Happiness Book Summary By Matthieu Ricard

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Happiness (2007) is a book that promises to help lead readers toward genuine, long-lasting happiness.

Many of us are misguided in our pursuit of joy and confuse it with fleeting pleasures like money or fame.

But this book demonstrates a different way to achieve a deeper sense of contentment and well-being.

By reading through its chapters, you'll have the tools to gain fulfillment without relying on external sources of gratification.

Happiness Book

Book Name: Happiness (A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill)

Author(s): Matthieu Ricard

Rating: 4.3/5

Reading Time: 16 Minutes

Categories: Mindfulness & Happiness

Author Bio

Matthieu Ricard is one of the most renowned authors in the world when it comes to topics related to happiness.

He made a bold decision to leave behind his career in cellular genetics and moved to the Himalayas to become a Buddhist monk.

This was more than four decades ago, and it quickly led him to building a powerful relationship with the Dalai Lama.

From then on, Ricard has published some widely praised books such as Happiness, Why Meditate?, and The Monk and the Philosopher.

As he publishes more books which explore how we can cultivate joy and meaning in life, Matthieu Ricards' status as a thought leader continues to grow gradually.

The Secret To True Happiness: Understanding The Teachings Of Buddhism


If you want to be truly happy, it’s essential that you banish negativity and suffering from your mind forever.

This can be hard to do, but the sections in this book will show you how!

Based on the thinking of a highly influential Buddhist monk and philosopher, these sections provide the basics you need to attain true happiness.

You’ll learn why fleeting pleasures will ultimately lead to pain, what the hedonistic treadmill is, why you are not one but two entities, and more.

Once you understand these concepts, they can help free yourself from negativity and suffering so that joy may enter your life.

By following the advice provided in this book and digging inside yourself to find true joy, you can finally achieve real happiness that lasts a lifetime.

The Path To True And Lasting Happiness Lies In Letting Go Of Negative Emotions And Embracing The Present Moment

When it comes to happiness, many of us have a limited view of what it means and how to achieve it.

We often think of happiness as merely fleeting moments dictated by external circumstances.

However, real, long-lasting happiness isn’t something we can easily attain – it’s something that must be worked at in order to maintain an emotionally healthy state of mind.

The Buddhist philosophy views true happiness, or sukha, in terms of gaining a clearer understanding of the present moment while being released from negative emotions attached to past experiences as well as future expectations.

This type of profound bliss is only achievable if worked towards on a conscious level.

Recent studies indicate that while our genetic profile influences 25% of our potential for joyousness, the remaining 75% is completely within our control; which gives us ample space to actively strive for emotional wellbeing.

The key here lies in understanding how our mindset, actions and outlook affect our psychological state and making necessary changes accordingly.

In a nutshell, genuine contentment is not just about luck but instead requires active effort to create and maintain – both internally and externally.

To realize lasting joy demands attention toward honing in on what matters most and novating how we interpret our lives from an internal sense towards personal fulfillment!

True Happiness Comes From Taking Control Of Your Inner Self

The best way to achieve happiness is not by looking for it in the external world, but rather from within yourself.

As proven by psychologists Philip Brickman and Dan Campbell through the “hedonic treadmill”, this isn’t an easy task but understanding that true joy comes from reaching a state of inner well-being is key.

External factors such as wealth and social status may contribute to our overall level of happiness but only up to 10 to 15 percent – meaning that buying material items or chasing social status can only do so much in terms of achieving contentment.

We must accept that we can never fully control the world around us, so seeking our main source of joy there will only lead to disappointment and heartbreak.

As Etty Hillesum wrote before her untimely death in the Holocaust, “when you have an interior life, it certainly doesn’t matter what side of the prison fence you’re on”.

We need to find lasting peace within ourselves and focus on fostering internal growth rather than constantly striving after external objects if we are truly going to be happy in life.

True And Lasting Happiness Comes From Within, Not External Pleasures


It’s a common misconception that happiness is equivalent to pleasure.

But while the two are related, they are two very different concepts.

Pleasure is something that is transient; it only lasts for a short while and then dissipates.

It can even turn into dissatisfaction or even aversion when over-indulged in.

An example of this is a good meal.

If you eat too much, you’re likely to get sick from it afterwards, thus diminishing any pleasurable experiences you had before with the food.

On the other hand, true long-lasting happiness is far more stable than just pleasure alone.

Studies have shown that things like fame or wealth do not truly increase one’s overall happiness or wellbeing in the long run; what was once pleasurable quickly fades away, leaving you longing for another “high”.

The root cause of our search for immediate gratification and external pleasures really stems from fear – fear of getting to know ourselves deeply and understanding how we can cultivate true lasting joy in life.

To truly get closer to being happy, we must switch our focus away from material wants and towards connecting with ourselves and those around us on an emotional level.

Only then will we start to discover what real contentment looks like

How To End The Cycle Of Suffering And Move Toward True Happiness

Happiness isn’t about avoiding all suffering.

In fact, suffering is a universal and unavoidable part of life.

The unhappiness that we experience when facing tough times doesn’t actually stem from the suffering itself; it arises from the worrying and obsessing over our hardships that can come along with it.

