Book review – happiness and Buddhism in harmony

Matthieu Ricard, born and raised in France, was a successful scientist who through his twenties shifted interests more and more towards spirituality. He examines our definitions of happiness and explores the causes and conditions for happiness, our own inner values and beliefs that do or don’t create happiness and the sociology of happiness.

The book’s emphasis is on how to develop inner resources for a sense of happiness and fulfilment that is not dependent on outer circumstances. There are short interesting exercises that lead to knowing your mind and how it works.

Matthieu Ricard, now a Tibetan monk, has a unique perspective and describes various emotional states and how to deal with them and looks at neuroscience and the brain. Ricard clearly explains Buddhist psychology and inspires the reader to live more skilfully and to be empowered with teachings and tools to cultivate true happiness. Ricard emphasises the proven benefits of meditation but also promotes ambition, a willingness to help others and a general enthusiasm in taking up a variety of activities.

Acquiring emotional equilibrium is the ultimate reward and the “secret” to life-long happiness.