
We’re about to find out: The Dalai Lama will explore the concept of happiness with other world religious leaders Oct. 17 at Emory University’s “Summit on Happiness: Understanding and Promoting Happiness in Today’s Society.” For two hours, he joins in conversation with Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church, and George Washington University Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Krista Tippett, host of the radio program “Being,” will moderate.
Happiness has been a shining spotlight of psychological and scientific study and pop culture since the 1990s, and it shows no signs of fading (witness Coke’s recent ad campaign, “Open Happiness” and happiness courses being offered in major U.S. universities, following Harvard’s lead). Newsweek (Feb. 2, 2008) pinpoints the happiness movement catalyst to discoveries of brain activity underlying well-being, and the emergence of positive psychology, which focuses on strengths and virtues rather weaknesses and faults when assessing mental health.
- Is religion a good prescription? (psychologytoday.com)
- Poll: Many Americans know little about religion (seattletimes.nwsource.com)