The key to truly moving toward long-lasting happiness lies in freeing ourselves from worries about life – like loss of wealth, status, or career prospects should something not go as planned.

Serious depression can be an outcome of this cycle of unhappiness – 15% of North Americans have experienced major depressive episodes before age 35 – which emphasizes why it’s so important to recognize and break free from these negative cycles that can weigh us down.

True joy lies in understanding your own nature and working to release yourself from any unnecessary further worrying and distress that comes along with the occasional hardships we face in life.

Happiness isn’t about avoiding suffering – it’s about freeing yourself from worries about life.

How Buddhism Helps Us Separate Our Ego From Our True Identity And Avoid Suffering

The ego is the root of a person’s most intense suffering and conflicted emotions.

By “ego,” we mean the concept of an imagined self that people develop as they try to fit in and make a name for themselves.

As they strive to build this identity, ego-driven people start to label those around them and their environment as good or bad, seeking only comfort and pleasure that their ego perceives as worthy.

All of these labels can be subjective, creating a significant gap between reality and expectations.

Meanwhile, any perceived threat or attack on their idealized self precipitates intense feelings of distress and turmoil.

When these feelings are left unmanaged, it can lead to further depression and lack of drive in life.

In Buddhism, understanding the true source of your emotions is key: rather than blaming external factors for your distress or simply hiding away from unpleasant situations, you must acknowledge the role that your ego plays in how you feel.

Only then can you free yourself from its repressive grip in order to achieve true happiness.

Finding Inner Freedom And True Happiness Through Detachment From The Ego


The key to finding true and profound happiness is freeing yourself from your own ego.

When you are too invested in your identity or image, you put all your time and energy into seeking validation from those around you.

This can be a heavy burden that prevents you from being able to truly enjoy life.

Humility is one of the core elements of becoming egoless and rooted in true happiness.

It allows you to understand and acknowledge your limits, so that you don’t have to rely on validation from others to feel good about yourself.

When you let go of ego-driven concerns, it opens up the possibility for real compassion, empathy and service for those around us.

History has shown us the people who had managed to free themselves from their egos were often the greatest heroes of our time: Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela—all demonstrated how selflessness brings inner strength freedom.

If we want to move closer toward true happiness and peace of mind, it’s best we look at them as examples on how to free ourselves from our egos—and ultimately bring about lasting change in our lives.

Recognizing And Acknowledging Your Triggersis Key To Inner Peace

Our thoughts and emotions are the two most powerful forces within us.

Unfortunately, they can also be our worst enemies if we’re not careful.

In times of distress, like after a breakup or after experiencing a death in the family, our negative thoughts and emotions can spiral out of control.

We become consumed by them and they lead to further unhappiness.

It’s important to be aware of how much power we give these thoughts and feelings.

In the case of a breakup, for example, we might focus more on our ex’s flaws that were the cause for us ending things in the first place.

Doing this is only going to feed the negativity further, therefore causing more pain for ourselves as well as others around us.

We must understand our triggers and learn to overcome them.

Lashing out in rage or making spiteful remarks directed at someone else when confronted with difficult situations only serves to make matters worse for ourselves and those around us.

Being mindful of when and why we respond a certain way will help us develop inner peace through understanding thought processes rather than attacking others out of anger or sadness.

How To Control Your Emotions And Overcome Negative Thoughts Through Buddhist Wisdom


If you want to achieve inner peace and be truly happy, it’s essential that you learn how to examine your negative thoughts and emotions.

Buddhism teaches us that it’s impossible for two opposing emotions to arise in the same instant, so if we become more familiar with positive feelings such as love and kindness, we can gradually eliminate hate and other negative states of mind.

Positive thoughts are a great way to counterbalance negativity in our lives, but it’s also important that we acknowledge these uncomfortable feelings.

Only by looking inward and examining these negative thoughts more deeply can we begin to understand their root causes – and ultimately, overcome them.

By acknowledging and understanding our emotions, rather than suppressing them or letting them take control of us, we’re able to detach ourselves from the negativity.

With this kind of thinking, our anger will be just a temporary state of suffering that we can work through – instead of a lasting source of unhappiness.

Ultimately, only when we observe and face our darker memories can they dissipate without leaving any trace on our minds.

Wrap Up

The Happiness Book, by author Ollie Carwile is a great way to start the journey towards true bliss.

The key message in this book is that achieving long-lasting happiness isn’t a simple or easy path but it’s worth the hard work.

It involves facing your ego and reconciling with negative emotions and re-examining our understanding of concepts such as “happiness” and “pleasure”.

The book presents actionable advice which offers an effective way to deal with pain – by focusing on it rather than running away from it.

By bringing the pain into conscious focus and visualizing it, you can help lessen its intensity and understand that the pain does not define you.

The final summary: True happiness is achievable through dedication, perseverance and self-care.

We must learn to confront our ego and reconcile this emotion before looking for pleasure outside of us.

And by focusing on our pain, we can help diminish its effects and accept that we are so much more than what we feel at any given moment in time.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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