The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World


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Two spiritual giants. Five days. One timeless question.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships—or, as they would say, because of them—they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.

In April 2015, Archbishop Tutu traveled to the Dalai Lama's home in Dharamsala, India, to celebrate His Holiness's eightieth birthday and to create what they hoped would be a gift for others. They looked back on their long lives to answer a single burning question: How do we find joy in the face of life's inevitable suffering?

They traded intimate stories, teased each other continually, and shared their spiritual practices. By the end of a week filled with laughter and punctuated with tears, these two global heroes had stared into the abyss and despair of our time and revealed how to live a life brimming with joy.

This book offers us a rare opportunity to experience their astonishing and unprecendented week together, from the first embrace to the final good-bye.

We get to listen as they explore the Nature of True Joy and confront each of the Obstacles of Joy—from fear, stress, and anger to grief, illness, and death. They then offer us the Eight Pillars of Joy, which provide the foundation for lasting happiness. Throughout, they include stories, wisdom, and science. Finally, they share their daily Joy Practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives.

The Archbishop has never claimed sainthood, and the Dalai Lama considers himself a simple monk. In this unique collaboration, they offer us the reflection of real lives filled with pain and turmoil in the midst of which they have been able to discover a level of peace, of courage, and of joy to which we can all aspire in our own lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399185045
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/20/2016
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 406
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 the Tibetan People and of Tibetan Buddhism. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and the US Congressional Gold Medal in 2007. Born in 1935 to a poor farming family in northeastern Tibet he was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the 13th Dalai Lama. He has been a passionate advocate for a secular universal approach to cultivating fundamental human values. For over three decades the Dalai Lama has maintained an ongoing conversation and collaboration with scientists from a wide range of disciplines, especially through the Mind and Life Institute, an organization that he co-founded. The Dalai Lama travels extensively, promoting kindness and compassion, interfaith understanding, respect for the environment, and, above all, world peace. He lives in exile in Dharamsala, India. For more information, please visit

Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Southern Africa, became a prominent leader in the crusade for justice and racial reconciliation in South Africa. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. In 1994, Tutu was appointed chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission by Nelson Mandela, where he pioneered a new way for countries to move forward after experiencing civil conflict and oppression. He was the founding chair of The Elders, a group of global leaders working together for peace and human rights. Archbishop Tutu is regarded as 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. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa. 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. He is also the co-founder with Pam Omidyar and Desmond Tutu of, a public benefit company working to share life-changing and world-changing ideas. Doug has worked with Desmond Tutu as his cowriter 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. He lives in Santa Cruz, California. For more information, please visit and

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"
by .
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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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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The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book. This book has the makings to be a classic that we all could benefit one. I am definitely giving this as a gift to the readers in my family. I'd also recommend "When God Stopped Keeping Score" which takes tackles the difficult topic of God and forgiveness. I never cried so much reading a book because the words were so true from start to finish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very encouraging and uplifting to my spirit and it is a wonderful contrast to our strident political environment .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Uplifting lessons from two of the greatest people gracing our world. Truly well titled.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just feel better after reading this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book while going through a hard break up and it made me realize the importance of forgiving. It showed me how my pain and suffering diminishes when I focus on loving and giving to others. I loved it so much a purchased 3 copies to share with friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A truly important book about how to face life's greatest challenges and still learn how to become a better person. I have bought at least seven copies of it so far to share with people in my life and all have felt that this book changed their lives.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish this novel. I had intended to savor this novel, to read it slowly and reflect upon different sections as I read it but no, I couldn’t stop myself. Once I started reading, I was immersed into this wonderful reunion in which these two powerful individuals talked openly about humanity, they shared of themselves and the world around them. The reunion was held in the home of Dalai Lama and during their visit they also celebrated his 80th birthday. These two highly influential men have met a handful of times before and they were meeting for five days to discuss what true joy was, how to achieve it and what the Eight Pillars of Joy were. I enjoyed this novel tremendously, I enjoyed the humor and the tenderness that they shared between them. The way they joked with one another, the patting of each other after a humorous chuckle, the holding of each other’s hands and just waiting for the other person to speak, spoke volumes for the love and respect that they had for one another. It is a treasured friendship, one that is picked up immediately upon seeing one another and it brought smiles and laughs from the individuals that they were around including myself as I read. What I read intrigued me and enlightened me and I know that I will have to reread this novel to fully appreciate it. The reason this novel is so important now is that the world is hurting, in every part of the globe there are individuals who are struggling and need to find joy. There is no need for sorrow, they both agree on this. They both agree that individuals need each other to find joy and the concept behind joy. These great leaders go into great details, humorous at times, about these concepts and it was interesting, their ideas and the stories that they share, both personal and about others. Douglas probes them deeper into their thoughts about humanity exploring issues such as sadness, acceptance, gratitude, compassion and humility. There were lots of different subjects, stories and these leaders shared their views openly and I appreciated Douglas’ effort and the heartfelt responses that he received in return. My eyes started to cloud over, the tears streaming down my cheeks as the Archbishop gets ready to depart for the airport. Their time together is over for now. The jokes, the hand holding and the way that they smiled at one another is coming to an end. They are both fighting for peace, they are both getting up there in years, one is battling an illness, and one is restricted in where he can travel, who knows if they will ever see each other in-person again and they know this. This is a novel that should be read, one that should be reflected upon for there are many inspirations and views inside.
Anonymous 1 days ago
Great uplifting read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I learned how to better manage my emotions and to view myself and the world from a different perspective. a good place to start if you are looking at ways to feel happier.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author of this book does an excellent in writing the account of the several days with these two great figures. I found it was interesting that they were such dear friends. They have impish humor and delightful joy; their perspectives are humbling. This is a book that I will read time and again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With humor and humility, Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama discuss the pillars of true joy, providing insight and reflections for individual (and potentially global) happiness.
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