The book of Joy. Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu

Date Finished: Mar 2, 2022
Author: Douglas Abrams
Tags: #literature-notes

:rocket: The Book in 3 Sentences

:art: Impressions

How I Discovered It

DoDo Pizza suggested it for their book club.

Who Should Read It?

People in turmoil. It brings certain peace of mind, reading thought of two great spiritual leaders of the world.

:shamrock: How the Book Changed Me

How my life / behaviour / thoughts / ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.

Not the toughest survive in physical form, but the strongest mentally.

:writing_hand: My Top 3 Quotes

When things go smoothly, we can pretend that we are something special, but as soon something happens, and I don’t mean all hell break loose, just minor inconvenience, then we are forced to act like normal human beings.

We suffer from perspective myopia.

:ledger: Ideas

What is joy? Where it comes from? How to sustain it, during the lifetime? How not to feel miserable in the cruel world?

  • According to this book, there are 8 pillars of joy.

    • 4 pillars of the mind.
    • 4 pillars of the heart.
  • Discovering joy doesn’t save you from injustices, hardships and heartbreaks.

    • What it does, joy allows you to cry more easily and to laugh more easily.
    • As we discover more joy we can face suffering in a way that ennobles us instead of embitters.
      • Fight hardships without becoming hard.
      • Break heart without being broken.

Meditation Sevenfold analysis #practice by Dalai Lama

  • It is contemplative practice. Where you search the true nature of the self by analyzing the relationship between physical and mental aspects of the body and mind.

    • I can see body, but not trueself. I can see the mind, but not the trueself of the person.
    • So where is this person that I am looking at? Who is he in truth?
    • But we can’t find this person We have to constantly look for, ask question, is it truly him or not? What do I miss.
      • It’s similar to the notion, when we look at the work of a famous person, we can’t know what has been done before. How this image of a person was forged. We only see a facade not the realself who accomplished something.
  • Nowadays, too many people pay attention to what outside, not to what inside.

    • The source of happy life lies not somewhere but within.
    • [Look up in my thesis on critical problems of humanity] About how we switched real joy of being oneself to the pretense of being somebody else.

Joy is associated with feelings

  • Pleasure (all five senses)
  • Amusement (from a chuckle to a belly laugh)
  • Contentment (a calmer kind of satisfaction)
  • Excitement (in response to novelty, or change)
  • Relief (following upon another emotion, fear, anxiety, pleasure)
  • Wonder (before something astonishing and admirable)
  • Ecstasy or bliss (from accomplishing a difficult task)
  • Radiant pride (e.g. when our children earn a special honor)
  • Unhealthy Jubilation (relishing in someone else’s suffering)
  • Elevation (from witnessing kindness, generosity, or compassion)
  • Gratitude (appreciation of selfless act of which one is the beneficiary)
  • Rejoicing (in someone else’s happiness)
  • Delight (a shining kind of contentment)
  • Spiritual radiance (a serene joy from deep well-being)

Fundamental emotions: fear, anger, sadness, happiness. According to research at University of Glasgow.


  • When you are in the middle, of some negative experience and if there is no way to overcome it, then there is no way worrying too much. Change your attitude.

    • Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
    • Ask not how can you escape, but how can I use it as something positive.
  • Sadness not always bad, it can lead to empathy and certain value can be extracted from being sag.

    • An experiment showed that sad people are more motivated, more sensitive to needs of social group and more generous than happier control group.
  • Sadness directed to oneself inevitably leads to despair and depression. Focus not on yourself but on the person you are sad about or even greaving.

  • The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

  • The same as Peter Watts told during numerous interviews, optimists don’t survive long to share their genome. Humans are irreversibly pessimistic.

    • Suppose something uncorrectable has happened, optimist will mourn the lost hope, wherever pessimists will persist and continue to work.
  • Self-focus narrows vision and puts even a small problem out of proportion, making it unbearable.

  • A remedy from envy is questions: why do I want to have 7-bedroom house in which only two of us will live?

    • Mudita practice. Thank him and mentally pronounce that good for him to have bigger house and better car. He, just like me, wants to be happy. Wants to be successful, I congratulate him and want him to be even more successful.

Suffering is an opportunity in hidden form.

  • In a face of great adversity, we usually experience more joy, it makes life seemingly easier. Свобода от одних ограничений накладывает другие look closely to Junger’s Freedom, maybe he has more sound arguments. Especially where he wrote about war.
  • If nothing can be done with the situation and suffering and sadness are inevitable, then there is nothing to worry about. Just accept that this is okay, the world won’t stop to exist.

