December 6, 2010

Buddhism Doesn’t Have a Monopoly on Happiness

I may be in the minority, but I often find myself thinking that Buddhism is the “happiest” way of life. Can you blame me? My sister once came home from a Baptist service crying because she was told she would go to hell. In high school I studied a famous tract from 18th century theologian Jonathan Edwards which is beautiful in its use of words, but basically says that God hates you. Uplifting stuff. Meanwhile one of the seminal books at the Dalai Lama has “happiness” right in the title.

But I don’t want to make blanket statements, which is why I was pleased to have my misconceptions corrected in this Huffington Post piece by Mary J. Loftus.

She attended a “Summit on Happiness,” hosted by Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion, where four religious leaders discussed our pursuit of happiness within the context of religious values. No matter if you are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or Buddhist, you are free to seek your happiness, and seek it in your way. Well, with some caveats, of course. But you get the idea.

My favorite quote:

It is a happy human being who creates a happy ambience, a happy ambience does not necessarily create a happy human being.

~ Islamic scholar Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr of George Washington University

Read the rest of the quotes and you’ll see why the Dalai Lama says that all the great world religions are valuable and meaningful.

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