Four pillars of joy

  • Mind
    • perspective
    • humility
    • humor
    • acceptance
  • Heart
    • forgiveness
    • gratitude
    • compassion
    • generosity

Viktor Frankl has said that our perspective to life is our final and ultimate freedom.

  • He had views why strong didn’t survive and weak did, but not all. By looking at the atrocities of the regime and conditions, he concluded that:
    • Those who believed that everything will soon end, broke first.
    • Then broke those, who didn’t believe that it will ever end.
    • Survived only those who focused on the current tasks, without waiting anything else to happen.

Changing emotions is hard, easier to change perspective, which is relatively easy.

  • Looking at the problem must be done from all the sides.

    • From the front and from the back.
    • From the bottom and from the top.
    • From the left and from the right.
  • The problem should be considered from all six sides. Only then we can take in a complete and holistic view of reality.

  • We suffer from perspective myopia. Harry Potter and the methods of rationality#Chapter 25 Hold off on Proposing a solution

  • Astronauts say that when they have glimpsed the expanse of Earth from space, national interest stop to exist, there are no more borders. And from there, no coming back to individualistic and nationalistic point of view.

    • Not only space frame is important, but also a timeframe of crucial importance. When we look at the events from the immediate perspective we tend to blow the out of proportion and on the scale of hundred years we can only envision the really different world.
  • When things go smoothly, we can pretend that we are something special, but as soon something happens, and I don’t mean all hell break loose, just minor inconvenience, then we are forced to act like normal human beings.

  • Harmony is born from the sound concept of working together and and sharing consequential benefits.

The POOL OF SHARED MEANING is the birthplace of synergy.

Joy practices

Overcoming the obstacles of joy

  • Focus and stress relief – A breathing practice.
  • Morning meditation walk or exercise.
  • Fear, Anger and Sadness – an analytical meditation.
  • Frustration and Anger – a prayer.
  • Loneliness – a common humanity practice.
  • Envy – a mudita practice.
  • Suffering, Adversity and Illness – 1. a lojong practice. 2. a tonglen practice.
  • Silent retreat.
  • Death meditation.

Cultivating the eight pillars of joy.

  • Perspective – a self-distancing practice.
  • Humility – a lojong practice.
  • Laughing at ourselves to develop humor.
  • Acceptance – a meditation.
  • The fourfold path to forgiveness.
  • Journaling for gratitude.
  • Compassion meditation.
  • Compassion – a prayer.
  • Compassion – a fast.
  • Generosity practices.
  • Joy meditation – the eights pillars.

«inside joke about freedom—he would have found out soon enough—is that you’re always trading obedience to one thing for obedience to another.»

Казалось, очевидная вещь. Свободны нет. Или нет не так, она есть. Но вот что это за свобода. Есть ведь такие вещи которые выглядят как свобода, когда ты в компании – форма изгнания когда ты один.

Чайлдфри или безбрачие. Вроде как свободен, нет обязанностей. Но представить только приходить в квартиру, где нет детского крика или когда тебя никто не ждет. Не изнание ли это? Или попытка побега от самого себя или общества.

Свобода действий по Стоикам

Человек - это собака, которая привязана к телеге, у собаки выбор не богатый или идти за телегой или не идти, тогда она ее будут тащить по земле, телега не остановится - это жизнь.

Но почему? Мы можем отгрызть себе лапу. А если привязь за шею?

1 симпатия

A Mendelian trait is one that is controlled by a single locus in an inheritance pattern. In such cases, a mutation in a single gene can cause a disease that is inherited according to Mendel’s principles. Dominant diseases manifest in heterozygous individuals. Recessive ones are sometimes inherited unnoticeably by genetic carriers. Examples include sickle-cell anemia, Tay–Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis and xeroderma pigmentosa. A disease controlled by a single gene contrasts with a multi-factorial disease, like heart disease, which is affected by several loci (and the environment) as well as those diseases inherited in a non-Mendelian fashion.

  • Two known of purposeful complexity:
    • Natural selection.
      • Biosphere and creation of all living.
    • Intelligent selection.
      • AI engineering.
      • Cars.

When working on a problem, don’t start with a solution, start with a problem.

  • Describe it as fully as possible.
  • Discuss it as thoroughly as possible without giving any solutions.
    • Maybe we should have discussed a nail and a horse problem in such manner?